Hello HIFI Sound Enthusiasts!
For those of you interested in headphones, this is the review of the Sony WH-1000X M2.
These are Bluetooth wireless noise cancelling headphones, and they retail at $350 USD. Opening these headphones right from the box, you get a travel pouch hard case that protects the headphones, and with it comes a short USB 2.0 charging cable, a normal 3.5mm headphone audio cable so that you can use the headphones without turning it on or when the headphones run out of battery, and an airplane adapter. Specs say that these headphones could support LDAC on phones with android Oreo and up, class leading noise cancellation, 30 hours of battery life, and the game changing intuitive touch controls. All that alone is very impressive to know what these headphones are capable of doing, but it wouldn’t be unless they perform up to their standard. So in this review, I’ll be sharing with you my experience with the WH-1000X M2.
Visuals and Durability
Looks aren’t everything, but looks do matter, especially when you are putting them on your head.
When I took my first glance of these headphones, they look very “business-like”. I could imagine myself sleeping in the plane in business class and sleeping off with these on my head (kinda like in the ad right?). When I put them one, they are a little on the bulky side, but they’re not too bad. They have a very nice shape that makes it a little more streamline and modern. I have the gold color of these headphones, and it’s not very flashy, not very dull either. They mix the gold colored frame of the headphones with a very light tan that almost looks grey in some lighting. Same goes with the gold actually. It intrigues me; confuses me. I don’t know, I see it almost as an optical illusion. Is it actually gold? Or is it silver? We may never know. My sister asked me about my new grey headphones just a while ago… I didn’t know what headphones she was talking about until she said, “The Sony ones”. Now I know, some of you might be disappointed that it might not look as gold as you expected it to be, but I knew how it would look from looking at images on the internet and that is why I bought it. The black colored ones I’ve seen are colored in a dark, titanium grey for the outer frame. The headband is made of aluminium metal. I’ve had these headphones for a few months, and I’d say they are pretty durable, considering that I am a guy that takes good care of my gadgets. I do not work out with headphones, and I only use them for leisure.
In the previous generation of these headphones, there were cases going around that the plastic area on the headbands near the swivel point tended to crack even after careful use. The model of the WH-1000X M2 headphones is the same as the first generation, so people speculated that it might also crack. However, Sony had announced that they have looked into this problem and fixed it. To my understanding, the cracking of the headband happened to only a certain batch of the previous generation of these headphones, and the WH-1000X M2 should not crack. If you really look around at people saying that the headphones band still cracked, you’ll realize that it’s either they think they have the WH-1000X M2, but its not (its the previous gen. and unfortunately they happen to have the bad batch); they really don’t know how to take care of headphones; and, if you look close enough there is really just one guy that is pissed off and is in almost every Reddit post and Youtube review comment section telling people it would crack like he has an agenda against Sony. My headphones that I have are perfectly fine. I did experience creaking on the headphones, and I initially thought that I was about to be disappointed with the build quality, but when I kept listening to where the creaking came from, it might be the metal band in the frame that is creaking. Over time, it went away. I have an all plastic headphones even, and it does not creak that way after so many abuse. So if you do happen to have one, or want one, just take care of them like any other headphones, it will be fine.
Features and Functionality
The WH-1000X M2 has very soft and comfortable ear pads and headband cushion. I have a very sensitive crown, but these are comfortable enough for me to wear them for hours with minor adjustments on the head. I do have to say they can get a bit warm on your ears. Some reviews say that the padding on the headband is good, but not enough to add cushion to the shape of their heads and cause major discomfort. This is because the padding is only in the top middle of the headband, and the sides of the headband is just covered in plastic material. People with squarish head shapes would notice this. I have a round head shape, and I don’t experience much discomfort from the padding.
Looking at the left ear cup, there is the NFC system to connect with ease, a 3.5mm audio input for the headphone wires, an on/off button, and a noise cancelling/ambient aware button combined.
