Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review

Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review

$398.00

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8/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #7 in category Wired Headphones
Headphones Sony MDR-1000x in conjunction with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium made a small revolution in the field of wireless sound transmission. The LDAC codec allows you to forget that you are listening to wireless headphones and get a truly high-quality sound. Now all audiophiles can safely download recordings of any quality onto the FLAC phone and not think that the wireless interface will significantly degrade their sound. I do not exclude that LDAC is not a panacea. Most likely, the next version of the codec will be released in a few years, and the manufacturer will announce even higher quality. But what I hear today suits me completely. Let's not forget that we are listening to wireless headphones not at home, but on the road. And even with a powerful system of active noise reduction, we will not be able to appreciate every nuance and tone of sound when we ride the subway or fly in an airplane. Therefore, the modern implementation of the LDAC codec is enough with a margin for such tasks. The sound of the Sony MDR-1000x headphones is confident, high-quality and dense. When you take them in your hands, you immediately understand that this is quality. When you put it on your head and start listening, you are convinced: this is what you were looking for. But remember that the Sony MDR-1000x, like other Sony headphones, has a signature emphasis in sound - a soft, enveloping, honeyed sound with a slight emphasis on low frequencies and an easy pushing of high frequencies to the background. If you already had Sony headphones and you liked the sound, don’t hesitate to buy the Sony MDR-1000x, especially if you have a source that supports LDAC or aptX. Recall the active noise reduction, which competes on equal terms with the unspoken king - the BoseQC 35 headphones. And it wins them functionally, because QC 35 has only one operation mode - active noise canceling is always on, it cannot be turned off or its operation can be changed. While the Sony MDR-1000x allows you to either completely turn off noise reduction, or turn on its intelligent version, or turn off the suppression of human voices. Ample opportunities and high efficiency - it is obvious that the Sony MDR-1000x wins this battle. If you are looking for full-size wireless headphones with active noise reduction and the ability to listen to lossless CD quality recordings, pay attention to Sony MDR-1000x headphones, I'm sure they won’t disappoint you.
Design
9
Sound
8.2
Price
7.5
Connectivity
7.8
Battery
8.2
PROS:
  • Excellent ergonomics, you can listen to headphones for 3 or more hours without discomfort;
  • Premium manufacturing materials: metal, genuine leather, high-quality plastic;
  • Foam pad ear pads and headband for maximum comfort;
  • Support for advanced LDAC and aptX codecs for high-quality wireless music transfer;
  • Long working time - up to 20 hours with an active noise reduction system;
  • Excellent sound quality with Sony brand name;
  • Excellent quality of active noise reduction, in the subway you can listen to music at the usual volume level;
  • Stylish, attractive and concise appearance.
CONS:
  • Your interlocutors will not always hear what you say: the microphone does not pick up your speech very well;
  • A long battery charge time is about 4 hours

Packaging

Headphones Sony MDR-1000x come in solid large packaging with a rigid body. The box itself is inside a paper cover with headphone photos and technical information. In the box is a hard case for transportation inside with headphones. Everything is simple, convenient and strict, as befits a serious product.

Equipment

  1. Headphones;
  2. Hard case for transportation;
  3. Audio cable with 3.5 mm jack;
  4. An adapter for connecting headphones in an airplane;
  5. USB cable for charging.

Design

Headphones are made according to the classical scheme of full-size models with a sliding headband, the size is adjusted stepwise, with confident fixation of size.

The basis of the design is the metal arch of the headband, to which the bowls are attached.

The bowls have 3 degrees of freedom and are adjustable in all possible planes , so the headphones have very good ergonomics. Mounting to the headband is done using plastic forks, they look reliable and durable, however, when put on the head, creaks are heard inside the hinge. There are no squeaks when listening to headphones at home or while walking.

The bowls are covered with genuine leather on the outside, the ear pads also have a leather coating.

Headband

The headband is made of a metal strip, which is the basis of the entire structure and the main element of its strength frame.

The lower part of the headband has a special soft pad with foam filling, covered with leather for the most comfortable use.

Adjusting the size of the headphones is done by expanding the headband. Each size has a noticeable fixation.

Headphone bowls

The bowls are oval in shape, on the outside completely covered with genuine leather in the color of the headphones.

The entire external part of the right bowl is a control sensor, with it you can control the playback of music, volume or the acceptance / end of a voice call.

On the left bowl are 3 hardware buttons, an audio jack for connecting headphones over a wire to a sound source, and an NFC sensor, which is necessary for instantly pairing headphones with phones or laptops.

