The highly anticipated Sony MDR-1000X is here and has already been touted as one the best in sound and active noise cancelling technology. We’ve got our hands on the sought after travel companion and are ready to give you the dish in our Sony MDR-1000X review.
Sony MDR-1000X Review
Sony MDR-1000X Review – Packaging
I can not even begin to tell you (but obviously I still am) how impressed I am by the compact design of the Sony MD-1000X – box and carry case included. The carry case is way thinner than I was expecting. It could easily slide into a backpack, messenger bag, or an average-size purse. The inside of the hard grade carry case is lined with a soft fabric to protect the headphones. There’s also a small pocket for safely storing the included in-flight adapter, headphone cable, and micro USB cable.
Sony MDR-1000X Review – Build & Design
The headphones feel durable and comfortable. The frame is a bit heavier than I’d prefer, but overall it is still light enough to wear for extended periods of time on your head. The ear cups have a smooth layer of leather over them and are sealed around the edges by hard-grade material. The headband/extender situation features a metal slider and a small patch of padding directly under the top portion of the headband.
The ear cushions are padded, but shallow. There’s enough padding to wear the headphones for a long time, but probably not as long as the wear time with Sony H.ear On or Sennheiser PXC 550. Also, even with the sliders in a fully closed position the headphones come a little too far down on my head. The ear cups end up resting on the location where my neck meets my jaw. I also have a pretty tiny head. If you’re head is average size then this probably won’t be a problem.
Sony MDR-1000X Review – Features
A few extremely cool and notable features include the ability to easily hear and talk through your audio by cupping your palm over the right ear cup. This is what Sony calls Sense Engine. This feature tailors the amount of noise-cancelling specifically for you and your ear. It works by placing microphones on the outside and inside of the ear cups. The exterior microphones gauge the noise level of your surrounding environment while the interior microphones analyze your personal characteristics and wearing style (glasses or nah?), then optimizes the sound for you. Activating this feature is quite easy. You simply hold down the noise cancelling button which initializes the optimizer. You’ll know because the voice activated assistant tells you so. Then you’ll hear a few different notes and pitches that calibrate your ear’s response. The headphones then say optimizer finished. The noise cancelling is then better tailored for your ear. Users can further adjust the settings to ambient or voice modes which allow more of your environment in through the ear cups or just voices, respectively. The right ear cup is also built with touch controls. The smart gestures are pretty standard, with a double tap to pause/play, a swipe forward to skip forward a track and backwards to skip back.
Noise Cancelling Ability & Comparison to Competitors
The noise cancelling ability on these headphones are really good. I listened to these headphones with the door open while street construction was going on and the sound of the drill was significantly reduced. For those of you who are a bit sensitive to noise-cancelling the ANC may be too strong. If the ANC is too much you can activate the NC optimizer for a more suitable amount of ANC fit for you. But if you’re all about ANC, you’ll love these headphones. MDR-1000X definitely edges out the defending champion of ANC, Bose QC 35. It’s much more powerful and allows for customization. The QC 35 doesn’t calibrate and adjust ANC to your liking, nor are you able to turn it off when the headphones are paired to your smart device. In addition, there’s the current legal sitch in which Bose allegedly sold customer information without consent and the fact that their firmware is reportedly rendering some QC 35s useless. If the ANC is too much you can activate the NC optimizer for a more suitable amount of ANC fit for you.
As for connectivity, the headphones use Bluetooth and Qualcomm aptX technology to ensure a solid connection and clean transmission from your device to your ears.
Sony MDR-1000X Review – Sound
These cans are certified Hi-Res and Hi-Res they do deliver. Working in conjunction with LDAC technology, the headphone provides stellar audio even when connected wirelessly. LDAC is able to do so by streaming your high resolution audio over at the maximum transfer rate of 990 kbps which is approximately three times more data than conventional Bluetooth audio.
The bass line is rich and a bit punchy, yet controlled. There isn’t any sloppy spilling of your bass all over your lush mids and glittering highs. The mid-range is relaxed and full. The highs are detailed and salient – floating above the rest of your audio without sounding too far away. It’s all a pretty sweet and smooth blend. The headphone has a pretty open soundstage, especially for being a wireless headset. That being said, tracks heavy in instrumentation or even vocals sound beautiful and realistic.
In comparison to the Bose QC 35, the bass is more accurate and the overall audio quality more refined.
You can also use the headset to make and take calls. The microphone is a bit sensitive and picks up some of the ambient noise around you. But for the most part, the MDR-1000X sounds like any other wireless headphone in this category when making calls so, I wouldn’t call this any sort of deal breaker.
Sony MDR-1000X Review – Overview
Sony MDR-1000X is a great headphone for tuning out the world around you. The active noise cancellation is strong, but if too much ANC makes you sick, you may want to opt for a headphone with less impressive ANC capability. The build is durable and comfortable. Though, if you have a small head the bottom of the ear cups end up applying a little bit of pressure on your jaw line. But if none of the aforementioned are issues for you, the Sony MDR-1000X is well worth the investment. The sound quality is pristine offering a rich low end as well as accuracy and detail across lows, mids, and highs. If you’d like a cheaper alternative there’s the Sony H.ear On which is also high resolution, but a step down from the MDR-1000X.
The Sony MDR-1000X is listed for the best available price at Audio 46’s Sony Shop for $399.99.
The Sony H.ear On is also available at the Audio 46 Sony Shop for $349.99.
Another viable contender is the Sennheiser PXC 550. It’s available for at the Audio 46 Sennheiser Shop for $399.99.
Sony MDR-1000X Review – Specs
*with unit turned on
Driver: 70 mm, Dynamic
Impedance: 46 ohm
Frequency Response Range: 4 Hz – 40,000 Hz
Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW
Battery: 3.7V Lithium-Ion
Run Time: 20 Hours
Charge Time: 4 Hours
Weight: 0.60 lbs