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Sony WH-XB910N Bluetooth Headset Test: Serious, lo and behold

Sony WH-XB910N Bluetooth Headset Test: Serious, lo and behold

User experience

Since we do not change the winning team, the WH-XB910N again takes almost all the functionality and ergonomic qualities to our great delight. WH-1000XM4. At the control level, there are two physical buttons on the edge of the left ear cup (Power On, Connect and switch between active noise reduction and “ambient sound” mode) provided in addition to the tactile surface placed on its shell. Device. Right headset (reading, listening sound and call management). Communication with the ensemble is precise and responsive, especially since each action facilitates handling with beeps or voice commands (in French). The headset is controlled by voice thanks to the comprehensive integration of Google Assistant and Alexa.

A simple short press of the ignition button allows you to know the battery level at any time; Training!

The stability of the Bluetooth connection (support for version 5.2, SPC, AAC and LDAC codecs) proved to be flawless during our testing, even though the headset was connected to two different sources simultaneously (support for multipoint functionality). In conclusion, the call does not only have a balance sensor, it is also useful to take advantage of the automatic pause / resume reading when the headphones are removed / repositioned on the head.

The WH-XB910N is a fast name and Swift pair compatible, which makes combining on Android and Windows 10 childish, thanks to the appearance of the connection window.  However, on other computers, you need to be satisfied with a classic connection process.

The WH-XB910N is a fast name and Swift pair compatible, which makes combining on Android and Windows 10 childish, thanks to the appearance of the connection window. However, on other computers, you need to be satisfied with a classic connection process.

The WH-XB910N is supported by the Sony “Headphones” mobile processor, which has a good information and tools for managing, for example, sound rendering (5-band graphic equalizer), active noise reduction or “ambient” sound “mode. The app also has configuration parameters to enhance rendering with Sony’s 3D audio format 360 Reality Audio.

The “extra pass” limit with this WH-XB910N was never in line with its name. But unlike its predecessor, this model suffers from more serious control issues: the bass is exaggerated here and very intrusive.

Frequency response measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz).  Wire with active noise reduction (black), active noise reduction (purple), headphones off (orange).  When the headset is on, the measurements are the same in Bluetooth and wired usage.

Frequency response measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz). Wire with active noise reduction (black), active noise reduction (purple), headphones off (orange). When the headset is on, the measurements are the same in Bluetooth and wired usage.

You do not have to be an expert to read frequency response curves to immediately understand where the problem is coming from: the WH-XB910N actually places absolutely unequal importance on the entire bass area, so listening quickly can be unbearable, especially with the already generous titles in this area. So the bass is ubiquitous and obscures a good part of the first part of the spectrum. The effect is more obvious because the upper extremities are actually less represented. The effect – not better when engaged in active noise reduction – is seldom brilliant. The sound rendering is very “earth”, dull and cavernous. Under these conditions, it is difficult to accurately identify the various sources present, especially sounds that are particularly dull. Appreciating the layers of the soundstage is not easy, but very compact and compact.

Measurement of membrane reactivity: square waves at 50 Hz.  We can accurately observe the overflow and inefficiency of the bass coming from the loudspeakers.

Measurement of membrane reactivity: square waves at 50 Hz. We can accurately observe the overflow and inefficiency of the bass coming from the loudspeakers.

The reasons for this poor performance are a terrible lack of balance, balance and definition, but accuracy: Silence events from the treble are often added to the smoothness of the pass. If it is really possible to calm the pass through the “clear pass” parameter of the balance in use (in this case it can be easily set to -10 …) to find some balance and readability, however, one should not expect a drastically better result. Overall sound reproduction is still very limited and not very detailed, and is light years away from the rendering we provide. WH-1000XM4, Or even below WH-XB900N, His predecessor.

Harmonic decay measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz).  Without active noise reduction (red) and active noise reduction (purple).

Harmonic decay measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz). Without active noise reduction (red) and active noise reduction (purple).

Active noise reduction

The noise reduction offered by the WH-XB910N is far from doing wonders, although it is far superior to its predecessors. WH-XB900N. The headset offers two different modes: a standard that is activated by default and is called “air noise reduction”. The former is very effective at low frequencies and reduces the running noise of the train properly, for example, it is completely on the street when dimming high mids and treble. These are not completely weakened or fully amplified compared to the passive isolation of the headphones. The “air noise reduction” mode addresses this concern for triple amplification, but at a lower bass isolation cost.

Backup measurement: note in black, passive isolation in gray, active noise reduction in purple, mode

Insulation measurement: note in black, passive isolation in gray, active noise reduction in purple, “air noise reduction” in blue, listening to ambient sounds in orange (level 16/20).

After all, headphones create a furious rage that will make you nod if you want to use headphones to disconnect yourself from the rest of the world. Activating active noise reduction as a bonus is accompanied by a feeling of constant pressure, which may not be particularly pleasant for those with sensitivity. Finally, in terms of “ambient sound” mode, the WH-XB910N performs very well and reproduces sounds in space properly, and if you do not push the volume above 16, the surrounding noise will increase very artificially.

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