That In zone H9 is one of three new gaming headsets from Sony, part of the company’s foray into the broader gaming accessories space. It’s the “Big Daddy” of the new headset series and offers a number of features designed to delight gamers. With impressive battery life, bass-boosted audio performance, and solid active noise-cancellation (ANC), there’s one a lot of to love about this headset – but it’s let down in part by its chunky design and comfort, which is compromised by a stiff headband.
Sony Inzone H9: Setup and Accessibility
The Sony Inzone H9 is a standalone headset that connects to a PC or PlayStation 5 via an approximately 5cm long USB dongle. It’s ready to use, or you can use the official Sony 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer app on mobile to create an audio profile for your ears. This app takes a picture of your ears and when linked to the Inzone PC app allows the headset to ‘shoot’ sound directly into your ear holes based on the size and shape of your pinna.
In practice, it’s hard to say whether this process helped my audio experience. It’s certainly fun, and in theory offers better and more personalized audio direction to the sound, but it’s hard to say what impact this actually had.
Far more convenient was diving into the headset’s settings via the Inzone hub on the PC. Here I could customize what each button on the headset does, control the amount of noise cancellation needed, and adjust the audio gain and microphone sidetone. Many of these settings are also available on the PS5 itself and should help you control your audio environment.
Once you’re happy with your setup (you’ll be fine with the default settings), you can toggle the switch on the USB dongle to either “PC” or “PS5” (the only supported devices) and begin your audio adventures. The Inzone H9 headset is quickly recognized on both console and PC, with game and chat modes immediately available to choose from.
Sony Inzone H9: comfort and design
The Sony Inzone H9 is a well-designed headset that perfectly matches the cool white hue of the PS5 console – but it’s quite bulky and can put smaller heads (like mine) to shame. The larger cups protrude a lot, which means that while they provide air to breathe and comfort, they also feel overly large and loose.
There was minimal pressure and suction on these cups, with the soft padding only sitting lightly on my face while using the headset. This meant they had no tension and the headband sank onto my head – causing an uncomfortable burning sensation after hours of use. This has been a common problem I’ve had with many gaming headsets – and while I know I’m sensitive to this particular discomfort, it’s usually solved by shells that have a higher degree of tension.
Those with smaller heads will likely experience similar pain as I did, thanks to the headset’s bulkier design. While you can adjust the cups easily and via the retractable headband, this is not a perfect solution and does not solve the problem. Eventually, the headset slides further down your head and the soft headband pad compresses, forcing the harder plastic into your noggin.
You’ll need to consider your head shape and jaw width before heading out to snag a set of these H9s.
Another feature to consider is that the boom mic arm is non-detachable. It folds down easily when needed – and when in use it’s crisp and well balanced with minimal crackle – but you can’t remove it at all.
Sony Inzone H9: 3D audio and bass performance
While I struggled with a snug fit for the Sony Inzone H9, use was largely justified by the headset’s audio experience, which is supported by a range of features – including 3D audio compatibility, ANC and impressive bass tones.
The ANC can be activated in three stages – none, little or much, depending on your preference. The headset’s handy buttons allow you to easily switch between these modes, and each mode has its own benefits. Unless you’re playing in a crowded room, you’re unlikely to need ANC – so just turn this mode off and enjoy your gaming in peace. If you live with rowdy people or struggle with outside noise, the highest ANC setting will likely come in handy – this blocks the vast majority of ambient noise (someone shouting from downstairs, rain drumming against a window, outside music and crowd gurgle) . It does lets in louder and closer screams – but also dampens those sounds to an impressive degree.
Forced ANC silence allows you to better appreciate the nuance and clarity of the headset’s audio.
When playing games on PlayStation 5 or PC, the Inzone H9 headset creates a virtual 3D audio landscape for you to play in, with every sound – car horns, gunshots, explosions, music – existing in layers of this world. If your in-game character is in a game such as Cyberpunk 2077, You are in the center of this soundscape and experience sounds from all sides. A gun is fired behind you, and the directional audio replicates that sound on the back of the headset. Someone speaking next to you is realistically booming from the left or right.
This is the purpose of 3D audio – to create an immersive, living world that recreates the reality of hearing sounds in real life. in the Cyberpunk 2077, it can mean dodging enemy fire because you know exactly where a shot is coming from. in the Assassin’s Creed Valhallait can mean hearing the game’s sad and beautiful music as it sways and sweeps across the soundscape, pulling you from one place to another.
The Sony Inzone H9 excels at separating these sounds, creating a multi-layered audio landscape to navigate and adding layers of realism to your world. The sounds are crisp and sharp, each one well defined and backed by that booming bass.
Gunshots are sudden and shocking in the H9; loud and biting. There’s no crackle or howl with these sounds, and they share the soundscape with punchy beats. Conversely, footsteps are soft and whisper-quiet, creating an odd, unsettling feeling as they pass behind and beside you. The realism is occasionally uncanny, to the point where sounds emanating in the headset lure you into reacting in the real world.
However, the headset’s performance relies on the audio clarity of the games themselves to perform optimally. Cyberpunk 2077for example, worked fantastically – with every noise well-defined thanks to a minimalistic soundscape and digital techno beats.
in the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the sound was a bit muddy and harder to distinguish, with each noise present in a different layer – stirring orchestral music, ambient noise, character voices, grunts and weapon swings combined to create a crowded and difficult-to-analyze soundscape. According to posts on Reddit, this is a common complaint with the game and likely not a result of the H9 input – but it’s a reminder that not all games make the most of 3D audio or have the visual clarity to be crisp and clear sound when using the headset.
But even without the PS5 at hand, you can appreciate the performance of the Inzone H9 headsets via bass-boosted audio tracks and songs designed for 3D audio. When playing music through the headset, the bass booms so much that the inside of the headset vibrates. The sounds are deep and rich, enhancing the depth and pounding beat of songs as well as the immersion in the audio.
Sony Inzone H9: battery life and charging
In addition to the actual sound of the headset, the Sony Inzone H9 is also convincing in other areas. The H9 absolutely rocks phenomenal battery for example – in practice it lasts about two full weeks with daily use (about 4-5 hours a day). During my time with the headset, I mainly used it in a hybrid way, playing bass-boosted tunes as well as playing on PC and PlayStation 5. After dozens of hours, I can only conclude that this headset is a workhorse.
While it’s difficult to track exact hours of use, I would estimate the battery lasted about 35-40 hours in active use. According to Sony, the battery lasts 32 hours without using ANC, and that’s more than accurate. In fact, the H9 exceeded those expectations.
You shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your headset charged Everyone – especially since a full charge can be achieved in just 3 hours. Considering it’s delivering audio days and days, that’s a pretty good deal. If you’re looking for long-lasting performance, the Sony Inzone H9 definitely offers it.
The Sony Inzone H9 headset has an immersive sound profile that makes music stand out and makes gaming sessions more dynamic, lively and easier to navigate. Strong 3D audio performance is a boon for those who value directional accuracy in games, helping to create rich and immersive soundscapes. In a flat audio environment, chaos can easily appear out of nowhere as weapons are fired from seemingly random directions. But aided by the Inzone H9’s weight and performance, surprises are far easier to spot and overcome.
While the headset is held back by its general lack of comfort and price investment – you’ll have to shell out AU$449.95 for this beast in Australian markets – the difference in sound for avid gamers may be worth the sacrifice. With pounding bass and the ability to create well-defined 3D soundscapes, the H9 Inzone headset is a robust and reliable companion for those who want true immersion.
Four stars: ★★★★
Sony Inzone H9 headset
Release date: Now available
A Sony Inzone H9 headset test device was provided for this review.