When I was a kid, one of my hobbies was collecting shells and conch shells that I was finding on the beach. Cheaper than the marbles, the common habit was you bringing them to the ear. Surely you know that popular myth that you can hear the sound of the sea, when it comes to a simple amplification of environmental noise, our heartbeats, breathing, and so on. The conch is a soundboard and the rest is pareidolia.
When last week I had the new Sony MDR 1000X at hand, that memory came to mind: the cream – colored building with a comfortable drivers that fully captured the ear (circumaural) and that strange noise cancellation selective, intelligent.
What are these Sony MDR 1000X?
The MDR 1000X dynamic headphones are closed type of combinatorial mixed connection but have access to connector minijack of 3.5mm, finished synthetic leather on polyurethane foam, surprisingly comfortable, with 272 grams of weight for my kitchen scale, Folding construction, padded headband in the upper strip with 10 adjustment points and internal rotation of 180° at the point of connection of the driver, finished in two colors (beige and matte black) and with a series of very special features.
They offer full compatibility with the Sony Xperia Z (Z3 or later) ecosystem, Walkman Hi-Res models, Sony TVs, AV receivers or wireless speakers, as well as SBC, AAC, AIFF and aptX codecs, adding the latest version (4.2) of the Bluetooth protocol.
Learning to match
Let’s start at the beginning, as you would say in these cases. Felt side opening case: the headphones come in the main compartment in a “bean” case. The case itself with horizontal zipper and cream color matching is accommodated in the groove on the packaging , in line seen in Beats Solo 2, for example.
Across the hidden compartment case with instructions, warranty, a diagram detailing use touch controls, Cable jack-jack OFC (oxygen – free, reducing noise signal) of 12.50 centimeters and silver plated, A cable with mini-USB connection to charge and a gold-plated stereo mini-connector.
The system of pairing with any computer is fast and simple: we hold the On / Off button pressed for two seconds. This will blink and go into pairing mode, as long as the pairing device is not more than one meter apart. Then press the ON button for 7 seconds. It will recognize it immediately and, depending on the device, it will be configured automatically or not. A female voice will tell us “Bluetooth pairing”.
In a smartphone, the steps are also very simple: activate Bluetooth mode, write key if the terminal asks us -4 digits-, which by default is 0-0-0-0 and go. To listen to music.
And so, up to eight devices, with a proven 30-32 meters away. Ah, we can also pair via NFC (Near Field Communication) by bringing the handset closer to the handset. In two seconds, they will already be paired.
The cardinal element of Sony’s Bluetooth technology is in the DAC. The MDR 1000X has the LDAC technology, with support for hi-res quality 96kHz / 24bit to CD (44.1kHz / 16bit).
The first thing that can be perceived by any ear when listening to music with these helmets, especially in the one where you know the dynamics of the piece and the changes of tone, is that some lines are rearranged.
Even when it is given a marked overproduction -in this particular test did the ‘Desert Rose’ by Sting and ‘Hysteria’ Def Leppard- a greater range of panorama seen, creating a sort of 30° – 60° – 30°. With WAV files exported directly from the official CD’s I noticed an enrichment in media, a new production in those places that are often lost beyond the seas in certain types of music.
Clearly the HX DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) is a software with actual performance.
Its function is to make an analysis based on patterns and scale the digital music files to achieve a sense of no compression, providing greater dynamic range, more naturally to each piece. Read it sounds to catalog palaver but is as real as that after passing WAV files to transferMP3 192kbps resolution sounded very similar. Too similar. Yes, this can justify that, essentially, the master is already a digital copy although 16 bits / Hz – 44,100, but it is a big plus.
In terms of raw numbers, the manual states that offer a frequency response 4 Hz to 40,000 Hz, which sensitivity is 103 dB / mW (1 kHz) when connected via headphone cable with the unit on, And 98 dB / mW (1 kHz) when connected through the headphone cable with the unit turned off.
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Acoustic isolation of truth, not mythological
MDR 1000X is putting into another room, one of those white room tests, not an anechoic but capable of, the less level, leaving you spellbound. The outer voices are heard as underwater; the high tones are almost completely canceled and from the bass come the referent wave, the redundant distortion.
