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Sony MDR-XB500 Initial impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by heynice, Jul 23, 2010.
  1. heynice
    So, the first bestbuy in my town opened today and there is a big sale, couldn't get the monitor (screen) i wanted, but got these headphones for ~35 bucks CAD. These are my initial impressions, I've had these opened and on for a few hours now.
    Ive tried it straight through ipod, using apple lossless files, and some lower quality audio (128kbps), ive tried it with the d10 amp, and also from pc->d10->xb500. I'll just say right off the bat, the amp did increase clarity when using with the ipod, but not by much.
    Ive been using the shure 440, which i was selling for comfort issues, but ended up keeping due to some idiot buyer. anyways i will start with the build quality:
    the first thing i can say is that DAM these things are ridiculously comfortable! i think i would pay 40 bucks for the cushions alone <_<, maybe i can mod them into the shure 440 hmmmmmm, i have glasses + slightly weird ears, but the cushions are unbelievably comfortable,  it clamps tight, its not a huge deal, and i'm guessing would be fine as time passesThe headband cushioning is better than the Shure 440's, the heavy shure 440 has no chance against the comfort of the xb500. Note, the xb500 is not foldable or anything, yet it seems much more portable/transportable than the shur440.
    The headphone is very light, the band is mostly plastic and so is the size adjusting portion ( i suspect it not being the most durable ), however, adjusting size is smooth and easy.
    The cord is light, flat, and ends in a 90* plug, i don't mind it, may annoy others.
    On to the sound, now note; im not the most experienced with the terminology, but ill try to explain best as i can.
    These things are muddy. very muddy, not ipod bud muddy, but still very muddy, if your into vocals and musical cans these definitely will not work. 
    Sony claims "Deep Bass", Deep= muddy?, it is muddy/blurry, bass, impact is present but very little. and i am coming form the shure 440, which is known to have very little bass impact or even much bass at all.
    The lack of clarity can be fixed with an equalizer, i didn't bother with the ipod presets, on foo bar adjusting the highs makes the xb500 sound much better, vocals can be enjoyed and will still sound bassy, yet the muddyness will not entirely disappear. I wouldn't use these on low quality audio files, they sound terrible, equivalent to ipod buds if not worse, if you are going to use these with an ipod i suggest using music at least 320kbps
    anyways, my initial conclusions;
    if you are deciding to get phones in this price range ~100, im guessing you may have looked at the shure 440, ATH M50, or some other phones. the shure has minimal bass but it seems very defined compared to the xb500, i haven't heard the m50, but everyone says they are similar to shure440 with better bass. if you can get the xb500 for the same price as i did, do it, they will most likely sound better than the next 35$ phone, don't buy these phones if your into sexy female vocals, works great in games and movies, much better the shures, and comfort wise if i can create an imaginary rating system i would rate it 9 out of 10, the feeling on the ear is really nice, but at the moment they do clamp a bit, and isolation is very good considering how soft and plushy the cushions are.
    edit: i guess i should mention atleast one song i compared phones with, i didn't have many songs that were bass heavy. i used The Knife - Silent shout to compare, the xb500 sounded very fun and bass impact was much more present compared to the shure 440, i enjoyed it out of foobar with the equalizer, on the ipod; not so much. Though i have to admit, i did miss the shure 440 highs in this song, even though they are borderline painful in some other songs.
  2. Crowe09
    Thanks for the nice impressions heynice. 
    I always loved the pads on these cans....[​IMG]
  3. yashu
    the XB700s are considered to be the gems of the line. I have mixed feelings of the Shure 440, as i have a pair and use them very little tue to the fatigue, but i will say the the xb700s are closer to a DT770, an m50, or shuree 840, basically other well regarded mid-fi full sized phones, with one notable exception, the fact that they can offer up accurate, non muddy bass down well below human perception.
    They have a wonderful, if slightly recessed midsection and their HF roll off quite naturally, never too soon to sound congested and never too late to seem tizzy like the 770, or the shure 440, can be.  The m50 is a wonderful headphone, but they are a dj/production phone, as such, they are going to have  roll-off somewhere in the lower midbass, 30-40hz, and it makes them sound quite punchy and fresh, which, i can say is a very pleasing sound, a big sound with accurate treble which won't slice your ears up. They are what the senn HD380 and 280 *should* be, lets put it that way.
    I would say even the sony v700DJs, if they could put that sound into a better phone, around the ears, that won't start to fall apart after normal usage, then you have the something close to the m50, except, i think the m50 is still more accurate on the bottom end than the v700s.
    The xb700s aren't meant to be monitors, but to be a guilty pleasure, and for a basshead they give you enough fidelity in the spectrum above the bottom end to make them more than worth a really good consideration to add to your collection, the XB500s, are less so, but i fear the muddyness you are hearing is the bass you weren't hearing before. I have learned on the xb700s, that there is bass that a lot of sound engineers just never really put much interest in, perhaps because it was not being reproduced on their console setups. I could be wrong and the 500s have a driver that is just way worse than the 700s, but i know the v700s are respected as a dj tool, and they have a smaller cousin the v500s, these i have never heard, but maybe are an analog to what you have in the xb500s, sony just filling a hole in product placement. The xb300s are crap and wouldn't wish them on anyone, and you are right, the pads on the xb500s are good, as they use the non flaking pleather, unlike the 300s. My 10 ear old v700s just finally could not be glued or zip tied together anymore, and i can tell you the pads were in great shape still. I own the xb700s and expect a similar life, actually, a longer life, since the band on the 700s is made out of mostly metal and pleater, the plastic is only on the back of the cups, so the driver housings look metal but aren't, however, it appears to not be something that would affect the structuctural integrety.
    I love my xb700s, although I own phones that are more articulate, accurate, pleasing in midbass and upwards, however, nothing, nothing I have heard can reach the depths that they can reach in such a clear, controlled way. The xb700s are not a joke, even if the 500s may be. I am not going to speak for them too much as i did not spnd time listeneing to them, the 700s were just the obvious choice.
  4. David.M
    I was thinking about buying these for my nephew's birthday since he's a huge Sony fanboy and has absolutely no clue about headphones. I guess I should just spend that extra $30 and get him the XB700's then?
    thank you  for your input OP & yahsu :)

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