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Sony MDR-1000X

Rating:
3/5,
  1. damianmb
    Disappointing build quality - Quirky Features
    Written by damianmb
    Published Apr 14, 2017
    1.0/5,
    Pros - NC
    Cons - - Creaking Noise all over the headphones after little use
    - Touch controls
    - Cannot be used in wireless/NC mode while charging
    Build Quality

    You cannot expect to pay 400 USD for a NC wireless headphones, then after a couple of uses you can hear creaks all over, thus defeating the NC itself.

    I would avoid these because of quality issues.. I have Bose QC15 with years of use, I only had to change the earpads, the rest is working great. Again, don't buy these.

    After extensive traveling with these I found the band to be very prone to be worn out when it had friction against my jeans. Also I found already scratches in the shinny finish part.

    Sound Quality
    Sound quality also is not that great as many reviewers state compared to my Shure 1840 and Denon MM400.

    Functionality

    You cannot disable the touch functionality, so when leaning against your arm with a thin t-shirt it just mutes the music. This is a problem as it's very common when traveling, for me at least, to lean on the right side.

    Also, for a device this new, without spare batteries.. you cannot charge it while using it wireless -_-... plugging in the charger just disables radio and NC. Imagine your phone working this way...

    Travel Case


    Way to big and badly designed. You need to have the cable put in the external pocket. And as the cable is unnecessary thick.. along with the charging one, it makes it more bulky and you get marks in the cloth too from friction.

    Take the case for the QC15 and the way it folds and you can at least hold the cables plus extra batteries inside it. Also quality is better.

    I use them for flights.. so maybe other people just commute with them. The case is now taking space at home as it really clogs my bag otherwise.

    Conclusions

    I'm glad that at least I got mine for 215 USD in sealed box. But again, I think I wasted my money. The headset is annoying, mostly because of the creaks and functionality. It does sound decent.. but that's where it ends. Durability and construction are on the cheap side.
      stalepie likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. WNBC
      I've owned mine for several months and taken them on long trips to India.  No creaking.  Maybe yours has an issue and should be returned for a refund.  Sound quality is excellent *among* and when *compared* to other NC headphones.  NC headphones rarely compete well against non-NC headphones.
      WNBC, Apr 14, 2017
    3. damianmb
      You guys are free to write your own reviews :).
      damianmb, Apr 15, 2017
    4. PETEBULL
      Creaking is a Sony's feature, not a bug. As well as Sennheiser's lax headband adjustment.
      PETEBULL, Apr 15, 2017
  2. meringo
    Sound Quality with matching NC
    Written by meringo
    Published Apr 6, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Adaptable NC, useful controls, LDAC Bluetooth support, battery life, NFC pairing
    Cons - Bass distortion on more demanding tracks, SQ in passive mode, terrible standard bluetooth pairing
    I used to work at an electronics store that sold a pretty large selection of headphones. Without question, the Bose QC series was one of our top sellers. Although the noise canceling was awesome, I just couldn’t dig the lifeless sound. It seems as though the Bose line has evolved since then, but still, nothing I’d write home about – especially the wireless models that followed. SBC (or AAC for that matter) just suck for wireless audio.  AptX is not bad, but still not quite like having a cable. It wasn’t until CanJam NYC 2017 that I found myself blown away by a wireless NC model, the Sony MDR-1000x. I decided to order a set when they recently went on sale for $350. Only a few weeks after ownership, I also picked up a Sony NW-A35 to test out and really use LDAC. The pairing is everything I had hoped it to be.
     
    IMG_20170412_134051.jpg
     

    Build Quality:
    While many headphone companies are switching over to lightweight metals and woods, Sony keeps things 2001 with a mostly plastic/faux build. With that said, the MDR-1000x doesn't give off any sense of "cheap."  The faux leather looks ok and serves as a suitable surface for the swipe controls (more on that later.) The band is what looks to be aluminum with a discrete, but comfortable amount of padding. Overall, I like the build quality despite the plastic. Everything seems reliable, ergonomic, and incredibly discreet. Flashy, these are not; which is good for the NYC environment I use them in.
     
