Pros: Deep well extended bass, rather clear sound, comfort
Cons: Rolled off highs and upper mids.
Unfortunately I do not have the packaging or accessories for the XB. I am borrowing these from a friend and the box has been since thrown away.
Design and Build Quality
The first thing you'll notice is how huge the pleather pads are. They look rather silly to be honest, but actually provide a nice seal around the ears and help provide decent isolation. The pads are also very comfortable, though they get warm during extended listening. The headphones themselves are made of plastic, there's nothing special here but they feel solid enough. On either side of the headband where it adjusts Sony is written. Below that on the cups the model number and side indicator is given.
Each cup has a flat sturdy feeling cable coming from it that meets at the Y-split. The cables feel flexible and well made. The Y-split is simply a blank plastic almost rectangle that combines the two sides. The cable terminates into a gold plated 3.5mm L shaped plug which feels well made.
The XB500 won't bat any eyes with it's plastic build but it feels well made regardless. The comfort provided by the enormous pleather pads is fantastic and the XB500 sit light on the head while feeling secure. For the $50 these can be had for I haven't found another full-sized headphone that has the comfort the XB500 have. Above average build quality here.
These have had at least 50 hours of use from my friend so I jumped right in to listening.
The model is called the XB500, which stands for Xtra Bass. The XB500 do not fail on that department. These are certainly basshead headphones and are capable of pumping out some serious bass that's not only well extended, but surprisingly well controlled with good speed for the quantity. The bass is certainly the focus here and it gives the headphones a warm sound. On bass heavy tracks I find my ears vibrating, though the bass isn't as overwhelming as I would expect out of a headphone marketing itself as "Xtra Bass." The mids are surprisingly rather clear, but the upper mids are rather recessed causing them to feel as if they're towards the back. The highs are the weakest point of the XB500, there's really nothing special here. The highs are rolled off and don't make much of an impression.
The soundstage of the XB500 is rather intimate with decent separation and air to it. The XB500 have a nice balance of aggressiveness and finesse to them which is surprising. During live album listening I feel as if I'm in a nicely tuned venue and I'm rather close to the stage. Most of the crowds sound as if they're behind me. The XB500 have nice punch and energy to them making music very fun to listen to.
Rage's first album has long since been praised for it's excellent production qualities of it. The XB500 give this song a nice punchy feel to it with nice aggression. The vocals are definitely a bit behind the punchy kick drum and bass. The guitars have a nice crunch to them, but are a tad too laid back. The hi-hats of the drums are able to be heard but I have to actively listen for them, even the cymbals are really lacking. The XB500 have good energy despite their downfalls and I am nodding my head listening to this.
I absolutely love this song due to it's beautifully clear guitars and lively tempo changes. The guitar right away sound a bit too warm for this song unfortunately, the vocals are nice and intimate though. Once the bass comes in though the XB500 focus on that slightly drowning out the hi-hat hits, the snare drum is lacking as well. The harmonica in the right ear sounds clean and clear though, but only because the bass is panned to the left. Thankfully most of the other instruments are in the right ear, including the olde time piano which has nice clarity to it. The XB500 are a bit too bass heavy for this song to really shine, but it doesn't sound horrible on them.
Fantastic production quality is found here along with some minor details make this a fun song to listen to. The bass is strong, but not overbearing as Marley's voice sounds clear and smooth. The background vocals during the chorus even sound clear. The guitar is easily heard clearly in the left ear, while the drums are overall drowned out, but the percussion fills are nice and intimate sounding. The little guitar fills unfortunately are barely audible and it's hard to hear them. This takes away a lot of intricacies of the song as the guitar has plenty of little fills throughout the song. The XB500 though sound good with reggae, which generally focuses on bass as it is.
Since these are focused on bass I feel it necessary to pick a song with heavy bass. The kick drum has a massive amount of authority here rattling my ears every few seconds. The minor details in the song are lost, but the vocals and background vocal samples sound clear. The song has a lot of energy with the XB500 and is very fun to listen to hip-hop on these. Thumbs up.
This is a highly energetic song with a lot going on from various instruments. Unfortunately the percussion is almost drowned out by the too prominent bassline. The vocals are a bit recessed, but the whistling is heard clearly. The guitar is a bit recessed as well, but it works for this song as the guitar isn't the focus here. The horns sound energetic though despite being slightly recessed. The song is just too bass heavy through the XB500 though to fully enjoy it.
The Sony XB500 are surprisingly clean sounding with good bass control. The upper mids and highs are certainly the weakest part of the sound from the XB500, but they produce a nice lively sound that almost makes up for it. The intimate soundstage has a nice feel to it and I'm really enjoying certain genres through these. The XB500 have a good build quality for the price and fantastic comfort thanks to the huge pads. Most cheap bass oriented headphones tend to have slow and bloated bass. The XB500 manage to have decently controlled bass with great texture and extension on it. Bass heads looking for a budget option would surely be happy with these.