At the right ear cup, we have the the USB 2.0 for charging, and the touch controls. Swipe up or down to control the volume, forward or backwards to skip a song or go back. Double tap to play or pause, and you can press and hold for a few seconds to bring up google assistant. A very useful feature is that when you hold and cover the right ear cup with your hand, audio would come close to mute and ambient sound would be activated so that you can hear your surroundings, and you do not need to take off the headphones. the touch controls are very responsive, but it just needs to be more “prominent” so to say. For example the volume controls, when you swipe up or down to change the volume, it changes the volume very slightly, not like a whole notch even, sometimes you don’t even notice the volume is changing and you have to swipe a several times. I learnt a trick to fix this; you can swipe up or down once and without letting go, hold your finger at that position and it will increase or decrease the volume until you let go. But even then, it changes the volume on the headphones itself, not the volume from the source. So, if you increase the volume until it maxes out on the headphones and it’s still too quiet, check your phone or laptop, and change the volume from there.
On both ear cups, there are small exposed grills on them and those are mics to record audio when using the ambient aware system. The USB 2.0 port might be a little out of date in this time and age, but I’m fine with it. It came with the wires, so as long as the future doesn’t change the other end and I could still plug it into something to charge, I’m happy. Sony says its best to charge these headphones through the computer, but from my research on the web, you can also charge it from the wall with any standard USB charger like the ones that come with your phone. I do it from the wall, and it’s all good. The headphones do support fast charging, and you can get 70 minutes of playback time from a 10-minute charge. It takes around 4 hours to fully charge the headphones. From a full battery, they claim that these headphones could last for 30 hours. I used these headphones when doing my homework, going to sleep and accidentally using it for the whole night after falling asleep (6-8 hours), doing some house chores, and listening just for the pure enjoyment, I’d say they’ve lived up to their standard. I’ve also used it on many different settings, with active noise cancelling or ambient aware on, high volumes and low volumes of music. I’ve counted the hours, they can last me for a whole week and still be in low battery range after 28 hours of use.
The Sony WH-1000X M2 gives a warm sound signature, with it being a little on the bass side. The bass is very punchy, however, in my opinion, it could get a bit muddy when you want to listen to the treble. This would not hurt the overall experience though. With most popular songs having a lot of beat into them nowadays, I think these headphones could really immerse you in the music. The mid range on these are also great. The high notes are clear, smooth and controlled, but it can be a little more extended, because to me it is a little quiet. It doesn’t have to be shy, just let go a little. The sound imaging on the WH-1000X M2 is pretty normal for audio coming from headphones, but it can be slightly modified. See, most headphones sound imaging is not so clear, usually it’s like the performance is all in you head, not anywhere around you. However, if you download the Headphones app from google store or apple store, you can change it to a certain extent, any position around you to which you would prefer. The openness of these headphones are also good, but I do sometimes feel like the audio is behind a thin veil, just a very thin one. This would also be a reason why it could sound slightly muddy in really bass heavy audio. This is considering that the noise cancelling feature is active. But when it is turned off, without the ambient sound on as well, it is slightly improved. With ambient sound on, it creates an artificial openness to the headphones, however, it just makes the audio much more “airy” than open. When it is wired, the audio is pretty much the same. Overall, it’s a very smooth sound, and gives very detailed audio; you could often hear instruments or sound effects that is hardly noticeable with other headphones.
The WH-1000X M2 are amazing headphones, with amazing features. I really do like these headphones, because it’s just so easy to use with all the added technology. Personally, I like the ambient sound mode because it enables me to hear myself when I practice singing while also being able to clearly listen to the music without having one ear-cup on and the other off. I’m sure the ambient noise mode is not exactly meant for it, but it works. These headphones really are meant for the traveler, or the everyday commuter, that wants some peace and quiet, or listen to the surroundings when walking across on a busy road or listening for that call for the flight. All without the hassle of putting the headphones on or off your head, or taking your phone out to change volumes or music, or worrying that it would be out of battery in a day. If you use it for home, well then you have an easy to use long lasting headphones, a relaxing sound quality with noise cancelling, maybe to help you focus on work. It really is just an all around headphones. And I like it.