Sony MDR-XB950BT Review

I have a problem. I only have two ears but for some reason I love collecting headphones. The Sony Mega Bass headphones are my latest. Last year I received my first pair of Bluetooth earbuds. I enjoyed being wireless, but they had some drawbacks. They were on the budget end, so it was to be expected. It is nice to be able to roam around your workspace and not be limited by cords.
The headphone market has so many options that it can all be a bit overwhelming. The most important thing is to focus on what you will be using your headphones for most. For me, that would be listening to music or podcasts while working and doing chores around the house. Initially I thought to go with earbuds, but I’m getting tired of them coming loose and leaking low end sound.

My most comfortable pair of headphones are are an old pair of Sony XB500 wired headphones. They have some of the fluffiest earcups I have ever worn and they sound great too. Those two factors are what drove me to the Sony XB950BT headphones. These are not the latest Sony headphones to hit the market, but they are the latest to take a significant price drop. The arrived in the market at $199, but now they can be found for $129 regularly. When they go on sale they can be found for around $90. At that price, it really is a no brainer.

wp-1480921851181.jpgLet’s start by breaking down that confusing model number. The “XB” stands for extra bass. The headphones come with a nice bass boost button that gives the headphones a much deeper sound. It works extremely well with hip hop and EDM. I find that it muddles rock and metal tracks, but the standard sound shines with those two genres. So simply tap the mega bass button to deactivate and enjoy.

The “950” is simply a classification to help us understand where they rank in Sony’s line of headphones. To put it simply, these are a mid-level pair of cans. They are nowhere near the budget end, but still well below the audophile category. The headphones have very nice, comfortable padding. They completely encapsulate your ears and passively block out room noise.

The “BT” stands for Bluetooth and that means sound without strings. I have tested my headphones with my HTC 10 Android phone, my Nexus 9 Android tablet, and my Samsung 4k TV. They sound great no matter the source and the range is quite good. I have had some occasional difficulty connecting to the desired source, but that usually is corrected by disconnecting the undesired source and trying again. For example, I was listening to a podcast on my phone, later I wanted to sit on the couch and watch a movie with out disturbing my sleeping family so I attempted to connect my headphones to the TV. When I turned on my headphones they connected to my phone again, so I had to drop the connection first then attempt to connect to the TV. That did the trick and I was able to watch and listen with no noticeable latency.

The battery life is tremendous, that’s one benefit of going overear versus earbuds. They clearly have a bigger battery and require a lot less frequent charging. Sony claims thaty they will get 25 hours on one charge. Another added benefit is that these headphones work with a cord as well. So if the Bluetooth battery dies out, you can simply plug them in and carry on.

wp-1480921869651.jpgThe controls are easy enouch to navigate. The power and Mega Bass buttons are located on the left side along with the micro-USB charging port, 3.5mm input, and microphone for taking calls and voice commands. The right side has the volume rocker and a multi-funcitoning button for play/pause/skip controls. That button works so well. It push to play or pause. Slide up to go forward or down to go back. The button is also the way you answer incoming phone calls. Just tap to accept.

The headphones also connect via NFC ( near field communication). That allows you to tap your device to your headphones in order to turn them on and connect for play.

As I mentioned at the beginning. I really enjoy music and headphones. I would recommend these over the wired Beats pair that I own. They have a richer sound and cost less too. I don’t think these would be ideal for the gym or weight room, but for the office or home use I think these are an excellent option. They come in four different colors, the flashiest being the red or blue metallic finish. The other two options are black with red accents or titanium(pictured).

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