High Performance at Low Frequencies
- Great Bass
- Solid Build Quality
- Sound apart from bass is not the clearest
- Bass Boost at high levels is a bit too much
Type: Closed back | Weight: 280 g | Frequency band: 2.4 GHz band (2.4000 GHz- 2.4835 GHz) | Battery Life: 18 hrs | Charging time: Approx. 4 hours | Impedance: 32 Ω (1 kHz) (when using the supplied headphone cable) | Driver unit: 40 mm | Frequency response: 3 Hz - 28,000 Hz | Maximum communication range: approx 10 m (30 ft) | Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, NFC Support, Audio ( 3.5mm)
VERDICT: The Sony MDR-XB950B1 delivers excellent sound quality and absolutely fantastic bass. The XB in the name stands for Xtra Bass, and that is exactly what this headphone delivers. Easy connectivity, great comfort and some of the best bass results you will ever see, make this one of the best under 200$ wireless headphones out there. You surely will love this product even with some of its shortcomings.
Sony is one of the biggest technology manufacturers in the world. With products ranging in various price limits and products being readily available in almost every part of the world, they are surely a market superpower. Sony is probably one of the biggest and the most famous headphone manufacturing brands in the world with many great innovative an groundbreaking products such as headphones integrated with sense engine.
Today we intend to look at what Sony has to offer us in terms of the Sony MDR-XB950B1 a very popular headset in its Xtra bass or bass centered line of products.
The Sony MDR-XB950B1 comes in a stylish white Box with some of its main specifications mentioned at the bottom and on the sides.
The extra contents of the box are in a file type of box and the headphones sit nicely into a plastic frame. The contents of the box apart from the headphones are:
- A USB cable for charging and connectivity
- An Audio cable (3.5mm) and,
- A User Manual
Design and Build
As soon as you lay eyes on this beautiful piece of equipment, you are bound to fall in love with them. They look absolutely stunning. The come in Three colors namely; Red, Black, and Blue and let me tell you this, most people are going to have a hard time choosing one color over the other. All three look equally beautiful. They have a very and I mean very smooth feel to them. The earcups are nicely sized, they are not too large or too small and absolutely perfectly round. The swivel or rotate horizontally allowing for ease of storage and movement. With that feature, you can put them flat on a table or in a bag without damaging them. The head clamp is mostly metal with some plastic accents and appears to be very durable. The headrest also contains a nice leather to add to its comfy touch so you won’t tire from prolonged use.
The earcups or more accurately drivers are probably the first things you will properly pay attention to regarding this headphone set. They are made of Leather and are delightful, they feel extremely soft and have a very good thick cushioned feel to them. All around the headset, you will find various controls and input-output slots. You get a button to answer calls, pause/play, and forward-backward songs or music. There is a bass boost button to EVEN further enhance your bass experience. There’s a slot for the audio cable in case you want to connect the headphones directly and there is also a slot for the USB Cable for charging and some connectivity. Besides the bass boost button is the power button for powering the device on. You get volume buttons for easy control and there is a hole for mic voice. For some reason the audio cable on one end is 90 degrees twisted, this just creates a very odd look and troublesome connectivity options. Even though the headphones cups may look quite big, we feel first of all they are adequately sized and they also are definitely not heavy. Overall, they look very glossy and pretty high end apart from being relatively comfortable and sturdy.
Note: The Black version comes with very nice Red accents around the Ear drivers and a bit around the earcups as well. This makes them look even better and maybe the best in terms of look.
Functionality / Performance
The first thing that comes to your mind when you want to purchase a headphone set in this price range is the fact that you want good sound quality. Good sound quality is priority number one, with comfort being the second and aesthetics being the third. People have been skeptical of wireless headphones in the past in that they might have had reservations regarding their performance in terms of sound quality, their durability, and battery life.
The Sony MDR-XB950B1 defeats these stereotypes and delivers in a big way. We found out that this is one of the most durable and long life wireless headphones out there and if the only way for someone to break them is if they intentionally did. Many users have greatly acclaimed this feat of the Sony MDR-XB950B1, you can take it to the Gym, cram it into your backpack for traveling and you can be assured as to the fact that it will simply not let you down. There are a few users who are unhappy with the Sony MDR-XB950B1 in regards to its build integrity at its swivel point. Where the earcups move horizontally, they have complained about the headphone breaking down and it’s head clamp comes loose. Keep in mind though, this is in a vast minority and in our and most people’s use and experience, such a thing has yet to happen.
