[Poor Man Reviews] Sony MDR-ZX770BN
Apr 26, 2015 at 12:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

thatonenoob

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SONY'S MDR-ZX770BN

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INTRODUCTION

It’s been a little while since my last review, so for my regular readers I do apologize!  I’ve been quite busy lately, and haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to review audio equipment.  Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Sony MDR-ZX770BN Wireless Bluetooth NFC Noise Cancelling Headphones.  Don’t be deceived by its Terminator-esque naming convention–the MDR-ZX770BN is actually one of Sony’s most stylish offerings to date.   Featuring an elegantly utilitarian design, the MDR-ZX770BN also brings an impressive amount of functionality to back up its aesthetics as well.  In essence –it is Sony’s answer to the highly popular offerings from Beats and Bose.   However, we’ll also take a close look at its audio performance, and see how it does by audiophile standards.
 
Before I go any further into this review, I’d like to offer a big thank you to Sony for helping to coordinate the logistics of this review and sending me a loaner unit.  The usual disclaimer stands: I am neither an affiliate nor an employee of Sony.  All photos seen are taken and owned by me.  Without further ado, let’s get started with the review and see how Sony’s latest headphones fare.
 
SPECIFICATIONS

TYPE: Closed
DRIVER UNIT: 40 mm Neodymium
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 8-22,000 Hz
IMPEDANCE: ANC (ON) 23 Ω, ANC (OFF, CABLED) 50 Ω
SENSITIVITY: ANC (ON) 98 dB/mW, ANC (OFF, CABLED) 100 dB/mW
BATTERY LIFE (MUSIC PLAYBACK): ANC (ON) 13 Hrs, ANC (OFF) 19 Hrs
BATTERY CHARGING TIME: 2.5 Hrs
BLUETOOTH CODECS: SBC, AAC, APT-X
BLUETOOTH RANGE:  30 ft (10m)
CONSTRUCTION: Around-Ear
WEIGHT: 245 g
 
PACKAGING/ INCLUDED ITEMS


 
The packaging of the MDR-ZX770BN is fairly simple and no frills.  Opening the matte cover box reveals a plastic mold containing the headphones.  The rough cardboard and blister pack-style plastic makes the unboxing experience somewhat unimpressive, and it is in this area that the MDR-ZX770BN definitely loses out to offerings from competitors like Beats.  The included items are few in number as well –a pouch, charging cable, and headphone cable.  The headphone cable is of relatively low quality, and is a reminder to users that the MDR-ZX770BN is meant to be used in a wireless configuration.  However, there is nothing particularly bad either, and some may prefer that the MSRP wasn’t inflated by superfluous packaging.
 
 
BUILD/ DESIGN QUALITY

 

The MDR-ZX770BN definitely wins a few points right off the bat in terms of design.  It looks amazing.  With elegant contours that integrate just the right amount of flashiness with an otherwise subtle design, the headphones are definitely the best of all of Sony’s attempts at wireless headphones.  The monstrous MDR-RF865-RK is reminder of just how far Sony has come in terms of design.  Taking a page right out of the Beats playbook, Sony has decided to go with pleather for both the headband and the earcups.  The headband itself is made of a combination of plastic and metal, and a metal trim lines the entire headphone.  Clamping force is light, so for those intending to run or workout with their headphones, the MDR-ZX770BM won't be your cup of tea.   
 
The earcups are nicely sized and surprisingly deep. The pleather earpads are also similarly comfortable, though they do have the tendency to heat up quickly.  All the electronic gadgetry is located on the bottom of the earcups.  On the left cup are the power button, cabled input, and noise cancellation button.  On the right cup are the volume and track controls.  The controls are well integrated and highly sensible (take a look at the Bose AE2W for comparison).  Furthermore, earcups do swivel to a flattened position, making transportation easy.
 
If there’s one complaint to be had, it’s that the MDR-ZX770BN is almost too light.  I might even venture to say that it feels a bit flimsy at times.  However, some (especially business/ power users) may prefer this to a heavier headphone for prolonged use.  After all, the battery life is quite impressive (see specifications for details).  Overall, the MDR-ZX770BN is a good-looking headphone with excellent design and build characteristics.  
 

