Yamaha has announced its latest wireless headphones – and with a focus on immersive spatial audio and head-tracking; they could be an alternative to the Apple AirPods Max.
The YH-L700A come with Yamaha’s 3D Sound Field with head tracking technology; which the company says will transform stereo audio from “virtually any source” into a 360-degree sound field.
You’ll be able to customize this effect by choosing from a series of sound modes, including Cinema; Drama and Music Video, and Outdoor Live and Concert Hall.
Unlike the AirPods Max, the technology works with both iOS and Android devices; as the audio processing takes place inside the headphones.
The 3D sound is made even more immersive thanks to the headphones’ head tracking capabilities; which means the playback will automatically adjust based on the position of your head.
According to Yamaha, this will make listeners feel “as if they are actually there – such as the best seat in a movie theater or the front row of a live concert”.
Aside from 3D audio, the Yamaha YH-L700A come with a host of cool features, including Listening Optimiser; which analyses the fit of the headphones and adjusts the sound accordingly, and Listening Care; which is designed to protect your hearing health by allowing for a full range of frequencies to be heard at low volumes.
They also come with active noise cancellation and an Ambient Sound mode; for when you want to be able to tune into your surroundings.
So, how will they sound? Well, Yamaha says that the headphones’ 40mm dynamic drivers offer a “natural sound and clear definition”; while Bluetooth 5 and aptX Adaptive should provide high quality streams. And, if you’re using the headphones with a wired connection, you’ll get hi-res audio with a frequency range of 8Hz to 40kHz.
While they’re not a complete carbon copy of the AirPods Max, there are some echoes of Apple’s over-ear headphones in the design of the Yamaha YH-L700A; which feature swiveling square(ish) earcups and an adjustable headband, covered in a soft fabric that looks pretty comfortable.
You get a hard carrying case, USB-C cable, audio cable, and flight adapter in the box and with a 34-hour battery life; the YH-L700A could be ideal for use during long haul flights.
If you were hoping that the Yamaha YH-L700A would be cheaper than the AirPods Max, you won’t be disappointed. They’ll be available from August for £449 / AU$699 (about $620); while Apple’s noise-cancelling headphones cost $549 / £549 / AU$899 – still, that’s pretty expensive for a pair of over-ear headphones, and they’ll have to sound fantastic to really justify that price.
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