There are different types of headphones available on the market. They are focused on different features as there are different types of consumers around. Some audiophiles prefer to enjoy every detail of the song. And there are bass heads who prefer a lot of punchy, boomy and detailed bass in their songs. Sony offers a range of audiophile headphones that they are famous for. On top of that, Bluetooth is a lifesaver when it comes to portability. Bluetooth headphones are very handy for both indoor and outdoor usage and running or working out purposes. Sony released an Extra Bass lineup targeting people who prefer that extra punch of bass and potential Beats customers as Beats is renowned for extra bass. Sony MDR-XB950BT is a headphone from their Extra Bass lineup. The XB stands for Extra Bass. So, this headphone’s main focus is on the bass and it is obvious that it is not for audiophiles. But this headphone will surely satisfy a bass lover.
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The unboxing experience is very simple. The box includes the headphones itself, a micro USB cable and a 3.5mm audio cable.
Design and Build
The design of the Sony MDR-XB950BT is very smart and eye-catching. It has 3 color variants available; Red, blue and black. The red metallic variant looks very decent. Some might call it flashy. The headband is large, angular and bulky. The design is a resemblance to Sony’s classic design, which many people will appreciate.
The headphone is constructed out of metal and plastic. The headband is made out of metal which is a plus point to its structural integrity and makes it durable and flexible as well. And the flexibility makes it comfortable too. The headband is also padded. The headphone can be used for an extended period without any issue, it might get a bit warm though which is a common issue for over-ear headphones. The rest is made out of good quality plastic. However, this headphone followed the basic structures of the MDR family but the earpads are a lot different and better on the Sony MDR-XB950BT. The earpads are very comfortable and creates a decent seal around the ears. The noise isolation is also pretty good.
The earcups can be rotated so that it can lay on flat surfaces. But the headphones are not foldable, so it might be a bit issue when it comes to portability.
The buttons are situated at the edge of the earcups, which makes it easy to find. On the right earcup, the toggle button to control playback, receive/decline calls and a volume rocker are located. An omnidirectional mic, 3.5mm audio input jack, micro USB port, a bass boost button, and a power button can be found on the right earcup.
The Sony MDR-XB950BT features Bluetooth 4.0. The connectivity is no issue. The connection was quite stable and consistent. There were no connection drop or latency issues. This headphone also supports aptX which improves connectivity and audio quality as well. aptX compatible devices are required to enjoy this codec. This headphone also features NFC which makes the pairing process even easier. Pairing is just a tap away if you use NFC. But a compatible device is required to avail NFC pairing. The headphone jack can come in handy if the battery runs out of juice. It functions like a normal headphone when its plugged with the audio cable. The bass boost function will not run if there is no charge left cause it requires extra battery power.
The battery life of these headphone is very good. It can last up to 20 hours being fully charged. But the battery performance might vary because of different volume levels and the bass boost functionality. Still, it can last 14 hours with the bass boost on which is quite decent. So, it can last 2/3 days on heavy usage.
This is the most important aspect of a headphone. So how is the audio quality? This headphone features a 40mm dynamic dome driver and has a frequency response of 3 to 28,000Hz.
It is a loud headphone, listening at high volume might result in sound leaking. But the sound leaking is not too loud to annoy nearby proximate people.
There is a digital signal processor built in the headphones that performs the bass boost functionality. It can be toggled on/off via the dedicated bass boost button. What it does is boost the lower frequencies. It is not recommended to use in every music genre as it might ruin the details. Turning it on while listening to hip-hop, EDM or modern pop can make the music experience better depending on the user’s preference. A bass lover will like the touch of extra bass on those songs.
The bass boost function might make some songs sound better but, in most cases, it tends to distort the details. Songs that already have a powerful bass effect, with the extra bass feature of these headphones makes it very harsh and unbearable for the ears. Classic and acoustic songs are not meant for extra bass.
But turning off the bass boost is a different story. After turning on the bass boost, the headphones sound very clean and crisp. It sounds somewhat balanced. The mids were good, the vocals were very smooth. The headphone did a very good job handling the highs. The guitar solo of the track “High hopes” by Pink Floyd has some of the highest notes of a guitar solo and this headphone can handle it without losing any detail. It does not sound harsh by any means. Sounds of stringed instruments are very soothing in this headphone.
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This headphone is overall very decent. It is well built, looks good, buttons are simple and accessible, decent battery life, great sound quality, and the bass boost function is optional. This might not be the pick for audiophiles but a great pick for Bass lovers indeed. The price of it is also very much reasonable and worth it.