Preferred store
Black Friday deals have started. See our list of recommended deals on headphones. Notably the Bose QuietComfort 25 - dropped by $100 on Amazon.
    Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Design
    1. Style
    2. Comfort
    3. Controls
    4. Stability
    5. Portability
    6. Case
    7. Build Quality
    8. Breathability
    9. Cable
    10. Front
    11. Angled
    12. Side
    13. Rear
    14. Top
  3. Sound
    1. Bass
    2. Mid
    3. Treble
    4. Frequency Response Consistency
    5. Raw Frequency Response
    6. Soundstage
    7. Imaging
    8. Total Harmonic Distortion
  4. Isolation
    1. Noise Isolation
    2. Leakage
  5. Microphone
    1. Recording Quality
    2. Noise Handling
  6. Active Features
    1. Wireless Range
    2. Latency
    3. Battery
    4. App Support
  7. In the box
  8. Conclusion
  9. Q&A
Reviewed on Nov 07, 2017 , Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Sony WH-1000XM2 Noise Cancelling Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.4Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.2Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.7Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
7.1Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
7.7Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

This Headphones is currently our best Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Test Results
Design 7.4
Sound 7.1
Isolation 8.2
Microphone 5.7
Active Features 6.6
Pros
  • Excellent noise cancellation.
  • Great active features and app support.
  • Comfortable and premium looking design.
Cons
  • Poor latency for watching videos.
  • Not ideal for making calls.

Check Price

7.4

Design

Show Help
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Design Picture

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.

Style
Sony WH-1000XM2 Design Picture 2

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.

7.5 Comfort
Show Help
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony WH-1000XM2 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.61 lbs
Clamping Force
Show Help
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.9 lbs

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.

8.3 Controls
Show Help
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Sony WH-1000XM2 Controls Picture
Ease of use : Above-average
Feedback : Average
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : Yes
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through : Yes
Additional Buttons : N/A

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.

7.0 Stability
Show Help
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony WH-1000XM2 Stability Picture

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.

6.1 Portability
Show Help
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Portability Picture
L : 4.9 "
W : 6 "
H : 3.3 "
Volume : 96 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

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.

8.0 Case
Show Help
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony WH-1000XM2 Case Picture
Type : Hard case
L : 7.1 "
W : 8.1 "
H : 2.4 "
Volume : 136 Cu. Inches

Comes with a sturdy hard case that will protect the headphones against scratches, minor falls, and water damage. It's not the most portable case, but it will easily fit in larger bags.

8.0 Build Quality
Show Help
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony WH-1000XM2 Build Quality Picture

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.

6.3 Breathability
Show Help
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Breathability Before Picture Sony WH-1000XM2 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6 C

Cable
Sony WH-1000XM2 Cable Picture
Detachable :
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

Comes with a 1/8" to 1/8" TRS audio cable and a micro-USB charging cable.

Front
Angled
Side
Rear
Top
7.1

Sound

Show Help
What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Sony WH-1000XM2 Frequency Response

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.

8.5 Bass
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Bass
Std. Err.
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.25 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
Show Help
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10.15 Hz
Low-Bass
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.59 dB
Bass
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.0 dB
High-Bass
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.88 dB

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.

7.5 Mid
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Mid
Std. Err.
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.34 dB
Low-Mid
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.89 dB
Mid
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-3.17 dB
High-Mid
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.09 dB

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.

8.3 Treble
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Treble
Std. Err.
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.13 dB
Low-Treble
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.36 dB
Treble
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.99 dB
High-Treble
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-8.78 dB

Very good treble range performance. The response is very consistent and nearly flat up to 10KHz.

8.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Show Help
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Consistency L Sony WH-1000XM2 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.4 dB

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.