The buttons are responsible for:

  1. Power on / off the headphone;
  2. Enable / disable active noise reduction;
  3. Turn on / adjust the AmbientSound function.

On the upper part of both bowls there are microphones protected by a metal mesh, which record all external noise for the active noise reduction system.

Ear pads

The ear pads are coated with genuine leather, very soft and pleasant to the touch. The shape of the ear pads is oval, almost perfect for the ear to fit completely inside.

The filler is a foam with a memory effect, which is very important and significant for a long time listening to headphones, the head and ears are almost not tired, even if you listen to the headphones for 3 hours in a row.

The headphones sat on my head very comfortably, the ears completely fit inside the ear cushions and even the earlobe was not pressed down.

Passive noise insulation of headphones at an average level is good, but not the best.

Wireless connection

The most interesting part of the Sony MDR-1000x headphone is its wireless connection and intelligent active noise canceling system. I will talk about noise reduction a little lower, but now I want to stop on Bluetooth.

The headphones are equipped with a Bluetooth 4.1 Class 2 module, which means that the gadget will work in energy-efficient mode, the range of uninterrupted data transfer can reach 10 meters. I tested the headphones indoors, walked around different rooms, the interference began to appear only when the sound source was about 10 meters and there were 2 walls between us. True, the walls are not load-bearing, but still I think the result is very good.

Model Sony MDR-1000x manufacturer positions itself as one of the best wireless headphones that can play even Hi-Res recordings. For this, special data transfer codecs are used: aptX, AAC, and LDAC.

The first 2 codecs are capable of transferring music with quality close to CD, but the LDAC codec, which is a development by Sony, is capable of more.

I will quote from the official site of Sony:

LDAC is a codec that allows us to transfer 3 times more data compared to the most common codec for Bluetooth – SBC. When transmitting, LDAC preserves the maximum bit depth and frequency range of 96 kHz / 24 bit, providing greater compression and reproduction efficiency.

Thus, we get headphones that do not limit us in the quality of playing music wirelessly, and this is very nice, you do not have to compromise with these headphones, choosing the comfort of the absence of wires for the sound quality.

Of course, to get such high quality sound reproduction, you need a sound source with support for the LDAC codec.

Active noise reduction

Another curious feature of the Sony MDR-1000x headphones is the intelligent active noise canceling system.

Usually in noise-canceling headphones, only 2 operating modes are available:

  1. Suppression enabled;
  2. Suppression off.

There are no other options, and if something does not suit you in the noise cancellation, nothing can be done about it.

Sony MDR-1000x have one intelligent and 3 standard modes of active noise reduction.

Before Sony, I listened to several headphones with active noise cancellation, and its activation did not affect the quality of the music being played, not much, and if you did not specifically listen to it, then it was imperceptible. In the case of Sony MDR-1000x, I can say that the inclusion of noise reduction does not affect the quality of sound reproduction, and this is great news. At the same time, the level of background white noise that occurs when the active noise canceling function is minimal in Sony and can hardly be heard even in complete silence.

Mode 1: Active Noise Reduction Enabled

In this mode, the headphones work like any other competitors, noise reduction is turned on, the headphones try to suppress all extraneous noise to the best of their abilities.

By the way, I must note that the quality of the noise canceling Sony MDR-1000x is very high. I didn’t have to fly a plane with these headphones, but I rode in cars, walked along busy highways and drove several stops by public transport.

I can only state one thing – active noise reduction significantly reduces the overall noise level. If you try to explain this effect to those who have never tried to listen to such headphones, imagine that you are watching a video recording of a trip or walk along a busy highway and have the ability to adjust external noise with a separate slider in the menu. Turn the volume down to about 10%. Now you have an idea of ​​what you will hear outside the headphones – almost nothing.

Mode 2: Intelligent Noise Reduction

There is a second mode of noise reduction – intelligent tuning. For example, you fly in an airplane and you need to minimize engine noise. You press the tuning mode and the headphones begin to adjust to the loudest noise around you. Thus, they begin to fight more effectively precisely with the noise of the aircraft, while slightly reducing their effectiveness at other sound frequencies. For example, you will almost stop hearing the plane, but people around you will hear a little better. It will also be significantly muffled, but not as much as the sound of an airplane.

In some cases, when you want to drown out the most annoying and loud sounds, this mode will be indispensable.

