Sony MDR-ZX770DC Bluetooth and Noise Canceling Headphones /Headset With Case - MDRZX770DC (Black)
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- Model# MDR-ZX770DC, No Wires. No Noise, Convenient multi-function design w/Bluetooth noise cancelling, Bluetooth audio streaming with AAC and aptX support, Convenient One-touch pairing with NFC, Digital Noise Canceling reduces ambient noise
- Noise-cancelling, Digital noise-cancelling technology reduces ambient noise from the outside, so you hear even more of the music you love.
- Hands-free calling, Built-in microphone for hands-free phone calling, Rechargeable battery for up to 13hrs music, Passive mode for normal operation without battery.
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The MDR-ZX770DC headphones provide 4 convenient listening solutions using the integrated Bluetooth ‚ 2 with NFC and digital noise cancellation technologies. For the ultimate experience, you can even listen to your aptX ‚ AAC audio files wirelessly with noise cancellation activated or use conventionally in passive mode without relying on the battery. Make or Take Calls. enjoy the convenience of hands-free calling thanks to the integrated microphone and Bluetooth ‚ 2 profile connectivity. Once your phone is paired, simply press the phone button on the earpiece to accept incoming calls then press again to terminate the call. Music playback will automatically resume once the call is completed. Up to 13 hours of music on a single charge. The internal, rechargeable battery provides up to 13 hours of continuous, wireless music playback with noise cancelling activated, up to 10 hours hands-free calling, or up to 150 hours of stand-by time.2 In between charges, passive mode allows continued listening to your favorite tunes, in a conventional fashion, using the supplied audio cable. Built for superb sound. 40mm driver units deliver broad, balanced, and accurate sound for an exceptional listening experience. Enjoy 20 - 20,000 Hz frequency response when streaming audio wirelessly via Bluetooth ‚ 1 or go all the way with extended frequency response (8 - 22,000 Hz) when using the supplied audio cable. Comfortable fit. Pressure-relieving cushions wrap around your ears for a comfortable acoustic seal and powerful bass response. And for when the music is over, the swivel ear cups fold flat and compact for enhanced portability. Supplied Accessories. a Padded Carrying Case, Accessory Pouch, a 1.5m Stereo Connecting Cable, Micro-USB cable, USB charger.
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- The MDRZX770DC is sold in Discount Clubs such as Costco. It comes in a huge box which contains a hard case for the headphone.
- The MDRZX770BN is sold in retail stores such as Best Buy. It comes in a smaller box and does not contain a hard case.
I have previously purchased the older model (Sony MDRZX750DC Wireless Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headset), but returned it due to two major flaws: it is uncomfortable to wear over extended period, and cannot be used as a stand-alone noise canceling headphone. Recently I found this new model (MDRZX770DC) in my local warehouse Club, and decided to give it another chance. Here are my findings:
One major improvement over previous model is immediately noticeable: The ear cups are much larger than before. They now cover around my ears, instead of resting on them. The cups are also larger than that of my other around-the-ear headphone, the Able Planet NC500SC Sound Clarity. So I can wear the Sony headset for hours without hurting my ears.
The Bluetooth function works smoothly with my cell phone (Samsung Galaxy S3) and tablet (Lenovo IdeaTab A8-50). I can answer phone calls with the headset's built-in microphones, which are normally used for noise canceling function. Pairing was fast, and the range is better than advertised. Spec sheet says around 30 ft with line of sight. In practice I can get close to 50 ft before signal becomes intermittent.
There is however one problem with using Bluetooth: When watching movies in Bluetooth connection mode, the audio is lagging slightly (maybe 0.1-0.2s) behind video. This may ruin your movie viewing experience, since the audio appears out of sync with lip movements (unless you only watch dubbed movies, in which case the audio is already out of sync anyway)
According to the spec sheet, the frequency range is 20Hz to 20kHz when using Bluetooth connection. It gets even better when using audio cable: 8Hz to 22kHz). In practice it makes absolutely no difference to me, since I am not an audiophile, and my ears are too old to pick up anything higher than 12kHz, anyway.
When using audio cable, I can power down the headset and the music still sounds as good. Naturally, the NC function is not available when there is no power. This means I can still use it as a normal headphone after the rechargeable battery runs out. It is also important when I'm traveling by air, since some airlines insists that "All electronics must be turned off during takeoff and landing" (even though the NC headphone does not emit any detectable EMI)
There is a button labeled 'NC' on the left ear cup. In Bluetooth connection mode, I can press this button to toggle Noise Cancellation function on/off. But when connected using audio cable, this button does nothing. So the only way to disable NC in wired more is to turn off the power.
Just like all my previous noise canceling headphones, the MDR-ZX770 uses active noise canceling technique. It works great in neutralizing low-frequency background noise from fan, air conditioner, jet engines, etc. But it does not work well on office conversations or high-pitch sounds such as siren.
Here is my problem: in my lab area there is a constant low-frequency humming noise from fans and AC vents. Occasionally there is also high-frequency hissing sound from liquid nitrogen tank. The NC headphone does a good job in getting rid of the low-frequency noise, but is ineffective in the high-frequency range. So now the hissing sound appears even more annoying than before!
