Sony WH-1000XM3 - Wireless ANC Headphones - Official Thread

Sony’s latest iteration of their top-of-the-line Bluetooth wireless active-noise-cancelling headphone, the WH-1000XM3, has been generating a lot of interest since its announcement earlier this year:

You can read more about it here, including its features and the full specifications.

With its more recent ready US availability, and various questions about it popping up, I though it was time to post an official thread for it - so here you go …

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In response to various questions about the WH-1000XM3 in this thread, and in the interests of promoting more discussion, I figured I’d post some quick measurements for them.

First here’s the raw FR plot. This was done with a standard miniDSP EARS unit, using microphone compensation only (no headphone model/compensation), driving the WH-1000XM3 via Bluetooth using AAC and aptX protocols, calibrated to 84 dB @ 300 Hz) and with 1/12 octave smoothing:

And then since questions about how loud they will play have come up a few times, I measured their maximum SPL, again via Bluetooth and using AAC and aptX protocols, at several salient frequencies using a -3 dBFS signal (so measurements could be as much as 3 dB higher than shown depending on your source settings):

The short summary of which is that they’ll play loud enough to damage your hearing even without a full-range signal.

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I owned the original WH-1000X for about a year and they worked well. Just ordered the WH-1000XM3 and look forward to sampling the improvements. My expectations for this headphone has always been based on convenience not sound quality so I have few criticisms.

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I just started in a new office environment that is significantly louder than my previous large cubicle (with walls) previous life. This open format isnt super ideal. While the Focal Elegia and IEMs work pretty well for combating the noise, I’m thinking of commuting by transit and taking Elegias on the light rail sounds kind of hokey. Thinking of getting the WH-1000XM3 or the WH-H900N, though leaning towards the 900N as it has a more balanced sound signature. It’s big trade-off is that it’s ANC isn’t as significant as the 1000X series, though I have tried it and the ANC may actually be too much for my liking. I also have a set of wired Bose QC25 and B&O H9 (wireless ANC) but don’t particularly like either one either.

After trying to ride transit with WH-1000XM2s for a couple days, I concluded they were best reserved for airplanes and longer journeys. The noise cancelling can be too good for safety and catching the loudspeaker announcements. Simply not enough situational awareness. However, recent versions of Sony’s software let you bleed in exterior sound so you can work around it.

A more difficult issue is wearing winter clothes or hats with headphones, or surviving hot/sweaty days with them on. In ear Bluetooth is by far the easiest solution, and I like noise isolation rather than cancelling. I switched to gym/sport in-ears several years back [and just got $25 Anker Soundcore Spirits for this use case…see cheap IEM thread.]

Regarding tone profile/sound signature, all noise cancelling products are processed in my experience. The default 1000XM2 tone is warm, but the software allows for EQ “Bright” or “Bass Reduce” as needed. The software has a 1,000 options and is pretty decent in a ‘processing’ sense. But, the audio quality never rises above medium.

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I don’t find commuting by transit to be very headphone friendly. Rather I find that you can plug in IEMs (one of my favorite uses for IEMs) whether or not they have music flowing in. You are then free to zone out and stare blankly, put your stuff on the seat beside you, pretend to be half asleep, and otherwise act like a hostile seatmate. I have managed on many occasions to commute the hour or so from Lancaster PA to Philadelphia in the morning in blissful comfort.

This method, although not as effective, is far more socially acceptable than to sit on the train appearing engrossed in cheap pornograhic magazines whilst making snorting noises.

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Yea, as much as I like IEMs, they do bother me after wearing them for some time. My ears can only take so much foreign objects shoved up it for so long. Even my CIEMs can get irritating.

Anyway, Amazon same-day refurb deal on WH-H900N is here. It’s the cheaper brother of the WH-1000XM3 with less noise cancellation and less bass.

For some reason this conversation made Etymotic triple flange deep insertion pop into my mind, not aurally mind you just figuratively.

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I noticed in the app, for android, as soon as you turn on EQ, LDAC stops working and it goes back to SBC. What’s the point then? Meh.

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I’ve only use Apple devices on Bluetooth, but the potential is low regardless. I briefly hooked them up to a desktop amp and heard no improvement. My take away is that the noise canceling circuits are in charge.

Don’t expect greatness with transit audio.

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I’m considering an update to my Sony MDR-1000X set. There are Sony, Sennheiser, Bose, and B&W competitors. Anyone have “ears on” experience with the competition?

There’s a new one from beyerdynamic coming out in early June called the Lagoon that could be promising.

Becoming a crowded market!

Thanks for the tip! I will be watching for reviews when they hit the market.

You might want to check out the new Beyerdynamic ANC wireless headphones. Lagoon model. I’m hoping for better sound given their Beyerdynamic DNA.