The Sony WH-1000XM2 are a slightly better and more customizable redesign of the MDR-1000X. They have about the same performance in most aspects as the previous model but with a more consistent sound quality and a great app. They're still one of the best isolating wireless headphones we've tested so they're a good option for commuting, traveling and everyday casual use but unfortunately, their latency won't be ideal for watching videos.
- Excellent noise cancellation.
- Great active features and app support.
- Comfortable and premium looking design.
- Poor latency for watching videos.
- Not ideal for making calls.
The Sony MDR-1000XM2 are a slightly updated version of the MDR-1000X. They have a two-tone color scheme that stands out a bit more than the original black version. They also have a simpler control scheme with one button to control the ambient modes and noise canceling instead of two. They're a bit more comfortable thanks to the softer ear pads but the rest of the design is pretty much the same. They won't be the best headphones to exercise with since they're a bit bulky and although they look and feel well-built, they may be susceptible to the same headband defect as that of the MDR-1000X.
The WH-1000XM2 looks quite similar to the MDR-1000X. The WH-1000XM2 have slightly softer padding but you won't be able to notice the difference by just looking at them. One of the few changes in their design is their color scheme. They have a two-tone black and grey finish and the ear cups have a slightly matte and rubbery coating that makes them stand out a bit more than the original model. However, they're not very distinguishable from one another at a distance, so if you liked the look of the MDR-1000X then you will like WH-1000XM2.
The WH-1000XM2 have slightly better padding on the ear cups but are not distinctively more comfortable than the original MDR-1000X. The ear cups are large and fit well around most listener's ears without being too tight. The headband isn't as generously padded but doesn't put much pressure on the head. They're comfortable enough to wear for long listening sessions and the better padding of the ear cups means they will be less fatiguing after a few hours.
The WH-1000XM2 like MDR-1000X have a good, tactile control scheme that offers a decent amount of functionality. They provide touch sensitive controls for volume, call/music, and track skipping. Additionally, they also offer aware modes to reduce the noise cancellation. Unlike the previous models though, the noise cancellation button now doubles as the aware/ambient modes switch. However, they still have the somewhat unique hand gesture that allows you to momentarily stop all audio and hear an on-going conversation by covering the right ear cup. Unfortunately, the touch-sensitive control scheme is not as precise as physical buttons which may cause a couple of accidental inputs.
The WH-1000XM2 are stable enough for a light jog but will not be the ideal headphones for working out and exercising. Their wireless design and slightly tight fit make them a bit more stable since their less likely to fall off your head because the audio cable got hooked on something. However, because the ear cups are moderately heavy and stick out a bit, they will sway a lot depending on the intensity of your work out routine.
The WH-1000XM2 are the same size as the MDR-1000X. They also fold into a more compact format which makes them decently portable but a bit difficult to carry around on your person. They will easily fit into a bag or backpack and they come with a pretty good and sturdy case.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 are well-built premium looking headphones. The ear cups are dense, well-made and feel durable. The headband is also a nice blend of metal and plastic that gives it a unique look and a flexible design. However, like the previous model the hinges and the part of the headband that connects to the ear cups are still plastic. This means they may also be susceptible to the headband defect that caused the original MDR-1000x to receive a lower score. However, until we receive more reports on the WH-1000xm2 headband having the same issue as its predecessor, we will continue monitoring its durability and update the score accordingly.
The Sony WH-1000XM2 is a decent sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a consistent, balanced, and deep bass, a good yet slightly recessed mid range, and a nearly flat and neutral treble range. Compared to the MDR-1000X, they have a slightly forward sound and improved imaging and distortion performance, but a similarly sub-par soundstage due to their closed-back design.
Very good bass range performance. The response is virtually flat across the bass range, but consistently over our target by more than 2dB. This makes the bass of these headphones slightly heavy and boomy.
Good mid range performance. Low-mid is flat but with a negligible tilt. The bump in high-mid brings and vocals/leads slightly to the front of the mix.
Very good treble range performance. The response is very consistent and nearly flat up to 10KHz.
