Sony WH-CH400 Wireless Headphones Review

Reviewed May 22, 2019 at 10:06 am
Sony WH-CH400 Wireless Picture
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony WH-CH400 are good sounding on-ear headphones. These are wireless-only and can’t be used with an audio cable. They feel quite cheaply-made with very thin plastic and poor padding. They aren’t very comfortable and won’t create a good seal to block out ambient noise, meaning they won’t be great for commuting or to use at the office. On the upside, their battery life is long enough to last you a full workday without a problem, but they take a bit of time to fully charge. They also have amazing wireless range and support NFC for quicker and easier pairing.

Our Verdict

6.2 Mixed Usage

Passable for mixed usage. The Sony CH400 have a good audio reproduction that is versatile for a wide variety of music genres but their on-ear fit won’t be ideal for other use cases. They won’t block out enough ambient noise to be suitable for commuting and they’ll be too leaky for the office. They won’t be stable enough for sports, but they won’t trap as much heat as over-ears. Their latency is also too high for watching TV wirelessly and they won’t be suitable for gaming, on top of having a microphone that won’t be good enough for online games.

7.1 Neutral Sound

Decent for neutral listening. Their bass is accurate and punchy, their mid-range is well-balanced and even, and the treble is very good. However, their bass might feel light on thump and rumble and is very inconsistent across different users. Their treble is also lacking in detail on one driver and is slightly too sharp on the other. Overall, these headphones will be versatile enough for a wide variety of music genres.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.0 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commuting. They aren’t that portable since you can’t fold them, and most importantly they don’t block ambient noise. This means noise will easily seep into your audio and will negatively affect your listening experience. They also won’t be the most comfortable option for long rides and flights.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.8 Sports/Fitness

Passable for sports. The Sony CH400 aren’t the most stable headphones for most sports, but they’ll be fine for a casual jog. However, they don’t fold into a more compact format and they aren’t that easy to carry around. They won’t trap as much heat inside the ears as some over-ear headphones, but they still won’t be the most breathable option. On the upside, they are wireless, so you won’t have a cable in your way if you work out with these.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
5.8 Office

Passable for the office. The Sony CH400 won’t isolate much ambient noise like ambient chatter and A/C systems, but you’ll have enough battery life to go through a normal workday without a problem. However, they aren’t the most comfortable on-ear headphones we’ve tested so far and you might feel discomfort quite quickly due to the poor cup and headband padding. On the upside, their range is pretty impressive, and you’ll be able to walk around the office without hearing too many audio cuts.

See our Office recommendations
5.2 Wireless Gaming

Bad for gaming. These won’t be suitable for playing video games as their latency is very high and their microphone won’t rival a gaming headset's boom microphone. They also aren’t customizable and won’t be comfortable for long gaming sessions. These headphones should not be used for this use.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
5.1 Wired Gaming
6.1 Phone Call
  • 6.2 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Neutral Sound
  • 6.0 Commute/Travel
  • 6.8 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.8 Office
  • 5.2 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.1 Wired Gaming
  • 6.1 Phone Call
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Remarkable wireless range.
  • Good battery life.
Cons
  • Long charging time.
  • Flimsy and plasticky build.
  • Very high latency.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The WH-CH400 are flimsy looking on-ear headphones that can stand out by their bright mono-chromatic colors (red, blue, and grey) but also come in a more low-profile black design. The cups are very small with poor padding, and the headband of the headphones is thin but quite wide. The headphones rest on your ears without covering them. They look plasticky and feel like cheaply-made headphones.

6.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.23 lbs
Clamping Force
0.6 lbs

The Sony WH-CH400 aren’t very comfortable, like most on-ears we’ve tested so far. The padding on the ear cups seems fairly thick but the driver is hidden in it and in reality, there is barely any padding between your ears and the driver itself. The cups sit at an angle on your ears which may feel weird for some. The headband is made out of plastic and doesn’t have any padding on it, which isn’t comfortable during long listening sessions. On the upside, the headphones are very lightweight and aren’t too tight.

7.4
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
N/A
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons N/A

The CH400 have a pretty straightforward control scheme with common functionalities. You get a volume rocker that also serves as a track skipper, and the power button acts as a play/pause button on top of being used for call management as well. You can enter their pairing mode by holding the power button, but you’ll need to hold it for 7 seconds, which is quite long. You don’t have any voice prompts, but you can trigger your device’s voice assistant for voice-enabled commands.

