The bass-head’s younger, more sensible brother.
- Smooth bass, good mid-range and treble
- Silly cord design
Just like the MDR-XB700s, these headphones are bass-focused. They are a little more forgiving than their larger sibling though, so if you want more natural music reproduction these are a good choice.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Sony’s MDR-XB500 headphones sit under the MDR-XB700s in the company's line-up, offering slightly inferior specifications but a lower price-tag.
Like the MDR-XB700s, they have love-it-or-hate-it styling: lots of black leatherette and brushed metal. There are subtle differences between the two models — the MDR-XB500s have brushed black metal instead of the aluminium found on the headband of their more expensive counterpart.
The ear-cups are designed to sit on the ears rather than over them, but they still manage to seal well and block out a significant amount of outside noise. The ear-pads are made of smooth black leatherette and are exceptionally well padded. We found that the padding allowed the headphones to exert a lot of clamping force without becoming uncomfortable.
The MDR-XB500 relies on 40mm driver units to produce sound (they are 20 per cent smaller than the ones used by the MDR-XB700s) and the end result is audio that is not as bass-heavy and has more overall definition and clarity.
While bass is still the main aural element of the headphones it is not as dominating and overpowering as we expected. Low notes are still hit smoothly and without distortion and have a long decay. We think Sony is again being a little optimistic with the headphones’ ratings — we doubt their lower frequency capabilities extend down to 4Hz.
The mid-range and treble are more balanced than with the MDR-XB700s, lending the headphones a brighter character. There’s no harshness or distortion either, even when listening to complex classical tunes.
The same Y-style flat cord makes an annoying appearance again. We wish Sony had followed other headphone manufacturers in running the cable from a single ear-cup.
If you can’t handle the excesses of the MDR-XB700s, this smaller version is a good choice. Don’t expect as much bass, but you may be more impressed with the sound overall.
Join the newsletter!
We have five of these fabulous Logitech® SLIM COMBO keyboard covers to give away to our lucky PC World Readers. T&C's apply http://bit.ly/32MsZgc
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Google Pixel 3a review: Less is more
- 2 Moto G7 review: The new gold standard for budget buyers
- 3 Panasonic Lumix S1 review: Pushing your limits
- 4 Dell G7 review: Growing pains
- 5 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Bose are now taking preorders for their follow-up to the QC35s and ouch
- Planning to pre-order a Galaxy Note 10? Samsung want to sweeten the deal
- Those Bose Noise-Cancelling headphones you've always wanted are on sale
- Sony's next set of AirPods-killer earbuds have better battery life and improved noise cancelling
- SteelSeries show off their new Arctis 1 budget gaming headset
PCW Evaluation Team
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10 vs Note 10+ vs Note 10+ 5G
- Oppo Reno 5G review: Big Deal
- The Samsung Galaxy Book S is coming to Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies