March 4, 2021

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Sony WH-1000XM4 is still one of the best noise reduction headphones

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As a giant in the consumer electronics industry, Sony is the world leader in audio-visual, electronic games, communication products, and information technology. It is also the pioneer of the world’s earliest portable digital products and one of the world’s largest electronic product manufacturers. Its products span several fields and affect people from generation to generation.

No matter what field Sony goes into, it will bring surprise to consumers. In the field of active noise reduction headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3, after three generations of evolution, is undoubtedly a product without an obvious short board. More than two years later, Sony built the Sony WH-1000XM4 based on it. After a period of experience, I think it is still one of the best noise reduction headphones in the market.


Mature design is probably the best design

As a user of  Sony WH-1000XM2 and Sony WH-1000XM3, I am already very familiar with the exterior design of Sony WH-1000XM4. It seems that the design language of the WH-1000XM series has not undergone much change since the first generation. It is still a relatively simple business style, and the colors are not as gorgeous and personalized as WH-910N. Black and platinum, and silver are not particularly outstanding, but they are very versatile. Whether you are wearing a business suit or a fashion brand, they can play a good role in embellishment.

Some design and button layout on Sony WH-1000XM3 is also well preserved in Sony WH-1000XM4. The noise pickup microphone on the side and the Sony logo are still golden. The control buttons on the left earmuff, the 3.5mm interface, and the Type-C interface position on the right earmuff have not changed.

The left earmuff has a built-in NFC chip. The mobile phone’s NFC can be paired directly by touching it. Many of the Sony’s Bluetooth speakers I have used also have this design, which is fast and convenient to connect. The right earmuff is a touch panel. You can control playback in the Bluetooth connection state, cut songs, adjust the volume, and answer calls by tapping or swiping with your fingertips. Besides, the quick reminder function is also continued. Covering the right earmuff with one hand can quickly lower the music volume, amplify the ambient sound, and instantly hear the outside sound. At the same time, the music volume is automatically reduced to facilitate temporary communication with others. If you have used Sony WH-1000XM3 before, these continued design and operation logic are effortless to use.

Although the previous generation of product design language, in the details Sony continues to improve, achieve a better wearing experience. The author uses platinum gold and silver color matching, using the integrated matte material design, holding in hand feel quite comfortable. It’s also lighter than the previous generation. Although it’s not as apparent as XM2 to XM3, it’s still perceptible when wearing.

In addition to the slight change in weight, Sony has also improved the head beam part where the metal parts are connected, improving the head beam’s profile and reducing the thickness of the head beam, making it more suitable for the head when worn. A user with a big head like me will not feel a chucking. The earmuffs are filled with soft polyurethane foam, which can completely wrap the ears in the earmuffs and increase the ear pads’ contact surface area. The earpad’s area is more uniform, which brings a stronger sense of wrapping and more stable wearing purpose.

A new wearing sensor has been added to the sound unit in the left earmuff of the Sony WH-1000XM4. The built-in sensor can detect the wearing state of the earphone when in use. When the Sony WH-1000XM4 is removed, the music will automatically pause, effectively saving power. The fast charge function is also retained. The Type-C interface supports the fast charge function, charging for 10 minutes to provide 5 hours of battery life to listen to music. When the headset is fully charged, it can provide 30 hours of noise reduction battery life and 38 hours of non-noise reduction battery lifetime.

In general, Sony has not made radical changes but has built on the previous foundation. Sony WH-1000XM4 uses a very mature product in both design and interaction logic. What surprises will it bring to noise reduction and sound quality?

More intelligent noise reduction, smart pick-free dialogue function gives praise.

Since the introduction of audio products, Sony has been leading the audio industry’s development and innovation. When WH-1000XM3 was released, it achieved the ultimate in noise reduction and sound quality. Sony WH-1000XM4 is based on the previous generation, bringing users a smarter noise reduction experience, making noise reduction more flexible and user-friendly.

Sony WH-1000XM4 has newly added the intelligent conversation free function. When you turn on the headset connect app, when the headset detects the conversation sound, the headset will automatically pause the music and filter in the ambient sound so that you can hear other people’s conversation without covering the headset with your right hand. When the conversation is over, the headset will automatically resume playing, thus freeing the user’s hands.

You can also adjust the voice detection sensitivity in the App. There are three choices of “automatic, high sensitivity, and low sensitivity”. You can also set the time before this mode is turned off. When the headset does not detect your voice within a specified time, the smart hands-free will turn off. You can choose between 15S, 30S, 1 minute, and no automatic shutdown. You can operate the headset to turn off this mode at any time, and you can experience it. You can accurately identify scenes in the office, but it is recommended that you use the quick reminder function if it is a noisy environment.

