Like putting pillows on your ears.
- Plush, decent acoustic noise cancellation
- Slightly recessed treble, heavy, short cable (and silly cable design)
If you are a bass-head the MDR-XB700 will suit you perfectly, with slow, powerful low frequencies prioritised over all others. For discerning music listening they are not so spectacular.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
Sony’s xTra Bass range of headphones are designed for bass lovers. You know them well — they drive through your suburb late at night with drum'n'bass blasting, while windows shake in their frames and family pets hide under tables. Imagine all that aural confrontation boxed up into an equally offensive (in looks, at least) pair of headphones.
The style of Sony's MDR-XB700 headphones is certainly divisive. We could not decide whether Sony was going for an ultra-modern, sleek look with brushed metal and dark materials or a retro look with simple styling and over-sized ear-pads. Our opinion on them wavered back and forth from cool to ugly — it was a topic of contention among the review staff. A flat, 1.2 metre long headphone cable connects to both ear-cups, which means the MDR-XB700s are difficult to take on and off often.
If nothing else, they are comfortable. The ultra-thick ear-pads are very soft; they are also big enough to fully encompass even the largest of ears without causing discomfort. They have the perfect amount of clamping force; a decent amount of passive noise cancellation occurs without the ear-aching side effects associated with some headphones. We definitely prefer the plushness of these headphones to the firmer K701. They are quite heavy, though, at 280 grams, which might lead to some neck fatigue over longer periods.
The sound is well suited to compressed digital music played off an iPod touch (2nd Generation) or equivalent player. We doubt you will need any kind of bass-boosting equaliser, but you might want to consider bolstering treble levels a little.
Bass notes are smooth and extend to decently low frequencies — though not nearly as low as Sony’s ludicrous boast of 3Hz. Bass in general has a slow decay, which means notes roll off slowly. That means these headphones are not suitable for tight bass notes such as those found in classical music, but they are perfectly suited to the deep and booming kicks of hip-hop and drum’n’bass. There is also no noticeable distortion in even the deepest bass notes at high volumes, which is an impressive feat.
Mid-range notes were also well looked after. Thanks to the headphones’ focus on lower frequencies there was a warm, rich tone to mid-range notes, which makes vocals sound very involving. The bass focus also introduced a down-side here, though: you can’t hear mid-range notes whenever there is a lot of bass.
Treble frequencies were afflicted by the same problem. Despite treble being crisp and clear, we could not help but feel that the bass was overpowering everything and leading to a loss of overall music quality.
If you’re a bass lover — and can stand to lose a little overall fidelity — these headphones will suit you well. If you value accurate musical representation above all else, keep shopping.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 ASUS TUF FX505 (Ryzen 7) review: Tolerable trade-offs
- 2 Oppo A5Xs review: Cutting corners
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Xiro Drone Xplorer V by Rapoo review
Latest News Articles
- Razer swing for lifestyle audio audiences with Opus noise-cancelling headphones
- HyperX's budget-friendly Cloud Stinger Core headsets now come with 7.1 surround sound
- Best Click Frenzy Deals: Apple, Telstra, Samsung and More
- Sony's new WF-SP800N earbuds aren't cheap but they are water resistant
- RealMe expand into wearables and true wireless
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
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Soundbars: Why they’re worth it and which one should you buy
- Buying a laptop this EOFY? Here's a cheat sheet
- 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