Considering that the BN model has Bluetooth, NFC, and ANC, some compromises had to be made. At $150-$200, you can't find any other headphones that do any of these things rather competently, let alone do it quite well.
I consider these the Jack of All Trades, Master of None for Sony. For $175 (Costco model with Case and other extras), it does balanced sound reproduction better than MDR-10RDC/NC. The added benefit of Bluetooth, Rechargeable Batteries, and ANC is enough for 99% of people. To be honest, this is enough headphones for me for non critical purposes, laptop hoboing at the local coffee shops or what not.
Immediate impressions: Fairly balanced, much more so compared to the any versions of MDR-10Rs. It does sound more like the ZX series than the MDR-1XR series. Bass seems a bit bloated compared to the nosy mids. Loose and Boomy. Works better with acoustic materials than rock or other bass heavy materials. Maybe a bit of basshead's can perhaps, but it's a bit too loose in the low ends. Nothing tight or controlled. Warm much like the ZX700 or MDR-1R, and definitely brighter than MDR-10R.
Supra-Aural makes these bit uncomfortable... Not sure what I think about this form factor. It grips quite tight. Control is counter intuitive, but the fact that there are physical controls? I like it.
About 10 hours of random music burn in so far.
It's much, much better than MDR-10R/NC. That much is certain. It's more of a smile shaped EQ vs. extreme V of MDR-10R.
Edited by Damage - 7/8/14 at 3:36pm