    Noise Cancelation:
    The noise canceling features are phenomenal, and the calibration feature is one of the best things to happen in the NC world. On my commute, I usually encounter lots of street noise for the first 15 minutes of walking, 30 minutes of being on a subway, and another 5 minutes of street walking before I’m at my office.  Being able to quickly re-calibrate for each phase of my commute is worth the 10 seconds it takes. Additionally, you can quickly and easily turn off the NC feature and let in external sound using “ambient mode” which utilizes the external microphones to let sound in – or voice mode, which blocks some sound but tries to let voices in. You can also briefly disable NC and music by putting your palm over the right ear cup. This feature is incredibly handy for me – listening to train announcements or interacting with a store clerk. Sony deserves props for all of this, as I feel the NC industry has been stagnant as of late. Sony has rejuvenated the category and will likely force Bose into bettering their offering to remain king of the NC options.
     
    IMG_20170412_134127.jpg
     
     
    Sound Quality:
    I feel these sound pretty awful powered off, in full passive mode. The sound is veiled, some of the liveliness of the headphones powered on is simply lost. When powered up, they sound phenomenal, so that's what this review will be based on. Powered on, the 1000x signature is a slight V shape that seems to work well for most genres.
     
    Bass:
    Much to my surprise, the bass was full and rather dynamic. Sony certainly adds a bit of emphasis to this area, but not to an uncomfortable or bass head level. I did encounter a little bit of distortion with more demanding tracks.
     
    Midrange:
    I 100% expected these to have sucked out mids, and I was almost wrong. For BT headphones, especially compared to the Bose QC line, mids are much more present and emotional. Vocals have great weight, despite existing in a mild-V shaped headphone.
     
    Treble:
    Not the strong suit here, but maintain a decent enough level of resolution and reach. They extend just north of neutral. With slower paced music, things can get quite sparkly – especially if you are using LDAC. Standard SBC Bluetooth via my Pixel sucked out that quality.
     
    Bluetooth and NFC Performance:
    SBC bluetooth is awful -- we all know that. With that being said, the 1000x has excellent tonal characteristics that make SBC tolerable. When paired with an AptX or LDAC device, the sound quality improves greatly -- near cabled level. As the info stands here on 4/6/17, Android O is bringing LDAC support (as long as phone manufacturers put it to us.) I imagine that this will do wonders for the wireless audio industry, finally making it worthwhile for enthusiasts. NFC pairing is certainly the way to go with the 1000x, especially if you plan on using them with more than one player. You can simply tap your device to the left earcup and be done.
     
    Touch controls and other minor thoughts:
    I don't like touch controls. If any product of any type comes out with a tactile variant, I go with that. The 1000x was the only time I broke that habit, but I had listened to them BEFORE learning about the touch controls, so give me a pass. Swipe up and down (with one finger, I noticed it seems to matter) for volume, back and forth for tracks, tap for play/pause. Easy. My only complaint is that it is a bit too sensitive. I always seem to hear a beep or two while just putting these on. Doesn't appear to impact the experience, but something to note. I know touch is all the rage, and Sony executed it decent enough, but give me buttons!
     
    Final Thoughts:
    Sony has stepped up their headphone game as of late, and the MDR-1000x is just another demonstration of this. The NC is not only adaptable, but performance is industry leading. That -- combined with an excellent sound signature and design, make for an easy recommendation. I look forward to what the wireless market will have to offer as more options with LDAC and AptX-HD start to land. This is truly an exciting time for the headphone world.
      cpauya likes this.
  3. sanakimpro
    Solid performer for Commuting & Travelling
    Written by sanakimpro
    Published Jan 29, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - All rounder, slight V, Bluetooth + ANC, long battery life
    Cons - Sub bass distortion, sibilance, pricey (if you don't need ANC + Bluetooth)
    Reason for Purchase:
    I bought the Sony MDR-1000x mainly for Bluetooth and hands-free operation and most of my judgements are using Samsung S7 Edge's Bluetooth connection with Spotify to the MDR-1000x.
    For me, the main concern for purchasing a new headphone is ease of use and sound quality.
     
