Sony, the brand based out of Japan is a well known Electronics brand among the consumers. Audio is one of their categories where they are well versed in it. In the past they were widely famous for their budget audio gears but later the vision changed to premium range. Now they are again trying to capture this budget market since this is the mass market in india. The WI-C100 is their latest budget offering with premium features that one would find in the premium lineup. Let’s check out the 1699 for this neckband. It’s really worth it.
DRIVER UNIT: 9 mm
FREQUENCY RESPONSE (BLUETOOTH® COMMUNICATION): 20–20,000Hz (Sampling frequency 44.1 kHz)
Up to 25 hours of battery life
DSEE™ restores frequencies lost in compression to produce high-quality sound that’s closer to the original recording
Fine-tune your sound using the Sony | Headphones Connect app
Splash-proof and sweat-proof with an IPX4 rating
Easy hands-free calling and voice assistant
DESIGN AND FIT:
The whole construction is made out of hard plastic with a nice premium feel on the hands. The neckband region is highly flexible, hence it easily adapts; one can’t find the weight of the earphone after wearing it. The earpieces are nicely designed with good ergonomics thus providing a nice seal and isolation. The provided stock eartips are good enough.
The sound profile of the C100 is pretty balanced out of the box with a more smooth and darker presentation. The technical aspects like the staging, imaging and layering are average at best. They don’t excel in separate aspects rather they are just a well rounded neckband earphone with great sound. The sound out of this can be achieved to one’s personal liking by the companion app which is the ultimate star aspect of this neckband. Let’s discuss the sound in detail through the following sections.
The bass out of the box is pretty flat for my taste which is pretty surprising since most of the Sony budget range audio products are filled with the bloomy bass. This flat approach is a welcoming one from sony since it allows the consumers to boost the bass according to their liking and here comes the App support for its play. They do have the 6 band equaliser thus one can easily fiddle with them to adjust the bass to their liking.
The star aspect of the Sony app is that they do have the CLEAR BASS option which increases the sub bass alone without disturbing the mid bass or other frequencies. By boosting the clear bass one can easily achieve that satisfying rumble from your favourite tracks without compromising on the quality of other technical sound aspects.
After fiddling with the EQ, now the bass got richer and fuller with more than enough satisfying rumble. The bass here has good control and doesn’t bleed that much into the mid section. The separation and the clarity are average at best. The speed of the bass is precise enough.
Overall the bass is on the heavier side yet with better control and speed. The sub bass reach is great after the clear bass boost done with more than adequate mid bass section that’s good enough in providing the fullness factor. The separation and the clarity is average and it could have been better.
The mid range is on the balanced side with slight recession around the upper mid section. The tonality is pretty natural and smoother while the timbre presentation is also done naturally without any metallic taste. The vocals are presented in the intermediate positioning thus the vocals are pretty engaging in the overall listen. The instruments in the background slightly take the back stage due to that upper mid recession. The kick drums and the piano notes do sound good but the acoustic guitar strings and some percussion instruments do take the backstage. After boosting the 6k region in the EQ they did start to sound open and front.
The clarity and track separation appears to be average. They are definitely not the worst case but still it could have been better. The dynamic range is presented in a great fashion while the separation takes the hit due to that average layering and imaging aspect. The whole mid range presentation felt nice and big eliciting a nice grand sound but due to average technical aspects they do tend to fall in the separation aspect.
Overall, a natural sounding mid section with smoother upper mid and fuller lower mid presentation. The vocals sounded great with rich texture while the technical aspects ten to fall back.
The treble in the C100 out of the box is pretty flat and since it has a darker background they didn’t shine that much. But here comes the play of the EQ and after fiddling with it by raising the 2.3k and 6k to two notches up, the treble section got even more livelier with more open sound.
The darker background is changed to a bit more bright serene but still the internal characteristics of a neckband is completely not hidden out. After the EQ they got adequate brightness making way for the cymbal crashes and the trumpets to sound more open and splashy enough.
The attack and decay of the cymbal crashes are more on the precise side. The timbre of the instruments appears pretty natural and no sort of metallic sense is seen. The extension in the top end is however restricted even after the EQ and that’s the internal character of the neckband.
The separation and the clarity in the top is average enough and that’s the case in every frequency response. The presence of air is much improved in this after raising the 6k but the track separation seems to be unchanged. The spiked up 6k does help in achieving that required brightness in the top end and does provide some shimmer.
Overall the treble section is well tuned with smooth presentation and darker background which of course is rectified after raising the 6k region which does give that nice shimmer and brightness in the top end. The treble feels nice and lively with splashy enough cymbal crashes. The track separation however takes the back stage due to that average layering response.
STAGING: The staging in the C100 is more on the bigger side. It’s not the widest among others but in this price range this is the best in terms of stage size. The staging is bigger than the Enco M31 where the instruments are nicely laid out on the stage with enough space in between them. It thus helped in portraying the grand presentation.
IMAGING AND LAYERING: This is where the C100 takes the hit where they are not that impressive and this led to the average track separation in the C100. The staging being wider helped in masking out the faults in technical aspects. The added darker signature and thicker mid bass does make the imaging to be slightly fuzzy in some busy tracks.
The layering is on the average side where the varying depth of notes are not that separated out precisely thus the overall listen appears to be monotonous and constricted. Due to this the channel sweep appears to be two sided rather than a 3 dimensional.
MIC AND BATTERY LIFE:
The mic is of great quality even in the noisier surroundings the receiver can easily capture my voice without any issues. The acclaimed battery life is about 25hrs on a single charge and more or less getting the same during my usage. With DSEE ON the time might reduce a little since it uses the extra power for high fidelity audio. They do support fast charging and the given port is type C hence no more cable hassles.
They have a three button control on the left side of the neckband embedded in a module. The centre button acts as the multifunction button by powering on/off, pairing. The other two buttons act as the skip track and volume function.
The WI-C100, the latest offering from Sony in the neckband category is a much welcome one and thanks to the team for launching this at a great pricing of 1699! The sony team has given its premium features in this budget gem such as the DSEE, App support and the 360 Reality Audio.
The build is great with nice hard plastic construction overall. They don’t give that cheap feel, rather it’s very premium enough in the hands. The neckband area is same as that of the wire portion hence one wont find the weight of it after wearing.
The sound out of this neckband in the stock format is not that impressive frankly. The sound is more on a flatter side on the sub bass aspect and has the traditional fuller mid bass with recessed mid section and treble area. Thanks for providing the app support for this neckband and after doing some EQ this thing sounds absolutely amazing! Now the bass got more rumble enough with elevated mid and treble sections. The darker background got enough brightness after the EQ. This neckband responds to the EQ at a greater rate thus one can easily mould this neckband to sound to their liking. The technical aspects are average though especially in terms of layering while the staging feels slightly above average.
Overall, the WI-C100 is just an INGENIOUS PIECE OF ENGINEERING FOR SIMPLE BUCKS, thus one can easily depend on this as a backup pair for your daily driver earphones or it can easily replace your daily driver too and an excellent replacement for the lost legend ENCO M31!
PROS AND CONS:
- EQ Response (App Support)
- Hardware Level EQ
- Smoother Treble
- Bigger Bass (CLEAR BASS)
- Darker Background (50 percent rectified after EQ)
- Technical Aspects
This Review is Written By KATHIRAVAN.C
I’m Kathiravan from Tamilnadu. A budding audiophile here with high love towards music and audio equipment. My first experience of enjoying the hifi audio came when I started to use budget chi-fi gears and now it came all along the way of reviewing the gears with high end stuffs. I love reviewing audio products.