Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Yamaha YH-L700A Wireless Active Noise Canceling Headphones Review: Unique in Sound and Features!

When you hear the name Yamaha, you might think of a motorcycle or scooter, but Yamaha is also a well-known name for products like musical instruments, AV receivers, amplifiers, speaker systems and headphones. Many of these products are technologically advanced and are made keeping in mind the high budget customers. Recently, the company has introduced a new range of wireless headphones and earphones in India, which also includes the flagship YH-L700A over ear headphones. I am going to review them here.

The Yamaha YH-L700A is one of the flagship over ear headphones priced at Rs 34,990. In these, advanced Bluetooth codec support has been given. There’s a 3D Sound Field mode, which also has head tracking and active noise cancellation for directional sound. Is This the Best Premium Wireless Headset You Can Buy? Find out in this review.

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The Yamaha YH-L700A Headphones Look Great, But Are Heavy

Yamaha YH-L700A It has been given a bold and different design. The handset isn’t as sleek and trim like the Sony and JBL, but looks as big and premium as the Apple AirPods Max. Although it is slightly less in size than the AirPods Max, its ear cups and padding are quite thick.

Their style is also unique, the fabric has been used freely on the headband and ear cups. The ear cups are covered with thick foam padding for a good over-ear fit, completely covering my ears and providing complete isolation from outside noises. The headband has a metal frame with comfortable padding, which is also adjustable for a good fit. The ear cups can be rotated and tilted for a better fit. Yamaha logo has been given on the outer parts of both the ear cups.

The padding certainly felt comfortable, but the headset is still quite big and heavy, weighing in at 330 grams. If you want to listen to music for a long time, then it will feel very heavy. The pressing force of both ear cups was also felt more than with glasses at times. Later I got used to it, but even then I had to take a break every 45 minutes or so.

Other such products offer both physical and touch control options, but the Yamaha YH-L700A comes with a physical button to control everything. On its right side, there are power button, 3D sound button, USB Type C port for charging and playback and volume controls. The left side has a button for switching between active noise cancellation and ambient sound modes and a 3.5mm socket for wired connectivity.

The playback and volume control buttons are placed on the side of the right ear cup. It looks good but the buttons don’t seem too tactile. Sensing them is also not what I like. Many times I used to press the wrong button even after a few days of use. Overall, I would say that its control buttons do not look very easy to use.

In this, you will find Yamaha’s Headphones Controller app which is present on both Android and iOS platforms. With its help, the basic functions of the headphones can be controlled as well as customized. After pairing with Bluetooth, the app finds them.

In the app, you also get settings for 3D Sound Field mode, Listening Care and Listening Optimizer, Active Noise Cancellation and Ambient Mode Activation, and Auto Power Off Timer. You can also check the battery level of the headphones in this, but you are not given the option to change the equalizer settings. Overall, the app controls its functions but for such a high-end headset, it is quite ordinary.

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The Yamaha YH-L700A has 40mm dynamic drivers. Its frequency response range is 8-40,000Hz. For connectivity, Bluetooth 5, SBC, AAC and Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec are supported. Voice assistant support has also been provided in this. The package also includes a charging cable, stereo cable, flight adapter and hard carry case.

Their battery life depends on how you use them. Excessive use of ANC and 3D drains the battery quickly. They are rated to last up to 34 hours with ANC and 11 hours with ANC on 3D sound.

I used occasional 3D sound with ANC and it was able to run for 23 hours on a single charge. This means that you can listen to them for the whole day without having to charge again.

Yamaha YH-L700A has good sound, but 3D sound is not for everyone

Many people turn to high end over ear headphones from Sony, Bose, and Apple. However, the Yamaha YH-L700A also offers a great listening experience. These are amazing when it comes to sound quality. ANC and 3D Sound worked well but you wouldn’t want to use 3D Sound much.

Features like Listening Care and Listening Optimizer work in the background and provide a better experience. The volume level is maintained with the help of Listening Care and the Listening Optimiser feature customizes the sound based on the sound level coming inside the ear cups. I didn’t feel any significant difference in the music when I turned them on or off.

With the help of Qualcomm aptX Adaptive support, the audio quality gets even better. With OnePlus 9 (Review) I got a better sound experience than with iPhone 13 (Review). When I started with Frankie Sinatra of The Avalanches, I learned how the company has worked for years to deliver a better audio experience.

The sound stage felt spacious and luxurious. Slow sample elements, mid tempo beats and instruments could all be felt, even without 3D Sound mode turned on. It enhances even a simple stereo signal thanks to its larger drivers and super tuning. With full size speakers, it was able to produce decent detail. Its sonic signature is balanced and refined, which allows all frequencies to come out well.

David Guetta’s Dirty Sexy Money had a tight base but didn’t feel aggressive. Listening to Onur Ozman’s Only Human was also a very enjoyable experience. I have a similar experience with my Sony WH-1000XM4, which is currently my top choice for high-end headphones.

A special feature of the Yamaha YH-L700A headphones is its 3D sound. This is similar to Apple’s Spatial Audio technology which is used in AirPods headphones and earphones. Interestingly, when this is switched on, it works for almost any audio content, regardless of the app or operating system, and is not limited to a few apps, as in the case of Spatial Audio it happens.

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It gave different listening effects but the quality of the audio was reduced. Only Audio Room mode was the one that maintained good sound quality. Head tracking also worked well. It was switching accurately on the channel with head movement. However, overall, I found the mode a bit gimmicky and only really worth using it while watching TV shows or movies.

The Yamaha YH-L700A has good active noise cancellation. But it is not like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Apple AirPods Max. Its silence effect was quite good and detection was better in indoor. It didn’t do much good outdoors. It depends on the seal to stop the noise and my glasses were causing a gap in it so that it was not working so well.

Ambient sound mode works well but sounds like the sound is coming from the pipe. The natural effect like AirPods Max was not available in it. The headphones are good enough for calling and the connection is stable. There was no shortage in their quality either. It was able to work well even at a distance of 4 meters from the source device.

Verdict

There are a few well-known brands that dominate the premium headphone segment. The Yamaha YH-L700A is like a breath of fresh air. This is a good looking over ear headphone pair. It has good sound quality and some interesting features. Years of expertise in audio products makes this product from the company an interesting option at this price point.

Its average active noise cancellation performance makes the experience a bit less. These Yamaha headphones deliver detailed, fun sound like the Sony WH-1000XM4. In the price range of Rs 35,000, they are slightly more expensive than Sony WH-1000XM4 and JBL Tour One. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a product for top notch sound quality then this device is for you.

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