Innovative Gadgets

Sony ULT Put on headphones evaluate: Mind-shaking bass

Sony’s Additional Bass line of headphones has given listeners an added dose of low-end tone for years, and was usually cheaper than its high-end 1000X cans. The corporate continues to be eager on providing brain-rattling bass to those that need it, however the Additional Bass moniker and its complicated alpha-numeric product names are gone (extra to come back on that change). At the moment, Sony is introducing ULT Energy Sound, a function it’s calling the “final step into the evolution” of its transportable audio gear.

ULT Energy Sound may even be obtainable on Bluetooth audio system of varied sizes, however the first headphones to function the brand new audio route are the ULT Put on ($200). A direct substitute for the WH-B910, the ULT Put on accommodates 40mm drivers that Sony says are particularly designed for deeper bass. If the inventory tuning isn’t sufficient, there’s a ULT button for 2 extra ranges of low-end increase. Plus, the corporate crammed in a few of its greatest options from more-expensive headphones: the V1 audio chip, 30-hour battery life, Fast Consideration mode, 360 Actuality Audio with head monitoring and extra.


Sony’s ULT Put on headphones are a greater implementation of bass increase than earlier fashions together with appreciable updates to ANC, options and general design.


  • Refined design
  • Nice sound more often than not
  • Useful options
  • Improved ANC

  • ULT increase will be an excessive amount of
  • Some WH-1000XM5 options aren’t obtainable
  • Sound will get muddy with some genres

$200 at Amazon

The very first thing I observed concerning the ULT Put on is its design. These headphones don’t instantly strike me as less-than-premium cans. The matte white end on my evaluate unit helps masks the principally plastic development which appeared low cost on earlier merchandise just like the WH-CH720N. It’s positively a extra refined aesthetic than the WH-XB910 that’s being changed. There are actually some nods to the premium 1000X line in a number of areas, just like the curves of the ear cups and headband.

Sony selected a mixture of bodily and contact controls for the ULT Put on, which is one other method it’s bridging the hole between its most inexpensive and costliest headphones. On the sting of the left ear cup is an influence/pairing button and a management for biking between lively noise cancellation (ANC) and ambient sound modes. Additional up alongside the underside is a 3rd button for ULT bass increase. This merchandise switches between off, ULT 1 (deep bass) and ULT 2 (extra highly effective sound with deep bass). Over on the suitable, the skin of the ear cup has a contact panel which you can faucet and swipe on for playback controls, quantity changes and calls.

Because the ULT Put on sits in the midst of Sony’s headphone lineup, it has a number of of the useful options from the 1000X line that the corporate’s cheaper choices don’t make use of. For instance, putting your open hand over the suitable ear cup prompts Fast Consideration mode that lowers the quantity so you possibly can reply to a co-worker or seize your cortado with out pausing your tunes. Adaptive Sound Management is right here as effectively: Sony’s long-standing instrument that robotically adjusts the headphone’s settings primarily based in your exercise or location. Common niceties like multipoint Bluetooth and put on detection are current too. The handy Communicate-to-Chat perform from more-recent 1000X headphones isn’t obtainable although, which is a substantial omission when it comes to general utility.

Controls detail of a set of white headphones with 3.5mm jack and USB-C port near power, ANC and ULT buttons.Controls detail of a set of white headphones with 3.5mm jack and USB-C port near power, ANC and ULT buttons.

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Bass reigns supreme for the ULT Put on’s tuning and also you actually get a heavy dose of it. These new particularly tuned drivers muster a number of low-end thump earlier than you even begin exploring the ULT boosts. The out-of-the-box stage was ok for me for many genres, though the general sound can get muddy with extra chaotic types like steel and a few synth-heavy digital tracks. For probably the most half although, the inventory bass offers depth and vary that enhances full mids and reducing highs.