Mode 3: AmbientSound

This mode works the other way around, it does not suppress external sounds, and even slightly enhances them. Thus, at the touch of a button, you not only begin to hear everything that is happening around you, but even begin to hear better. For example, if you walk on gravel or sand, you will be much better at hearing the creaking of stones under your feet than if you were without any headphones at all. Very funny feeling.

This mode is needed so that you can instantly answer the person who contacted you, or react to another situation without having to remove the headphones, because this is far from always possible, especially if your hands are busy.

Mode 4: Enhanced Audibility of Human Speech

This mode tries to drown out all background sounds, but not to drown out human speech. A useful feature, it is a subspecies of the AmbientSound mode, but only in relation to people’s voices.

This mode does not work very stably, sometimes muffling some sounds of speech, or capturing part of the surrounding noise.

In any case, if you need to quickly talk to a person without removing the headphones, this mode will be indispensable.

Microphone

The microphone performance is at a good average level . If you are in a low-noise room, your interlocutor will hear you perfectly. But if you are in a noisy room, the interlocutor will have to strain hard to understand everything that you say. In general, nothing surprising, the microphone can be called standard for headphones in this price range.

Convenience

I believe that the ease of use of headphones should be put on a par with the quality of sound reproduction, because no matter how good the headphones play, if they are uncomfortable, you will not be able to listen to even one music album in them, not to mention longer sessions.

When I first got the Sony MDR-1000x out of the package, I was rather skeptical about the internal size of the cups, it seemed to me that it was not big enough to fit my ear completely into it. But I was mistaken, my ear was completely placed inside the ear pads, while I did not feel any discomfort.

Sony MDR-1000x have a very good level of ergonomics, I wore them for 5 hours in a row without the slightest sign of tired head or ears. Not all, even more expensive headphones, boast such a level of convenience.

The touch panel on the right bowl worked perfectly, all my touches were recognized the first time, for 2 weeks of tight listening to my headphones, it seemed, there were only 2 or 3 false positives, this is a very good result.

But I had to get used to the hardware buttons, which are located on the left bowl, for a long time. Only at the end of the second week I was able to click on the necessary buttons the first time. When you look at them, it seems as if they are easy to recognize, because they are far from each other and have different tactile designations. However, when the headphones are worn over the head, it is difficult to recognize them for the first time. It’s good that this is a temporary phenomenon and by the end of the first month of use you will immediately get to the button you need.

Headphones are held tight on the head, while not pressing on the head. You can walk along the street without the slightest fear that they will fall to the ground. But I do not recommend you to run in them; they are designed poorly for running.

It’s one thing if you need to run a few tens of meters in order to get into the metro car in time, there’s no problem with that, but run purposefully – no, the headphones will fall off your head and disturb you.

I can note only one design flaw of the headphones – both noise canceling microphones are located on the upper outer part of the bowls and face at a 45-degree angle to the sky. This means that you don’t need to walk in the headphones under the snow or rain, otherwise you risk the functioning of the microphones and the noise reduction system as a whole.

Game Sound Quality

Headphones Sony MDR-1000x are connected to any sound source using an audio cable, this is a definite plus for situations when the internal battery is running down, or when you need to connect headphones to a sound source without Bluetooth.

I want to note that the quality of the reproduced sound slightly decreases when connected via wire. The sound becomes less bright, less detailed.

However, I ventured to connect the headphones with a wire to the computer and played several games to listen to the emotions that an avid player can give to headphones.

In general, I was satisfied, the headphones have a good stereo panorama, and the sound in games is easy to navigate, it is always clear where the sound came from.

The sound quality is also on top, it is deep, detailed and dense. It has sufficient detail so that you do not miss a single, even the quietest rustle or careless step of the enemy.

I tested the headphones in the following games:

  • Alien Isolation;
  • Battlefield 4
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.

I did not choose these games by chance, each of them has excellent sound in its arsenal and, importantly, a modern sound engine that is able to correctly position the sound in space. Not all modern games can boast of good quality sound. For example, the game Far Cry 3 has a mediocre sound design, this is especially noticeable if you play it after Batteflield 4 or Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.

Alien isolation

In this game it is very important not only to hear the sound, but also to understand its exact location in the virtual world, the life of your heroine directly depends on this. “Alien” most of the game you only hear, but do not see. It is worth catching his eyes and consider that you are already dead. Therefore, for an effective game you will need good headphones that can very accurately position the sound. Sony MDR-1000x coped with this task well, I did not have any difficulties in determining the direction to the sound source. Also, all the surrounding sound was very detailed and vibrant.

