Sony WH-1000XM2 review: OK Sony, you win

Intro

I have a problem. It’s an incredibly first-world problem, because it’s one where no amount of gear is ever “enough”. Literally the week after I ordered my brand new Audio Technica ATH-M40X, I was already scouring the internet for a brand new pair of wireless headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC).

And it’s not like I’m some big audiophile. My ears are decidedly plebian in the sense that I know what I like and I know what I don’t — there isn’t really a super deep spectrum. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from wanting to get the best ones there are.

After weeks of reading, listening and researching, I managed to narrow down the list to a few prime candidates. Sony’s original MDR-1000X headphones were not at the top of the list. Then, everything changed when I got a hold of the WH-1000XM2.

There were really only a handful of proper wireless ANC headphones in contention within my budget. Those were the Bose QuietComfort 35, the Sennheiser PXC 550, the JBL Everest Elite 750NC, Sony’s MDR-1000X and its successor, the WH-1000XM2.

In my weeks of trying to find the best pair of wireless ANC headphones, I went out and tried to get my ears on as many pairs as I could. Some of them, I got to test at launch events (Everest Elite 750). Others (QC35 and PXC 550), I went to various headphone stores — Jaben, for example, is great for testing headphones — and spent whatever free time I had listening to them.

For some reason, the MDR-1000X continued to elude me because they were always unavailable when I wanted to test them out. The only time I got to spend with them was brief (once during MWC2017, once during a Sony Bravia TV launch). Still, that was enough to form an opinion and up until I attended the launch of Sony’s successor WH-1000XM2 headphones, Bose was king of my list.

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But Sony got their lovely WH-1000XM2 on my head and over my ears and the subtle improvements they made to the version 2 was enough to pique my interest for a full review.

So I spent a little less than a month with these cans on my ears and if I weighed all the factors, there’s no arguing that Sony’s WH-1000XM2 is an absolute gem.

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