Solid, Stylish, Sweet Bass!

A Review On: Sony MDR-XB700 50mm XB Diaphragm Driver Extra Bass Headphones

Sony MDR-XB700 50mm XB Diaphragm Driver Extra Bass Headphones

Rated # 108 in Headphones
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $80.00
rigodeni
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Pros: Solid build, nice cable design, looks/feels more expensive than it is.

Cons: Poor on genres that are not Bass heavy. Gets very warm (sweaty). Not closed, moderate noise leakage.

 

I also own the Grado SR60i ($90), and Sennheiser HD 25-1 II ($200). I will make some comparisons to these also. I realize many people consider sound quality to be the most important thing about a headphone, but I will take a more balanced look at how practical these are to use on a daily basis.

 

Design/Comfort

 

From the moment you take them out of the box, they feel and look more expensive than they are. People are always surprised to hear the price. The stainless steel accents and leather handmade ear pads add to the luxurious feel/look. They are solid, and built to last. The cable is not replaceable, but is very sleek. The flat design makes it easy to manage. The connector is compact, and should not get in the way of protective cases on portable devices. At only 24Ohm impedance you will have no issues running these off portable devices, no amp required. The headband (also leather wrapped) grasps on with a moderate force, balanced out by the plush memory like foam ear pads. I feel no discomfort from the pads or band on my head, even for longer sessions.

 

However, after about 1-2hrs, I find they do get warm, even sweaty if you don’t take them off. This is especially bad if you walk or do any physical activity with them on. As for style, people tend to call me Princess Leia when I wear them in public. If you have a particularly large head, these will make it look exponentially larger. I have an average size head, but this, the sweating issue, and the sheer size (can’t fold them), prevents me from taking these when going out in public. I tend to reach for my HD 25-1 for superior isolation, portability, and style when going out. I also never have issues with sweat on my HD 25-1 (with velour pads), even during light physical activity.

 

As others have noted, these are not completely closed, meaning there will be some moderate noise leakage at high volume. This only becomes an issue in extremely quiet environments. Even then, it only becomes an issue if you crank volume beyond what I consider safe for longer periods of time. I do not recommend these to someone who listens at very high volumes, in public areas.

 

Sound

 

These definitely live up to the name Xtreme Bass. Bass extension is substantial, especially in the very low range. It picks up things in the lower register that my SR60i and even HD 25-1 miss completely on certain songs. The sound stage is actually above average for a closed headphone, sounds wider than HD 25-1, but slightly less separation on more complex compositions. The SR60i, being an open headphone, obviously offers superior sound stage and separation in comparison, this becomes especially apparent on rock, classical genres. The highs on these are a little bit over emphasized for me, and can get irritable at higher volumes. This is especially noticeable in genres like rock or classical. The mid’s are probably the weakest area for this headphone, simply because the bass and highs are more emphasized.

 

I find the bass a little tighter, faster, and punchier, on my HD 25-1. But the XB700 has a ridiculously low response, in the very low range that some songs resonate in; you get that satisfying rumble that stays tight. In low ranges like this, the HD 25-1 simply cannot compete, it misses this completely. So there is a bit of a trade off there. Keep in mind the HD 25-1 is over double the price also. Overall, when it comes to sound, I would say the HD 25-1 is superior as an all-rounder. But for those who primarily listen to bass heavy tunes, or just want something that excels in that genre for a good price, XB700 is for you.

 

Verdict

Overall, for the price point, this is a good headphone for those bass lovers among us. It is well built, and will last many years, a great value at this price. But I could not recommend this as a portable every day commuter, due to the sheer size, slightly lacking isolation, and style (be prepared to be name called). And if you plan to wear them for long periods, be aware that these can get really warm. If you like to listen at above average volumes in public places, you may want to get an actual closed headphone. If you enjoy a lot of variety in your music, or you like Rock, Classical, Pop, you can get a more balanced headphone in this price range, like the Shure SRH440.

 

In my experience, if I am at home, I usually grab my Grado SR60i’s, they are more comfortable for long periods, and sound better for a wider variety of music. I only dig out my XB700’s if I feel like putting on a bass head session for a while. If I am on the go, I will grab my HD 25-1, due to their superior portability, isolation, and styling. For my taste and lifestyle, the XB700 are just not as practical as the other two. But when I do get in that Bass head mood, the XB700 never disappoints.

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