Sony WH-1000XM4 real machine impression

 Sony WH-1000XM4 real machine impression

Sony will release the wireless headphones “WH-1000XM4” equipped with a noise canceling function on September 4th.

The WH-1000XM4 is the successor model to the flagship model “WH-1000XM3”, which is highly evaluated for its noise canceling performance and sound quality. In addition to noise canceling and high-resolution sound quality, the point is that it is equipped with new functions that utilize AI (artificial intelligence).

Prior to the release on September 4, I had the opportunity to touch the actual WH-1000XM4 for a short period of time, so I will deliver the first impression.

Quiet enough to cut people’s voice

First of all, from the noise canceling performance. The WH-1000XM3 was also able to eliminate bass noise from vehicles, but the WH-1000XM4 can also cut mid-high range such as human voice and everyday noise.

By the way, I compared the noise canceling of WH-1000MX3 and WH-1000XM4 at the experience meeting that Sony held for the press, but personally, the immersive feeling that the noise canceling function brings is I felt that there was no big difference. Also, on another day, I tried using the WH-1000XM4 in the noisy Starbucks in the daytime, but not only the voice of people but also the operating noise of the air conditioner and coffee maker were cut considerably.

Contribution to this noise canceling performance is the acoustic environment sensing of 700 times or more per second that combines the noise canceling processor “QN1” inherited from the WH-1000XM3 and the newly installed audio SoC. It is possible to perform noise canceling processing in real time according to the acoustic environment at that time, such as between the driver unit and the ear and external noise.

In addition, if you press and hold the custom button after wearing the headphones, the test signal sound will be played, and individual differences (hairstyle, presence / absence of glasses, wearing deviation, etc.) at the time of wearing will be detected in a few seconds. Also, according to Sony, the air pressure sensor mounted on the headphones will be used to optimize noise canceling against changes in air pressure even on an airplane.

Furthermore, by using the “Sony | Headphones Connect” app, it is possible to adjust from noise canceling to external sound capture in 22 steps. The point is that the noise canceling characteristics are optimized for each user.

The sound quality is not low-pitched, but the overall balance is good.

As for the sound quality, which is essential, when noise canceling is turned on, there is a feeling of oppression, but the power of the mid-low range is increasing. On the other hand, if you turn off noise canceling, you will naturally hear external noise and you will not be able to immerse yourself in listening.

However, the sound of the WH-1000XM4 is not as tight as the product equipped with the “EXTRA BASS” mode that enhances the bass. The mid-high range has good graininess and plays with a glittering sound, so I feel that the overall balance is good.

In addition, the WH-1000XM4 is also a model that sings “high resolution class high sound quality” like the WH-1000XM3. The fact that it is equipped with a 40mm HD driver unit also contributes to sound quality, but the WH-1000XM4 is also equipped with “DSEE Extreme” that makes sound sources saved in CD or MP3 format equivalent to high resolution of up to 96kHz / 24bit. I am.

With the cooperation of Sony Music Studios Tokyo, DSEE Extreme utilizes AI that deep-learns music data of various genres to analyze music in real time. According to Sony, in particular, the sound of space, percussion instruments, human voices, etc. will be closer to high resolution than ever before. Although there are limits to the sound sources saved in MP3 format, the sound quality is still improved compared to other music players and smartphones.

Furthermore, it supports the LDAC codec that can transmit music data equivalent to high resolution even though it is lossy compressed Bluetooth audio, and if it is a transfer from a device that does not support high resolution or LDAC, upscale it to the sound quality equivalent to high resolution by DSEE Extreme. I will. By the way, the Bluetooth codec supports AAC / SBC in addition to LDAC, but it does not support aptX / aptX HD.

Just remove the headphones to stop music playback and turn off Neucan

The WH-1000XM4 is equipped with a new function called “Speak to Chat” as well as noise canceling performance, sound quality, and analysis using AI technology.

Specifically, it is a function that detects the utterance of the headphone wearer and automatically stops noise canceling and music playback. In addition to this, it automatically switches to the external sound capture mode, so you can talk with the other party while wearing headphones.

According to Sony, the conversation detection algorithm can recognize the wearer’s voice by performing advanced audio signal processing that optimally controls five microphones (feed forward microphones on the left and right, and multi-array microphones on the left housing). I will.

When I actually switched the function to ON from the “Sony | Headphones Connect” app and tried it, the music playback stopped instantly just by speaking, and it was changed to the external sound capture mode.

Of course, if you take off the WH-1000XM4 and have a conversation, it sounds clearer without the muffled sound caused by wearing headphones. Anyway, with the WH-1000XM4, you can talk with people while wearing it even when your hands are occupied.

Music playback stops when I clear my throat 

Many people will find Speak to Chat useful after hearing this far. However, if you clear your throat while listening to music, music playback will stop and you will hear the surrounding sounds. If you clear your throat unknowingly, you may find it a little annoying.

The solution is to turn off Speak to Chat in the Sony | Headphones Connect app or set the voice detection sensitivity to “Low”. It did not respond to a slight whisper or throat clearing.

Usability is also

It is also equipped with a function that connects two devices at the same time and automatically switches the connection destination from the PC to the smartphone when there is an incoming call on the smartphone. This feature will be updated after August 7th and can be used on any combination of Windows / Mac / iOS / Android. However, please note that you cannot use LDAC if you turn on this function.

In addition, it also supports the pairing technology “Fast Pair” developed by Google, and pairing is completed just by tapping the pop-up displayed on the screen. This function can be used in combination with this unit and a device equipped with Android 6.0 or later.

Battery life is 30 hours when noise canceling is on and 38 hours when noise canceling is off. We do not recommend using it while charging.

Regarding the design, I would like to have a new color in addition to the two colors like the black and gold of the WH-1000XM3, but since the gap is smaller than the model of the WH-1000XM3, it looks refreshing. It is said.

The inside of the attached case is made of a material that is not easily scratched, and the attached cables and aircraft adapters can be stored together in a folded state.

Definitely buy the WH-1000XM4 with a bargain

The WH-1000XM4, which is packed with such functions and technologies and has an estimated market price of 40,000 yen excluding tax, is a product that is more attractive than the price. This is because Speak to Chat and simultaneous connection of two devices are newly installed while firmly suppressing the basic points as headphones. I would like to recommend the WH-1000XM4 to those who are considering introducing headphones for teleworking.

Sara Miller