Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones Page 2
I would basically characterize the Sony MDR-1000X as a modestly warm and pleasant sounding headphone. Bass is well extended and tight though slightly too emphatic and does very mildly intrude on the midsthough that may have more to do with the presence region of the upper mids being dialed back. Once above the presence region, the treble response is just a tad on the bright side of neutral, but it really doesn't sound bright at all with the presence area so subdued. The more audible issue for me is a somewhat grainy character that tends to obscure detail.
The clearly laid-back presence region is probably the worst sonic problem with these cans; they sound somewhat veiled because of it. The other two significant problems is a somewhat grainy character in the treble and an audible noise floor from the active circuitry. The overall listening experience, however technically flawed, is relaxed and pleasant.
Compared directly with the Bose QC 35, I felt the Bose bested the Sony with a more neutral character overall, and just a bit less grain to obscure details. Against the JBL Everest Elite 700 I felt the Sony was the more pleasing listen due to the somewhat forward nature of the JBL. From memory, I'd almost certainly take the veiled Sony over the somewhat annoyingly bright Sennheiser PXC 550.
Sound quality in all the active modes were quite similar, but sound quality in passive wired mode was substantially different and quite poor. Bass was far too emphatic and distorted sounding; the veiled presence region remained; mid-treble is slightly too emphatic; and the headphone seemed rather uneven overall. Poor performance in wired passive mode is the norm for this type of headphone, and the MDR-1000X is probably a bit better than the average in this mode. Given that many headphones of this type don't even allow a passive wired mode I'm glad Sony gave the option in case the batteries die.
The Sony MDR-1000X is an absolutely terrific looking and comfortable wireless, noise canceling headphone. The feature set includes controls to achieve various levels of isolation from the outside world. All levels of isolation can be instantly defeated by placing your right palm against the right ear cup, which mutes the music and opens mics to the outside world so you can quickly hear announcements or hold a short conversation with a flight attendant.
The MDR-1000X is Sony's first volley into the world of smart noise canceling headphones. They did well delivering a sound more pleasant than the Sennheiser PXC 550 or JBL Everest Elite 700, but the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 at the same price is markedly better sounding. Noise canceling of the Sony is better than Sennheiser or JBL, but not as good as the Bose or AKG N90Q.
The feature set and various isolation modes do work well and are effective in providing various useful levels of situational awareness. But the ergonomics and responsiveness of controls are a little clumsy. The Sennheiser PXC 550 slays it in this area, while the Bose is beginning to look a bit dated with it's simple feature set.
I like the Sony MDR-1000Xthe sound is pleasant, the features attractive, and it's dead sexy lookingbut at the same price I'd suggest the better sound quality, noise canceling, and comfort of the Bose QC 35 will better serve most folks. None the less, I'll happily recommend the Sony MDR-1000X for those who desire a more feature rich headphone.