Published on February 17th, 2009 | by James Smythe1
Review: Sony’s flagship headphones MDR-XB700
Last week Sony announced their new line of headphones, the XB series. These new headphones are designed to deliver the lowest ever bass.
The range includes and an in ear range consisting of the MDR-XB20EX and MDR-XB40. The other headphones all traditional closed-typ headphones and have a King size ear cushion and wide headband for maximum wear comfort. These headphones consist of the MDR-XB700, XB500, and XB300
All headphones in the XB series are designed to recreate the club ambience with powerful, ultra-low bass response and they all have an exclusive driver unit reproduces low frequencies accurately
Mighty Gadget have been lucky enough to try out the flagship model, the MDR-XB700. This premium headphone features innovative Sony technologies that take you straight to the heart of the dancefloor (according to their press release anyway!)
The headphones themselves are very good looking, though I imagine this could be very much a case of personal preference. They consist of a large flat headband with brushed aluminium extenders and then huge chunky ear cushions.
Sony also opted to use a flat ribbon style cable which is pretty cool unfortunately the cable is very short, the cable is only fractionally longer that that used on my Sennheiser CX300 earphones. This may sound ok but you need to take into account the Sennheiser’s are in-earphones and are generally small all round, they are great for walking around listening to your iPod etc. The MDR-XB700’s dwarf the CX300 these are literally old school styled headphones that you would expect to plug into an Amplifier and not walk around the street with. With a cable this short there is just no chance you could use them with an Amplifier or you computer. It is not all bad though, it is quite an easy fix as you can buy extenders from many electronics shop, however you shouldn’t really need to and Sony should of provided these.
Anyway lets move on, the headphones themselves are very comfortable, the ear cushion is heavily padded and even the largest ears should be able to fit in without many issues. They are also held on you head with enough force to keep them still but without squashing your head.
Thanks to the size of the ear cushions you get excellent noise cancellation, I could barely hear anything other than my music when trying them out.
In terms of the sound quality you can definitely tell these are designed for the bass, I started off listening to some Mars Volta and found the bass from the drums to be a little over powering at first, however the overall quality of sound was good. Moving on to some more bass orientated music such as DJ Yoda I found the bass focus really shines, people who enjoy dance/electronica/hip hop will really enjoy these phones. Yes you do lose a bit of mid-range/treble when playing anything with a heavy baseline however I feel the type of person that buys a range of headphones called xTra Bass and listens to music with a heavy bass such as hip hop etc will probably be loving the bass so much they wont notice treble frequencies being overwhelmed.
At the end of the day if you are an audiophile with an eclectic range of musical tastes then these headphones are probably not to your taste. If you have a car stereo that costs more than your car then I think it is a very safe bet you will enjoy these ‘phones.
Overall they do what they say on the box, and provide deep extra bass for the true bass lover. The only real criticism is the short cable, which can be over come by buying an extender but for a flagship model it should be included.
No word on pricing yet but it appears to be around $150 in the states.