6.9
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 4.2 C

Since the Sony WH-CH400 headphones don’t entirely cover your ears, they’ll be more breathable than most closed-back over-ears. They still trap a bit of heat under the ear cups, but this shouldn’t be an issue during casual listening sessions. You might sweat a bit more than usual if you work out with these, but it won’t be as drastic as some over-ear headphones.

6.1
Design
Portability
L 6.6 "
W 6.2 "
H 2.2 "
Volume 90 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

While the Sony WH-CH400 headphones have a smaller footprint than most over-ear headphones, they aren’t very portable due to the fact they can’t be folded in a more compact format and their cups don’t swivel, which would have made them easier to slide in a bag. The headband is quite flexible, but it might break if you try to squeeze them in a more portable format.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

The Sony WH-CH400 don’t come with a case or a pouch.

5.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones do not feel very durable and well-built. The whole build is made from thin plastic that feels cheap and easily breakable. On the upside, the cups are decently dense and the headband is flexible, but the plastic used is cheap and the one-piece design doesn’t help with durability, especially that you can’t fold them. Putting the headband under a bit of stress feels like it could snap easily.

6.5
Design
Stability

The Sony WH-CH400 aren’t the most stable as they simply rest on your ears. They aren’t very tight, so a bit of head movement makes them sway around easily. They won’t be ideal for sports as they could easily fall off your head, but on the upside, since they are wireless, you don’t have any wires in your way that could get stuck on something and yank the headphones off your head. This shouldn’t be an issue during casual listening sessions and they could be used for a casual jog.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.21 db
Treble Amount
-0.13 db
5.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
2.22 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Sony WH-CH400 is pretty bad in the bass range, but they perform quite consistently in the treble range between reseats. In the bass range, the graph shows major variations at 20Hz, reaching more than 20dB of difference between our human test subjects. This will be very noticeable and means that people’s listening experiences will differ greatly from one another.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.5
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.03 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
25.94 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.92 dB
Mid-Bass
1.85 dB
High-Bass
0.01 dB

The WH-CH400 have great bass performance. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is down to 26Hz, which is very good. However, their low-bass is slightly lacking, which results in a bass that may be a bit light on thump and rumble common to bass-heavy genres like EDM and dubstep. There’s also a small 2dB bump in mid-bass, responsible for the punch of bass guitars and kick of drums. Since the high-bass is accurate and follows our curve well, this will result in a fairly good bass, but it may feel a bit light on thump.

However, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.07 dB
Low-Mid
0.91 dB
Mid-Mid
1.37 dB
High-Mid
-1.85 dB

This mid range of the WH-CH400 is very good. The response throughout the range is fairly even and well-balanced, which results in an accurate reproduction of vocals and instrumentals. However, there’s a small bump around 500Hz, which could bring them forward in the mix. However, the effect is fairly subtle and will barely be noticeable.

8.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.27 dB
Low-Treble
0.21 dB
Mid-Treble
0.86 dB
High-Treble
-0.36 dB

The treble performance is also great. The response is flat and even throughout the response, with a small dip around 6kHz, which will have a negative effect on vocals, leads, and cymbals, but will be barely noticeable. There also seems to be a small mismatch in our unit drivers in the treble range, resulting in the right driver to sound a bit sharper.

7.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.78 db
Dips
1.63 db
8.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.35
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.6
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.41
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.4

These headphones have very good stereo imaging. Weighted group delay is at 0.35, which is good. The GD graph also shows that except for the area around 70Hz, which could sound a tad loose, the response is below the audibility threshold. This suggests a bass that is tight for the most part, and a treble that is transparent. In terms of driver matching, our test unit was very well-matched, which is important for accurate localization and placement of objects (voice, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image, but there is a slight frequency mismatch between the L/R drivers. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may not perform the same way.

4.9
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.75 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
1.68 dB
PRTF Distance
7.46 dB
Openness
6.8
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.7

The soundstage of the WH-CH400 is poor. These on-ear headphones PRTF graph shows a small amount of pinna interaction, with mediocre accuracy. This results in a soundstage that is perceived to be small and unnatural. There is also no deep notch around the 10kHz region and with their closed-back design, the soundstage will be perceived inside the listener’s head rather than in front.

6.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.528
WHD @ 100
0.661
Isolation
3.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-7.04 dB
Bass
0.75 dB
Mid
-6.57 dB
Treble
-16.01 dB

The noise isolation performance of these headphones is bad. Their on-ear design doesn’t isolate against the deep rumble of a plane or bus engine, which means they won’t be suitable for commuting. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieve about 7dB of isolation, which is fairly negligible. In the treble range, important for blocking out S and T sounds and A/C noise, they block out about 16dB of ambient noise, which is sub-par.

