Sony brings the bass with new hi-res headphones and punchy portable speakers

Sony brings the bass with new hi-res headphones and punchy portable speakers
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Sony is one of the biggest heavyweights in the audio world. It’s the maker of the best headphones and even stands out among the highly congested Bluetooth speaker space, carving out a spot in the best waterproof speakers. While its consumer business as a whole doesn’t have a completely flawless track record, it has made a name for itself as delivering the best-in-class when it comes to audio. 

But a lot of its rivals are closing the gap in the race to balance innovative features, increasing support for hi-res audio quality and minimal designs all with an appealing price point, so to keep pace with the fast cycle of consumer tech Sony is kicking off 2024 with a brand new audio product range built around a particular frequency, one it believes to bring the “ultimate vibe”. 

What is this new special sound? Well, it’s not exactly new, more like a throwback to the 2021 released WH-XB910N mid-range headphones that were factory tuned to deliver an extra oomph for bass-heavy listeners. It’s called Ult Power Sound and if you’re a fan of genres like hip-hop, metal, funk, blues, jazz, edm and you find yourself always looking for this one particular EQ setting to tune up, then you’re going to love Sony’s new line of booming speakers and headphones.

Tune into Sony’s live new products announcement below via YouTube.

Sony Ult Wear: new mid-range hi-res headphones 

Let’s start with the headphones. If you’ve seen the rumors about Sony planning to launch new mid-range headphones that would specialize in hitting those low notes, I can now officially tell you those are finally here. Disappointed these aren’t the highly anticipated WH-1000XM6? Don’t be. The all-new Ult Wear headphones might appear to be pitched as a middleweight champion, but it certainly punches above its weight. 

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The Ult Wear looks a lot like our favorite Sony WH-1000XM5 premium headphones. In fact, it even shares a lot of features, including the V1 integrated processor inside the cans, which means it can support hi-res audio codecs like LDAC. Its feature set is broad. You’re getting Active Noise Cancellation, two dedicated bass sound modes, multi-point pairing, USB-C charging, light and foldable design, up to 30 hours of battery life, beam-forming mics as well as Bluetooth 5.2 and a 3.5mm jack for wired listening. 

Sony ULT Wear headphones

(Image credit: Future)

What’s truly unique about the headphones is the specially tuned bass modes that you can switch between via the app or by pressing a dedicated button on the side of the earcups. These are ‘Deep Bass’ and ‘Attack Bass’, the latter of which offers a more energized listen. ‘Deep Bass’ on the other hand has a fatter synthesized bassline that Sony’s training and technical marketing manager Mike Somerset tells me is more popular with a younger crowd.  

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The Sony Ult Wear headphones are available in three colors – black, off white and forest gray – and have a launch price of $199 in the US, £180 in the UK and AU$439 in Australia.

Sony’s new speakers: the Field 1, Field 7 and Tower 10  

A close up of the Sony ULT Tower 10 speaker

(Image credit: Future)

Alongside the new Ult Wear headphones, Sony is launching not one, not two but three new Bluetooth speakers – all of which are built around Ult Power Sound (both the ULT Tower 10 and Field 7 have same two Deep Bass and Attack Bass sound modes available). Each speaker grows considerably in size from the other, with the largest being over a meter tall.      

This is the ULT Tower 10 (see specs in the table below) and with four tweeters, two balanced speakers and two passive radiators, it’s probably not surprising to hear that it is capable of delivering big room-filling sound that’s far larger than any of the best party speakers we’ve reviewed. I was able to get a sneak preview of the speaker at a pre-launch event in a music venue in London and if it wasn’t for seeing it play, I could have been easily fooled to think that it was the venue’s built-in music system. 

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The Sony ULT Field 7 and 1 side by side

(Image credit: Future)

The ULT Field 7 is the slightly smaller version of the meaty bass speaker mentioned above. It’s meant to be a more portable version, still capable of delivering big sound thanks to the two tweeters, two balanced speakers and two passive radiators inside. Like the ULT Tower 10, you can use the Field 7 as a party speaker, with mic and guitar inputs (although it doesn’t come with a mic). 

The Sony ULT Field 1 being held in a hand

(Image credit: Future)

Last but certainly not least, there’s the ULT Field 1. It’s the more portable offering out of the three Bluetooth speakers so doesn’t share all the features that its larger peers have. It still has a hardy IP67 rating (like the ULT Field 7), which means you can dunk it in water and it will be fine, but given its size and likely use cases, Sony has added shockproof protection from bumps and drops. See how the three speakers compare below: 

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