The Inzone H9 is one of three new gaming headsets from Sony, part of the company’s foray into the wider gaming accessory space. It’s the ‘big daddy’ of the new headset series, and offers an array of features designed to entice gamers. With an impressive battery life, bass-boosted audio performance, and solid Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) there’s a lot to love about this headset – but it’s partially let down by its bulky design and comfort levels, which is disturbed by a hard headband.
Sony Inzone H9: Set-up and accessibility
The Sony Inzone H9 is a standalone headset that connects to a PC or PlayStation 5 using a USB dongle, which is around 5cm in length. It works right out of the box, or you can use the official Sony 360 Spatial Sound Personalizer app on mobile to create an audio profile designed for your ears. This app takes a photo of your ears, and when linked with the Inzone PC app, enables the headset to ‘shoot’ sound directly into your earholes, based on the size and shape of your pinna.
In practical terms, it’s hard to know whether this process aided my audio experience. It’s certainly fun, and in theory, provides better and more personalised audio direction for sound, but it’s hard to tell what impact this actually had.
What was far more practical was diving into the settings of the headset via the Inzone hub on PC. Here, I was able to set what each button on the headset did, control the level of noise cancelling I needed, and adjust the audio gain and sidetone of the microphone. 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 set-up (you can also get by just fine with the default settings), you’ll be able to flick the switch on the USB dongle to either ‘PC’ or ‘PS5’ (the only supported devices), and kick off your audio adventures. The Inzone H9 headset is swiftly recognised on both console and PC, with Game and Chat modes immediately available to select.
Sony Inzone H9: Comfort and design
The Sony Inzone H9 is a well-designed headset that aligns perfectly with the cool white tone of the PS5 console – but it’s fairly bulky, and may dwarf smaller heads (like mine). The larger-sized cups stick out a lot, and while this means they do afford breathing room and comfort, it also makes them feel too big and loose.
There was minimal pressure and suction on these cups, with the soft padding only sitting lightly against my face while I used the headset. This meant they had no tension, and that the headband sunk onto the top of 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 cups that have a higher degree of tension.
Those with smaller heads will likely experience similar pain to mine, thanks to the headset’s bulkier design. While you can adjust the cups on a smooth swivel, and via the retracting headband, this isn’t a perfect solution and doesn’t solve the issue. Eventually, the headset will slide further down your head and the soft headband cushion will compress, pushing the harder plastic into your noggin.
You’ll need to consider your head shape and jaw width before rushing out to grab a set of these H9s.
Another feature you’ll need to consider is that the boom mic arm is non-detachable. It swings down easily when you need it – 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 comfortable fit for the Sony Inzone H9, using it was largely justified by the headset’s audio experience, which is buoyed by a hearty set of features – including 3D audio compatibility, ANC, and impressive bass tones.
The ANC can be enabled in three degrees – none, a little, or a lot, based on your preference. It’s easy to switch between these modes with the headset’s handy buttons, and each mode has its own benefits. If you’re not gaming in a crowded space, it’s unlikely you’ll need ANC – so you easily switch off this mode, and enjoy your gaming in the quiet. If you live with rowdy folks or have to contend with outside noise, the highest ANC setting will likely come in handy – this blocks out the vast majority of ambient sounds (someone calling from downstairs, the rain drumming against a window, outside music, and crowd burble). It does let in louder and closer shouts – but dulls even these noises to an impressive degree.
In the enforced ANC silence, you’ll be able to better appreciate the nuance and clarity of the headset’s audio.
When playing games on PlayStation 5 or PC, the Inzone H9 headset forms a virtual 3D audioscape for you to play in, with each sound – car horns, gunfire, explosions, music – existing in layers of this realm. If your in-game character is facing ahead in a game like Cyberpunk 2077, you’re at the centre of this soundscape, experiencing noises from all sides. A gun fires behind you, and the directional sound replicates this noise at the back of the headset. Someone talking beside you will realistically boom from the left or right side.
This is the purpose of 3D audio – to create an immersive, living world that replicates the reality of hearing sounds in real life. In Cyberpunk 2077, it can mean avoiding enemy fire, because you distinctly know where a shot is coming from. In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it can mean hearing the game’s mournful and gorgeous music as it sways and sweeps across the soundscape, pulling you from one location to another.
The Sony Inzone H9 is excellent at separating these sounds, creating a multi-layered audioscape for you to roam in, and adding layers of realism to your world. Sounds are crisp and sharp, with each defined well, and backed by that booming bass.
Gunshots are sudden and shocking in the H9; loud and biting. There’s no crackle or whine to these sounds, and they split the soundscape with punchy beats. Conversely, footsteps are soft and whisper-quiet, creating a strange, unsettling feeling as they pass behind and beside you. The realism is occasionally uncanny, to the point where noises delivered in-headset trick you into reacting in the real world.
That said, the performance of the headset does rely on the audio clarity of the games themselves to function optimally. Cyberpunk 2077, for example, worked fantastically – with each noise being defined well, thanks to a minimalist soundscape and digital techno beats.
In Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, the sound was slightly muddier and harder to differentiate, with each noise existing in a different layer – sweeping orchestral music, environmental sounds, character voices, grunts, and weapon swings combined together to create a crowded and difficult to parse 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 is a reminder that not all games make the most of 3D audio, or have the visual clarity to sound crisp and clear when using the headset.
That said, even without the PS5 at hand, you can get a sense of the power of the Inzone H9 headsets via bass-boosted audio tracks and songs designed with 3D audio in mind. When playing music over the headset, the bass is so boomy it vibrates the inside of the headset. The sounds are deep and rich, and enhance the depth and pounding beat of songs, as well as audio immersion.
Sony Inzone H9: Battery life and charging
Beyond the actual sound of the headset, the Sony Inzone H9 also succeeds in other realms. The H9 rocks an absolutely phenomenal battery, for example – in practical terms, it’ll last around two full weeks in daily use (around 4-5 hours per day). During my time with the headset, I was mostly using it in hybrid fashion, for playing bass-boosted tunes as well as gaming on PC and PlayStation 5. After dozens of hours, I can only conclude this headset is a workhorse.
While it’s difficult to track the exact hours used, I’d estimate the battery lasted around 35-40 hours in active use. According to Sony, the battery will last 32 hours without using ANC, and this is more than accurate. In fact, the H9 over-performed on these expectations.
You shouldn’t have any trouble keeping your headset charged at all – particularly given a full charge can be achieved in just 3 hours. Given that delivers days and days of audio, it’s a pretty good deal. If you’re looking for long-lasting performance, the Sony Inzone H9 definitely gives you that.
The Sony Inzone H9 headset features an impressive sound profile that elevates music, and makes gaming sessions more dynamic, lively, and easier to navigate. Strong 3D audio performance is a blessing for those that value directional accuracy in games, and helps to create rich and immersive soundscapes. In a flat audio environment, it’s easy for chaos to arrive out of nowhere, with guns firing from seemingly random directions. But backed by the heft and power of the Inzone H9, surprises are much easier to identify and overcome.
While the headset is held back by its overall lack of comfort and its price investment – in Australian markets, you’ll need to fork out AU $449.95 for this beast – the audio difference may be worth the sacrifice for keen gamers. With thumping bass and the ability to create well-defined 3D soundscapes, the H9 Inzone headset is a sturdy and reliable companion for anyone desiring true immersion.
Four stars: ★★★★
Sony Inzone H9 Headset
Price: AU $449.95
Release Date: Available Now
A Sony Inzone H9 headset review unit was provided for the purposes of this review.