Updated 3 Aug 2017



Snapshot: The Sony MDR-1000X over-ear headphones don't have player controls, doesn't work with virtual assistants (such as Siri) and can be used wirelessly. But how do they sound?

Consumer score
Avg price



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Test results

Overall score
Noise cancelling

Good points

  • OK comfort.
  • Good noise cancelling.
  • Excellent durability.
  • Excellent wireless connectivity.


  • Just OK sound.
  • No player controls.
  • Needs battery power for some functions.


The Sony MDR-1000X are over-ear headphones with active noise-cancelling and touchpad controls. They are large and fitted comfortably over my ears. However, their size means you wouldn’t want to wear them while running as they will move about.

The sound was excellent. Notes and voices were clear and bass tones, while not exceptional, were nice and low. The noise-cancelling was also very good. I took these with me on a trip to Sydney and they easily removed all the noise in the plane and quite a bit from a busy city street (though not enough for me to worry about stepping into traffic).

The only issue I had was with the controls. It may be a tech writer’s curse, but I’m used to Bluetooth devices all working in roughly the same way. So I was confused when pressing the Bluetooth button didn’t start the pairing process with my phone. I read the instructions and realised the process took longer than expected, but I got there.

It also took me a while to figure out the smooth exterior of one earpiece was actually a touchpad. Swiping up and down adjusted volume, swiping forward and back controlled track section, and tapping would play/pause. You may like this system, but I found it too easy to accidentally touch them or for the system to think my swiping up was a swipe forwards.

The Sony MDR-1000X are very good headphones. Even with the annoying touch controls, their sound and comfort levels elevate them above that annoyance.

By Hadyn Green
Technology Writer

How we test

Noise-cancelling models

Overall score includes:

Sound (50%)
Comfort (30%)
Noise-cancelling (10%)
Durability (10%)

Other scores don’t count towards the overall score.

Non-noise-cancelling models

Overall score includes:
Sound (60%)
Comfort (30%)
Durability (10%)

Other scores don’t count towards the overall score.

For our test, we get 5 expert testers to wear each pair of headphones for an extended period while listening to a range of content from various audio sources. Each set’s sound quality was also tested using a reference ear, a device with an acoustic input impedance resembling that of an average human ear. This was also done for noise-cancelling if applicable. The scores from the testers and reference ear are then averaged into the final sound quality score.

The same 5 testers allocate the comfort score. Finding the headphone type that’s most comfortable for you can take time, because everyone’s ears are different. Earbuds often come with different-sized rubber nibs to help fit into your ear. Over-ear headphones tend to be bigger and heavier, so you may need to adjust the headband to get the fit right.

Key data


Avg price
Earcup type

More test results (/10)

Sound leaking


Weight (g)
Cable length (cm)
Functions when battery runs out


Noise cancelling
Supports mobile assistant (Siri, Google, etc.)
Controls on cable
Controls on earpiece
Foldable earphone
Remote for Apple
Remote for Android
Travel case
USB charging cable
Extra earbuds