Comparison between Sony MDR XB-400, MDR XB-600 and MDR XB-900
Jun 4, 2014 at 12:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


New Head-Fier
Apr 8, 2013
Okay, many bassphiles (or 'bassheads'), like me once wondered within those products of Sony Extra Bass XB series which is the better especially between the XB-400 and XB-600 for regular dubsteps, brosteps, electrohouses or any fun wacky bass songs. (XB-900 is just the additional). This is my straightforward comparison using my experience in terms of song quality and consumer usability and NOT specifications to eradicate those worries of which product to choose within these headphones, for which gives the most bang for your bucks.
MDR XB-400 Excellent for budget bassphiles.
Well this is the obvious cheaper price option for those budget bassheads compared to XB-600 and XB-900. The cushioning are just decent for comfort for the first few hours of using and enough for you to last with it for most of the day, by most of the day, I mean once in a while after prolong use you will just feel a little uncomfort or "afterburning-pain effect" due to the pressure of the pair of cans on your ears. In order to prevent that, u have to position this headphone in a position that doesn't apply too much of a pressure on both ears.
As for the build, its plastic (quite common) and sadly to say they provide no padding under the headband. Noise cancelling property with just thin cushioning might be impressive, I mean literally couldn't hear clearly but blurs during a conversation when I wore this headphone over my headphone. If volume is pumped to high, some of the sound could leak (but very little and can be still heard distinctly)
Portability might be a problem as you can only just fold 2 sides of the cans flat, easy to store for most of the bags these days, though you might have to consider how you put it in your bag, be aware if heavy books or items may press on this headphone or not as this might really break the plastic build of this headphone.
The highs and mids delivered are just decent for some bassphiles but obviously unsatisfying for those who savour high-end headphones like Sony MDR-1R or Senheisser Momentum. The bass delivered is somewhat stronger..., no not stronger, "explosive" than Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro and Ath-M50 and overwhelms those of Senheisser Momentum. This hedphone is capable of handling strong deep bassy wobbles in songs without distortion or blur. The bass pumped out by these cans can be quite "skull rattling" for beginners or purists instead of sharp strong punching bass if compared to MDR XB-900. If portable headphone amplifier is used to max the can literally feel it vibrating. One might say that these headphones are 'fun' to use.
MDR XB-600 Just decent with some tuning with an amplifier.
This to many bassphiles can be utterly dissapointing despite supposedly being a step better than XB-400 and its higher price. However, cushioning of the cans are plenty and really comfortable and can be used for the whole day without removing them even though if the cans are placed in a supposedly uncomfortable position as one would with XB-400 as Sony done a good job engineering the headbands so that the pressure won't hurt your ears after prolong use. 
Despite being mostly plastic (also) this headphone has a sturdier and stronger build than its predecessor and a little padding under the headband improves comfort to the user and its slightly medium thick cushioning can be like putting 2 circular pillows on one's ears. The cushioning dim outside noise very much impressively. You do not have to worry about sound leakage at all as the cushioning are well done to suit that purpose and comfort. Some might say the cans are quite large. One new feature is that the cans can be adjusted at more angles than XB-400, you can rotate the cans vertically and horizontally unlike XB-400 which is 'fixed'.
Despite being more expensive than XB-400, the release of this model has a new "double" folding feature so that u can store this headphone more easily than XB-600 in a bag.
The sound of the headphone totally lacks the mids and this cause the cans to sound like subwoofers with a piece of cloth covered on it. The highs are much higher than XB-400. For the bass part, its as if the mid-bass are extravagantly beefed up and completely lacks the deep vibrant property (which is a big disaster to many people). I find this model incomparable to other flagship headphones. To solve this problem, use an amplifier to adjust the sound produced to suit yourself better.
MDR XB-900 A big step from MDR-XB600 and MDR-XB400
I would recommend this cans if one could afford. In my opinion, this headphone is very comfortable, but over a long extensive prolong use, u may feel the pain or pressure like MDR-XB900 (depending on how one wear it). The cushioning is very large in comparison to the predecessors. To describe this, it is like a more defined and better XB-400 wtih features of the XB-600 but engineered to be better.  
The cushions that comes with the cans are bigger and really comfortable. This comes with more and bigger padding under the headband too. Like XB-600, you do not have to worry about sound leakage and noise cancellation from the outside are really well done.
Though more expensive than the XB-400, like XB-600 it can be 'double' folded for portability and has a better robust build than the previous two. This model is made of both plastic and aluminium (for the side of the headband) for longer durability.
Some might say that the audio transcends even XB-800 (oftenly thought as the same as XB-900 but they are not at all). The cans are like mini subwoofers on your ears, they pump out sharp strong deep bass for all bass drops in songs (mentioned above) like enhanced loud bass drum for each beat in the song (most of the songs anyway) and can be really enjoyable and thrilling. The highs are similar or no different than XB-400, the mids are lower but the bass is better than the previous two pair of headphones. Amplifying the sound with stronger bass produced would be make this set of cans a beast, but its worth to beef up the highs for this headphone.
In my opinion, XB-900 is the best choice of all, but if you are under a low budget, go for XB-400, its a better alternative and never try and buy XB-600. If you did, well get a good amplifier to tune to make up for the loss of mids and bass.
[size=medium]Personal Question: Is the legendary MDR XB-500 better than MDR XB-900?[/size]
Jul 17, 2014 at 10:08 PM Post #2 of 2
I have the XB-900 and I must say that it definitely needs an amp to shine, the bass would be bloated and the mids would sound bad if driven directly from the PC headphone out or a phone's output, not saying that it can't be used with a pc directly, but you won't be hearing what is really special about this headphone without proper amplification because as you well know, bass requires a lot of power to be produced and on-board just doesn't cut it :)

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