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[Comparison] Ultrasone Pro 900 Vs. Sony XB1000 - Bass Faceoff

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 

In corner #1: The Sony MDR-XB1000 eXtra Bass headphones. These babies tout extra bass, sport extra-sized earpads, and are considered the grown up, most refined EXTRA BASS Headphone of the XB series. Known to pack an incredible bass wallop, these cans have been long revered for their bass smack-down.

 

In corner #2: The reigning bass cannon champion of Head-fi: The Ultrasone PRO 900. Largely considered the most refined headphone with THE biggest bass available. You want pure bass? The Pro 900 is the champion of bass authority. 

 

5-point rating scale: This is based off my ears and what I hear - and is only my opinion. My rating scales are only meant to show the degree of difference to my ears between these two headphones in each category, and are limited to / defined by only these two headphones.

 

Ding Ding Ding

 

Background:

 

I am always interested in the best bass for the buck. I didn't find too many comparisons of these two headphones that are similarly priced. The Ultrasone is found consistently for less than $350, and the XB1000 runs about $300. Both are contenders for the biggest bass, and I want to know how they stack up against each other. And I think this will be helpful to others too. I want these strictly for EDM. It is the music I will use to make the comparison. I don't listen to Hip-hop, so I won't provide insight on how it sounds with it, because that music doesn't speak to me. And it is my opinion that these headphones make for bad all-rounders in general, and are geared for bass-heavy genres, like EDM. My sole purpose is to listen to EDM on them, so that is what I will listen to on them to compare.


I listened to everything to Armin Van Buuren with lots of synths and sparkly highs, to Deadmau5 with his sub-bass, to some thumpin’ Richie Hawtin minimal techno. Throw in some Umek bangin’ tech-house for good measure. I tried to be diverse with my EDM.

 

 

Comfort:

 

Wow, the XB-1000 is crazy comfortable, they are just MASSIVE! First time I saw them in real life, I laughed out loud at its incredible size. With over 3-inches from out cup to inner pad, they stand out. Possibly portable. My ear doesn’t touch anything inside when wearing them. They stand very clear. After a while, those massive pads can build up some heat being made out of that vinyl material. The Ultrasone Velour is much cooler and comfy against the skin. Smaller earcups mean I get my earlobe squished occasionally, but no big deal comfort-wise. Clamping force about the same. The XB is more comfy, but at the expense of a massive size.

 

Comfort: 900 - 4.5, XB - 5.0

 

 

Isolation:

 

Pro 900 isolates reasonably well, but leaks a fair amount, especially with those highs ringing out. The XB has small vent holes to allow that bass to reverberate, so the isolation is considerably less, and the leakage much more.

 

Isolation: 900 - 4.0, XB - 2.0

 

Sound:

 

1.     Baby got Bass 

 

The Bass is why we're all here, right? Let's get down to it! Both these babies got bass. 

 

The bass on the XB is tighter and more in control. It’s a bit dryer, but hits a little harder, with accuracy. You can hear the detail. The 900 has more bloat to it, but it makes it a bit less impactful when just listening to bass. Listening to some minimal-tech, Hawtin style, where the bass was most present and pumpin’, I could turn up the XB and it gave me that in-club feeling of having my innards jarred out all over the dance-floor by a poppin’ sound system finely tuned with high-quality subs. 900 doesn’t give me that feeling or impact as much. The bass is tight and hard vs bloaty and meaty. Both are very present. Now, the way the REST of the sonic spectrum is presented plays a very big outcome to how the bass is actually presented.

 

Bass Presence: 900 - 5.0, XB - 5.0

Bass Quality: Pro - 4.5, XB - 5.0

 

 

2.     Mids anyone?

 

Mids on the XB make me cringe. Literally cringe and wince. They are much more present than the 900, and if you are listening to Trance with lots of synth mids in it, you have to back down the volume before you can get the bass pumping like you want. The mids overshadow and ruin the fine fine bass on the XB. The mids, when compared to the Pro 900 sound like a hollow joke. 900 has much more realism, texture, air and detail. There is no contest. The 900 is LESS present for sure, but the quality of the Pro 900 blows the XB out of the water. The mids on the XB sound like a loud screeching banshee by comparison. The mids on the XB sound like they originated in a 5-gallon paint bucket. Well, the XB basically sets your ears in a giant bucket with those earcups, so maybe that’s the problem.

