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Sony's New Headphones Let Only Important Noise In

BERLIN — Sony has updated its line of 1000X headphones with three noise-cancelling options that make sure anything you do need to hear actually gets in.

The new headphones, which the company announced at the IFA technology trade show, come as $350 over-the-ear headphones (WH-1000XM2), $300 wireless behind-the-neck earbuds (WI-1000X) and $200 truly wireless earbuds (WF-1000X). They will all release this September.

Credit: Andrew E. Freedman/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Andrew E. Freedman/Tom's Guide)

All three devices offer what Sony calls “adaptive sound control,” which makes sure you hear important information. In a demo on stage, a representative suggested that in an airport, you wouldn’t hear people hustling and bustling, but would hear announcements about gate changes. While walking, you’d hear just enough of car motors to know what is around you.

The headphones adapt based on what the user is doing, including sitting at home, commuting by train or walking about. The headphones adapts without any user action — they simply track movement.

In a demo at Sony’s booth, the company played airport noise and occasional announcements on speakers. The noise did disappear and the announcements came through, though I found them a bit hard to hear over some Michael Jackson tunes. I knew there was an announcement but couldn’t hear exactly what it was saying. I found the truly wireless earbuds to be surprisingly comfortable, and they didn’t feel loose in my ears. I’m still not sold on neckbuds, but I was able to appreciate the classic look and feel of the premium over-ear version.

Credit: Andrew E. Freedman/Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Andrew E. Freedman/Tom's Guide)

The over-the-ear versions have one other cool trick: it can sense atmospheric pressure to optimize noise canceling. However, we were not able to go hands-on with this feature.

Sony’s other major audio announcement was a 360-degree speaker with the Google Assistant on board.