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Sony MDR-XB950BT Bluetooth Extra Bass Headphone - Black (International Version)

  • Sony MDR-XB950BT Bluetooth Extra Bass Headphone

Recent Reviews

  1. chiefmiest
    Good headphones for a bass head, not durable, cons vastly outnumber pros, would not recommended
    Written by chiefmiest
    Published Oct 5, 2015
    Pros - A bass head will like the bass, Bluetooth range and life,
    Cons - Bulky, Poor durablity, Sweat accumulates around ears, Bass boost overpowering, dirty bass, can not use bass boost when wired, Lots of leakage
    Pros: Bass heads would love the bass on it, very long bluetooth life around 15-20 hours and 50ft range 
    Cons: The headphones are very bulky, making it hard to wear on your neck. If worn for lets say an hour without being taken off a plethora of sweat would have accumulated around your ears. The bass boost can be overpowering. You can not use bass boost if you use wired, I don't know why but seems flawed for being advertised as bass boosted headphones. The bass boost has very dirty bass, if you're looking for clean bass look somewhere else. The durablity on these headphones seem to stem off a flaw in the designing. The muffs can be rotated but not folded or anything of the like. And since the headphones are bulky the part that connects the muff to the headband just snapped. These headphones leak so much sound. It's hard to believe they aren't speakers. I would use them on the bus and on full volume on my iphone and 1/3 volume on the headphones everyone around me could hear my music. Even if they could hear my music I could hear the bus because the isolation on these headphones aren't great even though they aren't advertised as noise isolating.
    I made an account on headfi just to review these headphones. First of all I'd like to say I dont refer to myself as an audiophile or audiohead, at best a music enthusiast.I may not know the proper terminology or criteria for reviewing headphones but bear with me. I bought the MDRXB950--BT on August 10th 2015 and by October 5th 2015 one of the headband holders broke. How? who knows I treated these headphones with utmost care. http://imgur.com/nwZCdyL (A picture of the broken part). http://imgur.com/C4mld83(A picture of the fully functional opposite side).
    Although I am new to headphones I am comparing the audio quality to the shuer 215 IEM's
  2. Malfunkt
    One of the best value headphones on the market for those looking for wireless bass performance
    Written by Malfunkt
    Published Jan 2, 2015
    Pros - Very good bass reproduction, low cost, high quality codec support for Bluetooth, comfort, Bluetooth range and battery life
    Cons - Bass focused presentation will not sound good on other genres without using EQ. Bass Boost effective for a limited range of tracks.
    I've had these headphones now for over a couple weeks and feel like I have a very good sense of what I like about them.

    First off, a bit of background. I have been using closed headphones for almost two decades, starting with Sony's venerable MDR-V7506 and have owned many pair mostly geared towards studio monitoring purposes such as AKG K271, Sennehiser HD280, HD25, Shure SRH-840, as well as others designed for consumers such as Denon AH-D600, MDR-1r and Amperior.

    I also have owned a smaller amount of open headphones with my HD650 being my favorite of all the headphones I have owned to date. I've listened to the HD800 on highend gear, and I'm looking to taking that next step eventually.

    I also don't want to have a whole slew of headphones, and would rather have only a handful. I do require headphones for different reasons -home listening, office, outdoors, active, and professional (as a DJ and for editing work).

    Recently I came across the Sony XB950AP at a local London Drugs store and tried it out. I was immediately struck by its very firm, and excellent low end. I do listen to a lot of electronic music. But their quality was one that struck me based on experience, as in "there is something to these".

    I ended up heading to the Sony store a week later and bought the Bluetooth version I now have.

    In the first couple days of ownership, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. These first impressions are important, because I think many here at head-fi.irg might feel the same on listening to these. Out of the box, the can sound downright murky. The bass from the 300hz range and down is so pronounced, that it can drown out the rest of the frequency range.

    In this period, I was starting to use them at work, but was babying them in case I needed to return them, which I surely would have had I not read some posts by other members mentioning that they'd burn-in and open up. Others had started modding these and basically having tamed the bass claimed they had an excellent pair of cans that punched above their weight.

    It could have been 'burn-in' or my mind became more used to their presentation. Either way, these have become one of my favourite headphones Sony has made - for the sum of all its parts.

    The most important thing to remember is that these are part of Sony's Expanded Bass series. The frequency curve is designed to allow the listener to crank up the headphone (or even at low volume) and enjoy the impact of the bass. If the mids and highs were more forward, it could be both loud and a fatiguing listen. So while this presentation will work fantastic with many electronic music genres such as dubstep, hip hop, techno, trance, etc. - it will sound positively wrong with more acoustic based music such as classical, rock and jazz.

