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Sony MDR-XB500 vs Sony MDR-XB700

post #1 of 173
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,


I know this comparison has been made multiple times already, but still I want to be sure to make the right choice.


First some facts:


- I am not an audiophile, just a fun listener

- I chose for these Headphones because of their bass, overall quality next to that, the comfiness and the price

- I am not going to use these headphones just with my oldschool amp or pc, but with my iPod too


Ok, now let's start for real. I've read many comparisons of these two headphones, with different outcomes. Some say the XB500 rocks, others say the XB700 rocks. My question is what's best for me, as I'm not using a portable amp with my iPod. Which one will most likely create the best SQ with my iPod as source? Knowing that the XB500 has a 40Ohm impedance and the XB700 a 24Ohm impedance I would say the XB700 would be better with my iPod.


Thanks in advance,


post #2 of 173

I've compared both side by side. XB500 is actually significantly easier to drive than XB700, both SQ-wise and plain loudness wise (aprox 20~25% louder at same volume comparing with Windows 7 vol slider, the slider set to 25% for XB500 and 30-31% for XB700 provides roughly similar volume levels in my case). XB500 is also by far the easiest driven headphone I've tried and then my collection contains only of very easy driven headphones that all play well without any amping. In fact I found XB500 to perform worse when adding my cheap amps FiiO E5 and Gary's PA2V2 to it as they made it sound even smoother and you do not want that, it sounds like it's properly amped without using any, if you use an amp for it, it better be an as neutral sounding amp as possible. XB700 benefitted slightly with those amps to add slightly more punch to the bass especially without making it sound too warm/smooth. I've also tested running the XB500 straight out of an old Creative Zen mp3 player I RARELY use and it sounded very good without amp and it also had a simple 5-band EQ which was enough to improve the sound quality. Basicly you want to have the upper bass range a bit lower than the rest and highs a bit higher.


Without taking any EQing into account XB500 is overall more fun / warmer sounding with bigger bass quantity and a lot more punchy upper bass and the bass impact is bigger while XB700 focuses heavily on very deep bass so it remains rather soft in comparision. The highs are smoother on XB500 or slightly rolled off which makes it very soothing to listen to without any hint of sibilance. As an side-effect the midrange sounds actually "fullier" and less recessed on XB500 compared to XB700 but the slightly excessive upper bass on XB500 colors the mids a bit more/making them a bit smoother sounding unEQ'd. XB500 benefits a lot from a little EQing, unEQ'd it may be just tiny bit too smooth/dark sounding for most people I'd imagine but if EQing using a good quality EQ this headphone can be made sound in my ears even better than XB700 and suprisingly good for a headphone for this price. XB700 has slightly better instrument separation and is a bit less warm sounding and has better clarity unEQ'd but my ears still enjoyed the XB500 sound more as I prefer very warm sounding headphones with very forward mids and not any exaggerated highs and balanced deep/mid/upper bass ratio but every1 got their own preferred sound signature anyway.

post #3 of 173
Thread Starter 

Wow, thanks! I've read your comments in other topics comparing these, now I've got one more question left. Which ones are more comfortable? Do your ears fit in the XB500's, even when you've got bigger ears than average? I can't test it myself, no stores in this area have them to test. Only online ordering or travelling across the whole country is the way to try them.

post #4 of 173

My ears fits just barely inside (I'd concider mine slightly bigger than average) as the relatively small circular shaped cushions will take shape according to your ears with use so it's a lot more oval shaped for me (just press sides of the pads when putting them on when they're new to make it more oval shaped to fit better on the ears). Possibly sometimes when just putting it quickly on I think the lower softest part of the ear (whatever you call it in english) where you'd attach rings to doesn't fit quite inside but I could make it fit by adjusting slightly but it's nothing I'd notice unless checking with the fingers as I can't otherwise tell if it's fully inside or not, they are so soft and the clamping force is very light so it's really hard to tell any difference if it's fully inside or not. Because the XB500 is much much lighter than XB700, I think 185g vs 295g, I concider the XB500 a bit more comfortable due to the smaller weight, I really like headphones that weigh below 200g as that's roughly whereabouts they become so light it's hard to notice you got something on your head.

post #5 of 173
Thread Starter 

Hmm.. my ears are just very weird-shaped =p I guess I really have to test them to decide which one is better for me. I might order both, and return the one I like the least. Maybe that is the best option for me. I will surely post here if I ordered them to test them, and I will also post my choice here.