 

Mid Presence: 900 - 3.0, XB - 4.5

Mid Quality: 900 - 5.0, XB - 2.5

 

 

3.     Highs - Reaching for the stars

 

Highs are almost the same story as the mids. The 900 devastates the XB in quality. I can hear double-tap high hats on the 900 that I can’t even hear on the XB – it’s just smeared together. The highs on the Pro 900 are more present, and of higher quality. Much higher quality. They are very present, sometimes a bit harsh, but can be toned down a tad with EQ. The present highs on the 900 sound good with all the lows going on, but can get a little peaky with some Trance that has a lot of high-end going on. Sometimes it can be hard to get loud without having to back down the volume because of the highs on BOTH cans. But with the XB, you have to back down first because of the mids. 

 

Highs Presence: 900 – 5.0, XB – 4.5

Highs Quality: 900 – 4.5, XB – 3.0

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The 900 is a much more scooped out, V-shaped sound. And those highs can get hot sometimes, but the highs on the XB are almost as hot, and the mid-range is even hotter when compared to the Pro 900.

 

If you were listening to some very minimal techno which is mostly bass, without much else going on in mids and highs, definitely the XB. It’ll kick you in the pants. If you’re listening to anything with substance, lyrics, synths like trance, with swooshes or anything going on in the mids and highs, 900 is the much more highly recommended.

 

Because of this screaming mids on the XB as compared to the Pro 900, the bass on the Pro 900 is more present when you factor in the entire frequency spectrum. With the whole spectrum, that bloat sounds pretty good. You might be able to tell the XB is a tad tighter, but you’re so distracted by the shrieking banshee mids and spray-paint shaker-ball treble, that it doesn’t matter. The Pro 900 is more refined in almost all ways. The XB is distracting, the 900 draws me in and gets me shaking my head. For me, there’s no comparison. The XB will be on its way back tomorrow. It’s a shame that great bass was ruined by the rest of the audio spectrum.

 

320kbps>V-DAC>Beta-22

 

200 hours burn, Pro 900.

50 hours, XB-1000


Edited by SoundFreaq - 9/20/12 at 7:53am
post #2 of 60

YAY, de bating between these two... and I think you might have won me over for the 1000's... simply because all I want is IN MY FACE tight deep bass! Plus I have the 700's and I'm happy to hear [once again] that the 1000's kick it up a notch in the bass department! 

 

So I'm happy! I even found a pair of them On EBay for realiviley CHeap [and new with returns policy] SO that means I get to try em out!

 

Now to do some math e.e

 

Hank ya :D

post #3 of 60

as an owner of the xb1000's and someone who has read pretty much every review on them in this site and others, i'm going to have to disagree with you only as far as the mids are concerned, you were absolutely right about the highs and the lows but general consensus seems to be that the mids are if anything recessed

 

 

both the mids and highs are recessed but completely smooth across the spectrum which leads to what you mentioned as instrument smearing, sounds seemingly blending together especially at the higher end as opposed to being separate and distinct.

 

 

its all a matter of preference, i personally enjoy the smooth sound but i can understand if someone didn't like it if they prefer to pick apart individual instruments, but again the mids  dont sound anything near shrill or piercing, well to me anyway, we all have different ears, i dont know i just felt i had to chime in since this is the first time i've seen the mids described as such when everywhere else its the exact opposite and the mids seem too distant to some

post #4 of 60
Thread Starter 

Dutchi, this is in comparison to the Pro 900, who's mids are definitely further recessed than the XB1000. Pro 900 probably has the MOST recessed mids of any mid-fi headphone on the market. And in comparison to the Pro 900, those XB1000 mids are hot and very unrefined. Of course to my ears biggrin.gif

post #5 of 60

i hadn't factored that in unfortunately lol

 

 

i never heard that about the pro900's, i knew they had a v shaped signature but not so badly as having mids that were recessed beyond even what the xb1000's were, welppp you learn something new everyday, now i kinda want to hear the pro900's, this i have to hear for myself

post #6 of 60

I can't take a review seriously where Ultrasone PRO900's mids gets highest quality rating, this is a prime example when subjective taste is given objective definition which always looks very unprofessional in my book sorry.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 9/15/12 at 4:22am
post #7 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchi MerenGue View Post

as an owner of the xb1000's and someone who has read pretty much every review on them in this site and others, i'm going to have to disagree with you only as far as the mids are concerned, you were absolutely right about the highs and the lows but general consensus seems to be that the mids are if anything recessed

 

 

both the mids and highs are recessed but completely smooth across the spectrum which leads to what you mentioned as instrument smearing, sounds seemingly blending together especially at the higher end as opposed to being separate and distinct.

