A little over a year ago, I professed my love for the Sony MDR-1000X, the first noise-cancelling headphones from Sony that promised unparalleled audio quality. This time around, we have the new and enhanced version of the predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM2. I have never been a huge fan of headphones as it just leaves my hair a mess, its uncomfortable on my ears and the whole experience is just a terrible ordeal. Aside from the MDR-1000X, I have very few headphones I would go back to. Can the WH-1000XM2 one of the few?
Twice the Charm
As a direct successor to the MDR-1000X, the WH-1000XM2 has some huge shoes to fill. In terms of design, it mostly just stays the same with similar plush leather fabric on the earcups while the swivel headband is elastic, capable of fitting plenty of different head sizes. It also feels a lot sturdier compared to its predecessor, which was loose and flimsy after a few weeks. A neat touch to the outer earcups was the textured finish, giving it a sort of grainy, yet refined look and feel to it.
For the leather earcups, it is a definite winner as it’s one of the few headphones in the market that I find extremely comfortable. It was sort of reminiscent of the MDR-1000X as well as the Bose QuietComfort 35. Of course, it did turn my hair into a mess but that’s a small price to pay to not have my ears heating up every few minutes.
Thank you, Spotify
When it comes to testing headphones, you will need to have a pre-selected playlist (if you’re that type) to help you decide on whether the headphones are worth investing, especially if the price tag makes you do a double take. Thanks to Spotify, there was already a specially curated playlist titled, ‘Songs to Test Headphones With’, featuring 150 songs that is sure to help you decide on the outcome.
Of course, I didn’t go through all 150 songs as some are just not my cup of tea, so I picked a few here and there as well as going through my own playlist. While Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Guns N Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle were obvious choices, you are probably questioning some of my other selections, especially when it came to modern day hip-hop and rap.
My reason behind it in simple: if I can understand mumble rap and what the heck they are trying to say, I think that’s a win. With the WH-1000XM2, I could pick up bars from Ski Mask Slump God’s Achoo with ease, rather than my usual pair of earphones that are currently dying.
Of course, music choice and taste are subjective, seeing as no two sets of ears are the same. Through my weeks of giving the WH-1000XM2 a run for its money, it has not let me down at all. It covered a wide range of genres, meaning that you could listen to just about anything and the WH-1000XM2 will deliver. It had great, punchy bass that goes well with its clear mids and highs. In terms of clarity and sharpness, you can turn your volume all the way up without any signs of distortion or cracking.
Riddled with Features
The main selling point of the WH-1000XM2 is its noise-cancelling ability, which has been top-notch since the first iteration. Of course, it has since received some upgrades like the inclusion of atmospheric pressure optimising, ambient sound control and adaptive sound control. All these new features were added to personalise sound to your environment. The WH-1000XM2 also comes with its own equaliser, virtual surround sound as well as sound control.
One such feature is its atmospheric pressure optimiser, which is essentially noise-cancelling at high altitudes. This works for when you’re flying by tuning out all the noise at a high altitude and giving you only your music. All these new features can be fine-tuned to your preference through the Sony Headphones Connect app.
Another great feature that has been carried over to the WH-1000XM2 from its predecessor is its Quick Action touch feature. By simply placing your hand over the right earcup housing, you automatically turn the volume down to engage in conversations without having to take off the headphones. This works tremendously well for when you’re flying or even when you’re in the office.
Upgrading its Lifespan
While the battery lifespan on the MDR-1000X was acceptable, that wasn’t enough for Sony as it has since improved the battery on the WH-1000XM2. It now promises over 30 hours with wireless and noise-cancelling on and over 40 hours if you’re using it through a wired connection.
A neat inclusion is its Quick Charge feature, which gives you up to 70 minutes of of battery life from just 10 minutes of charging. All this is done through the micro USB cable, which is surprising as most fast charging cables are normally USB Type-C.
Sony has hit the WH-1000XM2 out of the park, being able to give it everything it didn’t give to the MDR-1000X. While the overall audio quality doesn’t really change much when you compare both headphones, it’s the improved and upgraded technology that turns the tide into the favour of the WH-1000XM2. For a pair of Bluetooth headphones, this is one worth investing in.
Verdict: A true pair of headphones for the audiophiles.