 
SOUND QUALITY

We’ll start out by taking a look at the noise-cancelling capability of the MDR-ZX770BN.  Featuring 3 modes, the MDR-ZX770BN's active noise cancelling can reduce a wide range of sounds; super low frequencies to relatively quiet/varied noises are all covered by the ANC function.  Fortunately, users won’t really have to toggle between the three modes, as the headphones can automatically analyze ambient sound components to choose the most appropriate one.  With regards to the actual noise cancelling abilities, the MDR-ZX770BN is very successful at reducing repetitive sounds produced by air conditioning/ engines.  However, for users looking for a “silver bullet” capable of blocking out noise completely, a traditional triple flange is still the best solution.  In addition, the amount of white noise produced while the headphones are on standby in ANC is very much audible.  
 
With regards to the sound performance of the MDR-ZX770BN, I’ll start generally by comparing the wired and wireless modes.  The wireless mode works respectably, but won’t be turning any audiophile heads. While in busy environments that it was designed for, the wireless MDR-ZX770BN plays fairly well, featuring solid performance.  However, when in quiet environments, it becomes clear that the MDR-ZX770BN does experience a bit of congestion while on wireless. It simply doesn't sound quite as clear as when it is wired.  That said, for the added functionality, I was quite impressed with how little the MDR-ZX770BN had to give up by way of SQ.  
 
Now, moving to the actual sound quality of the earphones –the bass is well defined, featuring good separation and attack.  However, fullness is somewhat compromised by the low quantity of bass produced.  In addition, the extension of the bass isn’t particularly good either.  That said, it is commendable that Sony attempted to go for a higher fidelity sound, instead of simply attempting to cover everything with bloated amounts of bass.
 
The mids are comfortably placed.  With a somewhat warm tinge and a laidback nature, the MDR-ZX770BN is great for vocals.  While some may also complain that this makes the MDR-ZX770BN fairly predictable, I would hesitate to criticize a headphone that performs well in mids.  It's far from being "clinical", and allows the headphones to play well with a lot of different genres.  Highs are good and provide necessary sparkle.  However, they do get to be slightly tinny at times.  Fortunately, sibilance is not a problem in the upper mid-high range.
 
Soundstage is respectably sized, but by no means huge.  Good separation (do take into account that this gets reduced in wireless mode) does help to compensate for weaknesses in this area. Overall, sound quality on the MDR-ZX770BN is good, but definitely won't be its biggest selling point.
 
FINAL THOUGHTS

 
The Sony MDR-ZX770BN is a highly successful, functional pair of everyday carry headphones.  While it isn't exactly an audiophile headphone, its functionality and design gives it a universal appeal that just about everyone can appreciate.  If you're in the market for a pair of headphones that sound relatively good and have great aesthetics and utility, then this might just be the right pair for you.  
 
Hope you enjoyed this review and happy listening!
 
Best Regards,
Thatonenoob
 

 

 
May 4, 2015 at 1:04 PM Post #2 of 30

themeister

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Thanks, did you test  them with the wireless sound quality set to the highest quality listening mode which has apt-X? Can you hear a difference between the 3 wireless listening modes?
 
Aug 14, 2015 at 3:04 PM Post #5 of 30

mkbtam

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There are three secret audio modes for the MDR-ZX770BN, it usually ships with the standard mode which has a balance between connection and sound quality but no means the best SQ. To get to the best quality, press the volume up button and then power up. The LED will flash a few times red and then three times blue, then it is in SQ priority.
 
Nov 7, 2015 at 9:56 PM Post #7 of 30

longish222

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Hello there!
 
This will be my first post and hopefully will contribute to answering some questions most of us have! 

I have been a long time fan of wearing the bose (specifically the AE models). I currently have the AEW2 which I find to be super comfortable, and extremely light compared to other headphones I have tried.
 
I've been searching for a decent pair of headphones that offer BT and ANC around the $300 dollar range and after googling for quite some time, these came up over and over again with extremely good reviews. I don't live anywhere near a place that offers these to "try on" so I'm trying to get an idea of what it would feel like with these on. 
 
So I was wondering if these Sony pairs are just as comfy if not comfier than the Bose (like the AEW2 or QC25)? It's literally the only deal breaker from me purchasing these or not!
 
Dec 26, 2015 at 7:40 PM Post #8 of 30

maniac2003

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I personally found them comfortable. Whole lot better than the MDR-ZX750BN I bought some time in history.
The problem for me was the depth of the earcups. I noticed that my ears were hitting the grill/drivers when I turned my head. I ended up sending them back for a refund and buying the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless. I love the Sennheiser, way more expensive but also much better.
 
