Sony WH-1000XM4 review

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony has recently launched its latest mid-range over-ear headphone the Sony WH-1000XM4. It come with an intelligent industry-leading noise cancelling, Quick Attention feature, built-in analog amplifier, ambient sound mode, new DSEE Extreme engine, 360 Reality Audio, Bluetooth Multipoint and more.

Pricing

Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-Cancelling Headphones are priced at £ 350 (€ 380, $ 350, AU $ 550).

Which puts them in the same ballpark as other major competitors like the JBL Tour One Headphone (£ 279, $ 300, AU $ 450) and the Sennheiser HD 450BT ($ 159). For comparison, the WH-1000XM3s launched back in 2018 at £ 330 ($ 350, AU $ 500).

Pros

  • Dynamic, detail-rich sound
  • Sensational sense of timing
  • Lightweight, comfy and clever

Cons

  • No IP rating
  • No aptX support

Sony WH-1000XM4 : Box Content

Sony WH-1000XM4

‎Product
Operating Instruction
Instruction Manual
USB Cable
Carrying Case
In-Flight Adaptor

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Sony WH-1000XM4 : Design

Sony WH-1000XM4

Talking about the design, the WH-1000XM4 has the same old look as the previous version XM3. But, in some ways, they are different. The first one concern to the plastic used around the earcup and the slider. Things seem a bit more finish compared to the smooth surfaces of XM3s. Even after all that included work, it doesn’t look as stylish and premium quality as the B&W PX7 or V-MODA Crossfade 2. But they surely provide the impression that they are made to last.

In terms of earcups, the WH-1000XM4 has a slimmer design, while the pads used are softer and actually 10 percent larger than the pads used on the XM3. The cushion is also a little thinner. Overall, the XM4 is lighter than a whole gram (254g vs 255g). Moreover, the WH-1000XM4 come with the same 40mm drivers as the previous model and the finishes are the same too: Black or Platinum Silver.

The headphones have been modified to fit the ‘hanger’ section (hinged fork that hangs down and attaches to earcaps). Also, for a more seamless look, the distance between the hanger and the cup is narrowed. In addition, the space where they connect to the earcups has been reduced to reduce the possibility of any sound leakage.

Looking at the earcups, the ear cups built with a swivel folded structure, so they pack up neatly in a compact case

Furthermore, all of these factors combine to produce a very comfortable fit. There is enough pressure to grab your ears and get a solid seal around the headphones without feeling too loose. Because the grip isn’t as vise as some competitors, though, and the fact that the headphones still don’t have an IP rating (for water and dust resistance), we wouldn’t recommend using them during exercise.

The power button, USB-C charging port and 3.5mm headphone socket are all carried from the XM3. Hence there is also the Ambient / NC (voice-cancel) button, although it is named ‘Custom’ on the XM4. The name may be different, but it performs all the same functions as before. Such as switching between sound-cancellation and ambient sound modes and running the NC optimizer.

Silent White is a new color developed to embody the concept of silence and tranquillity. It is a limited edition version of the WH-1000XM4. Silent White includes a pearly finish in the topcoat of the headphones to create a sense of depth and a luxurious touch.

And before you can use headphones for the first time, you’ll need to run Sony’s NC Optimizer. If you are not familiar with this software, it is basically an auto-calibration program that is activated by a long press of a custom button. They optimize sound-cancellation based on various factors such as the shape of your face and whether or not you wear glasses. They can also take into account changes in air pressure if you are a frequent flyer.

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Sony WH-1000XM4 : Sound

As for sound, Sony WH-1000XM4 has provide intelligent industry-leading noise cancelling headphones. This premium sound boost your listening experience with the ability to personalize and control everything you hear. Also, this headphones let you enjoy 360 Reality Audio.

Dual noise sensor technology has provide two microphones on each earcup. Which captures ambient noise and passes the data to the HD Noise-Cancelling Processor QN1. Using a new algorithm, the HD Noise-Cancelling Processor QN1 then applies noise-cancelling processing in real time to a range of acoustic environments. However, with a new Bluetooth audio. It understands and adjusts music and noise signals as well as the acoustic characteristics between the driver unit and the ear more than 700 times per second.

Listening to the wide range of tracks, it soon becomes clear that Sony has somehow managed to squeeze more performance out of the WH-1000XM4. The soundfield looks wider, the headphones can use the extra headroom to highlight more details. The WH-1000XM4 looks more composed and confident, especially when it comes to low frequencies. There is a sense of power, punch and peace that makes the WH-1000XM3 sound, we dare say it, a little tubby.

To maximize noise-cancelling performance, WH-1000XM4 headphones incorporate two technologies. The first one is personalized noise-cancelling optimizer designed specifically for you. And the second one is an atmospheric pressure optimizer, specifically designed for air travel.

The built-in analog amplifier integrated into the HD noise-cancelling processor QN1. Which experiences unmatched signal-to-noise ratios for low distortion and exceptional sound quality for portable devices. Powerful 1.57 “drivers with liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragm, make the headphones suitable for handling heavy beats. And can reproduce a full range of frequencies up to 40 kHz.