4.2 Soundstage
Show Help
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Error
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of deviation in Pinna-Related Transfer Function of the headphones, compared to that of a loudspeaker. Whether the soundstage is perceived to be unnatural, located inside or in front of the head, is dependent on this quality. The more the headphones activate the HRTF resonances of the ear (similar to what loudspeakers do), the more the soundstage will be pulled out from inside the listener's head. This quality affects both stereo and mono content.
When it matters: When a natural, in-the-front soundstage is desired, similar to that of a loudspeaker.
Good value: <5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
5.56 dB
Openness
Show Help
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
1.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
Show Help
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones takes some of the characteristic of its environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality affects both stereo and mono content. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: When an open, wide and roomy sound is desired.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.0
Correlated Crosstalk
Show Help
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

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.

7.7 Imaging
Show Help
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Sony WH-1000XM2 Phase Response
Phase Error
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of deviation in the phase, from the ideal flat response.
When it matters: When an accurate and transparent imaging is desired.
Good value: <60°
Noticeable difference: 10°
:
45.89 °
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
Show Help
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <0.3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.78 dB
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
Show Help
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.82 dB
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
Show Help
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <90°
Noticeable difference: 30°
:
31.84 °

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.

6.3 Total Harmonic Distortion
Show Help
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
5.776
Weighted THD @ 100
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
33.566

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.

8.2

Isolation

Show Help
Score components:

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. 

8.7 Noise Isolation
Show Help
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-28.14 dB
Bass
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-18.8 dB
Mid
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-26.11 dB
Treble
Show Help
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-40.13 dB
Self-Noise
Show Help
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
18.21 dB

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.

7.0 Leakage
Show Help
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
Show Help
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
39.64 dB

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.

5.7

Microphone

Show Help
What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:

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.

6.2 Recording Quality
Show Help
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 Microphone Frequency Response
LFE
Show Help
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
276.97 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
Show Help
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
4.5 dB
HFE
Show Help
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
3272.31 Hz
Weighted THD
Show Help
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
14.048
Gain
Show Help
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
43.08 dB

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.

5.2 Noise Handling
Show Help
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Sony WH-1000XM2 SpNR
SpNR
Show Help
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
6.48 dB

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.

6.6

Active Features

Show Help
What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

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.

8.7 Wireless Range
Show Help
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Type
Show Help
What it is: The type and version of the wireless network, the headphones use to connect to the audio source. This could either be Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: The Bluetooth version will determine how compatible the headphones are with your Bluetooth enabled devices. Typically, newer Bluetooth versions are backward compatible with older ones but may lack the additional features that more recent Bluetooth protocols provide.
:
Bluetooth 4.1
Obstructed Range
Show Help
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
45 ft
Line of Sight Range
Show Help
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
172 ft
NFC
Show Help
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
:
Yes

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.

2.1 Latency
Show Help
What it is: The latency is how long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Base Latency
Show Help
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
210 ms
aptX Latency
Show Help
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
187 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
Show Help
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

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.

6.4 Battery
Show Help
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Score components:
Battery Type
Show Help
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
Show Help
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
28 hrs
Charge Time
Show Help
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
3.6 hrs
Auto-off
Show Help
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
No
Audio while charging
Show Help
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
No
Passive Playback
Show Help
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
Yes

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.

8.0 App Support
Show Help
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sony WH-1000XM2 App Picture
App Name : Sony| Headphones Connect
iOS : Yes
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
Show Help
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
Parametric + Presets
ANC control
Show Help
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
Adjustable
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
Show Help
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
Yes
Playback control
Show Help
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
Yes
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

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.

Sound Position

Equalizer

In App Player

In the box

Sony WH-1000XM2 In the box Picture

  • Sony MDR-1000x Headphones
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Manuals
  • Carrying case

