Sony WF-1000XM4

I bought myself a pair of the Sony WF-1000XM4s yesterday. And today I am returning them. It was a short lived love affair but I feel I should blog about it so it’s saved for posterity.

I bought them because there was a deal going on. I already own the WF-1000XM3 but don’t use them that much. They are good, but I am lazy when it comes to carrying the case around. Now that I am in the UK and usually have a jacket on I do try and use it more often, but usually I am happy with the Beats X (sadly no more in production; but the Beats Flex are a good replacement too altough their controls are in a different place and they use USB-C charging).

Anyways, bought the WF-1000XM4s coz of the deal + I don’t mind the XM3s + a way smaller case from all the reviews so that’s good. It arrived yesterday evening so I didn’t get to use it much except listen to some music and upgrade the firmware (that still takes ages and is an annoying process!). The music quality is good, on par with the XM3 of course. The new foam tips took a while to get used to (you have to shove and twist them into the ear to get a good seal) but that’s fine too.

Today morning during my walk I perfected putting in the foam tips. They really make a difference to the noise cancelling. In fact, the XM3s too include foam tips and I never used them much as I didn’t like them then… but with the XM4s that’s all you have, and I realized that if I fit them in snuggly (take a bit of practice) then I get excellent noise cancellation. In fact, of all the noise cancelling earphones of this size I’d say the XM4 is the best. Once I got the seal perfected, and with noise cancellation on, I couldn’t hear anything during my walk – no car sounds, people talking, children etc. It was perfect!

And then I started noticing this click or an echoey kind of sound in the right bud. First I thought it might be the swans near the river, but nope. Then I thought maybe it’s a side effect of the noise cancellation, nope. Wasn’t the equilizer either (it was turned off to being with but I turned it on) nor the DSEE. It’s not a big deal but it’s kind of like having a swan making their cluck sound in your right ear every so often. I don’t think you notice it with music or even if the noise cancellation isn’t tight; but I was listening to an audiobook and I had got the noise cancellation perfected so now I was able to hear it.

I checked Reditt and such and there have been a few complaints of a similar nature. Sometimes returning and getting a new piece helps; other times turning off DSEE etc. made a difference. I didn’t want to be stuck with this and then feel like returning after my returns period is over, so I put in a returns request today itself and packed it up. Better to rip the band-aid before I get too attached to it. :)

It’s a pity though, I really loved the noise cancellation, looks, and the small size of the case.