Within the ongoing cage match of premium journey headphones, Sony is the reigning champ. The corporate’s WH-1000XM3 splashed onto the scene in 2018 with incredible noise canceling, plush consolation, tons of options, and nice sound, and the corporate by no means appeared again. The most recent fashions, together with the WH-1000XM4 (9/10, WIRED Recommends) and the newer XM5 (9/10, WIRED Recommends), have every improved on the components, forcing Bose, Sennheiser, and even Apple to boost their recreation.
Inside this fierce market, Yamaha’s new YH-E700B wi-fi headphones arrive feeling underpowered. A revamp of 2020’s YH-E700A, the YH-E700B look the half and supply excellent sound high quality, however their options and total execution are outmatched by others at their value–particularly relating to their so-so noise cancellation.
The YH-E700B are nonetheless strong sufficient workplace or journey headphones, and at $200 to $250, they’d be value contemplating. However at their present $350 retail value, it’s exhausting to seek out good cause to decide on these over rivals which are on the high of their recreation.
Flagship Fashion, Funds Execution
The YH-E700B arrive in a bundle befitting their premium value level. A stout journey case unzips to disclose speckled ear cups in black or tan, folded in on adjustable hinges within the headphone fetal place. Like Sony’s WH-1000XM5, Yamaha’s new cans function longer, extra oval-shaped cups than their predecessor. That makes their journey case bulkier than my favorites, however it’s nonetheless compact sufficient to slot in most baggage.
The hefty ear cups regulate to suit on twin hinges, together with wand-like arms that stretch down from the padded band to the center of every cup for a particular contact of favor. Spray-on speckles alongside the matte end and a shiny Yamaha emblem are the one different actual aesthetic markers in what are in any other case pretty nondescript headphones. Then once more, that may be mentioned for practically each main rival lately.
On the inside of every cup, you’ll discover heaping reminiscence foam pads lined in tender leatherette with lengthy, slim openings on the middle for the 40-mm drivers beneath. My first expertise with the match was one among confusion; my ears aren’t large, however they’re too massive to suit inside the pads’ elliptical holes. As an alternative, the earphones sit in a form of hybrid place between on-ear and over-ear that feels fairly awkward at first.
It’s this odd design that apparently causes one of many E700B’s most notable efficiency points: utterly erratic auto-pause. Like others in its class, Yamaha’s pair have built-in sensors to pause and unpause audio as you take away them, however it not often labored as marketed.
I had some listening periods the place auto-pause labored pretty commonly, others when sound would pause however fail to unpause, and nonetheless others when it flat-out didn’t work in any respect. Questioning if it was simply my ears, I requested my spouse to have a go, and she or he had the identical outcomes. After every week or so, I noticed if I jammed my ear into the correct pad, the sensor would decide it up persistently, however that was extra awkward than merely clicking the bodily multi-button to pause.
Is that this an enormous deal within the grand scheme? Not likely. However the inconsistency made me more and more pissed off when it failed. It’s not a difficulty with any of the opposite fashions I’ve tried, whereas Sony’s XM4 and XM5 go additional, including conveniences like Converse-to-Chat to pause sound together with your voice and Fast Consideration, which activates transparency mode whenever you maintain your hand over the correct cup.