Sony, a brand known for its audio products recently announced MDR-XB950B1, the successor to MDR- XB950BT wireless headphones in the Indian market. Designed especially for bass centric music, the headphones feature a dedicated Electro Bass Booster to please audiophiles interested in deep bass music.
Currently selling at Rs. 12,499 the wireless headphones offer Bluetooth audio streaming, NFC and comes with aptX & AAC codec support. Sony claims that the new Extra Bass lineup of headphones deliver a full, deep, resonating sound that's perfect for EDM and hip-hop music.
The headphones can also be used for hands-free calling and come with a promise of 18 hours of continues wireless music playback on a single charge. When battery dies, you can use the bundled auxiliary cable to continue listening to your favorite tracks.
Let's find out more about the wireless headphones with the help of this review.
Design: Premium but bulky
Sony MDR-XB950B1 wireless headphones look premium and sturdy. The Black colour variant looks quite head-turning with its chrome finish headband that reminds us of the previous XB950BT headphones.
The XB950B1 has matte finish outer casing on earcups with Sony branding embossed in Chrome. The Chrome finish headband has a decent cushioning on the inside for comfortable audio experience, and so does the earcups.
The only problem with the design is the big form factor that makes the headset a bit uncomfortable for long audio sessions and for travelling purpose. The earcups are not at fault here as they come equipped with soft pressure relieving cushions; it is the overall size of the headphone that creates trouble.
Moreover, keeping the headset around the neck is something you just cannot do for extended time-period as it gets really uncomfortable. Thankfully the rotatable earcups makes it a bit easy to carry the bulky headphones in a bag pack.
On the controls side, the right earcup has the volume rockers and the playback buttons. The left one has the power button with LED indicator, microUSB charging port, 3.5mm input, mic for hands-free calling and a dedicated button to switch on the Elector bass booster, which is undoubtedly the USP of Sony MDR-XB950B1. The headset weighs 281 grams and comes equipped with NFC.
Overall, the headset presents a robust build and doesn't seem cheap at all.
Specifications and Package
The around ear Sony MDR-XB950B1 connects via Bluetooth 4.1 (10m range) and produce sound with the help of a 40mm dome driver unit. The battery inside the headphones requires 4 hours of charging and in my usage, which was mostly on wireless streaming delivered a backup of 15 hours on a single charge. The antenna is built into the unit itself and the headset supports SBC, AAC and aptX codecs.
The packaging offers one USB cable, an auxiliary cable with an approximate length of 1.2 m for non-wireless music playback, stereo mini plug and manuals. The packaging does not include any case or pouch which is quite surprising seeing the price-point of the headset.
How to connect?
Sony MDR-XB950B1 can be connected to Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth and NFC. The left earcup has a power button that upon long press triggers the pairing mode to let you connect the headset with the device of your choice.
If you face any issues in setting up the connection, like I faced while using the unit, connect the headset to a booted PC using a microUSB cable. Press the power button and bass effect buttons simultaneously. This will reset the settings without deleting the pairing information.
Performance: You just can't get over the Bass effects it offers
The audio experience delivered by the Sony MDR-XB950B1 is quite impressive; however it can be too bass heavy for listeners who mostly prefer vocals and lyrics. For audiophiles who love their ears thumping with bass, Sony MDR-XB950B1 is the right choice. And honestly that is the whole purpose of designing the headset- to deliver the best bass centric audio experience to users, especially to EDM lovers.
To experience the best of XB950B1, you need to install the companion app- Sony Headphones Connect on your smartphone. The app allows you to use a variety of surround sound features such as Arena, Club, Outdoor Stage, and Concert Hall.
You can also customize the bass intensity from the Clear Bass feature as per your requirement. The headset also sounds good without the app and will make more sense for users who prefer music that's light on bass and focus more on vocals and instruments.
The bass experience was simply phenomenal while listening to bass heavy tracks. The headset delivers clean and balanced audio and there's no distortion in sound even at maximum volume levels. You can hear the beats that were previously not acknowledged by your ears with other headphones, and that's make the audio experience quite amazing.
The bass experience in tracks such as Time Bomb, One Hand clap, Digital Rust from Squishy, etc. was simply great. The Extra Bass module enhances all low-end frequencies for deep power on every track.
Basically the MDR-XB950B1 puts an end to the third party app installations which we used to perform to boost up the bass in the tracks with our regular headphones. With the Sony's headset, you might want to spin the wheel to lower the bass levels.
Sony MDR- XB950B1 delivers powerful audio experience. The headset lasts long and offers unmatchable bass experience with or without wires. If bass heavy music is not what you want to enjoy, just tune in to equalizer from the companion app to customize the audio experience. The headset also looks premium and feels sturdy in everyday usage.
The only complain I have with the XB950B1 is their bulky size which hampers the long audio sessions. I hope Sony address the problem with the next iteration of the XB series wireless headsets.