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

7.4Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
The Sony WH-1000XM2 do well for most use cases. They have quite a bit of latency so they won't be ideal for gaming or watching movies. However, they have a great isolation performance that makes them good for commuting and office use. They also deliver an above average sound quality that isn't marred by the inconsistent high frequencies made the MDR-1000x a bit less suitable for critical listening and they have a good relatively easy to use wireless design that makes them suitable for everyday casual use.
7.2Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Above-average for critical listening. The WH-1000xm2 do not have the treble inconsistencies of the MDR-1000X. They also benefit from a good parametric equalizer that you can access through the app to personalize their sound profile. Unfortunately their mid range is not as balanced as the MDR-1000x and since they're very isolating they do not have the soundstage of more critical listening oriented headphones. Lastly we have yet to test their sound quality codecs.
7.7Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Good for commuting. The Sony WH-1000Xm2 like the MDR-1000x have one of the best noise cancellation that we've tested so far. They will block enough noise to be suitable for most public transits, they're comfortable and have a good control scheme. However, they're a bit bulky so they won't be the easiest to carry around on your person.
7.1Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Decent for sports. They're a bit bulky and will make your ears a bit warm after a while. But they're comfortable, have a decent control scheme, and they're stable enough for jogging. They just won't be ideal for very intense exercises and workout routines.
7.7Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Good for office use. They block a lot of noise which is ideal if you have a lively office and need to cancel some of the ambient chatter. They're comfortable and don't leak much but may be a bit distracting if you like to listen to music at higher-than-average volumes.
Average at best. They have a good wireless range and comfortable design but too much latency to watch movies, especially high frame rate content.
Average at best for gaming. They're comfortable, they have an above-average sound and have a good wireless range. Unfortunately, they have a poor mic quality and a lot of latency which is not really suitable for gaming.
Questions Found an error?

Let us know what is wrong in this question or in the answer.

Email:

Questions & Answers

8 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
3
Also how does the headphone compares to the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2?

The WH-1000XM2 has a noticeably better noise cancelling system and a more neutral/balanced bass. The downside of the Sony is its slightly muddy sound, but a few dBs of cut around 180Hz even on an app like Spotify would take care of it.

The BackBeat Pro 2 has a hyped bass which is more "exciting", but it definitely kicks a bit too much on some tracks (which some may like). A little bit of cut around 30Hz will correct most of the BackBeat's issues.

Also, please note that these are just general comments. EQing is highly dependent the sound profile of each track, which can vary a lot.

2
How does the sound quality compares to the Bose QC 35's and Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless?

QuietComfort 35 and WH-1000XM2 sound very close to each other, and we recommend them over the PXC 550 Wireless. The Sony sounds slightly muddy in high-bass, but that's easily correctable with an EQ. In comparison, the Bose maybe a bit too bright for some.

It would probably better to decide between the two based on other factors like comfort, battery/wireless performance, and leakage.

1
Did you test the sound quality with DSEE HX enabled?
No, the test was done with DSEE HX disabled.
1
Are there any setting changes that help address the latency with videos? Do you expect a firmware update to fix it? Shame they did not notice or care enough.
We cannot comment on a software update to fix the latency issues. There does seem to be more processing compared to the MDR-1000x (most likely due to the extra features and codecs) which results in more latency overall for the WH-1000XM2. However, most Bluetooth headphones with a default SBC connection are around 150-200 ms so it's not that unusual but you will notice the slight delay in videos, especially, with lip movements.
1
Is there any latency via a wired connection vice BT?
Using the Sony WH-1000XM2 wired will have practically no latency, between 0 and 5ms, which is very negligible.
0
Do you plan to review the Bowers and Wilkens PX? If so, when. Thank you.
Not at the moment, but you can vote for your it to be reviewed here.
0
Does the DSEE HX upscaler actually improve the sound quality?
We don't have a test for it at the moment, so can't speak objectively. However, subjectively, the difference is negligible.
0
If I wanted to use the built-in EQ to get as close to "flat" as possible, looking at the graphs, it seems like it would be something like all zeros except for the 6.3k and 16k positions at +1 and +2 respectively. Can you confirm this with actual tests?
There is a some uncertainty regarding how well dummy head measurements in the treble range translate to real-life human impressions. Therefore we don't recommend EQ-ing the treble of headphones too much at the moment. For the WH-1000XM2, we mostly recommend a few dBs of cut around 180Hz. For the treble range experiment by yourself and pick the setting that sounds best to you.
Questions Have a question?

Before asking a question, make sure you use the search function of our website. The majority of the answers are already here.

Current estimated response time, based on # of pending questions: 3.5 business days.

:
:
A valid email is required. We answer most questions directly by email to prevent cluttering the site.