Reviewed on Feb 26, 2018 , Sam Vafaei, Yannick Khong

Sony WH-1000XM2
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
Show Help

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.1
Mixed 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:
7.4
Critical 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:
7.6
Commute/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.
Score components:
7.0
Sports/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.
Score components:
7.5
Office
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:
5.8
Home Theater
Show Help
Score components:
5.3
Gaming
Show Help
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sony WH-1000XM2 are a good wireless noise-canceling headset for commuting. They're slightly better and more customizable than the MDR-1000X. They have about the same performance in most aspects but with a more consistent sound quality and a great app. This makes them one of the best noise-isolating headphones we've tested and a good option for frequent flyers and daily commuters. Unfortunately, they won't be ideal for watching a lot of videos due to their relatively high latency.

These Headphones are currently our best Noise Cancelling Headphones - Alternative with more Customization Options.

Test Results
Design 7.3
Sound 7.3
Isolation 8.2
Microphone 5.7
Active Features 7.5
Connectivity 5.6
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.
Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.

Check Price

7.3

Design

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

The Sony WH-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. 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 Sony WH-1000XM2 look quite similar to the MDR-1000X. They 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.

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 Sony 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.

7.2 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 : No
Channel Mixing
Show Help
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
No
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through : Yes
Additional Buttons : N/A

The Sony WH-1000XM2, like the 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.

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 After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6 C

The Sony WH-1000XM2, like most closed back over-ear headphones, are not the most breathable design to take to the gym. They create a good seal around your ears which prevents a lot of airflow and therefore make you sweat a bit more than usual especially if you're doing more demanding exercises. They should be fine for more casual uses only warming your ears after extended listening sessions, but they will not be ideal for running and working out.

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 Sony WH-1000XM2 are the same size as the MDR-1000X. They also fold into a more compact format which makes them somewhat 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

The Sony 1000XM2 come with a sturdy hard case that will protect the headphones from 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.

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 Sony WH1000XM2 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.

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

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

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.3

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 very good, consistent, and deep bass, with adequate thump and punch. They also have a good mid-range, and a nearly flat and neutral treble range, which is important for a balanced reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. However, their bass tends to sound a bit muddy and cluttered, and their treble lacks a bit of airiness. Compared to the MDR-1000X, they have a slightly forward sound and improved imaging and distortion performance, but the difference won't be noticeable to most. Also, like most other headphones, they don't have large and speaker-like soundstage.

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
Mid-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

The bass of the Sony WH1000XM2 is very good. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which means they are able to produce low thumps and rumbles. Also, the entire response is virtually flat across the bass range, but consistently over our target by more than 2dB, especially in high-bass. This results in an extended and punchy bass, but with the downside of sounding a bit boomy and cluttered.

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-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

The mid-range performance of the Sony WH-1000XM2 is good. Low-mid is flat but with a negligible tilt favoring lower frequencies. The bump in high-mid brings and vocals/leads slightly to the front of the mix. Overall, the mid-range is slightly more forward sounding than that of the MDR-1000X.

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
Mid-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

The Sony WH-1000XM2 have a very good treble range performance. Low-treble and mid-treble are flat and within 2dB of our target response. This ensures a balanced reproduction of vocals and leads. In high-treble, these headphones have fixed the steep roll-off issue that the MDR-1000X had and although this will give more "air" to the treble of XM2, the effect will be quite subtle.

Raw Frequency Response
Show Help
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
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

The frequency response consistency of the Sonys are very good. Similar to the MDR-1000X and QuietComfort 35, the Sony 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, showing about 6dB of deviation between 2KHz and 10KHz. This results in a consistent delivery of bass and treble across multiple users and re-seats.

8.7 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 Group Delay Sony WH-1000XM2 Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
Show Help
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.15
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
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: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.78
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
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: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.82
Weighted Phase Mismatch
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: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
4.26

The Sony WH1000XM2 have great imaging. Their weighted group delay is 0.15, which is very good. The graph also shows that the entire group delay is below our audibility threshold, which was not the case with the MDR-1000X. Our L/R drivers of our test unit was also very good in terms of frequency, amplitude, and phase matching. This is important for proper and accurate localization of objects (such as voice, footsteps, and instruments) in the stereo field.

4.4 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.
Sony WH-1000XM2 PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
Show Help
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
5.03 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
Show Help
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
10.0 dB
PRTF Distance
Show Help
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
9.17 dB
Openness
Show Help
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. 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, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage 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
:
1.3
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 will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.4
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

The soundstage of the Sony WH-1000XM2, like most other closed-back over-ear headphones, are poor. The PRTF response shows a good amount of pinna activation, which suggests a relatively large size for the soundstage. However, the peak in the PRTF around 2.5KHz could indicate a soundstage that feels a bit unnatural. Also, there's not a notch in the 10KHz region, which could result in the soundstage to be perceived as located inside the head.

