Review Sony WH-1000XM2: the conquerors of noise

Wireless headphones have become a market trend – demand is growing every year, encouraging the offer. In this competitive environment, it’s not easy to stand out against the general background, but it turned out for Sony with the WH-1000XM2. We tell about the most advanced Bluetooth-headphones of the Japanese brand.

Technical specifications Sony WH-1000XM2

  • Headphone type: dynamic, closed type
  • Speaker: 40 mm, dome type (voice coil CCAW), neodymium magnets, diaphragm with aluminum coating
  • Range of reproduced frequencies: 4-40 000 Hz
  • The range of reproduced frequencies for Bluetooth: 20-20 000 Hz (sampling frequency 44.1 kHz); 20-40 000 Hz (LDAC, 96 kHz sampling frequency, 990 Kbps)
  • Cable: 1.5 m, cores made of oxygen-free copper, gold-plated plug
  • Connectors: micro-USB, 3.5 mm
  • Digital amplifier S-Master HX, DSEE HX
  • Wireless interfaces: NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 (aptX, aptX HD, LDAC)
  • Operating range: within line of sight, about 10 m
  • Weight: 275 grams

Full control over noise

Sony WH-1000XM2 took a step forward in active noise reduction, allowing the user to choose which sounds will be suppressed by the signal in antiphase, and which ones will be passed through the barrier. There are three main modes to choose from: Noise reduction is turned off, Ambient Sound is on. Additionally, the modes can be fine tuned.

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The first thing we did when we received these headphones for testing was to switch on the high power and go down the metro. In Sony, they say that the novelty is the most efficient noise cancellation on the market – and it’s easy to believe. Headphones are able to immerse the listener in a “soundproof chamber”, making the surrounding rumble, noise and din dissipate quietly.



Leaving the metro on the street, we reduced the degree of noise suppression, so that better to hear the environment and not get under the car. Separate high tones came to the ears, so that the car horns and siren signals were audible.

The headphones worked well with the wind (most of the noise generators broadcast interference from blowing microphones). In the Sony WH-1000XM2 you can change the noise reduction settings for different conditions, including reduce sensitivity to wind. In addition, an advanced microphone system allows you to comfortably answer calls in headset mode, clearly conveying voice.

Headphones not only suppress certain frequencies – they can also skip and even amplify them. At work, we turn on the Ambient Sound mode. In it, the speakers reproduce ambient noise, while the system further amplifies the voices. In this mode, headphones are like open, with one fundamental difference – you hear others, and they do not have your music.

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But that’s not all – with the help of the Smart Listening function headphones remember which settings are used in different places, in order to automatically select the desired mode of operation in the future. So the next trip to work, they will do everything themselves.

And, at last, one of the most liked to us possibilities: if full noise reduction is included, it is enough to put a palm to the right cup so that the music abated and the headphones switched to the voices of those around them. Very convenient mode at work.

Nevertheless, advanced shumodav is by no means their only virtue. Further on everything in order.

Packing and equipment

Inside the white box with a strict design is a solid black carrying case with carrying case, micro-USB and AUX cables.

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The headphones themselves lie in a case and are reliably protected from external influences – you can not worry about safety on delivery.

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Appearance and construction

In the design of Sony’s flagship headphones, there is no place for pretentiousness. Absence of superfluous elements, competent combination of materials and textures, pastel color scale – the model looks laconic and universal. Color solutions are two: black and beige.

The headband is made of metal, the arms move apart with pleasant mechanical clicks. Hinges rotate in two directions, allowing the headphones to be folded compactly.

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The shells of the cups are large and covered with scratch-resistant plastic.

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The holes of the microphone system go up.

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On the left are the NFC-tag for convenient interface with devices, a 3.5 mm connector, power buttons and noise reduction mode.

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On the right – a micro-USB input and a touchpad, with which you can control the sound of music and calls.
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Ergonomics

The headband is adjustable in a wide range, so that the owners of heads of all shapes and sizes will be satisfied.

The ear-pads of artificial leather are large enough to completely cover the ear. At the same time, they are soft and have a memory effect, so you do not feel fatigue in the headphones even after a few hours. Also pleased with a dense landing – you can go for a jog to your favorite music.

Management of tracks and calls is realized with the help of the touch panel on the right cup: they made a double tap – put the music on pause or received an incoming call. Tracks are switched by the svaypami horizontally, the volume – vertically. Such a control method is so intuitive that it is already possible to return to traditional push-button consoles already

Management of tracks and calls is realized with the help of the touch panel on the right cup: they made a double tap – put the music on pause or received an incoming call. Tracks are switched by the svaypami horizontally, the volume – vertically. This way of control is so intuitive that it will not be necessary to return to traditional button consoles any more.

Communication and connection

The model supports Bluetooth 4.1. High-quality sound is provided by the Bluetooth codecs aptX HD and LDAC, and for their operation you will need a corresponding player or smartphone. LDAC is developed at Sony, so the devices manufactured by this company will be guaranteed to work with its use. Below we describe how the sound of the Sony WH-1000XM2 differs when playing music using the conventional aptX codec and the Hi-Res codec of LDAC.