But there is also a small drawback, which is associated not so much with specific headphones as with Sony’s proprietary sound. I listened to about a dozen models from Sony, and almost all had a certain drawback – the muffling of high frequencies. It’s not that the headphones do not play high frequencies, but they push them to the background. You hear them, but they do not rush into your ears. Thus, a very soft sound is achieved, which is liked by millions of fans of the brand, and I also like it in music, but in games this weakens the detail of the sound.

In Alien Isolation, such a signature sound has little effect on the sound, and you can enjoy the game completely, but in Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege a lack of sharpness of sound begins to be felt.

Battlefield 4

This game makes the requirement for headphones not so much to positioning as to entertainment, to the power of sound and the Sony MDR-1000x can easily cope with this game. Explosions, shots, the roar of engines of military equipment – everything is transmitted very vividly, naturally and dynamically.

It is a pleasure to play, especially considering the excellent ergonomics of the headphones, you can lose the whole weekend and not experience the slightest discomfort from the headphones.

I especially liked how all the equipment in the game sounds – powerful headphone drivers affect it. The roar of the engine of the tank or helicopter is transmitted very naturally, and if you make the sound louder, you begin to feel the vibration of the headphones, and immersion in the game only grows.

But I do not recommend that you twist the sound close to the maximum for a long gaming session – this can damage your hearing.

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

In this game, it is critically important to understand where the sound, rustle or steps of the opponent came from. The sound engine helps us a lot in this. Rainbow Six Siege is one of the few modern games whose sound engine tries to calculate the fair distribution of sound in rooms and corridors. I do not know of other modern games that would calculate the positioning of sound in the game with the same high accuracy.

To accurately determine the positioning of sound, we must obtain the maximum information in the high-frequency range. We recall that the Sony MDR-1000x pushed these frequencies to the background and we get a very powerful and effective, but not sufficiently informative sound. Of course, you can play and win with these headphones without problems, but if you compare the information richness of sound with headphones that do not push high and mid-high frequencies to the background, you will understand that the Sony MDR-1000x conceals some of the information from you.

Sound quality when listening to music

I evaluated the sound quality of the headphones wirelessly. Moreover, I connected the headphones not just to a regular phone, but to a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone. The difference is that the Sony Xperia XZ Premium has full support for the LDAC codec, which allows you to get sound close to the Hi-Res standard via wireless data transfer. It seems to me that this is a small revolution in the world of lovers of high-quality sound, because until that moment, most wireless headphones were a compromise between convenience and sound quality. We got more comfort from the lack of wires, but had to put up with less quality sound. Now, if you have a sound source and headphones that support the LDAC codec, you can forget about low-quality sound.

For curiosity, I also connected the headphones to a simpler smartphone, which does not have LDAC support, or even aptX – to Xiaomi Mi 5. I was interested to hear the difference between regular connection and connection using LDAC.

The difference is heard immediately, and on material of any quality, be it a voice podcast, mp3 file, streaming services or recordings in FLAC format. In all cases, the difference is clearly noticeable.

When connected to Xiaomi Mi 5, the sound was normal, sometimes faded, sometimes flat. But the most unpleasant thing was that the sound was loose, it lacked density and pressure. Of course, you can listen to music in this connection mode, if there is nothing better. But there’s also no point in buying a Sony MDR-1000x, except when you need powerful active noise reduction. In a pair to Mi5 you can buy headphones easier.

But if you already have a sound source in your hands that supports LDAC or aptX, then it’s hard to find a competitor to Sony MDR-1000x, so that the sound is excellent and the noise reduction is decent.

Please note that I describe all the listening experiences when connecting the Sony MDR-1000x to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone.

Of course, the first thing I decided to listen to was a special test disc, which was recorded in the highest quality and designed specifically for testing audio equipment.

Disk 1: Dr. Chesky – The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc

Recording Format: FLAC 24bit / 192Khz

  1. When the Saints Go Marching In – live wind instruments predominate in this composition and the headphones cope with them perfectly. The sound is dense, assertive and vibrant. One of the criteria for the quality of headphones and the audio system as a whole is that if you unscrew the sound to a very high volume level, this will not cause you much discomfort. The combination of Sony MDR-1000x and Sony Xperia XZ Premium easily passes this test, the sound remains clear even at a very high volume level.
  2. Don’t you –– female vocals sound great, vibrant, detailed. I did not hear any distortion in the sound. All the details are heard as if I am listening to wired headphones.
  3. Three for all – an acoustic guitar prevails in this composition. The sound is very pleasant, soft and detailed. Every string is heard, every movement of the hand along it. If you close your eyes, you can easily imagine a musician sitting in a high chair and playing a melody.
  4. Ben’s Farm in Vermont – instruments with high frequency of sound prevail in this composition. Headphones coped with this task without difficulty. There are no sibilants or distortion – only a soft and pleasant sound.