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

The harmonic distortion performance of the Sony is below-average. 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 Sony WH-1000XM2.

8.2

Isolation

Show Help
Score components:

The Sony 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

The active noise cancelling (ANC) system of the Sony WH-1000XM2 is excellent. They perform nearly identical to the 1000X, within our margin of error. They achieve about 19dB of isolation in the bass range, which is important for cancelling out the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, where the bulk of speech sits, their reduction is more than 26dB. In the treble range, important for cutting out sharp S and T sounds, the Sonys achieve a isolation of 40dB, which is great.

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

The Sony WH-1000XM2 have an average leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage sits between 500Hz and 2KHz, which is a relatively broad range and will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds. The overall level of leakage is not very loud either, but it would be audible to people around you at loud volumes and in quiet environments.

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:
Integrated
Show Help
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
In-line
Show Help
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Boom
Show Help
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
No
Detachable Boom
Show Help
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The integrated microphone of the Sony WH-1000XM2 has a poor performance. Speech recorded or transmitted with the mic of the Sonys will sound noticeably veiled and also slightly thin, which makes speech a bit difficult to understand over the phone. They also don't fare well in moderately loud environments, as they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in a place such as 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
Recorded Speech
Show Help
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
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

The recording quality of the Sony 1000XM2's mic is mediocre. 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. Overall, speech may not be easily intelligible with them over the phone.

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
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
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

The microphone on the Sony WH1000XM2 has sub-par noise handling as it achieves a speech-to-noise ratio 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.

7.5

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 Sony WH-1000XM2 have a better battery life and a great app that offers a lot of control options absent on the MDR-1000x. The customization options and features offered by the app make 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, choose from different adaptive noise canceling profiles and even select an audio quality priority that enables, LDAC, aptX and aptX HD which is a great addition, especially with Android Oreo devices.

7.4 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.
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
Power Saving Feature
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.
:
Auto-Off Timer
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 Sony 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 when they're connected to a Bluetooth source, and the adaptive sound is disabled. This is a partial fix that does not resolve the auto-off issue of the original MDR-1000x. When not connected to a Bluetooth source, they switch off within 5 minutes to save power, which is decent but flawed. Ideally, a timer feature in the app would have been a great addition.

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 Sony WH1000XM2 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

5.6

Connectivity

Show Help
What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 32% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Sony WH-1000Xm2 are equal to the MDR-1000x in terms of connection options. They are Bluetooth headphones that come with a standard audio cable with no inline remote. This means they will not have a microphone that's compatible with consoles but you can always use them wired for audio with your Xbox or PS4 controllers. Latency, however, is a bit worse on this model than on the previous one but the line of sight range is better.

8.0 Bluetooth
Show Help
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 79% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • 0% PS4 Compatible
  • 0% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : 4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
Show Help
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that's allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example switching from your phone to your home or work PC.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
No
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.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
PS4 Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
No

The Sony WH-1000XM2 do not have simultaneous multi-device pairing like the Bose QuietComfort 35. But on the upside, they do support NFC which makes pairing with smartphones a bit easier.

7.2 Wired
Show Help
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
Show Help
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
Show Help
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
Show Help
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
Show Help
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only

These headphones come with an audio cable with no in-line remote or USB adapter. This means they do not have a mic that is compatible with consoles.

0 Base/Dock
Show Help
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 4% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 4% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
Show Help
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
Show Help
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
Show Help
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
Show Help
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
Show Help
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
Show Help
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
Show Help
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
Show Help
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
Show Help
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

The Sony WH1000XM2 do not have a base/dock. If you want a versatile headset with a base that you can also use wired check out the Arctis 7 by SteelSeries.

8.6 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:
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

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.

2.2 Latency
Show Help
What it 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:
Default 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 Sony WH-1000XM2 have a bit more latency than the than the original MDR-1000X. This redesign seems to focus more on improving sound quality and addding sound quality codec options than on low latency. So while the WH-1000XM2 will be good for streaming audio, they won't be ideal for watching videos. If you need to watch movies either use them wired or get the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x for their wired connection and good sound.

In the box

Sony WH-1000XM2 In the box Picture

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

Compared to other Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2 Compare Picture

The Sony WH-1000Xm2 are a well-built and premium looking noise-canceling headset. They have a good sound and lots of customization options thanks to the new app support. They're also one of the best noise canceling headphones we've measured which makes them a good choice for commuters and travelers. However, their bulky design might not be as versatile as some of the headphones they are often compared to.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are a minor update to the Bose QuietComfort 35 with a better control scheme. You now have a bit more control over the noise cancellation even without the app, and you get Google Assitant built-in. They're still one of the best noise-canceling headphones with a comfortable, easy-to-use design and a very good sound. They do not look as high-end as the Sonys for the same price but do offer a versatile design that's great for commuting and sounds a little better out of the box. Unfortunately, their sound can't be customized like the Sonys which means if you prefer a more flexible set of features and better noise cancellation, the WH-1000Xm2 is a better choice. But if comfort, sound and ease-of-use is a top priority, then go for the Bose.