Thanks for the advice and for your time!

post #6 of 173
Thread Starter 

Another thing, are the 500's good at reproducing the bass in the song "The four of us are Dying by the Nine Inch Nails", or the long low note at 5:05 in "Corona Radiata" by the Nine Inch Nails too btw. I love those bass notes, they make everything in my room shake with my sub. Will these headphones do the same to my ears?


Sorry for double-posting, but had to ask this question to see if they are capable of reaching those lower notes accurately!


Thanks in advance,



post #7 of 173

After auditioning both I chose the XB700 while my friend bought the XB500. He liked the basspunch over the bassquality. In my opinion I can eq the XB700 to sound like the XB500 but not the other way around. The XB700 was slightly more comfortable to me but they are both very comfortable headphones. The XB700 is a really strange headphone. They look ridiculous, can punch so low they liquify your earwax but can sound pretty smooth and musical as well. I really enjoy them for what they are: fun! :)


Have you considered the Ultrasone HFI-580? 

post #8 of 173

For me it was the opposite way (in my experience it works better to remove something excessive than adding something it lacks), I could never get the basspunch of XB500 from XB700 whit even very high boost to 125 - 250Hz and the highs and everything else IMO is at least as of good quality once balanced on the EQ, the sound quality is fine on XB500 but the slight unbalanced frequency response (XB700 isn't perfect either, midrange is a bit recessed but the tonal balance sounds perhaps better) from excessive upper bass emphasize and slightly veiled or rolled off highs is what makes it not have optimal clarity to it unEQ'd but there's nothing wrong with the quality itself for the price. I use a very good quality EQ with my XB500 though so you might not have as great results (some EQs just ruin the sound more than it helps). IMO it changes from a 50~$60 headphone into $200 with the EQ I use, I think it sounds better than even DT770 Pro (more detailed mids especially and highs that sound very natural, they were slightly thin and bright and metallic on DT770 Pro), XB700 isn't any bad at all either and I'd say in my ears sounds like ~$150 with a bit EQing. Remember this is my subjective opinion though, not trying to imply it's objectively better by any means, it just sounds more according to my preferred sound signature.


I wouldn't say XB700 has better bass quality, I mean what makes deep bass better quality than upper bass? Both have very similar deep bass output, XB700 perhaps sliiightly more deep bass output but it's the lack of upper bass punch that makes the tonal character of the XB700's bass to seem much more deeper. You get the same effect when lowering 125 - 250Hz sliders on XB500 without having to boost the lower bass (31 - 62Hz), taking away the upper bass will make the bass sound deeper too.

post #9 of 173

Very informative! Thanks! normal_smile%20.gif

post #10 of 173


Save yourself some cash , they are both pretty bad imo.
The freq response on these is like a water slide, its all bass and recessed everything else, cant fault sony as they do say "bass enhanced" on the box but they are far from HiFi.
They even suck at hippity hop , Mrs Elliot sounded weird on them and they make you look like a total tool.
The Sony MDR 570LP is a much better balanced can and cheaper.
Disclaimer - i only speak for myself , you are free to love any can you want.
post #11 of 173

If you look at the cans in my signature you'll notice that the XB700 stands out. Which is exactely why I bought them. I wouldn't want them to be balanced, I just want them to blow my head off. 

post #12 of 173

No one buys the XB series to be balanced...look at the series name..XB = eXtra Bass. And it pumps out clean and MEGA bass. XB700 gives very very deep bass while XB500 gives less deep but punchier bass.

post #13 of 173
Originally Posted by Xymordos View Post

No one buys the XB series to be balanced...look at the series name..XB = eXtra Bass. And it pumps out clean and MEGA bass. XB700 gives very very deep bass while XB500 gives less deep but punchier bass.

MEGA Bass? That reminded me of the old Sony Walkman!

post #14 of 173

Here's how I'd describe the difference between these two using a simplied frequency response graph that would picture how I see the relevance of the lows and mids and highs to each other in these headphones based on how I thought they sounded unEQ'd and how I EQ'd myself and comparing a bit with headphone.com graphs:




XB700 has a quite typical V-shaped frequency response curve while XB500 is more like a slanting slope.

post #15 of 173
Originally Posted by Negakinu View Post

If you look at the cans in my signature you'll notice that the XB700 stands out. Which is exactely why I bought them. I wouldn't want them to be balanced, I just want them to blow my head off. 

Very well put and exactly the reason I got my XB's. They are just incredibly fun and give a wonderful sub-sonic head massage smily_headphones1.gif
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