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Sony boosts the bass with new ULT Power Sound speakers and headphones

The new lineup comprises three speakers: the Sony ULT Tower 10, Sony ULT Field 7 and Sony ULT Field 1 – plus the Sony ULT Wear headphones

Bass is an integral component of most modern music and Sony is doubling down on it with a range of audio products aimed at bassline obsessives.

The manufacturer unveiled its new ULT Power Sound lineup in London this week and I was there to get a first-hand look at the ULT Tower 10, ULT Field 7 and ULT Field 1 Bluetooth speakers and the ULT Wear over-ear headphones.

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Sony made no bones about the fact that it’s targeting a younger generation of listeners with its ULT products and that they’ve been designed to satisfy lovers of hip-hop, EDM and other genres to which a weighty low-end is of the utmost importance.

Each device has an ULT button that changes the bass response dramatically when pressed. This plays out slightly differently across the quartet of products.

The ULT Tower 10, ULT Field 7 and ULT Wear offer two distinct ULT modes: Deep Bass and Attack Bass. The former boosts low frequencies and adds considerable depth and resonance, while the latter increases the sound pressure to deliver greater energy, volume and low-end power. Meanwhile, the ULT Field 1 makes do with an ULT Power Sound mode that falls between Deep Bass and Attack Bass.

I’m expecting a review unit of the ULT Wear soon and will likely be testing a couple of the speakers, too, but for the time being, here’s a quick breakdown of the new products, along with a few of my takeaways from hearing them in action.

Sony ULT Tower 10

  • Dimensions: 418 x 418 x 1,106mm (WDH)
  • Weight: 29kg
  • Power source: AC
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC, AAC)
  • Price: £1,000

The ULT Tower 10 is a hulking mains-powered speaker standing over a metre high and weighing almost 30kg. It operates over Bluetooth 5.2 and can be moved around on castor wheels using a sturdy handle. The total power output isn’t stated, but the speaker houses four tweeters (two front-facing and two rear-facing for 360-degree sound), two mid-range drivers and a Sony X-Balanced speaker.

Image of the Sony ULT Tower 10 stood on stage at The Social nightclub

The speaker supports Sony’s Party Connect functionality – which lets you connect it with up to 100 other compatible Sony speakers – and Stereo Connect, so you can join two together as a stereo pair. Other key specifications include a guitar and microphone input (a wireless mic is included in the box) and customisable 360-degree LED lighting.

I listened to it briefly and was taken aback by the sheer volume it can put out. At around 80% volume, it filled a medium-sized room in The Social nightclub with ease and I could feel the bassline on Tiesto’s The Business thudding in my chest. The Deep Bass mode successfully added extra low-end clout and sounded pretty good but I found the Attack Bass mode a little too savage; it felt like the mid-range and treble were straining to remain clear above the booming bass.

That might be exactly what those looking for a potent party PA system are after, however, although they’ll have to fork out a cool £1,000 for the pleasure when the ULT Tower 10 goes on sale.

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Sony ULT Field 7

  • Dimensions: 512 x 224 x 222mm (WDH)
  • Weight: 6.3kg
  • Power source: Internal battery (up to 30 hours)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC and AAC)
  • Water resistance rating: IP67
  • Price: £400

The ULT Field 7 is another speaker designed with revelry in mind but is a step down in size and price. At 6.3kg, it’s still a hefty item, but doesn’t require mains power; an internal battery provides up to 30 hours of juice. It can also double up as a powerbank if necessary.

The speaker arrangement includes a pair of X-Balanced speakers on the front flanked by tweeters and passive radiators on either end of the speaker housing. The Field 7 has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance and uses Sony’s Sound Field Optimisation tech, which adjusts audio based on how noisy the environment you’re in is.

Like the ULT Tower 10, it supports mic and guitar inputs but doesn’t come with a mic and the LED lighting is far more subtle. It’s less than half the price too, with a stated RRP of £400.

My initial impressions of it were similar to how I felt after hearing the ULT Tower 10. A track by German rapper Apache 207 sounded solid with ULT Bass 1 (Deep Bass) engaged but ULT Bass 2 (Attack Bass) sounded a little piercing in the higher registers. Volume levels were still impressive, but considerably lower than those produced by the ULT Tower 10. There’s support for Party Connect and Stereo Connect too, and the Field 7 demonstrated an ability to coherently communicate stereo effects during a demo of the latter.

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Sony ULT Field 1

  • Dimensions: 206 x 77 x 76mm (WDH)
  • Weight: 650g
  • Power source: Internal battery (up to 12 hours)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC and AAC)
  • Water resistance rating: IP67
  • Price: £120

Smaller and more discreet still is the ULT Field 1. Available in either black, off-white, forest grey (a shade of green) or orange, this speaker is relatively lightweight and highly portable thanks to an integrated adjustable carrying strap.

It can also be used as a speakerphone for calls and has a battery life of up to 12 hours. The ULT Field 7 has an IP67 rating for dust and water and is shockproof so it can withstand being dropped from heights of up to 1.2m.

Unlike the larger speakers, the ULT Field 1 only has one ULT mode, which sounded a bit shouty to my ears at maximum volume when listening to Lizzo’s About Damn Time. Still, I’m struggling to think of any similarly sized Bluetooth speakers I’ve tested capable of outputting audio of the kind of scale the ULT Field 7 did.

The speaker can operate in horizontal and vertical orientations but the soundstage was narrower in the latter position. Sony has priced the ULT Field 1 at £120 and will start selling it at the end of April 2024.

Sony ULT Wear

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (SBC and AAC) with multipoint pairing
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours (ANC on), up to 50 hours (ANC off)
  • Driver size: 40mm
  • Price: £180

The ULT Wear deliver ULT sound in the form of a pair of over-ear headphones. Structurally similar to the Sony WH-1000XM5 and packing the same Integrated Processor V1, the ULT Wear offer noise cancellation, up to 30 hours of battery life with ANC enabled and use beam-forming mics for voice calls.

Image of the Sony ULT Wear over-ear headphones in white

Their drivers are larger than those found in the XM5 (40mm vs 30mm) and Sony has addressed one of the grumbles people had about those headphones: the inability to fold the earcups inwards. There’s no support for Sony’s high-resolution codec LDAC, however, and this, plus a pared-back noise-cancelling system, means the ULT Wear are significantly cheaper than their flagship stablemates at £180.

My brief hands-on time with them was enjoyable. They’re lightweight and very comfortable and the user experience felt familiar, as it was very close to that of the WH-1000XM5. ATB’s 9pm (Till I Come) sounded pleasingly punchy and generally well-balanced to my ears, while Architech’s garage anthem, Body Groove, was presented with highly satisfying low-end impact, particularly when I engaged the Deep Bass mode.  Again, I found Attack Bass a bit much and felt it muddied the overall presentation.

Noise cancellation was effective, however, attenuating a lot of the external sound in the demo room, and the transparency mode worked very well too. All four products are due to go on sale at the end of April 2024 but Sony has yet to provide specific release dates.

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