On Bayside’s There Are Worse Issues Than Being Alive, there’s a thundering kick drum to drive the punk-tinged indie rock tunes, however the texture of the crunchy distorted guitars stands out and vocals reduce by way of clearly. Plus, you possibly can add Sony’s DSEE upscaling by way of its app, a software program trick that’s designed to get better sonic parts misplaced to compression. And when you have entry to 360 Actuality Audio content material, the ULT Put on helps head-tracking in order that sounds keep put whenever you transfer. This gives a extra sensible expertise for the reason that immersive audio on this format would in any other case transfer along with your head.

While you hop into the ULT increase modes, issues are a combined bag. Sony has executed bass increase higher than most different corporations right here, as songs are nonetheless truly listenable throughout musical types moderately than simply changing into a muffled mess. ULT 1, the choice for deeper bass, is one of the best in my view. You don’t lose a lot element utilizing it and issues like kick drums are nonetheless punchy all through. Hip-hop tracks are a greater canvas, with songs like Killer Mike’s “Down By Regulation” blasting bombastic, but finessed, amplified bass. His album Michael is without doubt one of the better-sounding alternatives I examined with ULT 1 enabled.

ULT 2, a setting for extra highly effective sound alongside even deeper bass, isn’t nice. Throughout my checks, I didn’t discover a single observe the place I believed it sounded good throughout driving low-end types like hip-hop and EDM. It sounds such as you’re standing in entrance of the subwoofer at a live performance the place bass is most outstanding and all the pieces else will get drowned out. And whereas I’m positive some folks get pleasure from that extent of mind rattling, it’s not what I’m searching for.

Headband and ear cup detail of a set of white headphones showing speaker grille design.Headband and ear cup detail of a set of white headphones showing speaker grille design.

Photograph by Billy Steele/Engadget

Sony improved ANC from the WH-XB910 by putting in its V1 audio processor from the 1000X sequence within the ULT Put on. The result’s noticeably improved noise-canceling efficiency for a set of $200 headphones, however you shouldn’t count on distraction-blocking as strong as what the WH-1000XM5 gives. It’s good in most conditions, however in some eventualities it merely dulls the roar. The ULT Put on does, nonetheless, do an honest job with human voices – a lot better than the Sennheiser Accentum Plus I lately reviewed.

The corporate didn’t exit of its option to focus on name high quality on the ULT Put on, however the efficiency right here is barely above common. It’s not pristine, but it surely additionally doesn’t have the apparent speaker cellphone sound most headphones do. Low-to-mid-volume background noise can also be handled properly. Ambient sound mode on the ULT Put on is extra pure that what most headphones supply, save for the AirPods Max. You’ll be able to hear a very good quantity of your personal voice, so that you’re free to talk at a standard quantity throughout calls. And any sounds out of your environment come by way of clear, so that you don’t have to fret about not listening to alerts or bulletins.

Sony says you possibly can count on as much as 30 hours of battery life with ANC on or as much as 50 hours with it off. The corporate doesn’t specify if both of the ULT modes impression longevity, and I didn’t have them on lengthy sufficient to inform. After 30 hours of use with ANC on, aside from a number of situations of ambient sound for calls, Sony’s app was exhibiting 18 p.c battery left. Each audiomodes have been used at round 50-60 p.c quantity, and belief me, that’s a lot loud right here.

When you crave a deep bassy thump that almost all headphones have not been capable of ship, the ULT Put on does a a lot better job boosting low-end tone than Sony’s earlier efforts. The sound out of the field is actually boomy, however not at the price of any element, and the corporate provides you the choice so as to add two extra servings of bass whenever you crave it. These gained’t be for everybody as lots of people will favor the extra even-handed tuning of Sennheiser’s Accentum Plus within the $200 vary. Nonetheless, Sony has executed effectively to decorate up a extra inexpensive set of headphones as a premium product, when it comes to each appears to be like and options.

The ULT Put on headphones can be found in black, white and inexperienced shade choices for $200. Sony says they will begin delivery someday this spring.

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