During my most recent trip, I took both the Sony MDRZX770DC and the Able Planet NC500SC for an A/B test on the plane. The Sony model does a significantly better job in reducing the engine noise.
If Bluetooth connection is not established, the headset powers off automatically after 5 minutes. That means I cannot use it as a stand-alone noise cancellation headset. One workaround I found for the old ZX750DC headset still works here: insert a dummy audio plug into the 3.5mm audio input jack. The unit then stays on indefinitely even without any signal from the jack.
Note that if I power up the headset with an audio plug connected, the Bluetooth function will not be activated. When I remove the audio plug, the unit powers off immediately. If I reconnect the audio cable, the headset stays in power off mode. I can still hear the music, but the NC function is not available.
- Internal battery run time is advertised as ~13 hours when using Bluetooth and NC function
- Recharge time is ~2.5 hours. USB charging current ~200mA (the included AC charger is rated 1.5A)
- You cannot power up the headphone while it is being recharged. So it can only be used as an un-powered headphone (without NC) through audio cable.
The Sony ZX770DC made an improvement over the previous model, in that it offers larger around-the-ear type ear cups. It is a shame that it still cannot operate as stand-alone NC headphone without using my 'dummy plug' trick. For the warehouse price I paid, I consider a good, but not excellent, product.
Disclaimer: I'm not an audiophile elitist. I'm more than happy with the cheap Samsung ear-bud headphones that came packaged with my Samsung Note 4. But as a musicophile I love to explore different sounds and can appreciate the differences in sound offered by different headphone brands/styles/models/etc. I will give anything a chance whether it be some cheap $5 headphones from China or $1000 headphones handmade by an artist in your city. I have no beef with Bose, or Beats, or any other brand.
Noise Cancellation: I will tell you that if you're in the market for a set of headphones with a noise cancellation feature (at the expense of over features like bluetooth, sound quality, cost,etc) look no further than the Bose 25's. I’ve never encountered a headphone that does noise cancellation better than the Bose 25. The Sony's have an acceptable to good NC feature, but the Bose 25’s are excellent at this! If you are primarily looking for excellent noise cancellation and money isn't an object, choose the Bose. I tested the Sony and Bose in multiple environments that included a variety of background noise (from the constant humming of an in-ceiling AC unit above my area at work, to the chatter and sounds from a local coffee shop, to bickering, tired children - the Bose offered superior noise cancellation hands down). Don’t believe me? Buy both, give them a try, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will determine that the 25’s are superior at NC. I don't travel much so I don't personally benefit from owning the world's premier noise cancelling headphone (while kind of liking having the option to occasionally use noise cancellation which is why I happened upon the Sony’s).
Sound quality: Most folks know that there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to sound quality from headphones. Many headphones need to be broken in before you get a definitive idea of their potential (ie, might sound flat out of box, but becomes "bright" after 20+ hours of use). Also of note, if a headphone has noise cancellation, it has to be turned on or the headphone will not sound as good. That is definitely the case with the Bose where it becomes borderline unlistenable when NC is powered off, and to a lesser extent the case with the Sony’s when used in wired mode with NC powered off (it sounded good in Bluetooth mode with NC off though).
My little multi hour test of the Sony and Bose likely was insufficient to gauge the full potential of both products. But with that said, in general, I'm not a huge fan of the Bose sound. I thought the 25's were underwhelming in low's and high's. Sure, I can use an in-app equalizer (Spotify offers this) to tweak the sound, and maybe some more time would have assisted in breaking the 25's in. But I didn’t love the sound that the 25’s offered out of box. To be clear, that isn’t to say the Bose sounded poor. They sounded fine, I just didn’t love their sound.
In contrast, I like how the Sony's sound out of box. I listen to everything from classical to heavy metal, jazz to rap, electronic to pop (and everything in-between). I also like podcasts where spoken word can be made or broken by the booming bass of a person’s (deep) voice. In my experience Sony’s headphones provide an enjoyable listening experience regardless of genre of music. That is one of the benefits of having a well-balanced out of box product. In respects to sound quality, Sony has always impressed me. Clear highs, moderate mids, and sufficient bass seem to be the Sony ticket whether it be the industry standard (wired) Sony MDR7506's or the (Bluetooth) MDR-ZX770DC's being reviewed now.
Price: If I traveled a lot, via plane or public transportation, the $300 price tag on the 25’s would be easily justified. However, since I don’t travel often, and don’t have a highly distracting work area that would benefit from effective NC, I cannot justify the $300 price tag for the Bose when the Sony’s cost roughly half of the price and have better sound quality (imho).
Conclusion: If you have the money, consider ordering both the Bose QC25’s and the Sony MDR-ZX770DC’s so that you can experience both headphones for yourself. Each headphone has its ups and downs. If NC is what you desire, choose the Bose. If you’re on the market for a wireless headphone that has NC functionality, consider the Sony’s. Happy listening!
Battery life is decent. Noise cancelling is okay, but my old pair does a much better job on filtering out noise on an airplane. Overall it's fine but could be better for the price.