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Sony MDR-XB300/MDR-XB500?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Anyone have experience with these two? I'm looking for a fun, cheap, locally available set and Best Buy has these and judging from the praise of the XB700's I'm wondering if there are any major flaws or quality trade offs with these models being cheaper and all. What are the differences between models in this line?


I've seen reviews about the XB300's being very uncomfortable.


If anyone could recommend any locally available bassy (like thumping) headphones that one could find easily around local shops in Canada for the $150 and below price tag that'd be great.


  • I mainly will use them unamped on a PC or portable every once and a while with my iPod
  • Not really willing to spend over $120
  • Not at all willing to buy online.
  • Possibly portable
  • Very comfortable
  • I listen mostly to hip-hop.


Thank You.


PS. Looking to showoff to some buddies bragging about their Dre Beats ;)

Edited by B00F - 1/4/11 at 10:01pm
post #2 of 17

XB500's have the most thumping bass out of them all. Any sony store will have them.

post #3 of 17

I think that the 300s are not as good as the 500/700. 500 (from reviews here) have head thumping bass and 700s (i own them) have deep ocean like bass. You'll never get the same punch of 500 from 700 no matter what amp you use. They produce different bass qualities.

post #4 of 17

XB500 is a very fun headphone that with a bit EQing can sound very good for the price too (sound quality is good but the unbalanced frequency response and warm sound signature may not give it the best possible clarity unEQ'd, if Sony would simply balance the sound better like I've done with a very good working EQ they could easily sell it at a 3x higher cost). It's among the easiest driven headphones, it even sounds worse out of cheap amps like FiiO E5. I wear it for several hrs in a row every day without a prob and it's extremely comfortable and doesn't quite become as warm on your ears like you would have thought despite the big pads. I don't think there exists any headphone below $200 mark at least that would satisfy me more. :p


Especially the bass is perfect in this headphone to show off to your Beats-buddies, it beats it in both quantity and quality. ^^ At least I had cried if I had bought Beats and then tried XB500 later on. xD


You can read more about the XB500 here http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/531619/review-denon-ah-d1100-vs-sony-mdr-xb500

Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/5/11 at 3:08am
post #5 of 17



The XB500 is perfect for your needs:




Originally Posted by B00F View Post


  1. I mainly will use them unamped on a PC or portable every once and a while with my iPod

  2. Not really willing to spend over $120

  3. Not at all willing to buy online.

  4. Possibly portable

  5. Very comfortable

  6. I listen mostly to hip-hop.



PS. Looking to showoff to some buddies bragging about their Dre Beats ;)



  1. No amp required for massive, punchy bass.

  2. They cost around $50

  3. You can get them in regular stores.

  4. They are designed for portable use (1m cord with 3.5mm angled plug)

  5. VERY comfortable

  6. There's nothing better suited for HipHop in your price range



PS. These expose the beats to be exactly what they are, overpriced. Your friends will be impressed/jealous/nauseous/homicidal with rage. 

Edited by Lex - 1/5/11 at 1:21am
post #6 of 17

I own a set of each of these headphones.

I had considered getting the Dre’s but just could not bring myself to spend that much on them after only demoing them in the store on their horrible set up.

I got my XB300’s almost a year ago even after reading less then favorable reviews here and on the many other forums and blogs that I visit way too often. I decided to take a chance at the price point, and because I am an unabashed bass head. Therefore the XB300’s seemed to fit my purpose.

I was pleasantly surprised when I first tried the 300’s out with my custom built PC.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am not an audiophile but I know what I want my music to sound like. I want to hear deep bass, but I still want to hear the clave, triangle, and each and every sting. With some minor EQ work I was hearing things in the music that I had not heard before. Then I made the mistake of discovering FLAC. Pure bliss! I have 4.5TBs of space ;-)

I have never experience any discomfort while wearing my 300’s for extended periods of time. Sometimes all day as I work in IT, and wear them while going about my daily duties. The only strange looks I’ve ever gotten were from an older guy who thought they were the biggest headphones he’d ever seen. Others said they look comfortable, which they are.

My 300’s have been great, and still are, but I started getting an itch for a new set of headphones a few weeks ago when someone borrowed them without my permission and quietly returned them with a hole torn in the right ear pad.

They still work and sound just fine, but this started me on the hunt again for another set of Bass Heavy headphones.


Once again I was tempted by the Dre Beats because I still had not heard them outside of Best buy. As luck would have it a friend of mine got them and I was able to try them out. Now my honest assessment of them is that they are good. They carry bass just fine, with the mids and treble not having the separation, but this could have been due to the source as it was his iPod touch. Not saying the iPod was not good but no telling where he got his music from.

