Sony has yet to make waves in the Bluetooth wireless headphones sweepstakes, but that should change with the MDR-1000X headphones. What Hi-Fi? is just one of the many websites giving Sony’s latest groundbreaking wireless headphones an outstanding review.
“A stunning effort from Sony. These superb noise-cancelling cans are up there with the very best at the money.”
The review especially compliments the impressive noise cancellation, the excellent audio, the variety of features, and the 20-hour battery life. The only thing that the review doesn’t like is that the touch controls can sometimes be quirky.
Although Sony’s MDR-1000X headphones won’t be available in the United States until next week for $399, this author received them yesterday. More tests will be ran (and this review will be updated), but for now, it’s safe to say Sony has given the Bose QC35s and the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless a run for their money. The MDR-1000X combines the noise-cancellation of the QC35 and the sound (for the most part) of the P7 Wireless to give consumers what is perhaps the best Bluetooth wireless listening experience.
It’s obvious Sony is going after Bose, because the MDR-1000X looks a lot like the QC35s. Each cup has faux leather and pushes against your ear comfortably. The touch controls are on the right side, and the buttons for noise cancellation, Ambient Sound Mode, and power are on the left side. Sony has improved the touch controls from previous earphones, but turning the volume up or down can still be a little quirky.
Bose has always been the leader in noise cancellation, and the QC35s are scarily good in this category. The QC35s block out at least 70 percent of the noise, which is great when you are at Starbucks or are in a noisy environment where you need to study. However, Bose doesn’t allow you to turn off noise cancellation, and this could be a real problem when you are running or walking outdoors. You may not even hear the car that is about to hit you.
With tests both at Starbucks and an apartment with a loud fan, the MDR-1000x actually proved to block out more noise than the QC35s — something that is shocking since Sony has always offered mediocre noise cancellation in the past. Best of all, you can turn off the noise cancellation when you don’t need it.
This is really the area where the MDR-1000x excels in the most. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless still has the best overall sound of any wireless headphones, but Sony comes very close. The sub-bass really kicks in when playing EDM music and the highs are distinctive when playing classical music. The MDR-1000x is especially impressive when listening to hip hop.
It’s important to note that the MDR-1000X supports the AAC (iPhone) and aptX (Samsung phones) codecs for better sound. It also supports Sony’s Hi-Res LDAC codec, but you need a Hi-Res music player in order to experience this. Still, rest assured, these headphones sound great when tested with the iPhone 7 Plus and the Galaxy Note 7.
The MDR-1000X has useful features you wouldn’t know you need until you use them. The biggest one is Quick Attention Mode, where you put your hand over the right earcup in order to turn down the volume of the music and let all incoming noise (which is amplified like a hearing aid) in. This is especially useful when you need to hear an announcement or need to order something while your music is playing. Of course, you’ll look funny and robotic putting your hand over the cup.
The Ambient Sound Mode lets background sound, which is amplified, come through. There is also Ambient Voice, which amplifies certain frequencies of spoken voice. Some will find these modes useful, while others won’t. Still, it’s great that Sony is giving listeners a choice.
While some more tests need to be performed, including phone call quality (article will be updated), it’s safe to say that the Sony MDR-1000X are the best over-the-ear headphones for those who want great sound, noise cancellation, and other features. If all you care about is the sound, then the Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless edges out Sony, but only slightly so.
[Featured Image by Daryl Deino]