I got the Sony MDR-XB950BT bluetooth headphones for Christmas because I needed a good pair of headphones to listen to hip hop music while I work. I’ve had various other headsets throughout the years, some good and some bad. These are the only headphones I use now to listen to music. And after a few months of using it on a regular basis, I feel that it is time to do a review.
Look and Feel
Unlike so many other headsets in the price range, this headset is not flashy. So if you are a fan of simplicity, these headphones are a good option. The black matte finish with red rims bring out a sense of elegant simplicity. But I’m not going to lie, it’s a little bulkier than I would like. From a stylistic standpoint, it could be a little smaller, especially the earcups.
Here is a comparison of the size between the Sony headphones and some of the other headphones I have.
- Sony MDR XB950BT versus Sol Republic V8 Tracks
- Sony MDR XB950BT versus white JVC HAS660B
- Sony MDR XB 950BT versus Jam Transit Bluetooth headset
Although it looks big, it is pretty light as it weighs only 10 ounces (10/16th of a pound). And in actuality, the large size of the earcups with the extra padding makes it comfortable to wear. I can put it on for a whole workday without my ears hurting, which is more than I can say for my Sol Republic Tracks V8 headset. Also, the ear pieces swivel on its axis—which makes it a little more convenient despite its size.
The sound on the Sony MDR-XB950BT is by far the best out of the headsets I’ve owned, bluetooth or non-bluetooth. What I really love most about this headset is the bass. The bass is already great without the Bass Boost option but with the Bass Boost on, it’s incredible. You can hear all the mids, highs, and lows. The low bass is actually the best I’ve experienced in headphones, even compare to more expensive headphones. I heard bass in songs that I never knew had much bass, such as Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. The bass boost of the headphones improves the listening of songs that already have a bit of bass in it. One song that comes to mind is Justin Timberlake’s My Love. The bass is much more recognizable and clearer when listening to the song with these this headset.
The $300 headphones I’ve tried (Sennheiser, Sony, and Bose) do not respond to the low bass the way this headphone does. It is a great pair of headphones for listening to any type of music, but it is phenomenal for listening to bass heavy music such as hip hop, trap music, and dubstep music. Overall, if you are an audiophile, you are going to have a lot of fun playing with the EQ as you play with the various types of music you listen to.
Although the headset is not being marketed as a noise cancelling headphones, it does an excellent job of cancelling out ambient noise. I think they cancel noise out much better than a lot of the noise cancelling headphones on the market. Although they are advertised as bluetooth headphones, they also come with wires for you to use to plug into an audio jack. However, I never needed it once. The clarity of the headphones honestly makes me forget that they are bluetooth headphones.
The microphone on this headset is extremely clear. I use the headset to record my horrible singing and the recording sounds super crisp. Because of its ability to isolate outside noise, taking phone calls on this headset can be a bit embarrassing if you are taking calls in public—you don’t know how loud you are talking with the headphones on because you don’t really hear much background noise.
The bluetooth connection is solid for a good 30 to 35 feet without leakage. After that, it starts breaking up a bit. The phone has NFC (Near Field Communication) which makes connecting to your devices very easy; all you have to do is tap your phone or tablet with the headset. It comes with a micro-usb port for charging and comes with fairly long charging wires. It also comes with 1.2mm wires to connect to a headphone jack—but you will probably not need it as there is no difference in audio quality.
Battery life is great. I charge the headphones once every 2-3 days with everyday use. It does a great job of conserving batteries when I’m not actively listening to music by automatically disconnecting. I’ve gone over a week without charging a few times—but those are weeks where I only use it for 1-3 hours each day.
If you are listening to to music with a lot of bass and want to hear all the ranges, the headset has a Bass Boost button that will let you hear all the bass. I always have the Bass Boost option on no matter what music I’m listening to and there doesn’t seem to be a noticeable difference in battery life.
Setting up the Sony MDR-XB950BT headset is extremely straightforward. Turn on your headphones onto pairing mode by pressing and holding the power button. Turn on your device’s bluetooth and NFC (if available). Touch the headset to your device to connect.
Despite its size, the Sony MDR-XB950BT headset is a great headset, especially in its price range. The bass and comfort is unrivaled for other headphones in its price range.