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Headphones quickly establish a connection to the smartphone, accompanying the process with voice alerts. Reception of the signal is stable, even if the source lies in another room – the main thing is that before it was no more than 10 meters. On the street or in transport everything is just as good, despite the abundance of radio signals around.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 also provides the ability to connect via AUX-wire. So, if the headphone battery is discharged, they will not become a useless load.

Sony Headphones Connect

For easy interaction with headphones, the application Sony Headphones Connect for iOS and Android has been developed. It remembers which noise reduction modes are used in different places, and turns them on automatically. Also there is a personalized noise reduction that optimizes sound and cut-off noise, taking into account the atmospheric pressure, the shape of the head and even the presence of glasses.

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The program has position settings and surround effects.
A five-band equalizer and presets allow you to customize the sound to your taste.

Sound

Since the headphones are wireless, they have their own audio path based on a digital amplifier with a S-Master HX DAC, which is also installed in modern Walkman players. It works by the pulse width modulation (PWM) method and converts the digital signal into an analog signal with minimal distortion. In addition, such a scheme is compact and energy efficient.

As a source used smartphone HTC One E8 with support for aptX and Hi-Fi player Sony NW-ZX300 with LDAC. The test playlist contains compositions from different genres: from jazz and soul to modern rap and even hardcore metal.

When listening to the WH-1000XM2 with the HTC One E8, the thought comes to mind: “How comfortable it is!” The sound is soft, tonally balanced, without pressing bass or cutting ear rush on the high frequency. Any music forms a very pleasant, relaxing background. At the same time, the resolution of the middle frequencies is not bad, but the top is sometimes lost on the general background and is not well worked out – the plates sound unintelligible, as if rustling and crumbling. They do not have a clear impact, everything is too homogeneous. A similar situation at low frequencies, the bass is too uniform. The problem is more noticeable in fast and complex music.

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Everything changes when the Sony-NW-ZX300 player with LDAC support comes into play. This codec from Sony provides a data transfer rate of 990 Kbps, which is three times higher than that of aptX. As a result, there is less loss when listening to lossless files, for example, FLAC in high resolution. This is clearly visible at high frequencies: where there was previously an inarticulate porridge, details and gradations appeared. The plates rang, the percussion became textured and sharp. Bass also improved, there was control and pressure. Now you can not just listen and listen in detail, but in detail to evaluate different compositions – especially from this won a heavy metalcore, presented by Blessed with Rage and Motionless in White. Aggression on guitar reefs was added, the drums became decorated and resilient, and the vigorous clatter of cymbals worked on the mood.

One of the features of the WH-1000XM2 was the DSEE HX function, which, from Sony’s words, restores the information lost in compression to MP3, bringing it closer to the quality of lossless records. It is a complex software algorithm that analyzes music, finds out the tools in it and completes their high-frequency harmonics. The effect of this is clearly visible on a slow instrumental – modern jazz by Eric Truffaz acquires additional volume and air. The same with the melodic soul of Eric Clapton and Jamie Callum. But on rock, and even more so on music with electronic accompaniment, the DSEE HX’s work does not have the best effect, making the sound far too airy and spatial in places. It’s unlikely you want to listen to Linkin Park and MGK with this setting.



The effect of noise reduction on sound is rather strange. The fact is that along with him appears a hump at low frequencies and the sound becomes frankly bass. You can compensate for this with an equalizer, but then you have to turn it off and turn it on with noise reduction.

With a wired connection, the sound is not much different from what you can get via Bluetooth with LDAC. In conjunction with the Sony NW-ZX300 player, a noticeable change was the more formalized and powerful.

With a wired connection, the sound is not much different from what you can get via Bluetooth with LDAC. In conjunction with the Sony NW-ZX300 player, a noticeable change was a more elaborate and powerful bass, the rest of the frequency bands did not change much. This is due to the fact that in these headphones, the speakers were initially “sharpened” for comfortable work with a built-in audio path, which is why they can not fully reveal the potential of a powerful Hi-Fi player.

Autonomy

The claimed battery life is 30 hours with noise suppression enabled and 38 hours without it. During testing, the headphones were discharged only in the middle of the sixth day. At the same time, they played music for several hours every day, used to watch video and talk through the headset, and also provided silence during the work. The full charge of the battery from the USB takes about four hours. In extreme cases, you can connect the headphones on the wire, but with such autonomy do it rarely. In addition, only 10 minutes of charging provide 70 minutes of listening to music.

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Outcomes

Sony WH-1000XM2 turned out really uncompromising. But it is not a combination of advantages that sets them apart from the general background, and “zest” is an advanced noise reduction system that not only immerses the user in silence, but allows him to hear what he wants, cutting off everything else. So the flagship model of Sony fully justifies its flagship price tag.

 

Sony WH-1000XM2 allows you to flexibly adjust the noise reduction: cut off all sounds or skip only human speech and machine signals. In this case, they have Bluetooth codecs with Hi-Res quality and convenient touch control. Sony showed how the headphones of the future should look, for which we award the device with the “Excellent idea” award.

Plus:

  • convenient touch control;
  • comfort with prolonged use;
  • advanced noise cancellation;
  • good sound both on a wire, and on Bluetooth;
  • excellent autonomy.

Minus:

  • excess bass when the noise reduction is on.

 

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Post Author: Thomas Braven

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