Headphones will change the way you listen to music and watch videos.
Headphones are probably the one item I review the most. In the past few months, I think I’ve true out at least half a dozen different sets of headphones. Each one had perks but it’s been a really long time since a pair of headphones surprised me. These Sony wireless over the ear headphones shocked me to my core and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since.
No wires, no distractions, just music. This is what you first see when you visit the product page on Sony’s website for these headphones. The headphones were designed for a great user experience and meant for people who love music. The biggest feature of the CH700N headphones is the AINC — Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancelling. The AINC adjusts to your environment so that unwanted noise is eliminated as you move from place to place. You can activate the AINC by pressing one button on the bottom of the left ear cup. These headphones are Bluetooth and NFC compatible and they boast an enormous 35-hour battery life (depending on use). The headphones are compatible with quick charging and a 10-minute charging session will provide you with approximately 60 minutes of battery. The CH700Ns feature a 1.57″ driver for deep bass and a wide frequency range. With this size driver, you can hear more details in your audio.
Another premium feature of these headphones is the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE). This feature boosts the quality of compressed music files. When an original music source if compressed, it loses some high-frequency elements and the DSEE restores these to provide a sound that is closer to the original recording. In addition to the DSEE, you can also enhance your listening experience through the Headphones Connect app (iOS or Android). With it you can — Adjust audio levels and digital sound field modes with a range of presets and customizable EQ settings easily from your smartphone. Virtualphones Technology (VPT) simulates outdoor stage, club, hall, or arena-style sound.
The CH700N headphones are feature-rich. Here is a quick rundown of them. You can view the full specs here.
- Closed, Dynamic headphone type
- Neodymium, 1.57″ Dome Driver
- Impedance (OHM) 22ohm/48ohm
- 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz Freqency Response (active operation); 20 Hz–20,000 Hz (44.1 kHz Sampling) (Bluetooth Communication)
- Bluetooth version 4.1; Effective Range of up to 30ft (line of sight)
- Profile: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
- Supported Audio Formats: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD
- USB charging cable and 3.5mm stereo headphone cable provided with headphones
From the moment that I slipped the CH700N headphones on, I knew they were something special. They are lightweight (under 9 oz.) and because of the padded earpads, they are super comfortable to wear even for extended periods of time. As wonderful as this first impression was, nothing could compare to the experience I had when I turned on some music. I typically listen to music through streaming services like Pandora or Spotify. So, when I began testing these headphones, I pulled up Pandora on my phone (after connecting via Bluetooth) and was blown away by what I heard. It was almost like having the speaker system from the movie theater on my head. I turned on my station based on No Diggity by Blackstreet and quickly discovered just how much depth these headphones provide to the tracks you are listening to. I believe that this might be due to the DSEE feature of the headphones. Since I’ve not encountered it before, I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but there is certainly a difference between these headphones and other premium brands.
As if the natural sound of the headphones wasn’t enough, the companion apps for these headphones have a built-in equalizer with specialized presets. While I was on my 90s hip-hop station, I turned on the bass boost option in the EQ. Suddenly I had a subwoofer attached to my ears. You might think that I’m exaggerating, but there was so much bass pushed through the headphones that it honestly felt like that. One of the things I like the most about the headphones is that you can change that setting as needed. Even though the natural sound provided by the headphones is fantastic, you can customize it to your personal tastes by using the EQ and that takes your listening experience to a whole new level.
In addition to a variety of music tracks, I also pulled up Netflix and with the EQ set to ‘none’ I watched the first few minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which includes two classic tracks of music that I’m quite familiar with — Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) and Mr. Blue Sky. The remarkable thing about the opening sequence to this movie isn’t that it has this music included, but that it has an awesome sound mix/design. There is overlaying vocals and sound effects. It was when I ran this particular test that I really felt like I was back int he movie theater. The mix was PERFECT. In addition to that, the surround sound worked wonderfully, too.
These headphones also support phone calls with its built-in microphone. I made a couple of calls using the headphones and both people I called stated that they could hear an echo of themselves. I sounded fine (a bit of a tunnel sound to one of the call recipients, but not the other) but the echo of themselves was so distracting while we were talking that I had to switch to my iPhone instead of the headphones. From my end, I could hear them just find and didn’t detect any echoes.
Because these are over-the-ear headphones, there is a fair amount of noise isolation that they provide even when the noise canceling feature is not enabled. Most ambient noises were blocked while I was wearing them, but I was still able to hear our intercom at work. With noise canceling turned on, there are gentle room noises — like hums and air handling — that were completely blocked out and I could not really hear any ambient noise.
As far as the apps are concerned, there are two of them and they work in tandem. I sort of wish that the two apps were combined into one because it would just be easier to navigate through. The Music Center app is sort of a dashboard for the where you might be getting music from. In my case, iTunes Music, Pandora, and Spotify are included. The cool thing about this is that Sony has provided a simple solution for people who bounce around between apps (like me). You can select any of the options set before you and you are taken to that app. There are a lot of headphone apps out there that lock you into specific services rather than letting it be listener’s choice. The other app — Headphones Connect — is where you find all the controls for the headphones and the EQ. One of the really cool things I like about this app is that you can actually turn the Noise Cancelling feature of the headphones on and off from this app and in the Music Center app, you can power the headphones down. This is one of the reasons it would be nice if the apps were combined.
In addition to the listening checks I did, I also completed a balance and frequency check.
Balance: I used L or R Check to test out the balance between the two earpieces. The app plays an even tone and you can select either the left or right earpiece to hear the tone through. I was able to hear the tone equally and evenly through both the left and right earpieces.
Frequency: The app I use for this is called Tone Generator. It allows me to play a tone through both earpieces at the same time. The tone starts at 20Hz and goes up through 22 kHz — the basic hearing range for human ears. I do want to note that I personally can hear a range between 30 Hz and 17 kHz through the iPhone speaker without headphones. For this particular test, I turned the volume up to 100%. When I did, I was able to hear 20Hz to 18,800 kHz.
These headphones have honestly changed the way that I watch videos and listen to music. No sounds have been muddied and they amplify sounds beautifully. Sony already has future plans for these headphones, too. According to their product page, the CH700N will be optimized for Google Assistant with an update. I can recommend these to any audiophile and think that they are well-worth the investment.
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