6.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
40.54 dB

The Sony WH-CH400 have an acceptable leakage performance. The significant portion of their leakage is spread from 1kHz to 10kHz, which is a relatively broad range and will mostly consist of the high-mid and the whole treble ranges. The overall level of the leakage is not very loud either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away will average around 41dB SPL and peaks at 54dB SPL, which is about the same as the noise floor of most offices.

Microphone
6.7
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
236.29 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.84 dB
HFE
3368.2 Hz
Weighted THD
4.745
Gain
37.98 dB

The recording quality of the integrated microphone is passable. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 236Hz, which means transmitted/recorded speech with this mic will sound slightly thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.4kHz indicates speech that lacks detail and is noticeably muffled. This will have a negative effect on the intelligibility of speech, but it should still be understandable in quiet environments.

6.3
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
15.44 dB

The integrated mic is mediocre at noise-handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 15dB, indicating the mic is best suited for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in moderate and loud situations.

Active Features
6.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
16.6 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
16.6 hrs
Charge Time
3.6 hrs
Power Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

The Sony WH-CH400 will allow you to listen to audio content for more than 16 continuous hours on a single charge, which should be more than enough for a normal workday. Unfortunately, they take more than 3 hours to charge fully, which is quite longer than most Bluetooth headphones. They will automatically turn off if they are disconnected from their source, but won’t do so if you’re still connected to your phone, for example. They also can't be used while charging, which is especially disappointing considering they can't be used passively with an audio cable either.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
N/A
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
N/A
Playback Control
N/A
Button Mapping N/A
Surround Sound N/A

There is no companion app for the Sony WH-CH400.

Connectivity
7.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
Yes
Line of Sight Range
311 ft
Default Latency
292 ms
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

These headphones are Bluetooth compatible, but can only be connected to a single device at a time. On the upside, they support NFC for a quicker and easier pairing procedure, which is nice since it takes 7 seconds to put them into pairing mode.

Their latency is very high. Even if some apps and devices offer some sort of delay compensation, they won’t be ideal for watching video content and playing games. Most people should see a noticeable delay between audio and video content.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
N/A
USB Audio
No
Detachable N/A
Length N/A
Connection N/A
Wired Latency
N/A

The Sony WH-CH400 can’t be used wired. There is no jack for an audio cable on the headphones and they don’t support audio over their USB charging cable.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

These headphones don’t have a dock.

In the box
In the box

  • Sony WH-CH400 headphones
  • Micro-USB to USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Sony WH-CH400 are okay on-ear headphones that set themselves apart by their good audio reproduction. Unfortunately, their build quality is quite cheap and they feel quite fragile. See our suggestions for the best on-ear headphones and the best on-ear wireless headphones.

JBL T450BT Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The JBL T450BT Wireless are better mixed-usage headphones than the Sony WH-CH400, but the Sony have better sound quality. Other than that, the JBLs are more stable, better-built, leak less and have about half the latency of the CH400. On the other hand, the Sony headphones have more battery life, better wireless range, and they support NFC. If sound quality is your most important criteria, then the Sonys will be the better choice.

Sony WH-CH500 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WH-CH400 are slightly better headphones than the Sony WH-CH500 Wireless. While the CH500 model feels better made, there’s a big difference in sound quality that favors the CH400. They also have better wireless range, but they don’t have the same great 20-hour battery life as the CH500. They also offer better value overall since they are cheaper.

Skullcandy Grind Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Skullcandy Grind Wireless are more comfortable on-ear headphones that can also be used wired. They’ll be more versatile than the Sony WH-CH400 and they are noticeably more durable too. These headphones will sound fairly similar, but the Grind will have a more accurate bass for most, with a slight V-shaped sound profile. They also take about half the time to charge, which is nice. However, the Grind don’t support NFC like the CH400 do, but you can use them wired, and also get an in-line microphone, which the Sonys are lacking.

Mpow H5 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mpow H5 Wireless are better headphones than the Sony WH-CH400. These over-ears offer great value thanks to their ANC feature. They are more comfortable than the Sony on-ears and will also have a decent sound quality, on top of being noticeably better-built. Their design is more stable due to larger cups, and their latency is fairly low for Bluetooth headphones. On the other hand, the WH-CH400 support NFC for quicker and easier pairing, and they have better sound quality as well. However, you can’t use them wired like you can do with the Mpow H5, which may be a deal-breaker for some.

Sony WH-CH400 Wireless Price

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