 

 

its all a matter of preference, i personally enjoy the smooth sound but i can understand if someone didn't like it if they prefer to pick apart individual instruments, but again the mids  dont sound anything near shrill or piercing, well to me anyway, we all have different ears, i dont know i just felt i had to chime in since this is the first time i've seen the mids described as such when everywhere else its the exact opposite and the mids seem too distant to some

 
How would you compare the XB1000 to the 700, does the 1000 have more Sub Bass and mid Quality, and are the Highs better? I'm looking to replace my xb700's with something that has more UMPH in mids and subs, without losing the quality in highs, in addition it may once again be an issue with my crap tastic FiioE6 [which is a Mid Focuses amp [not a Sub Focusd amo like e11]
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I can't take a review seriously where Ultrasone PRO900's mids gets highest quality rating, this is a prime example when subjective taste is given objective definition which always looks very unprofessional in my book sorry.

You might be right -.-, 

 

WHY IS THERE NO HEADPHONE STORE IN MY AREA!

 

SO maybe when I get my e11 I'll have a better understanding of my Xb 700's.... so maybe then I should go back with my decsion to get the Byerdynamic DT 880's for pure refrance and brightness! I like darker music, but I enjoy sweet highs to [I like Jazz on my XB700, looking to make it better]

 

But I suppose I can always make a return :3 

post #8 of 60
The mids on the Pro 900s are so incredibly recessed, I don't understand how they can be given anything but a low score. Yes, the mids are detailed even as recessed as they are, but they come off more recessed than the DT990s (the closest comparison for me in terms of bass quality, and treble quantity). Don't care to find out how the XB1000 sounds (those horrible sweat loving pleathers turn me off completely), but if they have hot mids, that's got to be a magical improvement over the Pro 900.

No such thing as super bass, hot mids, and hot highs. Something has to give, and I'm certain, that it'd be the mids.
post #9 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The mids on the Pro 900s are so incredibly recessed, I don't understand how they can be given anything but a low score. Yes, the mids are detailed even as recessed as they are, but they come off more recessed than the DT990s (the closest comparison for me in terms of bass quality, and treble quantity). Don't care to find out how the XB1000 sounds (those horrible sweat loving pleathers turn me off completely), but if they have hot mids, that's got to be a magical improvement over the Pro 900.
No such thing as super bass, hot mids, and hot highs. Something has to give, and I'm certain, that it'd be the mids.

Hey mad lust, I've decided to ditch that plan all together and go with Dt 880, like you told me forevers ago

 

and the XB doesnt have "hot" mids, it's more for Sub. In addition the 700 had rather harsh Highs... but yea u have a point! Maybe one day I'll tey em both ^^

post #10 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

How would you compare the XB1000 to the 700, does the 1000 have more Sub Bass and mid Quality, and are the Highs better? I'm looking to replace my xb700's with something that has more UMPH in mids and subs, without losing the quality in highs, in addition it may once again be an issue with my crap tastic FiioE6 [which is a Mid Focuses amp [not a Sub Focusd amo like e11]

 

i cant compare the 1000's to the 700's since i've never heard them, i do also own the 500's and i can compare to those but i dont think that would help you lol

 

from what i've read on these forums however, many 700 owners down think the 1000's are a big enough step up in sound to justify the almost triple price, in sub bass i dont think there are too many headphones that can take these on tho, not unless we're talking lcd 2 territory, again since i dont have 700's only 500's i can only compare to those, the 500's have alot more mid bass, its punchier and alot more forward albiet muddier, the 1000's are clear and refined, textured and layered bass on top of bass can be picked up if the song has it, unlike the 500's that are bassy no matter what the source is, the 1000's are the closest i have to accurate bass, if the song has bass then it's going to get picked up beautifully and powerfully, especially sub bass, certain songs make it vibrate along the length of the headband and vibrate the top of my skull

 

 

the bass doesnt bleed into any of the other frequencies really but the other frequencies are recessed as mentioned above and the highs are the exact opposite of shrill and piercing, you might notice a lack of detail on certain songs but not enough that i would complain about 

post #11 of 60
I love my big XBs (amped), they are great for my Detroit Techno sessions.
post #12 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Croozer View Post

I love my big XBs (amped), they are great for my Detroit Techno sessions.