    Ease of Use:
    I bought the MDR-1000x to move away from wired operation to wireless and in that aspect the MDR-1000x paired with my S7 Edge's NFC with no issues on the first try. It was seamless and I could immediately starting rocking out to the Global Top 50 a minute after I unboxed her.
    Battery life was never an issue with quoted 20 hours on Bluetooth and NFC. I never ran it out of battery as I charged it every night.
    Impressive innovation and progress in battery technology indeed!
    It comes with a slim pouch and can be folded flat. This is a huge convenience in the portability department.
    I do not use the 1000x farther than 2m from my headphone so I can't comment on the range.
     
    Oh, and for the Quick Listen mode, where you put your hand on the right cup and you can hear surrounding sounds, it is an amazing feature! I was able to grocery shop and work in college without having to fully take them pair off. I also can share that if you lie on the right cup when sleeping, it does not turn off the music. I was quite worried it would pause the music, but to my pleasant surprise, it was all well and good. I wouldn't recommend them for sleeping because of the sound pressure changes causing weird gaps and beeps when you turn in bed. An trusty pair of IEMs are much better off.
     
    Sound Signature:
    The MDR-1000x performs well and leaves a great impression for modern-pop music. Her V sound signature pleases the general audience, with a wide but shallow soundstage. For many pop tracks in the Global Top 50, it performed well under testing. Vocals were clear and present, but she has a few bumps and notches in the midrange and bass department if one listen closely enough.
     
    Bass:
    Lorde - Royals: There is solid air swing and movement during bass drops in this track and here you can feel the drivers pushing air waves through your skull. It is magnificently pleasant until you realize that if you push the volume high enough, it starts to distort horribly. This happened to be in wires operation where the source volume was loud enough. In wireless / BT  mode, you shouldn't be able to raise the volume to that level so this might not affect you. However, for those who love to listen on the louder side, do check for bass distortion before proceeding
     
    Daft Punk - Doin' it Right - Same observation. Bass goes deep and strong. It envelops you in a warm ooze of audio bliss but when it goes low and deep, you can find the drivers slipping up and distorting.
    Jessie J/ Nicki Minaj / Arianna Grande -Bang Bang: Great singer movement, great bass kicks, awesome test track. The subwoofer is in the center and goes low and deep. This song is well done by the 1000x.
     
    Midrange:
    Lorde - Royals: Vocals are somewhat enveloped by the bass in this track. Lorde's sparking vocal seems to melt into the deep dark bass but doesn't shine through. Ideally, the bass is deep and low and Lorde's alternate reality comes out sharp and moving.
    Lana Del Rey - National Anthem: Vocals on the mdr-1000x here pierces with sibilance on the Sz and Tz sounds. Try it out!
    Rebecca Pidgeon - Spanish Harlem: Amazing vocals here with no instrument obstruction so she sings really well through the 1000x.
     
    Treble:
    Daft Punk - Moroder: Cymbal strikes come out clear and realistic.
    Metallica - One: Sound stage is not wide enough to separate instruments in the treble range, so it sounded a bit cramped in my head.
    Lorde - A World Alone: The bell rings and chimes were reproduced quite convincingly and complemented Lorde's small world and fairy dreams.
     
    Value:
    ​A week ago, the retail price for the MDR-1000x in the UK was £329.99 in Currys and Amazon UK. But suddenly this week, they have raised the price to £349.99 on these common marketplaces. I'm not sure what caused them to jump but if you could get them for £329.99 I'd say go for it. They cost around £289.99 in Dixons in the UK airports.
    If you value Bluetooth and hands-free operation and are willing to pay for the Active Noise Cancelling feature, then the asking price is well worth it. Otherwise, if you are happy with wired operation and are usually in a quiet environment, there is definitely better valued headphones in the market.
     
    Conclusion:
    This was a short review for one of the latest offering in the Bluetooth/Wireless range. My background from the wired IEMs raise my expectations high and overall, the MDR-1000x did exceed my expectations. I was quite critical in my review but I would readily recommend this headphone to anyone looking for a solid pair of cans on the way to work or for travelling on long commutes, as it was designed for.