Buy this thing for noise cancelation!
Reviewed in Canada on 30 September 2020
If you are looking for noise cancelation at its best, don't look elsewhere and buy this immediately.
Of all the comments that have been said about being not enough this, not able to do that, I think they are all untrue or either an unlucky manufacturing defect. Launch products are not perfect from the start, it's bound to happen. The only thing I do not use are the microphones for making calls, so you can check online and see for yourself about that aspect.
Let's break this down in points. (TLDR at the bottom)
Without a doubt the most comfortable headphones I ever wore. People seem to complain that it's not as comfortable as the XM3s, I say it's pretty dang comfortable considering that I wore this thing for more than 5 hours straight and had no neck pain or itching whatsoever.
The weight of these headphones is so light that when the box came in, I thought I had been scammed and the headphones weren't in the box. 250 ish grams is really light (0.55 pounds) for headphones.
The ears are big enough, the line of the muffs doesn't overlap too much towards the neck and the cushion material adapts really well to your head, both on the top of the frame and on the ear muffs.
I have been mixing/mastering for multiple years on flat studio monitors. Out of all the headphones that I have or I have tried, these are the closest of being pretty much flat, once you cut 3-4 dB from the 400 Hz fader (pretty sure it's an octave bandwidth, or a little more, so it covers at least from 282 Hz to 566 Hz when you adjust it) on the equalizer in Sony's Headphones app.
I have attached the frequency response curve as an image in this review.
The bass is not overwhelming, (although if it's your style, it delivers with the clear bass knob, which probably covers 250 Hz and below), the highs are not too sharp and there's no spike in the high mids (2500-5000 Hz) or in the high end (above 5000 Hz).
The only problem is the low mids at around 400 Hz, which thank god they have a fader for that frequency. No matter what brand you choose, low mids are ALWAYS a problem in headphones. By the way, sound separation is excellent once I made that adjustment. Thank Sony for giving you the option!
The frequency response when using Bluetooth is between 15 Hz to 17 040 Hz. Beyond that, it starts to wane off. I have up to 19.1 kHz in my right ear and 18.3-18.4 kHz in my left ear, so it's not on my side. Considering that my phone has a terrible audio output (it cuts at 15 kHz), it's an upgrade for me.
Also, considering on how many people listen to their music too loud for the last 25 years, I would be highly surprised that people that claim the high end isn't well defined actually know what they are talking about, and most probably don't notice the difference. Same thing with audio CODECS disappearing from the XM3 (the XM4 has 3 and the XM3 had 5), above 256 kbps at variable rate and 320 kbps at constant bit rate, you don't notice anything if the conversion was done right. Above those values, me and my friend call this "Placebo Quality". Compression and brickwalled mixes affect the quality perception GREATLY.
Search NPR sound quality test online. It proves my point.
So in conclusion, if the song you are listening sounds like garbage, it's because it was mixed/mastered like garbage (probably mixed nowadays because they brickwall often at this stage). These are hands down the best headphones I ever tried. Period. Including my Sennheisers that I used for multiple years.
I was highly surprised at not only the sensation on your eardrum being pushed in not being super apparent compared to other models, which are quite frankly unbearable in the long run, but also the capabilities of phase canceling of these headphones (the actual term of canceling out waveforms is called phase canceling, noise canceling is a marketing term for people not familiar with audio, since the majority of people don't know what is phase).
Transients (such as impacts) are impossible to isolate because they are too fast to sample and to invert the phase to create cancelation. Steady noises are the only ones that allow the headphones to sample them and invert them, because there's a processing delay. Stop hitting a table like someone I know was doing to test headphones, it's worthless.
The amount that is being canceled out is out of this world compared to previous generations that I have tried. I can't wait to try them on a plane. High end will remain because it's the most difficult part of the waveform to cancel, since it's the most precise and the one that takes up the most information in a signal. I was standing next to a washing machine during its max spin cycle, could barely hear it with audio of people talking in my headphones. Without playback, you hear the high end when you're right in front of it. As soon as you close the door, it pretty much vanishes.
If you have noisy neighbors or live in an apartment, buy this thing! You won't regret it.
Battery life: Outlasts my cell phone by a hundred years. In 2 hours of use, not even 10% used. Specs are believable.
In conclusion, buy this thing if you are looking for noise canceling!
-Amazing in sound
-Amazing in noise canceling and battery life matching specs
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