Sony has updated the top model of its collection of noise-canceling wireless over ear headphones with the arrival of the fourth generation of the 1000XM series. These are the new WH-1000XM4, a solution that incorporates the traits of the previous WH-1000XM3 – both stylistically and functionally – but with some interesting add-ons. Let's see them together.
One of the main new features of the new model lies in the Bluetooth System on Chip Audio which manages noise cancellation. This is where the audio signal coming from the (two) microphones on each pavilion arrives, and it is here that it is processed for the elimination of noise through the Dual Noise Sensor technology, which detects ambient noise and transmits data to the dedicated HD processor. QN1. Specifically, explains Sony, the WH-1000XM4 integrate a new algorithm that coordinates the noise suppression processor by performing the noise canceling process in real time at a frequency of 700 times per second.
To compensate for the loss of fidelity due to compression, artificial intelligence applied to the source (Edge-AI) and a technology called DSEE Extreme developed instead to analyze music in real time and recognize instruments, musical genres and individual elements of each song, in order to restore high frequency sounds by upscaling.
Like other solutions in the house, the new WH-1000XM4 are also compatible with 360 Reality Audio, the technology developed to improve the level of immersion while listening with an Android / iPhone smartphone and a compatible streaming app installed. By connecting the headphones to the app Sony Headphones Connect, the listener can customize the 360 ° sound field as he prefers, optimizing the result.
Another novelty of the WH-1000XM4 is represented by Speak-to-Chat, a function designed to improve conversations even while listening to music. The headphones, in practice, immediately recognize the wearer's voice, automatically interrupting the music and letting the ambient sound pass in order to improve the interaction with the outside. Music playback automatically resumes 30 seconds after the last spoken sentence.
The same result can also be obtained by placing the right hand over the pavilion, a mode (Quick Attention) particularly useful when it comes to, for example, listening to an announcement on the plane or interacting quickly with other people without removing the headphones.
Furthermore, the new WH-1000XM4 have an intelligent system to detect the position and activity of the user and adjust the settings relating to environmental sounds accordingly. Over time, in practice, the system learns to recognize the places frequented most often, for example the office, gym or favorite bar, customizing the sound according to the situation.
In this regard, the application Sony Headphones Connect allows you to store frequently visited places and favorite settings, so that the options relating to ambient sounds are automatically updated as you move from one environment to another.
The WH-1000XM4 integrate the same touch panel as the previous model and are compatible with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for managing voice commands on associated devices. They also support the function Google Fast Pair who do it facilitates the finding in case of loss through the emission of a sound.
In terms of connectivity, connection with external devices that support NFC and Bluetooth is guaranteed. With the latter protocol, among other things, it is possible to associate two devices at the same time, for example a TV and a smartphone. Not immediately though. To enable the function, it will be necessary to wait for a specific firmware update which will arrive later. When this happens, Sony tells us, the headphones will be able to make multiple connections and switch with a single touch from one device to another, or automatically in front of certain events (for example the arrival of a call on a mobile phone ).
Autonomy chapter. The new WH-1000XM4 arrive with a supplied battery that promises up to 30 hours of use with active noise suppression mode or up to 38 hours of battery life with noise suppression mode disabled.
Remaining in terms of energy efficiency, compatibility with a fast charging system (10 minutes of charge with the AC adapter guarantee up to 5 hours of wireless playback) and above all the presence of a system for the automatic detection of the person using a proximity sensor and two accelerometers to understand if someone is wearing them and automatically stop playback when they are removed (and reactivate when they are worn again).
The new Sony WH-1000XM4 will arrive on the market in September at a price of 380 euros.