9/23/21 – Check out our Sony XAV-9500ES full demo and feature review.

Sony introduced the XAV-9500ES multimedia player on Friday, June 25. The newest head unit in the ES-series offers a massive screen, compact chassis, and several firsts for Sony automotive media players. The 9500ES is slated for release in Nov. 2021.

“Sony’s Mobile ES-Series raised the bar for the premium in-car listening experience when it was previously introduced and it continues to impress our customers,” said Diasuke Kawaguchi, Vice-President of Home Entertainment and Sound, Sony Electronics, Inc. in a press release. “With the addition of this receiver, we add even more depth to this impressive lineup.”

We previously wrote up a first look review of the Mobile ES-Series speakers when they came out and loved what we saw. So much so we installed the speakers in our Ram 1500. With the addition of a head unit, it begins to round out the lineup of products so that you can use one line of products for your stereo upgrade instead of having to piecemeal different products or even different brands.

Let's get into the details from Sony's press release:

Floating Touchscreen

Floating touchscreen head units are becoming more and more popular. This head unit boasts a 10.1” capacitive LCD touchscreen that uses a newly developed adhesive to bond the protective glass to the display. This process produces a more accurate touchscreen and less distortion for clearer images. The screen will mate to a single-DIN chassis that makes installation simple in a broad range of vehicles.

The display uses a gapless design that gives the screen a sleek and modern appearance. It will offer 1280×720 HD resolution for smooth video playback and clear, easy to read images.

High-End Audio Components

A premium digital-to-analog converter provides this head unit with studio-quality sound that is typically reserved for high-end home audio receivers. Full support for high-definition audio files aims to give listeners a true-to-life experience.

A built-in four channel A/B amplifier with dedicated left/right controls to enhance the feel of music. An electric volume circuit creates a dynamic and accurate sound stage. Sony has not released per-channel power levels at this time.

Audio quality is further enhanced with the use of audiophile-grade components to prevent distortion and unwanted reverberation. The chassis of the head unit is a dual-layer design that prevents resonance for even better sound quality.

Wireless Connectivity

The XAV-9500ES is the first Sony receiver to feature wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. Doing away with extra cords and connections provides a sleek, hassle-free, and less distracting driving environment for enhanced safety.

First Thoughts

Without seeing the unit in person or having the chance to put it in a car yet, it can be difficult to form an opinion. Judging by other offerings in the ES-series, this receiver is likely to be a hot-ticket item at the top of many wish lists when it is released. It offers state of the art connectivity, audiophile-level components, and is purpose-built for high-end listening enjoyment. One thing that's worth noting us noting is the capacitive touchscreen. In previous floating models from Sony like the XAV-AX8100, the screens have been resistive and some users have complained about the screen quality as a result. A capacitive should look clearer than the resistive touchscreens and will respond much more like your cell phone does.

Sony expects the XAV-9500ES to retail at $1,299 MSRP in Nov. 2021. Check back to see if/when we get a First Look at one!