Also, the accuracy and switching speed between different modes of the adaptive sound control function on the Sony WH-1000XM4 are improved. Adaptive voice control provides four modes: stopping, walking, running, and riding on vehicles. The headset will automatically recognize the wearer’s activity state and then switch to different modes. Users can view the current activity status through the headphone connections app and adjust the noise reduction level of different modes, with 20 levels adjustable. At the same time, after the attention voice is turned on, it can effectively enhance the external voice so that it is not easy to miss the station information while reducing the external noise.

Sony WH-1000XM4 inherits the excellent noise reduction performance of Sony 1000x Series in terms of noise reduction. Each earmuff is equipped with a front and back dual feedback microphone, which can sensitively capture the ambient noise of different frequency bands around. The HD noise reduction processor QN1, which is the same as Sony WH-1000XM3, is used to deeply optimize the algorithm, which can better reduce the traffic noise and the conversation sound in the middle and high frequency bands. The collected sound can be accurately transmitted to the HD noise reduction processor QN1. The HD noise reduction processor QN1 optimized by the processing algorithm will work together with the high-performance Bluetooth chip. The music, noise signal and the acoustic characteristics between the driver unit and the ear can be eliminated in real time at more than 700 times per second. The real-time noise reduction processing is carried out according to the different acoustic environment, which brings more powerful and natural sound Noise reduction experience.


360 live sound is more future-oriented.

Sony WH-1000XM3 has already brought the excellent sound quality performance to users. How about the performance of the Sony WH-1000XM4? Let’s take a look!

According to the official introduction, Sony WH-1000XM4 also uses a 40mm drive unit and an aluminized liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragm. Officially speaking, it can present dynamic bass and clear treble up to 40KHz. The experience shows that the tri-band balance of the Sony WH-1000XM4 has moderate low frequency but good a texture, that is, it can hear the drum sinking but will not blow its head, average elasticity, and will not appear loose in large dynamic. The resolution of medium and high frequency is fair, and all kinds of musical instruments in music keep a good separation from human voice. The image combining ability is equivalent to that of Sony WH-1000XM3, which can better highlight the voice.

Even if the Fifth Symphony “destiny” is played, the Sony WH-1000XM4 can still hold easily, with clear and accurate musical instruments and excellent transient and dynamic performance. The sense of space and atmosphere are perfect, and the magical moment can be accurately restored.

Sony also used Edge-AI technology on this product. After DSEE Extreme (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine Advanced Edition) processing, the high-frequency signal lost during compression is restored, and the volume is full. In general, the core hardware specifications of Sony WH-1000XM4 and Sony WH-1000XM3 are the same. The main difference lies in the optimization of algorithm optimization, which has improved the sense of hearing.

Sony WH-1000XM4 is also equipped with 360 Reality Audio technology. The traditional dual channel is like a band distributed on the left and right sides. It brings left and right stereo to users, while 360 ​​Reality Audio is the place to restore the sound source. , As if you are at a concert, the sound will be transmitted from the corresponding direction. To use this function, what you need to do is record the ear shape in the App by taking a photo as a structural basis for sound optimization, and then the algorithm will then adapt your ear shape to achieve a more shocking sound effect.

Now, Sony’s Hi-Res application already supports 360 live sound effects. I believe that 360 Reality Sound is more of a technology for the future XR field. When 360 Reality Sound matches the picture, it will bring users an immersive experience.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Bluetooth connection is upgraded to Bluetooth 5.0. Data transmission speed and sufficient connection distance are better than wh-1000xm3 and maintain the connection with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. Bluetooth supports SBC, AAC, and LDAC. LDAC is a high-resolution Bluetooth audio coding developed by Sony, which enables Sony WH-1000XM4 to transmit about three times the transmission speed of ordinary Bluetooth (the maximum transmission speed is about 990 kbps). It can transfer lossless audio sources smoothly, and the Bluetooth headset can also obtain good sound quality.



If you compare the Sony WH-1000XM4 with a car replacement, it should be a mid-term facelift. Whether it is the overall design, sound unit, built-in chip, or battery life, it is the same as the previous generation. Based on the previous generation products’ excellent product strength, Sony has improved the sound quality, noise reduction, use, and wearing experience through non-omni directional optimization. It may seem that these upgrades are “not very different”, but when they come together, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is still one of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.

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