Hmm you own Dennon 7000... your opinion is VALID! I have an itch to buy them... and I'd like to stratch that ITCH SO BAD... ME GUSTA <.<

 

Have you tried Moding them? There is a mod for the 700 that makes them SING, I've heard rumors that it should work with the 1000's [its basically the removal of a piece of suffcating paper flim off the back of the driver, this "film" is there for the only pourpose of making the XB series more forward and muddy..., heck maybe the 1000's r pre modded 700s with a bigger drive lawls]

 

Still for a bass head, man I should just DO IT an NEVER regret it! Besides they r sexy rn't they <3 

 

 

Warning: TRUTH (Click to show)

This is interesting... you ever have something you like so much that you hate that you can't get away from it... like Cooking [restruant works is slavery, don't think otherwise] or in this case Big Sexy XB Cans... I don't know why I've been trying to fit it... I know I'll like them... even if Head-Fi members tell me I'm not a real Audio Phile for buying them... still I can get DT 880's any time the XB 1000's how ever are discontinued so I should get them now <3

I jist Hope eBay doesn't run out of them >.>

 

 

The truth hurts <3 


Edited by Mshenay - 9/15/12 at 8:11pm
post #13 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I can't take a review seriously where Ultrasone PRO900's mids gets highest quality rating, this is a prime example when subjective taste is given objective definition which always looks very unprofessional in my book sorry.

 

 

Once again, this is in comparison to the XB1000. And compared to them, the mids are of much higher quality. You should hear them yourself. And don't forget to check out the presence rating as well in my review. If you'd like to open this up to a comparison to other headphones, which this is not about in the least, yes, compared to many others I own, the Pro 900 mids are crap quality. 

 

Your pigeon-holing my review without understanding it or possibly reading it all reads pretty unprofessional in my book. Was I not clear enough with my "mids presence" rating? Or which headphone I was comparing the Pro 900 to? I don't understand how all are so confused here. And if I were comparing the Pro 900 quality as a whole to many other headphones, then that is where it gets to be extremely subjective. My scales are meant to show the degree of difference between the two phones in each category, limited to only those two headphones. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The mids on the Pro 900s are so incredibly recessed, I don't understand how they can be given anything but a low score. Yes, the mids are detailed even as recessed as they are, but they come off more recessed than the DT990s (the closest comparison for me in terms of bass quality, and treble quantity). Don't care to find out how the XB1000 sounds (those horrible sweat loving pleathers turn me off completely), but if they have hot mids, that's got to be a magical improvement over the Pro 900.
No such thing as super bass, hot mids, and hot highs. Something has to give, and I'm certain, that it'd be the mids.

 

My findings echo yours. Quantity is low, yes, the Pro 900 mids are very low and recessed. Only the quality score is high. And once again, this is in comparison to the XB1000 only. 

 

Also, be sure to check out my conclusion where I talk about the whole presentation of the XB1000. It definitely is NOT super bass when the whole sound spectrum is factored in. The mids and highs overshadow when compared to the Pro 900, with the more recessed mids. Therefore bass is presented more on the Pro 900. 


Edited by SoundFreaq - 9/17/12 at 3:03pm
post #14 of 60

*sigh* so many options, well thankfully for me I just found out my "budget" been hacked dwn so -.- I can't afford the extra $60 it takes to get the XB1000's like I'd want to... *sigh* although I'm sure the XB 700 will wkr just fine, Fiio E6 is mid boost, E11 is Sub boost! I got a big poach I can carry lotsa stuff :3

 

So e.e I wonder hoew the Dt 880 does with bass xD....

post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

*sigh* so many options, well thankfully for me I just found out my "budget" been hacked dwn so -.- I can't afford the extra $60 it takes to get the XB1000's like I'd want to... *sigh* although I'm sure the XB 700 will wkr just fine, Fiio E6 is mid boost, E11 is Sub boost! I got a big poach I can carry lotsa stuff :3

So e.e I wonder hoew the Dt 880 does with bass xD....

The DT990 with a smaller soundstage, and less treble.
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