Sony WH1000XM3 and Fiio Q5

  1. mcconnel
    NOTE: I sent the FiiO Q5 back immediately. It's simply not something I need. I have an iFI nano and if I wish to amp these and use a cable I will use that amp... so this review is for the headphones only.

    ADMIN: If you can remove the Fiio Q5 from the title and add the word "REVIEW" I will remove this nonsense at the top of this thread. Gracias. :wink:

    SOUND

    I loved the sound signature within 5 minutes and after a week I'm hooked. I use them constantly - my family has to physically make contact to get my attention. I am listening to more music more of the time; more genres, more old stuff I left behind and haven't recently revisited, more new stuff because it sounds so fantastic. It's a unique signature, but immensely pleasurable and listenable for every genre from baroque guitar to metal to rap to old jazz to solo vocals. Digital to analog, it all sounds fantastic.

    I'd describe the sound signature as smooth, slightly thick, midrange heavy. Bass is very present and clearly defined (drums, bass guitar etc.). Trebles are quick and present with no harshness - slightly rolled off, they do not peak out with any sibilance.

    Sound stage is typical for a closed back, that is, narrow left-to-right and almost non-existent front-to-back. That said, sound placement (within that narrow stage) is excellent. Panning is incredibly nuanced, one can easily place instruments in space and separate them from one another. Some might say that is good sound staging and I would agree; for a closed back headphone it's good, but I don't expect a large stage... what I look for is well defined instrument separation and overall accuracy. These headphones have that in spades.

    Volume is good. I would like some more oomph but that's because I typically (foolishly) listen at too high a volume (metal, prog, rap etc.). What I love is that the accuracy and separation is so good, on every genre, that I am very comfortable and happy listening at lower volumes because I don't feel the need to get up and above a threshold where, typically, a headphone and amp will finally "open up" and reveal the instruments and sound in a pleasing and well presented fashion. These headphones do that at amazingly low volumes... everything is simply there. One needn't struggle to pick out any instrument or catch that amazing vocal harmony as it's all presented and easily accessible; this is easily my favorite aspect of these headphones - the accessibility.

    The Sony Headphones app is a must have, because the equalizer is stunningly good. I wanted some more punch and bottom end and the EQ provided it with aplomb. I wanted a touch more treble snap and the EQ provided with zero loss in detail or staging. Truly incredible.

    ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING (ANC)

    In a word, well, silent - dead silent - downright eery silent, actually. My eyes popped open when I first turned it on because the world outside completely disappeared. If you have excellent hearing and really critical ears you can hear the reversed white-noise hiss (it's very obvious in lesser ANC headphones) but you have to try. Relax even a little and there is simply total silence. While it does not erase voices it helps the passive noise reduction of the padding considerably to that voices are reduced to a soft buzzing (like they should be for some of the people in my office). I tested them in very noisy industrial environments with tons of machine noise and it was gone - just gone. Frankly, it's like magic, and it absolutely destroys every Bose ANC headphone I have ever heard. Zero competition here, these are the finest ANC headphones in the world right now.

    COMFORT

    I'd like to know what law of physics is being broken here to provide the level of bass impact and push with no weight to the headphones. They are extremely comfortable, very well padded, no discomfort on the headband whatsoever. I find the pads get a little hot but not enough to stop listening for hours on end with no break. I have a large Charlie Brown head and there is no left-to-right tightness or discomfort and plenty of expandability room top-to-bottom.

    ACCESSORIES

    The case is fine (I particularly like the copper zipper pull to complement the copper touches on the headphones). The included cables are fine but the charging cable is weirdly short at about 9 inches total - that's a little weird. I like the dedicated area in the case for the cables and included airline adapter.

    OVERALL

    I love these headphones - I love everything about them. I was glad to pay $350 and if I could have had them for a week before buying I would likely pay $500. They are, for me, the perfect everyday headphone. I connect directly to my iPhone X and off I go, no worries. ANC is wizardry, sound is great across all genres, comfort is great. If you are in the market for a can of this nature... scratch that... if you like music and like quiet - buy these headphones. You will not regret the decision.

    Questions?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 9:29 AM
  2. mcconnel
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  3. mcconnel
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