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Extra Bass At A Touch Of A Button: Sony Over-Ear Headphones MDR-XB950N1 Test

In the meantime, the range of headphones became overwhelming. Some manufacturers purposely count on an extravagant design but often neglect the sound. Sony is not part of this group. The Japanese brand rolled out another model with the popular Extra Bass feature. We tested the over-ear headphones MDR-XB950N1 and tell you if the sound is as good as promised by Sony.

Table of Content:

The first impression

You will instantly notice that the headphones are a high-quality product. The assembly is spotless and makes a great first impression. This verifies by the first wearing. Sony used very soft over-ear pads, which fit perfectly on the head and over the ears. Even wearers of glasses will be able to wear the XB950N1 for several hours without an uncomfortable feeling.

If you are done listening to music with the headphones, you can fold them and put them into the included textile pouch. The weight of 1.5lbs is totally okay.

Specifications

  • Sales start in the US: 2017/3
  • Headphones Type: Over-ear, closed
  • Colors: Green & Black
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 1.5lbs (290g)
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz–20,000 Hz (IN) (with cable)
  • Protection: None
  • Battery size: N/A
  • Noise Cancelling: Yes
  • Volume Control: Yes
  • Connection: Bluetooth 4.2
  • Features: App, speakerphone function
  • Manufacturer’s list price: US$ 249

Control

The headphones are controlled by the integrated buttons on the ear pads. An active Bluetooth connection with the iPhone allows volume and playback control, as well as taking calls. Noise Cancelling and Bass Effect can be turned on and off via the respective buttons. If you rather listen to your music via jack plug, you can use the included 3’11” long stereo mini-cable (1.2m).

In the beginning, the control is a little cumbersome. As soon as you got used to it, though, it is very easy to handle. The battery lasts for approx. 22 hours and is charged within 7 hours, which is pretty long in comparison to other headphones. Especially the voice announcements that confirm every change in settings are very helpful.

Like other pricey audio gadgets, the MDR-XB950N1 can be controlled by an app as well. The Sony Headphones Connect app is available for free on the App Store and allows many practical settings. This includes, for example, the adjustment of the bass level and set audio pre-settings such as Club, Hall, Stadium or Open Air Concert.

Sound

If you wonder why the XB950N1 stand out in comparison to other over-ear headphones, you probably don’t know Sony’s popular Extra Bass feature yet. It makes the bass even deeper at the touch of the button. The basic settings already have a rich and powerful bass, but the Extra Bass feature adds another level on top of that. It definitely depends on the music genre you like. If you like a deep bass, you will love this feature. The people, who are rather into an authentic sound, probably should get a different model or manufacturer. You shouldn’t have high expectations for acoustic music because the focus for these headphones is clearly the bass, which will drown the middles and trebles.

The digital noise minimization is a purchasing argument itself, though. It blocks the surrounding sounds reliably so that you can enjoy your music the fullest. The thick ear pads already seal off most noises without an enabled Noise Cancelling.

Conclusion

The Sony MDR-XB950N1 offers a lot. It starts with a high-quality assembly, goes over to an intuitive control, and ends with a powerful sound and a reliable Noise Cancelling. The sound is excellent, even though some people might think it is too bassy. With this model, Sony rather addresses the younger generation, who likes music with a deep bass (e.g. R&B, Electro, Techno).

Our staff says:

Marie Mertens: The headphones provide a great sound via cable and Bluetooth. I often listen to Pop and Dance Music, so they are a perfect fit for me. The headphones are very comfortable and block the noises from the surroundings (e.g. in the train) perfectly. The Sony MDR-XB950N1 are absolutely great and high-quality wireless headphones. 

Daniel Grzondziel: I liked the Sony MDR-XB950N1 very much and they were fun. They provide a rich sound that was present and powerful enough in my favorite music genre – metal and rock. However, I was a little disappointed about the Extra Bass feature. It couldn’t convince me because the sound was a lot quieter and it felt like a simple equalizer effect. The music genre is probably determining for this. All in all, the default sound is already a reason why they definitely are high-quality headphone.

 

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