Sony MDR-1000X noise cancelling headphones

New pair of noise cancelling headphones and couldn’t be happier with the improved noise cancelling performance over my previous 770BN’s. To be honest, I felt like the 770’s took a step backwards compared to the 750’s that I owned; sound quality was great but noise cancelling no so much. I only realised how lacking they were when I put in a set of Bose QC35’s which are the benchmark for active noise cancellation.

So, first thoughts putting on the 1000X?

Wow, near-silence. Hums and whirrs from the plane completely gone and voices and chatter reduced to a mere murmur, the gentlest touch of music drowns it out. Compared to the previous set which seemed to only reduce the low frequency hums, I really couldn’t hear a thing outside.

 

Features wise, the improvements are a gesture controlled interface, ambient sound settings and LDAC capabilities. It retains the ability to go into corded mode (with or without power) and basic micro USB charging. LDAC is irrelevant for now but rumours have it that Sony have contributed its use in the next revision of Android (fingers crossed!). Ambient sound modes allow you to pass through voice while blocking everything else and lastly, the gesture controls allow you to cup or palm the touch panel and it’ll allow sound through while muting your audio. Great if you need to have a quick conversation without removing the headphones.

Sound wise, it’s not perfect but pretty damn good, its strengths are in its mids and highs. The mids have a real warmth to it and fills the space nicely, it then rolls really nicely into the highs which seem to go on forever without being harsh or fatiguing. To me they sound incredibly smooth and have a nice presence.

So what’s the weakness? Bass. It’s a little peculiar too, it seems to be missing the sub-bass notes so it lacks the punch. However in certain tracks, the mid-low bass range is super punchy and sounds good enough, it definitely doesn’t sound tinny.

One of my favourite songs to audition is Daft Punk – Contact (from Random Access Memories) and it’s bassline is pretty tight so any systems that over exaggerate bass falls apart pretty quick. Bass was lacking here but the rest of it was very warm sounding and individual notes and hi hats was distinct and clear yet seemed to roll off nicely into each over.

All in all they’re great and they were a great buy at $400, definitely hard to justify at retail though. If bass is super critical, suggest you have a listen to them first.

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