Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon Last Minute Christmas Sale Save Big On Tech After Black Friday

It's not too late to pick up tech gifts from Amazon. It's Last Minute Christmas Deals sale has discounts across smart home, laptops, monitors, speakers and other gadgets.

Sony MDR-HW700DS 9.1 review: wireless headphones offer a virtual 9.1 surround sound listening experience


Surround sound headphones are hardly a new concept, but Sony's MDR-HW700DS cans are the first to promise a virtual 9.1 listening experience. Designed for use with any HDMI source component, these high-concept headphones would seem ideal if want an uncompromised private movie session, some late night gaming or just hanker after anti-social volume. They also offer a welcome respite from extraneous domestic noise pollution. The MDR-HW700DS heads a line of wireless models, which also comprise the less ambitious MDR-HW300K and MDR-RF811RK.

A two-piece set, the MDR-HW700DS package comprises 'phones and HDMI digital surround processor. The latter features three HDMI inputs and one output (with 4K pass through), plus optical digital audio in/out and stereo phono inputs. (See also: Best headphones of 2014.)

While there are low profile touch buttons on the lid of the processor, to select inputs and effects, everyday control comes via the headphones themselves. A selection of controls on the bottom of the right hand earpad brings up the system menu on the TV. Once mastered, you can select inputs, volume and DSP effects.

Powering up the headphones causes the TV to mute internal speakers as it registers the MDR-HW700DS as an external sound source. The headphones connect with the HDMI base station using either 2.4GHz and 5GHz. If noise is detected from other devices in the 2.4 GHz band, the transmitter automatically moves to the less congested 5GHz space. Signal delivery is uncompressed.  Wireless stability is good; we could wander from room to room without dropping a connection.

Much as you'd find on any AV receiver, there are acoustic post processing modes for Cinema, Game and Voice. The movie mode offers the richest mix, probably because it was tuned by Academy Award winning Supervising Sound Editor Tom McCarthy.

For the Games mode, Sony turned to the sound designers at Sony Computer Entertainment. Dialogue here is given a little lift, although it remains to be seen if the spatial imaging offers gamers any competitive advantages. The stereophonic Voice mode though proves just a bit too spitchy to enjoy.   


The processor is perfectly happy with all the usual codecs, including DTS Neo X and Dolby pro-Logic 11z. While standard two-channel PCM is resolutely stereophonic, multichannel codecs enjoy a most ethereal soundstage. The result is solidly entertaining, be it with TV fare or Blu-ray.

The 9.1 channel experience (two additional rear channels and a pair of front heights are added to the standard 5.1 mix) is created using proprietary HRFT-style Virtual Headphone tech. While the surround sobriquet is a bit of a misnomer, sonic placement created by this psycho-acoustic technique is actually pretty authentic. Using the DTS channel check on the Expendables 2 Blu-ray release, the Sony 'phones authentically placed all the channels in a DTS HD master Audio 7.1 mix. Out-of-the-head imaging is immersive.

The 'phones utlisise 50mm driver units, which offer a decent dynamic range; when LFE detonates throughout Expendables 2, spiking sound pressure levels cause a spasm of delicious concern.



The HW700DS also perform well as hi-fi headphones. Their comfortable, spacious nature and 24-bit/192kHz uncompressed audio support, makes for easy listening, although in this case post processing modes are to be avoided. While a headful of FLAC flute concerto proves a little too acerbic to be entirely enjoyable, a rip of Megadeth's Rust in Peace CD is considerably more agreeable.

The MDR-HW700DS are extremely comfortable to wear, weighing just 320g, important given the running length of most modern movies. The ear cushions are seductively soft and the headband is well-padded. The headphones will need daily USB recharging though, thankfully this doesn't take long to do. Continuous battery life is rated at 12 hours. (See also: Best headphones for kids.)

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nachos are the perfect thing for a busy weeknight dinner. They are easy to throw together using leftover chicken and can be customized using whatever Mexican toppings your gang enjoys.

2020 Lincoln Aviator Preview

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator gives wing to Ford’s luxury-SUV ambitions, with sensational style and Lincoln’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
The 2020 Lincoln Aviator gives strong evidence that Ford’s luxury bona fides don’t start and end with the full-size Navigator.
Revealed at the 2018 LA Auto Show, the 2020 Aviator leaps into the niche between the Navigator SUV and the Nautilus crossover, as it revives a nameplate Lincoln hasn’t touched since the 2006 model year.

Asus ZenBook 14 (UX433) Review

Asus has revamped the ZenBook line with a whole new design, including a lighter build, redesigned hinge, and a light-up numpad built right into the touch pad
Should I Buy The Asus ZenBook 14 UX433?
The ZenBook 14 is a very promising shakeup to the Asus laptop line. It’s smaller, lighter, and better looking than any of the previous models, without having to sacrifice either ports or powers. There aren't many laptops around that can offer you a 14in display in a body this compact while still giving you USB-A and HDMI ports, not to mention a Core i7 processor.
Unless you're an Excel addict you can probably safely ignore the glowing numpad - it's a fun gimmick, but most of us will probably forget it's even there, and without tactile feedback it's hardly a proper replacement for the keys. Still, this is a strong enough laptop elsewhere that it doesn't need that gimmick to get by, and there's plenty to recommend it otherwise.

2019 Mitsubishi Mirage Review

The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage challenges the assumption that there are no bad new cars anymore.
The 2019 Mitsubishi Mirage is a subcompact car that prioritizes high fuel economy, a good factory warranty, and a low base price over comfort.
It’s offered in hatchback and G4 sedan bodies, and is available in base ES, SE, and GT trims. We’ve given the Mirage 3.3 out of 10, one of our lowest ratings for any new car.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

Nth Time's a Charm

If you groaned at the thought of another "Spider-Man" movie, fear not because you weren't alone. How many times can one character be rebooted or reimagined before it becomes insufferable? Apparently we aren't there yet, because "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Everyone's history with the movies about our favorite neighborhood webslinger differs. Sam Raimi's trilogy has its diehard fans (despite only producing one truly great film) and the Andrew Garfield-led "The Amazing Spider-Man" movies were cut short when they didn't meet expectations (the first one is good!). Last year, Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Homecoming" found Tom Holland in the title role, providing a fun, well-rounded look at the character, which had been missing for a while.

Like Fan Page