Sony MDR 1000X review: Superb audio despite the noise cancellation

Sony's new MDR 1000X Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones are a direct challenger for the Bose Quiet Comfort series

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: November 18, 2016 12:34 am
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Sony has been a force to reckon with in the audio space for many decades. Now it is trying to create a mark on the one segment that someone else literally owns. The new Sony MDR 1000X Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones are a direct challenger for the Bose Quiet Comfort series, which is arguably the most popular if you look at the sheer number of people using them during long haul flights.

Sony MDR 1000X

The Sony MDR 1000X is luxurious looking headphone that comes with a premium leather finish and earcups. They also fold fully flat so that you can stash it away easily for travel. The 1000X also comes with a lot of additional controls like swipe and tap on the ear cups to pause/play skips songs and adjust volume.

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Specs: 1.57″, dome type (CCAW Voice Coil) driver unit | 4 Hz-40,000 Hz frequency response | DSEE HX sound enhancing engine | 4.92-inch silver-coated OFC strands, gold-plated stereo mini plug

Price – Rs 30,990

What is good?
I get to travel a bit and hence have been a big fan of Bose noise cancelling headphones. It is tough to make me look at a replacement. However, the Sony MDR 1000X did change my outlook. It offers good noise cancellation, keeping out most frequencies. However, it offers hi-fi quality audio in the process. The rich and deep audio is as good as it gets, especially on a wireless noise cancelling headphone.

I started testing the MDR 1000x with a trailer of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie and the experience was so good that I could almost feel the salt soaked wind in my face. The large drivers bring in depth that makes you enjoy everything from Kronos Quartet to the soulful percussions in Tamil numbers like Thaarai Thappattai. It also has an ambient noise setting for when you want to focus more on the voice.

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Often when you are plugged into a noise cancelling headphone you are unaware of what is happening around you. While that is the idea when you are on a long haul flight and trying to catch up on sleep ahead of a big day, while you are on ground this might keep you cut off from conversations and people trying to get your attention. This is where the MDR 1000X has a superb new feature. It switches off the music and noise cancelling if you just cup your hands around the ear cups.

With wireless headphones it is a bit of challenge offering remote control features. The new stream of thought seems to be around adding these controls to the ear cups. Similar to the Sennheiser PXC 550 which we reviewed recently, the MDR 1000X too adds a lot of controls via swipe and tap on the right ear cup. And they do work really well. Often I started playing songs on Apple Music even though the phone was in another room and the experience was really good.

This a full function headphone and hence you can easily make and receive calls using the MDR 1000x. The call quality is great on both sides.

The battery life is good and can easily take you to San Francisco on one charge and noise cancelling on all the time.

What is not good?
My only issue with headphone is that it gets a bit steamy inside the earcups. The closed circumaural design keeps out air completely and unless you are in an air conditioned surrounding it could get pretty hot after half an hour or so.

Should you buy?
Yes, if you are looking for good noise cancelling headphones that don’t compromise with audio quality in anyway. Plus, you get some handy features like the controls on the earcups with this one. Both Sennheiser and Bose has serious competition with the Sony MDR 1000X and it is not just because of the superb noise cancellation.

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