Sony's noise canceling headphones advancement WH-1000XM3

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by GregM, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. GregM

    GregM Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    I never regarded headphones as an option for audiophile experiences, but my opinion has shifted a bit. It's all relative. My commute involves walking to the train station, waiting for the train, a 40 minute train ride, and then a long walk to my office. I've burned all my digital music via apple-lossless and bought the new 500 GB iPhone to accommodate most of my collection.

    On the commute I've been using an old pair of Sony Bluetooth headphones I bought more than 10 years ago. As I said I didn't think a quality audio experience was possible with headphones due to ambient noises. The headphones aren't bad and neither is the content I burned via Apple Lossless, but the sound of traffic, the train and lots of other noises has been a bane on my existence since I started making this commute 3 years ago.

    I hadn't considered noise cancelling headphones because of the way it messes with the content. But Sony seems to have made an interesting advancement with the QN1 chip in its new WH-1000XM3 headphones. I purchased a pair last week and the noise canceling technology is very impressive--advanced since last time I auditioned NC--but the greater advance is the preservation of the source material.

    Sony even provides an app to let you choose different EQ settings, including a flat setting, and settings that kick in depending on your location. I have yet to test all the settings. There are also the usual options of horrible "surround" settings that no one interesting in faithful reproduction would choose. But I think the quality of the processing and the dedication Sony made to provide the option of a pure audio delivery makes this an interesting advancement, well beyond what Bose can do.

    They're really comfortable, too.

    https://amzn.to/2yJ5dEF

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I have the WH-1000XM2 and agree with your comments. (Of course, a new model would come out shortly after I bought mine!) Reviewers have praised the NC ability and sound quality of both models. They make long flights almost pleasant, and I've started bringing them to the gym, too. I formerly used in-ear monitors with sound-blocking tips, but NC headphones are far more effective, not to mention more comfortable, when blocking sound is important.

    Bluetooth with aptX is a real treat after years of using wired phones. It's great not to get the wire caught on airplane armrests or gym equipment.

    As good as they are, I don't think these phones can replace my Sennheiser HD650 for critical listening in a quiet environment.
     
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  3. GregM

    GregM Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    I don't know because I haven't done the needed listening--never heard the WH-1000XM2, but I suspect the new chip in the 1000XM3 makes up much of the distance that you observed between the Sennheiser and the 1000XM2, which doesn't have the QN1. It's not an insignificant development.

    Also, if you're in an environment that lets you use a wired, open-back headphone, why not have a true audiophile experience with proper listening chair, full-range speakers, soundstaging, etc.
     
  4. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Actually, I agree with that -- I use the Sennheisers only rarely. I much prefer speakers, too.
     
  5. Because I live in a condo with neighbors on the other side of my walls and under my floor. So I've optimized my headphone listening (about $10K worth of gear) rather than splitting part of that money with speakers that I could never use the way they were intended.
     
  6. Neilson77

    Neilson77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham UK
    I own both the original MDR-1000X and the WH-1000XM3. I find that the bass is a bit flabby, they could do with more clarity in the treble. The reason i upgraded to the XM3 was in the hope they had given them more clarity but i find that the original 1000X are actually slightly more "clear" sounding! I also own a pair of Sony MDR-V700DJ wired which i love the sound of. Just the right balance of strong, punchy bass and nice treble. I wish Sony made a pair of wireless NC with the same sound as those headphones!
     
  7. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Good reason to do what you've done! I have thought many times about what I'll do when my wife & I age out of our house and go to a condo, apartment, or other facility. It's either headphones or small speakers, for sure (or maybe both), and a lot of stuff to be gotten rid of. @Ham Sandwich , you have some nice headphones, for sure. The ones that have really turned me on (in just a short listen) were a pair of Stax, which I'm told were their "budget" model. Well, the day is coming; it's just a matter of when....
     
  8. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I got a new office job and need a good pair of closed-back headphones. I popped into Best Buy and tried a few. Only the noise cancelling ones were comfortable, and the Sonys highlighted in this thread were the most comfortable. The audio samples they provided were nothing I would listen to, as I listen to a lot of classical, so I couldn’t get a good idea of how they would perform with classical. I have a couple questions:

    - is there an audio quality difference listening to them wired vs wireless?
    - do they make your ears sweat a lot after some hours?
    - which colored model do you all have? The black ones sounded different than the gold...
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
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  9. englishbob

    englishbob Its a s*** business

    Location:
    Kent, England
    Answered your questions in the quote above

    I have a pair and really like them, I use them in a noisy office. The build of them alone blocks out a lot of noise already without activating either NC or Ambient Sound modes.

    I bought these really and was sold on them having an internal analogue amp inside. I usually listen to them wired, powered on, but with NC and Ambient modes switched off. Sound really good to me.

    Used them on a train recent with NC and where absolutely fantastic, couldn't hear the train at all.

    My only grip with these, a lot of controls + tweaks are only available from the iOS and Andorid Sony Headphones app. This lends to long term concerns that when the app no longer works, a lot of (I'd call) extra functionality is locked out from you. I'd like to point out that this extra functionaility is purely fluff which I don't use.
     
    Kristofa likes this.
  10. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I found an amazing deal on these this Saturday and could pass them up. I really like them! They don’t make my head sweat as much as I feared. The cancelling function is eerily successful. What an amazing feature!

    Sound quality is quite acceptable, even with Bluetooth! The cordless freedom is addictive. I may have to save monies and give them as gifts to everyone in my household so I will feel better about cranking my full range towers on the weekends!
     
  11. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Somehow I stumbled on my old post today in which I said
    What I didn't realize at the time was that the Sony headphones are using Sony's LDAC codec, which is LOT better than AptX. I'm still loving them.
     

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