Sony is undoubtedly one of the best headphone manufacturers in the market right now. They make different types of headphone focusing on different sectors. Music taste varies from people to people as they have different preferences. Sony offers headphones carrying a balanced sound profile to satisfy an audiophile, but they also offer bass-heavy headphones for people craving for that extra punch of bass. People who are into hip-hop music or EDM prefers boomy headphones. Although these bass-heavy headphones won’t satisfy an audiophile, so these headphones are for limited audiences. The Sony MDR-XB950N1 is a headphone from Sony’s Extra Bass lineup, which promises to deliver extra bass, superior comfort, and ANC.
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What’s in the box?
The unboxing experience is as simple as other Sony headphones. It includes the headphone itself, a 3.5mm audio cable, a micro USB cable for charging and a carrying pouch made out of cloth.
Build and Design
The headphone is mostly made out of high-quality black plastic. It has metal adjustment sliders in its headband which makes it feel sturdier. The headphone is flexible and won’t break if it stretched. The earcups can be rotated up to 90 degrees so it can lay flat on surfaces which makes it very compact and portable.
This is an over-ear headphone; it does not sit on the ear rather it creates a decent seal around the ears. The thick padding under the headband feels very light and comfortable on the head. The ear cushions are also thick and well padded. But it might be a problem for people with large ears cause the ear cushions are not very big resulting in a bit tight fit for some people. Overall, these headphones are decently comfortable and can be used for an extended period without an issue.
There are many buttons crammed on this headphone. On the left earcup, it has a power button, ANC toggle button, 3.5mm port, and the micro USB charging port. There is also a dedicated toggle button for the bass effect. The bass effect and ANC button have a status indicator LED. On the right earcup, there is a slider and buttons for Playback control (play/pause), skipping tracks, and a dedicated volume rocker. As the user cannot see the buttons while using the headphones, it might take a few days to figure out the position of the buttons and adjust muscle memory accordingly.
The noise isolation feature of the Sony MDR-XB950N1 works pretty well. It does a good job at suppressing noise of vehicles, horns, and chitter-chatter while walking in public places. Close proximity noise like someone talking from a close range or aggressive typing keyboard noise can be audible while the ANC feature is turned on. There’s the presence of a slight hiss while the ANC is turned on but it gets pretty much unnoticeable while music is playing. Overall, the ANC performance is decent and gets the job done.
There’s a free app called Sony Headphones Connect which can be used to control the Active Noise Cancellation feature of the headphone. There are presets like the arena and outdoor mode to choose between. This app can be used to further tweak the headphones audio performance with the equalizer option. The bass and other audio effects can also be controlled by the app.
There’s no issue with the connectivity of this headphone. This headphone can be connected through Bluetooth which is fast. This headphone also features NFC which makes the pairing process even easier. The connection is very stable with no extra latency. The connection does not drop at all. And there is an audio port and cable included with the headphone and a wired connection is available as well. A good source is required for enjoying the wired connectivity.
Sony MDR-XB950N1 can last around 22 hours fully charged with ANC on which is really good. So, it can last more than 3 days with heavy use. But the battery life might vary because of using different volume levels and features like the ANC and the Bass boost. Turning on the ANC might increase its battery life to 4/5 hours and toggle on the bass boost might reduce its battery life as extra bass requires more battery power. Overall, the battery life is impressive.
How Does it Sound?
The XB of the MDR-XB950N1 stands for Extra Bass. So, this headphone is heavy on the bass side. The drivers of this headphone are powerful enough to handle heavy bass content without being distorted. The lower frequencies sound pumped even without turning the bass boost feature on. After turning on the bass boost, the bass gets stronger. In the case of bass-heavy tracks, sometimes the bass sounds harsh. The Sony headphones app is very much recommended because the bass can be controlled by the app. If the bass feels harsh or overwhelming, it can be turned down by the app. If the bass effect is set to max, the bass gets even stronger, but it starts to interfere with the other details and deteriorates the overall quality of the music. Apart from the bass, the mid sounds pretty good. It sounds crisp and clean. Vocals are perfectly audible and smooth despite the strong bass. The high end is also detailed and clean. The overall performance of these headphones is quite good. A specific type of genre can capitalize on its extra bass feature and sound more appealing. But people who are into the classic, jazz, blues won’t like the sound profile of this headphone. After all, who would like to listen to “Fly Me to the Moon – Frank Sinatra” with pumped up lower ends.
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This is a decent pair of headphones. And this headphone is a perfect pick for bass lovers. Not only the extra bass, this headphone packs some amazing features like the solid build quality, design, ANC functionality which might attract a lot of attention. This might not be the best headphone around, but considering its price, it provides great value.