Very good consistency. Like the MDR-1000X and QuietComfort 35, the WH-1000XM2 seem to be using its noise cancelling system to check for bass consistency. Therefore, in the bass range they perform extremely consistently across our five human subjects. In the treble range, they are decently consistent, but not as much as the bass range.
Poor soundstage. Due to the closed-back design and relatively small ear cups, the WH-1000XM2 won't have an open and spacious soundstage like what loudspeakers create.
Good imaging performance. Phase error is minimal, especially in the mid range. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched, except for a bit of phase mismatch in the sub-bass range.
Below-average harmonic distortion performance. The overall response is rather elevated throughout the range, and nearly identical to the 1000X model up to 8KHz. However, the excess THD that we experienced above 8KHz with the 1000X, has been addressed with the WH-1000XM2.
The WH-1000XM2 are on par with the previous model in terms of isolation, and they're still one of the best headphones to cancel ambient noise. This makes them a great option for commuting and traveling. They also don't leak much at average volumes so you can use them in quieter settings without distracting the people in your vicinity.
Excellent noise isolation. The 1000XM2 performs nearly identical to the 1000X, within our margin of error. It achieves about 19dB of isolation in the bass range, 26dB in the mid range and 40dB in the treble range. All values being very good.
Average leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage sits between 500Hz and 2KHz, which is a relatively broad range but concentrated in the mid range. The overall level of leakage is not very loud either.
Sub-par microphone performance. Speech recorded with the Sony WH-1000XM2 will sound noticeably veiled and also slightly thin. They also don't fare well in environments with even a moderate amount of ambient noise like a busy street.
Mediocre recording quality. The LFE is at 276dB, meaning recorded voice will sound slightly thin. HFE is at 3.2KHz resulting in the recorded speech to lack presence and detail. The frequency response between LFE and HFE is also quite inconsistent.
- 100% SpNR
Sub-par noise handling. The microphone on the WH-1000XM2 achieves an SpNR of only 6.5dB, which is quite low. This means that the Sony won't be able to separate speech from noise in environments with even moderate amount of ambient noise.
The WH-1000XM2 have a great app that offers a lot of control options absent on the MDR-1000x. Most of the other active features are equal or a very similar to the previous model. Latency is a bit worse, battery life and line of sight range a bit better, but the customization options and features offered by the app makes the experience a lot more personal. You can now EQ the sound profile to your liking with a good parametric equalizer or presets. You can also add effects and even select an audio quality priority that enables, LDAC, aptX and aptX HD which is a great addition, especially with Android Oreo devices.
These headphones have a good overall wireless range. They perform a bit worse indoors than the MDR-1000x but do better in direct line of sight. It's not a big difference however so they should both be a good option to use with a fixed Bluetooth source and especially if you keep your mobile device on you. On the upside they're pretty easy to pair with NFC enabled devices.
The WH-1000XM2 have a bit more latency than the than the original MDR-1000X. They seem to focus more on sound quality with than low latency so while the WH-1000XM2 will be good for streaming audio they won't be ideal for watching videos.
The WH-1000XM2 have a good battery life that will last you all day. They also have a quick charge feature that provides about 50 mins worth of playtime from a 10 mins charge. However, they take quite a while to fully charge at 3.6 hours and they also don't automatically switch off anymore, but go into a standby mode. This is a good addition for those who just want to use the strong isolation to block out noise. However, it's not as battery saving as the MDR-1000x. Ideally, a timer feature in the app would have been a great addition but the standby battery life is pretty good especially with the NC turned off.
The WH-1000xm2 support the Sony| Headphones Connect app which gives them a lot more versatility and control options than the MDR-1000x. The app is well designed, easy-to-use and offers quite a few features that aren't common even for other wireless noise-canceling headphones. It gives you live data on the adaptive noise canceling. You can also calibrate the ANC directly in the app instead of holding the NC/ambient button. There's a great parametric equalizer with presets, an in-app media player, as well as room effects and sound position options. The only thing really lacking in this app is an auto-off timer, but overall it's a great addition and one of the biggest differences between the WH-1000xm2 and the MDR-1000x.
In the box
- Sony MDR-1000x Headphones
- Audio cable
- USB cable
- Carrying case