Sony MDR-1000X

The Sony MDR-1000x are the older model of the WH-1000xm2. They have the same design and a similar performance but the addition of the customizable app changes the experience quite significantly for some listeners. If you're on a tight budget then get the MDR-1000x. They sound as good as the newer model and isolate enough for most commuters, but they have a slightly more inconsistent sound, you can't easily switch between codecs, and no customization options since they do not support the Sony| Connect app.

Beats Studio3 Wireless

The Beats Studio3 Wireless have a more slick design that looks good and is versatile enough to be suitable for sports. They do not have quite the same high-end feel as the WH-1000xm2, but they have a better wireless range and a good battery life with an excellent quick charge feature. Unfortunately, their noise cancellation doesn't quite measure up to the Sonys, so if noise isolation in noisy environments is most essential for you, get the XM2 but if want a more versatile design and have an iOS device, then the Studio 3 are a great alternative. 

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless are a versatile wireless headset with great customization options and a good sound. They don't cancel noise as well as the WH-1000XM2 but provide more control over their active features and the Sennheiser Captune app is a bit more customizable. They have a comfortable design that's slightly more well rounded than the Sonys thanks to their tighter fit which makes them more suitable for sports. If you need the most isolation for you noisy commutes then get the WH-1000XM2 but for mixed usage, the Sennheiser have a slightly sleeker and more versatile design.

Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

7.1Mixed 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. They have a good wireless design that makes them suitable for everyday casual use.
7.4Critical 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 Sony 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.
7.6Commute/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.
Score components:
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.
7.0Sports/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.
Score components:
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 due to their breathability, stability and size.
7.5Office
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.
5.8Home Theater
Show Help
Score components:
Below-average for home theater. The Sony 1000XM2 have a good wireless range and a decently comfortable design but too much latency to watch movies, especially high frame rate content. Thir cable is also a bit too short for a home theater set up unless you have an extension cord or watch your movies on a PC or tablet.
5.3Gaming
Show Help
Score components:
Sub-par for gaming. The Sony 1000XM2 are 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. They also tend to make your ears a little warm during long gaming sessions and are not compatible with consoles via Bluetooth.
Questions Found an error?

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

Email:

Questions & Answers

18 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
11
Hi, I'm having a hard time deciding between the WH1000xM2, QC 35s, and PXC 550s. Which would you most recommend based on: comfort, portability/slim form factor, and noise cancellation? It doesn't necessarily have to be one of these three, but they seem like the top contenders. TIA!
Overall, the Bose QuietComfort 35 beats the other two when considering comfort, design, and noise cancellation, and sound.
10
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.

8
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.

8
Please give us the answer. Which one in your opinion sounds better? These or the Bose Quietcomfort 35's. Especially considering that these support APTX HD and LDAC, while the Bose QC 35's use standard Bluetooth, which in th Theory has less treble and detail (Even though the WH-1000XM2 has a lower score).
The QC35 has a more neutral sound, the Sonys have a more bass-heavy and muddy sound. The Bluetooth codec doesn't make as big a difference in sound quality as frequency response does. In our listening tests the difference codec makes is negligible for the most part.
7
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.
7
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.
7
Apparently these headphones shut off after 5 minutes if you use them for just noise cancelling without any bluetooth or wired connection. This "feature" can't be turned off. I didn't see this mentioned in your review; do you think this would affect your ratings for office work or travel? Noise cancelling headphones are often used for these activities without listening to any music. I mean, forget about using these on an airplane to get some shut-eye! I didn't learn this until after I bought them, and thought others might like to know. Sony's "fix" is to leave a cable plugged in and dangling from the unit. Can you guys ask Sony about this issue? This feature should absolutely be controllable from the Sony app on your phone. Maybe Sony can put out a firmware update that addresses this.
This was an issue with the original MDR-1000x that has been partially resolved with the WH-1000XM2. We did penalize the MDR-1000x for this as mentioned in the battery test. Unfortunately, the WH-1000XM2 still automatically switch off when not connected to Bluetooth source but the partial fix is that once you disable the adaptive sound control in the Sony | headphones connect app and just have the ambient sound control enabled, they will not switch off.

We have updated the battery text for the WH-1000XM2 review to reflect this, and we agree that a firmware update from Sony, with an auto-off timer option, would be a quick and ideal fix for this issue.

