Either way, I loved both, though X is probably only my 5th favorite. I didn't much care for the art direction for the world itself, though the story and characters were excellent for the most part.
IX is my favorite game period. Just a fantastic throwback to the series roots, with absolutely gorgeous art direction, great cast/story and hands down the best soundtrack in gaming. Uematsu cites it as his favorite work and I think it shows. Originally he was asked for ~20 tracks to cover battle and character themes, but he ended up with over 160.
To be honest, I think VII was horribly overrated. Wonderful game, but certainly not the end all be all of JRPGs, or even Final Fantasy, in my eyes.