Many people have found themselves working from home over the past few weeks. That’s been my default mode for years, but my wife has now joined me after her office shut down. Aside from the logistical challenges—setting up a workstation in the house, configuring a laptop for remote access, and similar issues—parents have another big factor to deal with: noise.
There’s no avoiding the fact that kids make noise. Certainly, more than you’re probably accustomed to in a typical office setting. Multiple kids? Even more noise, especially if they’ve been shut indoors for any length of time.
In my house, that means three teenagers, with a cacophony of TVs, speakers, and conversations—sometimes carried out while shouting between floors. Throw two big dogs and a pair of extremely active young cats in the mix and there are seldom any quiet moments. Adding to the fun for the past week, the city is undertaking a major infrastructure project on my street. That’s meant heavy trucks rumbling up and down the road every half hour or so and the constant roar of chainsaws starting at 7:30am as crews cut down down trees. (Sadly, all the mature trees have to come down to make way for a new water main.)
Closing my office door doesn’t do all that much to stop the noise. Air returns carry sound through the house, the dogs’ barking is loud enough to go through any door, and the work outside is a constant dull roar through closed windows.
What does make it possible to focus when I need to concentrate are the Sony 1000X M3 Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones I happened to have on hand after a previous review. These things are pretty awesome, and the most effective noise-canceling headphones I’ve tested to date.
They are comfortable, and music sounds great thanks to 1.57-inch dome-type Neodymium drivers with Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragms and CCAW voice coils (along with SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC support). Battery life is rated at up to 38 hours, and charging is via USB-C. They have a raft of high-tech features, including atmospheric pressure optimization, ambient sound mode, touch controls, virtual surround sound, and support for Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa.
But what really matters, in this case, is the active noise cancelation. The Sony QN1 HD noise-canceling processor inside the headphones is claimed to offer four times the performance of the previous version. I tested these last summer in a cabana beside the packed wave pool of a water park. There was also a roller coaster a stone’s throw away that sent a cluster of cars full of screaming riders by every five minutes or so. I measured background noise from the pool at around 85db and the sound of the coaster cars passing at 96db.
Putting on the headphones with ANC turned on (with no music) resulted in near-complete silence. This ability to eradicate both droning background noise and sudden loud bursts have made the Sony 1000X M3 headphones ideal for working from home. They are also equipped with a microphone for taking voice calls. Using ANC knocks battery life down to 30 hours, but that’s still nearly four days of working between charges.
Although they were a bit pricey at $349.99 when released last fall, the price has come down since. At time of writing, Amazon was selling them for $278. If you find yourself working from home and trying to focus in a noisy environment, these headphones are worth looking at. And you should find them to be pretty impressive on the music-playing front as well.
Disclosure: Sony provided headphones for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.