5
Did you test the sound quality with DSEE HX enabled?
No, the test was done with DSEE HX disabled.
5
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.
5
In your article about which bluetooth codec is best (www.rtings.com/headphones/learn/sbc-aptx-which-bluetooth-codec-is-the-best), you compare SBC and aptX while not making any recommendations about AAC. Well this is one headphone that supports all three in addition to Sony's proprietary LDAC codec. On a Macintosh, you can use bluetooth explorer (from the developer tools) to easily switch between the three codecs and even get a bitrate graph of how much bluetooth bandwidth each is using in real time. It would be great to see some measurements for AAC compared to the to the other codecs. It would also be great to see a comparison of the various codecs on this headphone vs wired (with the headphone in active mode).
Thank you for your suggestion. We have yet to develop a test bench that accurately measures all codecs, resulting in a partially incomplete comparison for our SBC vs Aptx article. However, we are investigating different alternatives, like PEAQ (Perceptual Evaluation of Audio Quality), to measure the non-linear effects of codecs, on audio reproduction. We will update this page, as well as all the reviews as soon as we're able to reliably measure the sound quality of headphones with AAC, LDAC, Aptx or aptX HD enabled.
4
what's the level of detail in the music like compared to something like the athm50
They are pretty similar from 2KHz to 10KHz, which is essential for “detail”. But, the Sony lacks some airiness and brilliance above 10KHz compared to the ATH-M50x. It wouldn’t be an issue for most.
3
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.
3
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.
3
You have the battery life for the 1000xm2 as only 3.6 hours even though they have a 30 hour battery life. I have used these traveling and I’ve gotten at least 16 hours.
The WH-1000XM2 measured 28 hours of continuous playtime for our battery life test. 3.6 was the charge time.
2
What devices were used for the testing (namely latency)? According to a few customers in the Sony forums, it may be an iOS specific issue as the same users state there is no noticeable latency when watching videos on their Android phones. Can you confirm?
The three Bluetooth dongles we use in our wireless latency test for Bluetooth headphones are; The MEE Audio Connect Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter, the TaoTronics V4.1 Bluetooth Transceiver (TT-BA07), and the TaoTronics V4.0 Bluetooth Transmitter (TT-BA06).

However, we've also noticed that OS-specific compensation for latency does happen with certain headphones. For example, headsets with the W1 chip do not have as much latency when connected iOS devices. We do not yet have a way to reliably measure these OS-specific improvements as only external Bluetooth dongles are compatible with our testbench for now.

2
Do you think I can find the sound signature of the Mdr-1000 if I’m playing with the equalizer? Because I Ioved the musicality of the 1st model, probably due to the better mid range. Do you know if the MDR-1000 faux leather on the cup scratch and get dirty easily on the gold version? I’m not decided about which model I’ll choose. I prefer the WH-1000XM2 design but I’m afraid about the more flat sounding of this one, From my short listening experience, I thought that the MDR-1000 was giving more life to the tracks. Thank you for your very usefull review.
We don't have experience with the gold version, so can't really comment on that. But the difference between the two headphones is not really significant (even design-wise), so you can just buy the MDR-1000X if you prefer its sound. If not, using a parametric EQ, you should be able to make the WH-1000XM2 sound similar to the MDR-1000X.
1
I’ve been experiencing some issues with the iOS app and equalizer settings. I enjoy the “Excited” preset but find that sometimes after either stopping and starting, or disconnecting and reconnecting, the headphones become very bass heavy and the volume is also increased quite a bit. It stays that way until I open the headphones app, turn off the equalizer preset, and then set the equalizer back to the desired preset. Wondering if this was encountered during review or anyone else, or if it may be a defect with my cans.

We connected our Sony WH-1000xm2 headset to 2 iPhones, both on ios 11, and switched the sound profile to "Excited". We then measured the bass response of the Sonys, turned them off and back on again, but didn't notice any significant increase in bass upon reconnection. Below is the attached measurement before and after reconnecting the headphones.

We did notice though, that switching the EQ profiles disables the DSEE HX auto mode, and also switched the AAC codec to SBC on one of the ios devices, which may be partially the cause of your issue, but in our test, it didn't make a significant difference in bass. Reinstalling the app may help but we cannot reproduce this issue with our WH-1000XM2.

0
Is it possible to test the latency of LDAC? I have seen a lot of conflicting information on whether it increases or decreases latency. In addition to that, are you able to test aptx HD latency at this time?
Unfortunately, our testbench does not yet support LDAC or aptX HD so we cannot test for those latencies yet. We are however looking for more versatile Bluetooth testing equipment that will support the various codecs, so if you have any suggestions, we would be happy to try them out. As soon as we find a reliable testing procedure for LDAC and aptX HD, we will add them to a testbench update.
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: 3.9 business days.

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