    But the default frequency curve can be very enjoyable for the right genre, and providing your ears are not tired, it will sound wonderful and immersive to have that much bass. I have now saved some profiles in CanOpener that cut the bass below 300hz with a fairly steep curve by more than 6 decibels. Depending on the music I'm listening to, I can easily switch to this setting. Doing so brings out the mids and highs of these headphones which are actually quite good.

    Imaging and is good and appears to be aided by the angled drivers. Detail is good, but no where as detailed as the HD650, but respectable. Perception of soundstage improves with a reduction of bass.

    I loved the bass performance on my AH-D600 and buying those was almost purely guilty pleasure. While that headphone has by default a better balance, it too is also considered bass heavy for some genres, but to a much lesser extent. I wasn't able to make an extensive comparison, but it feels to me that Sony really did a good job with the bass on these headphones. While in some ways a downgrade, I don't feel I'm missing anything from the low-end going to these headphones coming from the D600. Which is some praise, as a number of owners of Denon's well regarded D2000 series have felt the D600 matched or exceeded the D2000 in performance.

    As for comfort, I'lll still put the D600 above the XB950. Sony has put very thick pads on these, and while sweat never seemed like an issue with my Denons, these will produce some sweat. On the other hand, these clamp to the head better, and the cups stay on your ears keeping the seal. As such, they make a great pair of headphones for commuting and strolling around in cooler weather.

    As for styling, these are the first headphones I have ever seen in my peripheral vision :) but the simple shape and finishing somehow make them more forgivable and you'll just look like another urban basshead. Some nice details such as the textured finish on the cups, the red accent, and the rotary cup arms add some polish to the overall look. Again, especially for its price very nice construction. It doesn't come with a case so that is a factor to consider.

    If it was just another wired headphone, I probably would have just kept my Denons. But having wireless is really enjoyable and one of the main selling features. the wireless codec implementation is very good supporting high quality APTX and AAC Bluetooth. The headphones can be plugged into wire, and the quality is cleaner.

    About the Bass Boost - it is mostly overkill, but some very bass focused genres such as dubstep it actually works with. The bass boost is disabled in wired mode. If you are interest primarily in wired, check out the AP version of the headphone. In the AP it seems the default bass range is a tad stronger than the BT. This could be becuase the AP version does not have a powered Bass Boost mode - and so the frequency curve is compensated.

    These have taken over from my HD25s as my preferred headphone for walking about. the HD25 is still better for djing, and the hd650 for a wider genre range and more natural, open sound.

    Basshead on the move need to try these out. I'd recommend these over Sony's MDR7506, V6 and MDR-1r series for those whose preference is electronic music. The dynamic driver in the XB950 is very capable.

    Lastly, I listened to Sony MDR-Z7 which I felt was comparable to my Denon AH-D600 with just a bit more mid-range balance. Bass was comparable to the D600 if not a bit less controlled. The Z7 was not as neutral as either my MDR-7550 in-ear and not up to the performance of the 650s. I liked them but not at that price tag.

    So on the opposite end, here is a headphone that is well worth it price (I got them for $150) and I'd even recommend these over the Z7 for bass specific genres. The Z7 will have more clarity and overall resolution will be better, but it still can't hit the low end range like these can.

    Edit: No longer have these and ultimately was just too unbalanced and uncontrolled on the low-end for my tastes. I ended up with a MDR-7520, which beat my AH-D600 hands down, as it gives more of a studio reference sound with excellent accented bass. Pretty much near perfect for a closed can for my tastes, with the next level probably being a Beyerdynamic T5p v2 one day.
      romeyp likes this.
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    2. Malfunkt
      As it goes I ended up selling the MDR-XB950BT. They just lacked the air, balance and detail I've grown used to. A fun pair for sure, but for my listening they were beaten by my venerable MDR-7550 and recently recabled HD25s (which I have had for about a decade). 
      So while I'll lose bass volume, I still find that I prefer being able to accurately hear detailed bass from my 7550s. The HD25 with a bit of EQ still has the best balance, and will back to using these as all rounders.
      I think my next headphone choice for a closed back will have to be a more solid performer - and for my studio needs probably a Focal Pro or a Sony MDR-7520.
      Malfunkt, Mar 15, 2015
    3. riodgarp
      how about turn off its bass bost? still got big bass ?
      riodgarp, Jun 9, 2015
    4. Mizuo
      How long do you burn in the headphones???
      Mizuo, Mar 8, 2017


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