But, to my surprise, once the noise cancellation is deactivated, the voices or the purr of the streets are heard better than the engines of the cars and their beeps. That is: offers intelligent filtering frequencies, to facilitate communication. For those who suffer auditory processing problems these headphones will save your life, as you will not hear all the external reverberations.
This translates into clean listening to a conversation without taking off the headphones. Considered the market model with better noise cancellation according to JEITA, these MDR 1000X ambient noise filter through a dual – internal and external – microphone, and a top band, which acts to compensate for vibrations and external ambient noise.
From the right driver, press two pauses or start the music. This also affects the software. In an iMac launched iTunes, the desktop app directly by pressing two taps. If we slide the finger up we raise the volume, we lower it to the contrary. If we go up the volume like crazy to the threshold of distortion, the same female voice tells us the risk (risk) but without censorship: the sound does not stop.
We continue: we can jump between songs by sliding the finger to the right or to the left. It does not recognize the jump at the beginning of the same song. And, as I said, with the NC (Noise Canceling) button on, we will not hear the slightest noise. But, and this but it is important, holding two seconds button NC optimize ambient noise filtering. The music is not attenuated but the microphones are activated.
On the other hand, if we hear the phone, it will be connected via Bluetooth and we will be able to answer the call, picking up and hanging with two rings. One of the features most pleasant and natural comes when we hear someone speaking to us: we cover with the palm of the hand and the microphones pick and slightly amplify outside sound, from music to the background and playing a slight thread, at least volume.
Things I do not like: the MDR 1000X does not silence or freeze the song when you stop using them. It would be ideal to save battery. Imagine that you have to remove them to answer an analogue call, from the telephone in hand and take some notes. A minor detail but I would have appreciated it.
A battery of high flights
On a non-stop flight, we could go from New York to Sao Paulo without stopping listening to loud music. In the tests, I conducted abused volumes and still the results are generous: 12 hours at full capacity.
The maxima marked at the factory are 20 hours with the noise cancellation activated and 22 with it deactivated; A somewhat conservative estimate, I must admit.
In any case, once depleted battery takes just 4 hours to fully charge. This figure is connected to a USB slot on a computer; Almost half an hour less if the connection is directly to the current. Two notes: When the headset is charging you cannot play music. First red – light blinking one eye and then the female voice warning us: And when the battery is low two warnings are given low battery.
And a price to match
The sound quality is fantastic, magic: the voices are heard more deep and airy. Any track wins in tone and clarity. The bass is perfectly balanced, the balance it offers is stellar. Few headphones can even come close to this performance. Also, they are very comfortable. The pads close but do not create suction cups, do not create that kind of vacuum chamber dangerous for the eardrum and exhausting for long eaves.
Generally it provides a large set of features but the price seems a bit high. And we say this because one of its main competitors (Bose QuietComfort 35) in terms of characteristics, although narrower and with a worse performance in serious after long eaves.
Can they sound better in this price range? I do not want to be categorical but in wireless it is difficult. In wires yes, since we would be talking about another fringe. But, by the way, we would be missing the dynamic noise cancellation and that “quick attention mode” that we can activate by just bringing the four fingers close to the outer panel.
In jazz, soul and blues, the music sounds very lightly colored and reaches full to the ear. For example, in a classic such as Dizzy Gillespie’s Bebop, the bass drum sounds thick and the box hits in the foreground, as if you were in front, live. It’s amazing because everything is in there, there is no more trap.
In long hear on the street, ear muffs breathe better and do not accumulate residual heat. In fact, they are secured and could be the choice of a runner without any inconvenience.
They have also managed to be lighter than the average – thanks to thermoformed liquid crystal polymer diaphragm, a finely coated aluminum foil to reduce distortions – although the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless model is still a few grams below.
In short: in Sony they are well aware of their achievement, had conceived one of those balanced objects that can make you jump meninges or stutter power of subtlety, architecture and construction firm model. Wow, if you have not touched an inch of the previous design in the series is for something.