Sony Ult Wear review

Ultimate boomer

₹ 16,990

Sony's take on how the young audience enjoys music is a bit delulu, but is this the solulu? Sony expects the Ult to hang from the necks of folks who attend Travis Scott’s concert inside Fortnite instead of lining up to see metal and rock legends at Power Trip in California.

The marketing copy has words like Ultimate Vibe, Ultra Bass and Culture thrown to define the entire like of Ult audio products, which is far from the brand’s earlier take on audio. The Ult Field 1 we reviewed last month wasn’t spared either and that brings a dedicated Ult button for enhanced bass and boomy pressure just like the Ult Wear.

Sony Ult Wear review: Audio performance

You have to plunge into the Ult Wear’s warm and bass-heavy presentation to find Sony’s intention with it and some tracks do sound much fuller and richer with the pulsating bottom end. So while keeping our fingers happily away from the ULT button, Eternal sounds fun. It never needed a bass boost but it does sound fuller and full-bodied with Chance the Rapper’s vocals dictating the rhythm. The Sony Ult Wear doesn’t inherently sound unpleasant for hip-hop tracks. Still, Kendrick Lamar wouldn’t have expected you to appreciate Die Hard for its bass over his lyrical apologies.

One glance over at the customer reviews on Amazon US and you’ll notice that there are a lot of happy owners of the Ult Wear. So there are people who’ll appreciate the extra energy and pounding bass pressure here. Don’t tell my audio nerd Deputy Editor this but I really enjoyed The Expert (Booka Shade Remix) by Yello. There’s energy, rhythm and straight-up banging bass which is an absolute menace for audiophiles. 

But the Ult Wear lacks definition and sonic presentation even in songs that might need an extra punch from the bottom end. It colours the subtleties in Bnxn’s voice in Loose Emotions by brute forcing bass and bleeding the bottom end into the mids. The Ult Wear has the texture but there’s a lack of depth in the presentation. To put it simply, it sounds tedious and lacks dynamic range for non-bassy songs like Funny the Way It Is by Dave Matthews Band. If at all you find yourself pressing the dedicated ULT button on the left earcup, the song fills up with bloat and overbearing bass pressure. The Ult Wear doesn’t give you anything to appreciate the Time Bomb song’s soundstage from the same album. It’s baffling because Sony headphones are known to perform exceptionally well with all types of music. The WH series from Sony is been our top choice for all things music, but the Ult doesn’t bring that sound signature. It may suspiciously look like the WH-1000XM4, but it’s far from Sony’s award-winning headphones in terms of audio.

With the Ult button, you get two levels of bass. The first one will bring punch but also a bit of bloat to the songs, the second level will fill your ears with eardrum-shattering bass. It’s just unpleasant. It may as well give Skullcandy a run for their money with the overbearing bass. After a glance at Sony’s reviewer’s guide and marketing material, it’s clear that this was intentional and someone actively decided to throw away Sony’s winning streak with headphones to tempt bass lovers who add every underground club remix to their playlist.

Sony Ult Wear review: Design and features

The Ult Wear is foldable and it comes in a flat shell case which is almost identical to the Sony WH-1000XM4, and we still love this design. The plastic quality and joints are not as refined as the more expensive WH series but it’s still really done well. No creaking or mechanical sounds are coming from the construction. The padding is comfortable and has good passive sound isolation. The clamping force is a wee bit tight in my opinion - not enough to give you a migraine but with the incessant bass, it can get a bit fatiguing over a long continuous use. Regardless, it’s a well-designed product befitting the price tag. The carry case also takes up less space than our XM5’s and is sturdy enough to toss in the bag without much concern.

All the buttons are sitting on the left earcup while the right earcup has a touch-sensitive panel to control your music. You also get all the same features as the WH series from the app and there’s a great level of control in the EQ and other settings here. Its feature-stacked with ANC, ambient pass-through, head tracking, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio, Google and Alexa controls and even has a multi-point connection. 

It supports LDAC and using it will definitely make the audio listening experience significantly better. The catch is, that you’ll get LDAC support with devices that are mostly Android smartphones and audio players (sorry Apple users). Running on an LDAC connection will bring better bottom-end clarity and drive across the range.

Sony Ult Wear review: ANC and battery life

All of the sound tuning and noise cancelling is happening on the Ult Wear thanks to the V1 chip. It’s the same processing chip which was inside the previous WH-1000XM4 and XM3 headphones so you can expect almost a similar level of ANC performance. There are two microphones on each earcup which cancel out nasty aeroplane engine sound, fans, cars and chatty office colleagues. The ANC is extremely capable on the Ult Wear and we tested it in every possible scenario. It simply works wonders in cancelling noise around you. For calls, the microphone quality is decent, with a good emphasis on voice quality. There’s no background noise cancellation for calls on these so expect the background sounds to seep in as well.

The battery life with ANC is 30 hours and without ANC is 50 hours. We mostly spent our time with ANC and the headphones rarely see the end of a USB Type-C cable. It works for as long as advertised.


It borrows the sleek design and some features from Sony's excellent WH series but throws it all away with its relentless focus on bass. Sure, some folks will enjoy the earth-shattering boom for certain genres, but it comes at the expense of audio clarity and a wider soundstage. The Sony Ult Wear might bring better value when it eventually goes discount, but if you’re holding on to ₹16,990 then keep an eye out for the WH-1000XM4 going on discount soon on Amazon Prime Day, Independence Day and Diwali sale periods. 

If you're a bass head who yearns for a trip to Ibiza, the Ult Wear might tickle your fancy. But for anyone who appreciates a balanced soundscape and the subtle details in their music, look elsewhere. Sony's own WH-series remains the champion for a reason – they cater to a wider range of music lovers without sacrificing the bass altogether.

Stuff Says

Eardrum thwacking bass for the masses, but you can get better-sounding headphones for overall sound
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Bass heavy

  1. Good ANC

  1. Good features

  1. Foldable design

  1. Lacks clarity

  1. Muddy sound

Driver: 40 mm (Dome Type)
Magnet: Neodymium
Frequency Response: 5Hz - 20,000Hz, 20Hz - 20,000Hz
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.2
Audio Format: SBC, AAC, LDAC