Bone conduction earphone AfterShokz AEROPEX
Sony has launched the WH-XB900N EXTRA BASS series Bluetooth headphones with active noise canceling (NC) at a reasonable price of less than 30,000 yen (about 29,600 yen in actual sales). From the series name, you can imagine healthy and naughty headphones that emphasize bass. However, both sound and looks can be enjoyed by adults for everyday use. Let's share the perfection of the NC function we tried on the plane.
AfterShokz is a brand born in the United States of America in 2011. It is the first brand to work on the daily use of bone conduction technology.
Now it has more than 300 patents around the world and is the fastest-growing in the category of wireless sports headphones at electronics retailers in the United States. (As of August 2019)
Also, it is official headphones of England Athletics
EXTRA BASS (Extra Bass) is a series of Sony's portable audio products that have the power of "powerful bass reproduction." The current lineup includes wireless speakers, including headphones, earphones, and smart speakers with AI assistants.
The WH-XB900N used this time is a wireless headphone equipped with the NC function just released on October 5. It is a successor model of the "MDR-XB950N1" released in 2017.
The reason that AEROPEX can listen to music without closing your ears is "bone conduction technology".
Normally, when listening to sound, the vibrations of the air shake the eardrum, and that information is transmitted to the brain. In this way, the sound transmitted by vibrating air is "air conduction sound".
On the other hand, the sound that is transmitted by vibrating bones instead of air is "bone conduction sound".
It seems that bone conduction technology was deployed in the military and medical fields for communication purposes, and was not a widely known technology. (I didn't even know ...)
And the sound quality was not so good. (Imagine that scene where you can't hear the walkie talkie in a war movie. Lol)
In particular, it seems that military bone conduction technology was not suitable for consumer headphones because "music" has much richer information than a voice for "communication" purposes.
For decades, many companies, including 500 Fortune magazines in the U.S., have tried to use bone conduction technology on a daily basis, but have found it difficult.
Then came the AfterShokz brands.
Compared to the XB950N1, the perfect circular housing is now oval, the ear pads are thinner, and the appearance is slimmer and smarter. The model we borrowed this time is black, but there is also a dark and calm blue. It is also recommended for adult music fans as it is easy to match with a suit style.
Even if the ear cups become slimmer, the comfortable wearing feeling that wraps the head naturally is even better than the previous model. It fits comfortably into the shape of the head, so it's nice that the head doesn't look big even when worn. The fact that the weight is about 36g lighter than the XB950N1 has also led to a reduction in the load when installed.
In the first place, earphones (earpiece type) for training or sports are not recommended because they increase the risk of accidents due to closing your ears.
Even in triathlon competitions, wearing earphones during a race is often prohibited.
Not only in the sports scene but when using earpiece type earphones
Inability to hear surrounding sounds (risk of accident)
Ear pain, fatigue
Risk of hearing loss
There are disadvantages.
It is AEROPEX👍 that designed the best while taking advantage of the wireless type while eliminating such disadvantages.
One of the major improvements from the XB950N1 is that the right housing has a touch sensor control panel. Touch the side with the built-in touchpad with your finger and swipe up / down to move the volume up / down, left / right, and forward / back. When you get used to it, you can feel more convenient than a button-type remote control. Play and stop music can be controlled by double-tapping the touchpad Since it is not a single tap, there is no erroneous operation such as inadvertently touching the panel and stopping music playback at a good point.
It also supports the quick attention featured in the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless NC headphones flagship. If you touch the right ear cup with the palm of your hand, you can temporarily lower the volume of the music being played and capture the outside environmental sound with a microphone, listen to announcements at stations and airports with headphones, and shop You can also talk at the cash register at the time.
It supports Bluetooth audio codecs that emphasize sound quality such as LDAC and aptX HD and wirelessly connects to compatible smartphones and portable players to enjoy high sound quality approaching a high resolution. However, a 40mm diameter driver equipped with a diaphragm specifically developed for the extra base is not compatible with high resolution. This is a big difference from the high resolution compatible 1000X series or h.ear series headphones.
Clear, speedy bass is comfortable
The sound quality that I was worried about was the sound of aptX playback without connecting to iPhone 11 and Google Pixel 3 XL.
The appeal is a good balance that betrays the prejudice of the extra-base in a good way. The bass is clear and has a sense of speed, and up-tempo EDM and jazz songs feel comfortable with sharp-edged beats.
The vocal flesh feels solid when listened to on the iPhone, and the Pixel 3 XL gives a sharper outline and a more three-dimensional sound image. The characteristics of the AAC and aptX codecs may be directly reflected in the sound. The high-frequency reproduction has no unpleasant taste, and the high tone of the piano or electric guitar sounds firm. Although it is not high-res compatible headphones, the sound field has a good view, and the mid-high range feels very smooth.
If you connect the included headphone cable, you can also listen to wired, but if the power of the main unit is off, you can feel the sound a little thin, so basically use the power of the main unit on when using the wired listening. Where you want to be. I think that wired listening support when the power is off should be considered as a backup for unexpected situations such as when the battery power is exhausted.