Sony launches "world's first" 9.1-channel headphones and 3D cinema system

Sony has announced the "world's first" 9.1-channel digital surround wireless headphones.

The MDR-HW700DS headphones use Virtualphones Technology (VPT) - an exclusive to Sony - to reproduce the soundstage of multi-channel speakers.

Also new is the BDV-N7200W 3D Blu-ray home cinema system, an upgrade to the BDV-N7100W.

The Sony 'HW700 headphones sport an HDMI connection, claiming degradation-free sound quality, plus a dual-band connection – 2.4GHz and 5GHz – that aims to deliver "smooth wireless transmission without any disruptions."

Three different selectable modes are also offered: Cinema, Game and Voice.

Sony claims the Cinema mode ensure an "authentic cinema sound experience"; Game mode offers a "more life-like experience through the sound isolation and balanced output of the right and left channels"; and Voice mode enhances the clarity of speech.

Sony has fitted the MDR-HW700DS headphones with pressure relieving ear cushions and 50mm driver units. A built-in rechargeable battery claims to offer up to 12 hours of playback time.

The MDR-HW700DS are part of Sony's new range of Home Wireless headphones. Completing the range are: the MDR-HW300K with uncompressed digital-wireless transmission and MDR-RF811RK entry-level headphones with a claimed 28 hour battery life.

All three pairs will be available in April. The flagship MDR-HW700DS are expected to cost around £450.

Sony has also announced the BDV-N7200W 3D Blu-ray home cinema system, as an upgrade the BDV-N7100W.

The new system features high-resolution, 5.1 multi-channel audio and Magnetic Fluid Speaker technology.

The 3D Blu-ray player is capable of SACD playback and can handle DSD and FLAC files - double DSD via USB and FLAC via DLNA. Users can also screen mirror their Sony Xperia smartphone, or any other device with NFC.

The system comes with calibration software and a double-headed microphone to analyse stereo sound. The 5 speakers can be wall mounted, with the rear 2 being wireless for easy installation and set-up.

Spotify and Deezer also come as pre-installed applications, along with Sony's own Music Unlimited service.

The Sony BDV-N7200W 3D Blu-ray home cinema system is available now for £649.

by Max Langridge

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.