The thing about them that got me was that they did not strike me as being worth 3-4x the cost of my 300’s. I really expected a jump in the sound but that’s not what I heard.


So I started looking for some XB700’s because I wanted something that would for lack of better term drown me in bass with the ability to possibly EQ the treble and mids to my liking. I’m too impatient to order stuff online sometimes and like to be able to easy return or exchange items. So I went to Best Buy and found that they did not have the 700’s in stock. So I figured what the hell, I’ll just get the 500’s since I’m here and if I don’t like them I can bring them back and order the 700’s and work on exercising some patience.

Well they are not going back! Do they drown me in bass? No. Do they carry more bass than the 300’s? Yes, but in a different way. Part of the reason I feel is because the 300’s set on your ears while the 500’s almost completely surround your ears. This allows for more control of the sound. The sound of itself has what I would say is clearly a deeper stage allowing for more separation of instruments when EQ’ed for the type of music you are listening to. For example my music taste goes from Hip-Hop, to Smooth Jazz, to 70’s Rock, to DC Go-Go. I was listening to Paul Wall – Break’em Off, and the bass was just sick, but I could still hear scratches, bells and various sound effects. It was the kind of bass that you get when you are at a concert on the floor mid-stage. This was of course a flac file.

I have another EQ set up for Steely Dan. Try giving a listen to “Jack of Speed” off of their “Two Against Nature” album with everything set just right will make you say “Damn!”, not because it’s loud or over bassy, but because if you’ve listened to the sound before you now know that there is so much more there that you have been missing.


Well to wrap this up and not take over the post, get the XB300’s for comfort and nice bass. Get the XB500’s for a better sound stage with punchier more defined bass.

Keep in mind that both of these will require you to adjust EQ to get the optimal sound for you as they are intended for Bass heads so that is where the emphasis is at with these headphones.


You can get either of these for about $50 or less if you check online, or get lucky in store.


Hope this helped and sorry for the long reply.


Edited by romeyp - 1/5/11 at 12:23pm
post #7 of 17

Very interesting post, I agree also about XB500 (haven't tried XB300 but I can imagine it being the same) that they do benefit a lot from a little EQing. Even from my crappy old Creative Zune MP3 player (I almost never listen from a portable device so don't need any better) with a simple 5-band EQ I could get it sound very decent when doing small adjustments. Especially bringing down the 125 - 250Hz range (on the mp3 player there's 200Hz-band which is a perfect spot) and lower that a bit below the other ranges and put the deep bass a bit higher and then mids and highs a bit higher as well then the result was very nice, soundstage & instrument separation appears to be even greater than on my comp with an Audigy 2 ZS & kX Audio drivers. While I was cooking some food today I listened to it a little (I've never done this b4 while cooking some food) and I was like, couldn't stand still, had to dance a little to the music, no other headphone seems to make me wanna dance as easily like the XB500, so engaging, it's the same feeling when being high, then you start appriciate almost any music. :p The best 43 EUR I've ever spent. They seem to do very well with weak sources so that's always a good thing IMO, I get very sufficient volume from that mp3 player at volume set to 11 - 12 out of 25 max (ie. 44 - 48%).

Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/5/11 at 3:18pm
post #8 of 17

I auditioned the XB series at a SonyStyle before and didn't find the XB300s uncomfortable. However, they sounded quite muddy. I would say the XB500s and XB700s are heads above their younger sibling, with the XB500 sounding a bit less refined than the XB700s in terms of timbre and clarity. The 500s and 700s are the only XB-series headphones worth getting.

post #9 of 17

I have both as we speak. XB300 is a waste. Sure they feel good when you first put them on, but so did the SR80i and the K701...


XB500 sounds better anyway. The extra bass and comfort, not to mention sound in general, make it worth getting over the XB300.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice guys! And romeyp the long post was not a problem. In fact, very helpful.


I guess I'll spring for the XB500's as they seem to fit my bill. 

post #11 of 17

I am looking for a good budget headphone and after reading some reviews stumbled back here. I went on google products and found the xb300 for $23 + about $3 for shipping from expressbuy. I'm not really looking to spend over $30, is this the way to go?

post #12 of 17
JVC HAS700 or Panasonic HTX7 are undoubtedly better than the XB300.
post #13 of 17

the xb500 refurbished is $40 on Amazon.  It is well worth the extra $10.

post #14 of 17

I think the Sony XB500 would be more ideal for your needs, they produce crazy amounts of bass and because you like listening to rap music, your guaranteed to like them. They not as portable as the XB300, since they have bigger drivers, but they are very comfortable and they don't sit on your ears like the XB300, they actually go around your ear, so better isolation to!

post #15 of 17

Why are you digging up these old threads and posting all over the place about the XB500? Fanboy much?

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