Sunday, August 25, 2019

Blissful listening anytime, anywhere 

Aug 05. 2019
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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

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Little, light and truly wireless, Sony’s new WF-1000XM3 earbuds pack on the audio while cancelling out the outside world.

Each earbud weighs just 8.5 grammes meaning that you can wear them all day and never feel uncomfortable. And the WF-1000XM3 is designed to have long battery life so that you can enjoy the music for hours on end without disruption.

The WF-1000XM3 has effective noise-cancelling technology powered by the HD Noise-Cancelling Processor QN1e that works with dual microphones to negate noises so that you can immerse yourself in music without worrying about the noise around you.

Each earbud has a feed-forward microphone on the top and a feed-back microphone embedded by the ear tip. The microphones let the noise cancelling circuit sense outside noise and send an equal-but-opposite cancelling signal to the earphones.

And since the HD Noise-Cancelling Processor QN1e uses little power, the earbuds have long battery life. The QN1e is a multi-talented processor because it combines digital noise cancellation, 24-bit audio signal processing, and digital-to-analogue converter with headphone amplifier. This results in aquiet listening environment and good-quality music sound. The earbuds use a tiny-yet-powerful 0.24-inch driver unit that delivers rich and clear sounds.

The WF-1000XM3 has two modes: the Ambient Sound Mode and the Noise cancelling function. To switch between the two or turn them off to save battery life, imply use the touch button on the left earbud or use Sony’s Headphones Connect app.

When you switch to the Ambient Sound Mode, the processor automatically works with the app’s Adaptive Sound Control to determine which is the best environment then sets the sound to Transport, Walking, Staying or Running.

In the Staying mode, the Adaptive Sound Control adjusts the level of microphone and music playback to allow you to hear voices of the outside world while reducing other background noises. This will allow you hear important announcements.

In the Travel mode, the QN1e processor will block out all the noises so that you can enjoy music without disruption. And in the Walking mode, the app adjusts the ambient sound to level 12 out of 20 so that you can be aware of everything around you while listening to your favourite tunes. In the Running mode, the ambient sound level is adjusted to the 20 scale.

During the test, I found the WF-1000XM3 effectively negated the hum of the air-conditioner in my bedroom to allow me to enjoy music uninterrupted. When the earbuds were seated properly in my ear canals, they also reduced the loud sound of my TV set so I could continue to enjoy the music while the rest of the family stayed glued to their favourite programme. 

The WF-1000XM3 uses dome type, CCAW voice coil neodymium drivers with frequency response of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz and with 44.1 kHz sampling rate.

I found the sound quality of the earbuds was impressive with clear and amazingly deep bass for such tiny earphones. I enjoyed listening to the Metallica’s Black album with clear highs and mids and a very satisfactory bass. 

It got even better when I used the DSEE HX digital sound enhancement engine to upscale compressed digital music files to the quality of high-resolution audio.

You can also use the Headphones Connect app to change the music tone. There are 11 options from which to choose plus one to option to turn it off. You use two custom options to adjust the equalizer bar to get the music tones you like.

The available preset tones include Bright, Excited, Mellow, Relaxed, Vocal, and Bass Boost. As a serious rock fan, I liked the Bass Boost the most. 

Connecting the earbuds to your smartphone is a breeze as the WF-1000XM3 has a NFC (near-field communication) chip embedded in its charging case. I simply opened the charging case, removed the earbuds and tapped my Sony Xperia Z Premium’s back to the NFC mark on the charging case. The earbuds were Bluetooth-linked to the smartphone automatically.

The WF-1000XM3’s placement of Bluetooth antenna is opitimised to ensure wider coverage and keep the signal strong for uninterrupted streaming. And the earbuds use a new Bluetooth chip that transmits sound to the left and right ears simultaneously rather than relaying sound from one earbud to the other.

The WF-1000XZM3 is also designed for active users. They are ergonomically designed to make contact with three different points on your ear for a secure, comfortable fit. Each earbud has a high-friction rubber surface that keeps it snug and secure in your ear, so they won't slip out unexpectedly during exercise.

Each earbud comes with a proximity sensor that can detect whether you're wearing one or both, and adapts playback accordingly. Take out one earbud and the music automatically pauses on both sides. And when you put the earbud back in, the music automatically resumes.

You can the volume right down and let in ambient sound by placing your finger over the earbud so you can instantly chat with someone without taking your headphones off.

The WF-1000XZM3 has a good battery life. One full charge offers 6 hours of power, and the handy charging case provides a further three charges. With noise canceling off, it's even longer – the earbuds provide 8 hours of music listening and up to 32 hours of play time with three more charges from the case.

The earbuds also support Google Assistant so that you can speak to the headset’s microphones to operate the smartphone or perform searches.

And of course, the earbuds can also be used as your smartphone’s headset. When there is an incoming call, you can tap the touch sensor on the left or right twice to receive the call. To hang up, again tap twice on either side. 

And the right touch sensor button can also be used to control playback of music on the connected smartphone. Tap once to play or pause the music, twice to skip to the next track and three times quickly to return to the previous track.

Sony WF-1000XM3 has a suggested retail price of Bt8,990.

 

Key specs:

Headphone type: Closed, dynamic

Driver unit: 0.24 inch, dome type (CCAW Voice coil)

Magnet: Neodymium

Frequency response: 20 Hz–20,000 Hz (44.1 kHz Sampling)

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth profile: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

Supported Codec: SBC, AAC

Weight: 8.5 g x 2

Battery: Max. 6 hrs (NC ON)/Max. 8 hrs (NC OFF)

Charging case: Battery: 3.5 hrs for providing three more charges for earbuds; Weight: 77g

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