As an innovative and renowned player in the audio industry, Sony officially launched the fourth generation of the WH-1000X headphones with wireless noise cancellation, the WH-1000XM4. Compared to its previous version, Sony WH-1000XM3, the headset still retains its unrivaled advantages in terms of comfort over long listening sessions, noise cancellation, sound quality, and wireless range.
Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is available to pre-order in black and silver and has a current market price of $350.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Canceling Headphones Review
Type: Closed-back Over-ear Noise Canceling Headphones | Bluetooth: 5.0 | Latency: 210 ms (average) |Battery: 30 Hours | Charging Time: ?? | Quick-Charge: 5 Hours in 10 mins | Drivers: Dynamic | Weight: 254g
Sony’s new WH-1000XM4 active noise cancellation headphones have continued the perfect design of the previous generation of products, sound quality, and active noise cancellation performance to maintain a high-performance level. It features various visible improvements regarding user experience, such as the new “Smart Listening” wear detection sensors, and “Adaptive Sound Control,” which automatically adapts to your surroundings and actions, and Sony’s proprietary audio technology DSEE Extreme. Everything to provide a smooth and intuitive user experience.
No radical cosmetic improvements have been made to the Sony WH-1000XM4, which is a very conservative approach to design, considering that its competitor has received a plethora of favorable and unfavorable reviews since it was upgraded from the QC35 II to the new Bose 700 Noise Canceling.
Of course, the difference in appearance and improved wearing comfort is still clearly perceptible for most Sony headphones of the series.
Based on the WH-1000XM3’s overall architecture, the WH-1000XM4 features improved design details such as the portion where the metal parts are attached on the headband, while also offering a generous range of adjustment to adapt to users with different head shapes.
The other side houses a touch sensor, which provides a control for music management: switch songs, volume adjustment, play/pause control, and phone answering control.
The power control and noise reduction mode adjustment functions can be activated by two physical buttons and are located underneath the left ear cup. They’re easy to operate and find with your fingers.
The headphones were designed with a Type-C charging port and a 3.5mm wired port. The Type-C interface supports fast-charging function, charging 10 minutes to achieve 4-5 hours of music listening. Sony WH-1000XM4’s full battery can sustain 30 hours of music playback with ANC and 38 hours without ANC.
In a similar manner as its predecessor Sony WH-1000XM3, the headphones can be connected to two devices simultaneously via Bluetooth (5.0). It is also compatible with NFC. Sadly, not even the 4th generation of Sony MDR1000X allows multiple Bluetooth pairing connections.
Also added to the WH-1000XM4 is a new wear sensor that can detect if the headphones are being worn, the sensor is built-in inside the left earcups, and unlike other headphones. It has a very low probability of miscalculation, even if you take off the headphones and hang them around your neck.
Previously, if you needed to speak while wearing headphones, you would have to hover the right earcup with your hand to activate the “Ambient Sound” feature that was further improved and rebranded into “Speak-to-Chat.” Once you speak, the function activates and allows you to listen to ambient sounds. Now the new generation of headphones delivers a completely intelligent experience, allowing you to switch directly from listening mode to ambient mode. The Speak-to-Chat function mutes the sound, allowing dialogue without removing the headphones. If you say something out loud, the headphones will recognize the user’s voice and automatically pause playback.
Sony has also equipped its newest appearance with 360 Reality Audio technology, which can be used to capture your ear shape via the headphones connect app, which serves as a basis for sound optimization.
The 360 Reality Audio software has undergone a series of improvements that improve the sense of direction of the sound, making you experience the music as in a concert, with sounds coming from every direction.
Compared to the improvements in experience brought by the “Ambient Aware” intelligent feature, Sony’s “active noise reduction” technology upgrade on the WH-1000XM4 is not as apparent.
The Adaptive Sound Control technology automatically adjusts noise reduction settings based on where you are and what you do.
With a pair of microphones in each earcup, the Dual Noise Sensor technology assesses ambient noise and transmits the data to the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1. Moreover, Sony’s new Bluetooth Audio SoC (System on Chip) processes and adjusts playback settings to match music and noise levels faster than 700 times per second.
When dealing with Sony audio products, the last thing we need to worry about is the performance of sound quality. The previous generation of noise-canceling headphones from Sony has benefited from exemplary sound reproduction. Now, the WH-1000XM4 also continues the tradition by employing 40 mm diameter drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms and features a sound reproduction that favors the modern music genres. The resolution of the sound and soundstage are also similarly enjoyable in both standard listening mode and wireless.
The novelty features Sony Edge-AI’s proprietary technology to improve sound quality. A technology jointly developed with Sony Music Studios Tokyo, designed to “restore the sound lost during digital compression, ensure maximum reproduction accuracy.” Simply put, DSEE Extreme audio technology (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) is a special algorithm that analyzes tracks in real-time and recognizes instruments, musical genres, and individual elements of each song to restore high range sounds lost during compression.
The new Sony WH-1000XM4 active noise cancellation headphones have continued the perfect design of the previous generation of products, sound quality, and active noise cancellation performance to maintain a high-performance level. It features various visible improvements regarding user experience, such as the new “Smart Listening” wear detection sensors, and “Adaptive Sound Control,” which automatically adapts to your surroundings and actions, and Sony’s proprietary audio technology DSEE Extreme. Everything to provide a smooth and intuitive user experience.
The headset also implemented 360 Reality Audio surround sound technology, a Speech Detection algorithm, and new sensors. It benefits from a hefty battery life of up to 30 hours, and with fast charging via USB Type-C, you receive up to 5 hours of music playback in just 10 minutes.
Some of the details might be wholeheartedly welcomed by power-users—but users who want to enjoy music in the quietest environment don’t get much in return as Sony’s WH-1000XM4’s Active Noise Cancellation quality is quite similar to that of the previous generation.