Real-time restoration of all your compressed files

The headline feature for the WH-1000XM4 is the introduction of a brand new sound processor. Sony has switched from DSEE HX to the new DSEE Extreme engine. The new engine not only seeks to enhance compressed music to near-high-resolution quality, it also adds artificial intelligence technology called Edge-AI. It has been developed with the help of Sony Music Studio Tokyo to analyze music in real-time to make the original track more faithful, to reproduce more accurate sound.

Smart listening technology to enhance your listening

The WH-1000XM4 headphones use a range of smart technologies to create a seamless, hands-free listening experience. For example, in Speak-to-Chat just start speaking to pause your music automatically. Or enjoy adaptive playback thanks to the proximity sensor and two acceleration sensors that detect if your headphones are worn.

So real and so immersive

Immerse yourself in sound all around you. As real as if you are there at a live concert or with the artist recording in a studio. With 360 Reality Audio, music has never been so immersive and so real. These headphones let you enjoy 360 Reality Audio.

Also read- Sennheiser HD 450BT review


Sony WH-1000XM4 : Battery

The battery life is the best in the class, with full charge lasting up to 30 hours with both Bluetooth and voice-canceling enabled. This increases to 38 hours if you sacrifice voice-cancellation. Charging headphones with an AC adapter will give you five hours of battery life with just ten minutes of power explosion.

Another new feature for the 2020 model is ‘Wearing Detection’. The headphones use a proximity sensor and acceleration sensors in each ear cup to pause playback when you remove the headphones, and then to automatically start playing again when you put them back on. It’s a feature we’ve come across in other headphones before, such as the B&W PX7, and it’s nice to have. However, with this feature you can save your battery for a longer time.

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Sony WH-1000XM4 : Connectivity

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4 comes with new Bluetooth Multipoint‘ feature. Which was enabled in a firmware update released shortly after their launch. You are now able to switch between two Bluetooth-connected devices.

Additionally, there is no aptX or aptX HD support, but Sony’s is compatible with its own LDAC technology. This allows you to wirelessly stream high-quality audio from compatible sources, including selected Android smartphones running Android 8.0 or higher.

Also read- Hifiman Edition XS Review


Some advance Features

The Quick Attention feature seen on the XM3. Where you can cover the right earcup with your hand to communicate, carries forward. But Sony has taken the WH-1000XM4’s communication skills to a whole new level. You can now connect with ‘Speak to Chat’, a feature that allows you to talk to someone while the headphones are on your head, all without moving a muscle.

The headphones recognize that you are talking and will turn off playback and automatically switch to their ambient sound mode. It’s a neat party trick and we think it works pretty well. However, there is a slight delay when you start speaking and start the mode, which we want to see briefly. Helpfully, you can set the Speak-to-Chat sensitivity in Sony’s Headphones Connect app and try to turn it off accidentally. There are occasions when we trigger this feature with coughing and loud songs, but you can slide your finger up or down on the right touchpad to get back to your music.

Sony has also given a boost to its adaptive sound control feature for the WH-1000XM4. XM3 can work whether you are traveling or stationary and adapt their sound settings; The XM4 can actually use location learning and GPS data from your phone to change the sound-cancellation and ambient noise levels based on specific locations. A minor drawback is that headphones will not be able to change their settings automatically if you lose the GPS signal. But you can set profiles and geo-fans specific areas using the Headphones Connect app. So the WH1000XM4s will switch automatically when you enter them.

For batter Voice on voice call,

Sony has also focused on getting the WH-1000XM4 more clear voice during voice calls. They use what Sony refers to as specific voice pickup technology, where headphones control the mic and use signal processing to make the sound clearer and more precise. And it works. We find the sounds to be more vivid when using new headphones.

Sony has been making waves in the noise-canceling headphones market for a few years now, and claims that the WH-1000XM4 is capable of repelling more midrange and high-frequency sounds than ever before. Its HD noise canceling processor QN1 uses a brand new algorithm and works with the new Bluetooth system on chip (SoC). Together, they are able to continuously monitor the audio and sound signals, plus the relationship between the speaker drivers and your ears. All of this is happening in real-time, first for Sony headphones, and the technology claims to give more control over how voice-cancellation works.

We’re glad to report that all of these tech-speakers translate into very impressive sound-canceling operations. You feel isolated from the outside world, which frees you to enjoy the music being played in your ears. From the rumble of a train passing under a railway bridge to the hustle and bustle of a busy high street, Sonys has no problem removing unwanted outside noise.

Also read- Sony WF-1000XM4 with Noise cancelling features Review


Verdict

We weren’t sure if Sony would be able to upgrade to the XM3, but somehow the WH-1000XM4 has managed it: they’re as comfortable as ever; They offer useful features that enhance the user experience; And, more importantly, you are getting a serious increase in sound quality for money.

His spirit of music and excitement remains as addictive as ever, but you can also hear big improvements across the board. We have no doubt that this sensation will be difficult to beat Sony headphones.

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