Review on Sony WF-1000XM4
|Price history for Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control, Black|
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The Review on Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony is definitely at the top of its game in the wireless earphones market. The company doesn’t shy away from selling premium-priced products because it knows it can deliver the quality.
The new Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds are the successor to the XM3 model, which was already quite good. Is it a good upgrade?
Why, yes it is. We have a new design for you to enjoy, a new type of button tips for a better fit and a new audio processor inside.
The XM4s have excellent battery life, great audio quality with quite a usable EQ in the Sony app, very reliable connectivity and fantastic active noise cancellation and pass-through modes for ambient noise.
Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM4 or Sony WF-1000XM3?
Now that the XM4 is out, with a price tag of $280, the XM3 has dropped to about $180. In all seriousness, the old model still sounds fantastic and offers great active noise cancellation. It’s about how much money you’re willing to spend.
If you have the extra $100 to hand out, just go for the WF-1000XM4. You get the modern redesign, wireless charging of the case, IPX4 water resistance and slightly better sound (especially in the bass department) with the new integrated processor V1, the new 6mm drivers and the new DSEE Extreme audio processor, which is there to track tracks. with a low bitrate to be scaled up to hi-fi sounding.
If you’d rather save some money, get the XM3 and rest assured you’ll still get great quality for your money. The XM3 has slightly weaker bass and the noise cancellation isn’t that great compared to the XM4 (but still pretty good!). No water resistance rating here either.
Are the Sony WF-1000XM4 better than the Apple AirPods Pro?
For noise cancellation, ambient sound transmission or microphone quality during calls – both sets of earbuds are great. So I’ll just get that out of the way.
As with anything to do with sound and the experience of music, there is a great deal of subjectivity when it comes to earphones. But the WF-1000XM4 earbuds are definitely more feature-heavy than the AirPods Pro. You have an EQ that you can adjust to taste, you have a Quick Attention mode, which makes it easy to have quick conversations without taking the earbuds off, and you have Fast Pair and Swift Pair, so the XM4s are really fast to connect to your Android or Windows devices.
Unfortunately, the WF-1000XM4 doesn’t support multi-device connectivity, so you’ll have to manually disconnect and re-pair when switching (which is super fast with the aforementioned Fast Pair and Swift Pair, but still). This is where the AirPods Pro easily wins – provided you’re using multiple Apple devices, switching to the active one is just a matter of pressing “play”.
But the AirPods Pro don’t have EQ — they sound great, but you can’t make them sound “your way.”
Sony WF-1000XM4 sound quality
Sony’s earbuds are top notch and the XM4s don’t disappoint. Provided I found their sound a bit flat and muddy out of the box – a few tweaks to the EQ via the Sony Headphones Connect app quickly resolved that. I was able to add some air and pop them while cleaning up some midrange mud. The bass was great from the get-go, but if you want more punch, the Clear Bass option in the app can certainly deliver.
Now they certainly can’t reach the quality of a nice pair of over-ears (like the Sony WH-1000XM4 or AirPods Max), because the music sounds a bit too “bent” and “in your face”. But that’s still an inherent quality of the in-ear design, I guess.
Instrument separation is great and everything sounds pleasantly defined and with minimal distortion. I can use these to both enjoy my favorite songs with every intricate detail heard, or even confidently research and learn songs.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds support 360 Reality Audio technology – a new way to create a virtual sound image, where everything – from instruments to reverberations – can have a more realistic stereo image. Kind of like the new Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, which Apple has added to Apple Music.
To listen to 360 Reality Audio tracks, you need to be subscribed to the right platform, such as Tidal Hi-Fi. And you’re limited to listening to songs mastered to this standard.
Can you listen to Apple Music Dolby Atmos tracks with the Sony WF-1000XM4?
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