Dec 31, 2015 at 9:34 AM Post #9 of 30

thatonenoob

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  I personally found them comfortable. Whole lot better than the MDR-ZX750BN I bought some time in history.
The problem for me was the depth of the earcups. I noticed that my ears were hitting the grill/drivers when I turned my head. I ended up sending them back for a refund and buying the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless. I love the Sennheiser, way more expensive but also much better.

 
The Sennheiser Momentum definitely edges out the ZX770BN in more than one category.  The thing I noticed with Sony is that they often have this extremely safe sound signature that seems to spread throughout their earphones and headphones (the modern ones at least), with successive models having almost incremental increases in performance.  This makes for an almost predictable listening experience...and it makes it obvious that the cheaper headphones are missing something when compared to the more expensive ones.  Sennheiser manages to capture a lot of performance with a bolder and yet more refined sound signature while keeping each headphone somewhat unique.
 
Feb 17, 2016 at 7:56 AM Post #10 of 30

chailee80

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I've had these a few weeks now and im very satisfied with them. Extremely comfortable, musical sounding without being harsh, great connectivity and noise canceling that works pretty good. I cannot complain about the AUD $200 price tag either, they are very nice for the price. My only slight gripe is they're a little creaky sounding at the earcup swivel mechanism, i do live in a hot dry environment tho so that could be to blame. I originally had the sennheiser urbanite xl wireless but they were very uncomfortable and too boomy in the bass so i swapped them for these sonys which turned out to be a great decision.
 
Feb 17, 2016 at 8:11 AM Post #11 of 30

thatonenoob

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  I've had these a few weeks now and im very satisfied with them. Extremely comfortable, musical sounding without being harsh, great connectivity and noise canceling that works pretty good. I cannot complain about the AUD $200 price tag either, they are very nice for the price. My only slight gripe is they're a little creaky sounding at the earcup swivel mechanism, i do live in a hot dry environment tho so that could be to blame. I originally had the sennheiser urbanite xl wireless but they were very uncomfortable and too boomy in the bass so i swapped them for these sonys which turned out to be a great decision.

I'm very glad to see that this was the right one for you.  The Sony definitely has that classic smooth house sound that works very well.  While sometimes this does get boring (see above), it's still really hard to fault it in my opinion.
 
May 17, 2016 at 12:58 PM Post #13 of 30

trellus

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I know for sure one
Anybody knows the difference with the 770BT? Just the ANC? Or the sound changes too?


One big difference is that the 770BT don't offer a wired mode at all. I have the 770BT and I'm considering getting the 770BN in order to gain ANC feature, and to a lesser extent, the wired functionality. I'm curious as to whether 770BN sound different than 770BT, also, and maybe I'll know soon. :)
 
Sep 4, 2016 at 2:26 AM Post #14 of 30

w012345

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what do you guys think about the MDR-ZX770ap , this ones doesn't show on amazon.com but they are in amazon japan.
They are much cheaper and when I tried them they sounds really good to me, the price is close to the audio technica 40x but I don't find them in display so I don't know how they are.
the  MDR-ZX770 are really comfortable. 
 
https://www.amazon.co.jp/SONY-密閉型ヘッドホン-ターコイズブルー-MDR-ZX770-L/dp/B00VN27NQI/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1472969352&sr=1-1&keywords=zx770
 
Sep 4, 2016 at 5:50 AM Post #15 of 30

brandnewgame

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I have both the MDR-ZX770BN & AP. They sound very similar, though the BN seem to emphasize the extremes of the frequency range slightly more. To my ears, the treble is slightly smoother on the APs. Perhaps these differences are due to bluetooth compression and/or the inbuilt DAC.
 
The APs TRRS (3 ring) non-detachable cable only works with phones, tablets and modern laptops with combined headphone and microphone ports. They're very efficient and reach most of their potential plugged into these devices, but I needed a TRRS to 2xTRS adapter to plug into amps and older laptops.
 
Build-wise, the APs are lighter and don't exhibit an annoying earcup swivel squeak which is present on the BNs. I also prefer the smoother finish on the APs to the BNs rough housing surface.
 
If bluetooth isn't a deal-breaker then the MDR-ZX770APs are my favourite over-ear headphones in their price range due to their balanced, smooth and engaging sound. I'd happily listen to any genre of music on them.
 

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