Surprisingly, at some point in listening to music, I forgot that I was listening to a wireless model and took notes as if I were listening to wired headphones. Isn’t this the highest praise with modern wireless technology?

Music from streaming services

It’s a sin to hide, we all, even those who listen to only high-quality recordings at home, occasionally listen to music using various streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Google Play or iTunes.

Yes, the quality there is worse, but the convenience more than covers the deterioration in sound quality. Therefore, I thoughtfully listened to a lot of the songs using the Deezer service, which I had long been subscribed to. High sound quality was set, which corresponds to the quality of mp3 320 kb / s.

  1. Aurora – NatureBoy (acustic) – the sound quality is fully consistent with the maximum capabilities of the mp3 format. If you listen to music in a relaxed home environment, you can hear a slight difference between mp3 and high-quality recording in FLAC format, but if you listen to music on the go or on a walk, I doubt that you will hear the difference. Female vocals sound clean, natural and powerful, you can hear all the shades of voice and sound. The headphones themselves do not impose any restrictions, it’s nice to listen to the song.
  2. Marc Streitenfeld – A Planet is a very powerful instrumental composition based on wind and string instruments. When listening, breathtaking, and goosebumps begin to run around. The sound is detailed, dense, powerful. There is no difference between Sony MDR-1000x playback quality in conjunction with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and wired connection.
  3. Mushrooms – Cops – I could not pass by modern music. The pressure, bass and power of the track is transmitted without difficulty. Sound, as they say, “pumps”. In general, the factory setting of the headphones is very suitable for modern electronic music, it sounds soft, dynamic and powerful, as if it was written specifically for Sony headphones.
  4. Roger Waters – Déjà Vu – this song sounds great too. A soft sound envelops, and the detail and density of sound lull and do not allow distraction for anything else. Male vocals sound lively, pleasant and detailed. Like the whole track as a whole, there are no complaints.

Conclusion

Headphones Sony MDR-1000x in conjunction with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium made a small revolution in the field of wireless sound transmission. The LDAC codec allows you to forget that you are listening to wireless headphones and get a truly high-quality sound. Now all audiophiles can safely download recordings of any quality onto the FLAC phone and not think that the wireless interface will significantly degrade their sound.

I do not exclude that LDAC is not a panacea. Most likely, the next version of the codec will be released in a few years, and the manufacturer will announce even higher quality. But what I hear today suits me completely. Let’s not forget that we are listening to wireless headphones not at home, but on the road. And even with a powerful system of active noise reduction, we will not be able to appreciate every nuance and tone of sound when we ride the subway or fly in an airplane. Therefore, the modern implementation of the LDAC codec is enough with a margin for such tasks.

The sound of the Sony MDR-1000x headphones is confident, high-quality and dense. When you take them in your hands, you immediately understand that this is quality. When you put it on your head and start listening, you are convinced: this is what you were looking for.

But remember that the Sony MDR-1000x, like other Sony headphones, has a signature emphasis in sound – a soft, enveloping, honeyed sound with a slight emphasis on low frequencies and an easy pushing of high frequencies to the background. If you already had Sony headphones and you liked the sound, don’t hesitate to buy the Sony MDR-1000x, especially if you have a source that supports LDAC or aptX.

Recall the active noise reduction, which competes on equal terms with the unspoken king – the BoseQC 35 headphones. And it wins them functionally, because QC 35 has only one operation mode – active noise canceling is always on, it cannot be turned off or its operation can be changed. While the Sony MDR-1000x allows you to either completely turn off noise reduction, or turn on its intelligent version, or turn off the suppression of human voices. Ample opportunities and high efficiency – it is obvious that the Sony MDR-1000x wins this battle.

If you are looking for full-size wireless headphones with active noise reduction and the ability to listen to lossless CD-quality recordings, pay attention to Sony MDR-1000x headphones, I’m sure they won’t disappoint you.

Specification: Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review

Brand

Play Time Range

Price Range

Rating Range

Product Dimensions

6.3 x 4.5 x 9.5 inches

Item Weight

9.8 ounces

Shipping Weight

1.32 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Batteries

1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)

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Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review
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