Sony’s WI-1000x Wireless Noise Cancelling Earphones offer what many do not: a solid pair of earbuds that are noise cancelling, have customizable sound options, and are comfortable. Do they fit in with the sound signature of other Sony headphones and earphones? I’m about to find out with this full Sony WI-1000x Wireless Noise Cancelling Earphones review.
In the Box
As I open the box, the earphones are displayed in a smart and professional way. I see the earphones themselves, and if pull on the small tab on the left, I am able to lift the false bottom to find more accessories including: 6 additional sets of ear tips (there are 7 in total), a USB charging cable, a micro USB to 3.5mm cable, an airplane audio adapter, and a nice carrying bag.
Build and Design
The Sony WI-1000x earphones are neckband-style earphone. Looking at it, I didn’t think I would like it very much. But after I slid it around my neck, my boss approached. We started chatting about the upcoming AES Convention and about five minutes passed. When I looked back to the box I realized I hadn’t felt the earphones around my neck at all. The neckband is super lightweight and comfy, and I completely forgot it was there. Pretty impressive!
The design has a mature look. I love how the cables that go from the band to the earpieces can easily and neatly tuck into the band for safekeeping. I know my clumsy self, and I love the added protection Sony has included with this design.
For my small ears, it wasn’t the most secure fit I’ve tried (like the Westone Wx) but it was decent and I appreciated that they didn’t immediately fall out of my ears like others in the past.
Finally, I’m excited to include here that the WI-1000xs have balanced armature drivers. I’ve enjoyed these type of drivers while listening to earphones in the past, so I’m interested to see how they sound.
Before we get to the sound though, I just want to mention how they handle Bluetooth. As for their connectivity, they connected extremely easily to my phone. They also connected right away if I disconnected and then tried to reconnect. These earphones performed better than most in this category.
Their range was very very good too! I don’t want to seem like only praise can be given to these earphones but they are literally the best I’ve experienced in terms of range. Maybe it is because the neckband allows the battery to be much bigger, maybe it can fit more technology inside its casing, I don’t know. But I was able to walk well over 30 ft away, around a corner with no line of sight without any breakups.
The battery life is listed as being 10 hours long, and while I didn’t test this outright, I believe Sony’s claim is accurate based on how these earphones are performing so far.
The Sony WI-1000x supports both LDAC (Sony’s unique Bluetooth codec) and aptX. *edit: listening via aptX gave these earphones a lot more depth in the soundstage than I experienced when listening to straight Bluetooth. I’d recommend looking into listening to devices that also support aptX for more listening pleasure.*
There are three noise cancellation options, although inside the Sony Headphones App, one can adjust the level of noise cancellation on a sliding scale (more on this later). The three noise cancelling options are Noise Cancelling, Ambient, or Off. When I first started experimenting, I thought the noise cancelling was a bit weak. I couldn’t hear much difference between the Noise Cancelling and Ambient settings. As I was poking around the Sony Headphones App, I came across the Noise Cancelling Optimizer which takes into account the air pressure around you. After activating the Noise Canceling Optimizer, I immediately noticed a drastic difference between Noise Canceling, Ambient, and Off. Good to know if you are thinking about trying the WI-1000x’s out.
Sony Headphones App
The Sony Headphones App is actually really fun to play with. For the sake of trying to keep this review a reasonable length, I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details of each function. I’ll just say that there is some great technology involved. Here is a list of the features with basic descriptions to give you an idea:
–Adaptive Sound Control-adjusts ambient sound settings based on your activity level (like sitting, walking, or waiting)
–Ambient Sound Control-adjust the level of Noise Cancelling on a sliding scale
–Noise Cancelling Optimizer-adjusts your Noise Cancelling based on the air pressure around you
–Sound Position Control-plays with the panning of your audio and can make the song sound like it is coming from different positions around you (like in front of you, to your side, or behind you) as oppose to just inside your ears.
–Surround VPT-adds different kind of ambience and reverb to your music so it can sound like it is being played in a concert hall or arena; I was never a fan of these functions and I don’t particularly like it in this app.
–Equalizer-allows you to adjust the EQ (bass, mids, treble) of your music and offers a few different presets based on the genre you are listening to.
–DSEE-HX-Digital Sound Enhancement Engine-brings low resolution files closer to high resolution files
–Vibration for incoming calls-the neckband can vibrate when you get a call so you don’t miss it if your phone is in a bag or purse or something.
Finally, let’s get to the sound. There are a lot of features in these earphones, but do that actually help the sound quality?
The bass is full and thick, consistent with other Sony headphones and earphones. There is a nice big boost somewhere around 100Hz. It gives kick drums extra boom. It sounds a little bit wonky with orchestral music, but it sounds great with hip-hop, pop, and rock.
The mid-range is surprisingly spacious. There seems to be a boost around 200Hz-400Hz which gives bass guitars and organs a little more definition and power. The high-mids are warm sounding and smooth which makes horns sound pronounced without being harsh.
The high frequencies are warm as well. I did some listening to some bluegrass music with plucky mandolins, fiddles, and banjos and the earphones performed surprisingly well.
I was least impressed with the WI-1000x’s soundstage. Left to right was quite accurate but there was virtually no depth for my taste. Top to bottom imagining wasn’t great, but man, I just can’t get over the lack of depth. After listening via aptX, the depth was a bit better. Depth also came back a bit when Noise Cancelling was turned off.
The Sony WI-1000x are a great value for those looking for a mid-high level noise canceling in-ear headphone. Especially for $299.99, the earphones are surprisingly versatile. If you are an audiophile looking for nice in-ears, the WI-1000x earphones are not for you. The bass is a bit too boomy and the soundstage is not deep enough. But for those that want their music to have a little extra hype, I think you’ll enjoy these fun earphones a lot!
The Sony WI-1000x Earphones are available for purchase here at Audio 46.
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