Sony Electronics' announcement at IFA 2018 expands the acclaimed Sony 1000X family with a new headband-style around ear model, which offers all of the praised features from the previous WH-1000XM2 model while adding multiple key improvements, including upgraded noise cancelling performance to enhance the listening and user experience.
The new WH-1000XM3 noise cancelling headphones were designed for users who are actually looking for the best possible experience and listen with "next-level silence". According to Sony, the newly developed HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 has approximately four times greater performance than the previous processor found in the M2 model. This allows for an improved reduction of airplane and subway noise, but also further cancelling out daily background sounds, such as street noise and human voices. The new WH-1000XM3 headphones also features Dual Noise Sensor technology that captures ambient noise with dual microphones and then passes the sound data to the processor to cancel the noise.
"We are proud to deliver the third generation of our industry-leading noise cancelling headphones," says Yang Cheng, head of video and sound at Sony Electronics. "Our latest model takes noise cancelling to the next level with Sony's innovative QN1 processor to deliver only your favorite music and nothing else."
On the reproduction features, Sony details that the WH-1000XM3 headphones will also improve the experience for users listening to high-resolution audio, based on a 40mm dome driver with CCAW voice coil, neodymium magnet and an aluminum coated Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragm that handles heavy beats and can reproduce a full range of frequencies up to 40kHz.
And the HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 works not only for noise cancelling, but also for delivering 32-bit audio signal processing, while the combination of DAC with a built-in amplifier further improves sound quality, delivering best-in-class signal-to-noise ratio, and low distortion for portable devices. On the transmission side, the new model maintains the Bluetooth 4.2 radio with 30 ft (10 m) range and all the supported audio formats, including AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC.
The activity recognition feature — Adaptive Sound Control —will automatically detect the user's physical environment and adjust to changes. This allows the user to hear ambient sounds together with music when walking, announcements while waiting, and be immersed in music with noise cancellation when traveling by train or bus. This smart listening experience is enabled by the new Sense Engine, Sony's latest integrated technology that combines audio analysis with real-time signal processing techniques, providing also personalization features, which can be customized with the Sony Headphones Connect app.
Leveraging the improved microphone system, which allows for better voice calls, the Quick Attention Mode allows users to hear what is going on around them without taking the headphones off. Touch controls allows user to place the right hand over the earcup to decrease music volume instantly, to hear and quickly respond to someone talking to us, or to order a drink or food at a restaurant without taking the headphones off. Other ways to control the sound include swiping the touchpad on the right earcup to turn the volume up/down or to change track.
Another improvement is the Customizable Automatic Power Off function on the companion Headphones Connect app, which enables the headphones to stay on and in noise cancellation mode without being connected to a device - allowing users to reduce noise without listening to music and rest peacefully on a long haul flight.
On the design front, the 1000XM3s have a new, slimmer silhouette and weigh less than their predecessor. The deeper earcup and thicker headband cushion add comfort. They also come with a stylish fabric case and are available in new color options of black or platinum silver with gold highlights. The battery life can extend to 30 hours with noise cancelling and Bluetooth connectivity, depending on settings, environmental conditions, and usage. More important, the 1000XM3 headphones have an upgraded Quick Charging function that provides up to five hours of wireless playback after a mere 10 minutes of charging, when using the optional 1.5A or more AC Adapter with USB type-C port.
The new Sony WH-1000XM3 noise cancelling headphones have a suggested retail price of $349.99 and will be available already in September 2018.