For the last few years, Sony has been hot on the heels of rival Bose, working hard to create the ultimate noise-canceling headphone. The biggest design change is to the shape of the headband and padding on the ear cups. The headband is now more contoured to your head, and the headphone has shaved off 20 grams of weight. The padding on the ear cups is also a little softer. The end result is a headphone that’s clearly more comfortable than its predecessor.
The other big change is that Sony has moved from Micro-USB to USB-C charging. As part of the switch, there’s a new quick-charge feature that gives you 5 hours of use from a 10-minute charge. That’s pretty impressive — and the 30 hours of battery life at moderate volume levels is also great.
Sony has updated the chips inside the headphone, upgrading the noise canceling and sound processing. It says its new HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 offers four times the performance of its predecessor and works not only for noise canceling, “but also realizes stunning high sound quality with 32-bit audio signal processing and the combination of DAC with amplifier functionality.”
Also worth noting: Sony now allows you to customize the automatic-off function. Previously the headphone would automatically shut off after a short time to preserve battery life if you weren’t listening to music. But now you can set it to stay on. This allows you to use the headphone’s noise canceling feature even when you don’t want to listen to music.
The long and short of it is, despite some relatively minor issues I encountered with the adaptive noise canceling (perhaps they’ll get fixed with a firmware upgrade), the Sony WH-1000XM3 is a top-notch headphone. And while it may not be a huge upgrade over its predecessor in terms of performance, it’s definitely more comfortable to wear.
Sony WH-1000XM3 specs:
- Weight: 254 grams
- 40mm Liquid Crystal Polymer drivers
- Redesigned headband and slightly softer padding on ear cups
- Up to 30-hour battery life with Bluetooth and noise canceling on
- 10-minute quick charge gives you 5 hours of battery life
- USB-C charging
- New HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1
- Smart Listening by Sense Engine
- Quick Attention Mode allows you to have conversations without taking your headphones off
- Multimicrophone array for improved voice calling
- Customizable Automatic Power Off function
- You can activate your voice assistant with a simple touch
- Available in black or platinum silver with gold highlights
- Excellent editing tools for midi production
- Powerful workflow environment
- Unlimited audio, instrument and MIDI tracks and up to 256 physical inputs and outputs
- Perfect integration of external hardware
- The Mix Window has an independent undo/redo history which is very helpful!
- Its sampling tools are not as powerful as some of its competitors
Who should buy this product?
- You have the cash and purchasing this won’t hurt you.
- You’re a studio owner and/or musician who sees this as a long-term investment.
- You’re a musician/producer who wants an all-in-one platform for all kinds of audio and music production.
Who should not buy this product?
- If you don’t have a big budget, there are cheaper alternatives.
An amazing audio workstation with powerful tools to meet all your audio, music and production needs