When Sony released this line of headphones, they focused on one thing above all else, Bass. These headphones deliver stunning bass results in every form of music, whether its hip hop or just plain old EDM. You absolutely can not fault these headphones for lack of bass. Just in case you feel like the bass isn’t enough (somehow) you have the bass boost option. Bass boost basically just blows you away, you never expect it to enhance your music experience in a great way that it does. Overall, the sound quality does not let you down is exactly as good as one can expect from a sub 200$ wireless headphone set. You have a battery life of about 18 hours and your device takes about 4 hours to charge Meaning you can spend most of you day blasting your tunes without having to worry about the headphones dying down. Charge when you sleep, use when you are awake. The Sony MDR-XB950B1 also has a mic and the call quality is excellent.
Having said all that there are a few shortcomings. The Sony MDR-XB950B1 although delivers excellent sound quality, the vocal, and non-bass area of sound are not as crisp as one may want or like it to be. This is a bass oriented headphone set as stated earlier so that may be expected, but still its a little damp in that regard. Having said that, the sound quality is no slouch and most people won’t be able to notice a great difference anyway, as it’s just a tad not as good as some of the other headphones in the market. The bass boost is a very interesting feature and skyrockets your music experience but when active, the bass boost takes a slight hit on the overall audio quality. Sometimes even its bass becomes way too much for even the most adept bass enthusiasts. Sony does give you an App for the headphones and in our experience and use we find that to use bass boost truly effectively you might want to tune it through the app. But, when you listen to music on your wireless headphones you seldom want to open your phone to change the app settings. Also, you cannot use the bass boost feature if you are plugged in with the audio cable, so that does kind of hit you hard, but since this is a wireless headphone that shouldn’t matter too much as you never intended to use the audio cable anyway.
Versatility and User Needs
The Sony MDR-XB950B1 is a very competent wireless device. You have Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and also have the NFC feature which allows devices to pair with the headphones just by a slight touch between them. This is a great ease factor feature which further allows users to have the incentive to buy these headsets while also justifying its price tag. Even if you don’t have NFC support on your phone or pairing device, the overall connectivity aspect is very quick and easy. You should never run into trouble in this regard.
Sony has a bad reputation in one aspect of its existence, which is that you literally will not get anything other than the device in the box. In that case, the Sony MDR-XB950B1 is no different and you just get the headset along with its charging cable. Normally this would not be an issue, but, when you buy wireless headphone or anything wireless you buy it for its portability and the ease it will give you in life. So, you would naturally need to have a headphone case or bag for that reason, you intend to move these headphones and for that, you need a case. Sony as per usual does not give you that inclusive of the headphone package and you will have to buy one separately. The headphones also are not foldable, while this may definitely increase its durability it makes its portability harder. You would just have to hang them around your neck or something. You could put them in your backpack or travel bag but for that as well you will need to purchase a headphone bag separately.
The Sony MDR-XB950B1 is a gorgeous elegant looking headphone which will absolutely make you fall in love with it. Its sound quality is superb and Bass is its greatest strength. It delivers superb bass performance and is extremely well built and durable. You don’t stand out much in public either as it is not eccentric looking but rather cool looking instead. It has excellent noise cancellation and you can wear it in public without the outside noise interfering with your music. They look great, they sound great, they are extremely comfortable and the bass boost feature further enhances your music experience. These are definitely one of the best choices for under 200$ headphones and you can surely never go wrong with them. One thing to care about is that these headphones will satisfy bass enthusiasts more than the other music lovers, so unless you love bass you can probably find a better choice of wireless headgear. The bass boost feature is insanely good but to be properly utilized would require you to touch around the Sony app. So in the end, I would say, you will not go wrong with these headphones even if you don’t like bass, under 200$ these are great and will give you worth your price.
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Prices taken/valid at the time of review.