Sony MDR-XB950AP Extra Bass Over Ear Wired Headphones Black Review
Category: Audio > Headphones

Sony MDR-XB950AP Extra Bass Headphones Review

The Swift Summary

Pros

Cons

  • Superb audio for bass lovers
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Wired audio only

Prefer a wireless version? Check out the MDR-XB950BT headphones.

Features list for the Sony MDR-XB950AP headphones

  • Impressive Bass Enriched Sound
  • Beat Response Control reduces heavy bass distortion
  • Fold flat design (swivelling ear cups)
  • Over-ear cup design
  • Wired only connection
  • Inline remote control and microphone
  • Take calls using remote controls when connected to a smartphone
  • Pressure-relieving ultra thick ear pads
  • Adjustable padded head strap
  • Customise inline remote using Sony SmartKey app
  • 1 year manufacturers’ warranty

Swift Thoughts

Design

The metal headband and ear cup fascias certainly give the MDR-XB950AP a premium look and feel. They have a substantial, somewhat bulky aesthetic which I know will appeal to a lot of people. The branding is subtle and the red trim detailing is a nice complimentary touch.

Audio Performance

If you like your bass, you’ll love these headphones. The audio quality is rich, deep and balanced with hardly any noticeable compromises via some clever airflow design. The Sony MDR-XB950AP’s utilise an advanced direct vibe structure to seal in the bass alongside sculpted air vents to optimise low frequency airflow.

Comfort

The ear cups are super soft and have extra thick padding making the MDR-XB950AP headphones very comfortable, even when wearing for long periods of time.

Build Quality

Whilst they are not the most expensive product on the market these days, I must say the build quality was surprisingly good.

Functionality

Whilst the MDR-XB950AP headphones don’t come fully stacked with trick functionality, what functions is does have, it does well. If you prefer a set of headphones that just work well without any unnecessary marketing-hype fluff – the XB950’s are a great choice.


Swift Scores

Design
85%
Audio Performance
90%
Comfort
100%
Build Quality
90%
Functionality
85%
Battery Life
N/A

FAQs

Q: Are the Sony MDR-XB950AP headphones suitable for larger head sizes?
A: Yes, the headstrap extends quite a bit.

Q: How long is the audio cable?
A: Approx 120cm (1.2 metres)

Q: Do they come with a case?
A: No. But check out our recommended case below.

Q: Are they suitable for exercising (running) with?
A: Yes. They fit well and are unlikely to fall off – just expect some ear sweating though. ūüôā

Q: Are they noise isolating?
A: Yes. Even when you crank the music up there is basically no audio leakage.


What’s in the box?

  • Sony MDR-XB950AP headphones (with attached 1.2m audio cable)

Tech Talk

How does the enhanced bass or ‘Xtra Bass’ work?

The Sony MDR-XB950AP extra bass headphones contain powerful lightweight 40mm neodymium drivers that produce a deep, balanced sound, even at high volume. Sony combined these drivers with a highly sensitive diaphragm that enables users to turn the headphone volume up louder without needing an amp. The wideband frequency range of 3 Hz to 28 kHz is designed for today’s bass-heavy music.

As mentioned previously, Sony utilise their unique Beat Response Control technology to provide a tight, deep bass response, making it perfect for low-end focused music styles. Cleverly designed air vents maximise airflow within the low frequency range. This in turn optimises the efficiency of the diaphragm to enable more accurate reproduction of bass rhythms.


Sony MDR-XB950AP Xtra Bass Headphones

The Sony MDR-XB950AP noise cancelling headphones are available in black with red trim detailing.

Sony MDR-XB950AP Extra Bass Over Ear Wired Headphones Black
Sony MDR-XB950AP Extra Bass Headphones – Black

Download the manual

If you’re interested you can download the¬†Sony MDR-XB950AP Manual.

Alternative headphones

Prefer wireless? If you like what the MDR-XB950AP headphones have to offer but would really like the freedom of wireless connectivity then you’ve got to take a look at the Sony MDR-XB950BT wireless headphones. They have the addition of an on/off bass boost button!

Recommended accessories

Check out the SecretRain Headphone Carry Case to help protect your Sony MDR-XB950AP’s.

Sony WH-1000MX2 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones with Google Assistant
Category: Audio > Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones Review

The Swift Summary

Pros

Cons

  • Clean minimal design
  • Superb audio performance and noise cancelling
  • 30hr battery life
  • Audio customisation (via app)
  • Optimised for travelling on planes
  • Gesture controls not for everybody

Features list for the Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones

  • Superb high resolution sound
  • Wireless connectivity (via Bluetooth or NFC)
  • Foldable design
  • Over-ear cup design
  • 30 hour battery life
  • Rechargeable battery via USB
  • Remote audio control via touch interface (gesture control)
  • Integrated microphone
  • Detachable mini jack audio cable for wired use
  • Integrated Google assistant
  • Available in two colours: black or gold (as shown below)
  • Adjustable padded head strap
  • LED status indicator
  • 1 year manufacturers’ warranty

Swift Thoughts

Design

The Sony WH-1000XM2’s have a clean, modern, minimalist design. I’m not sure they look particularly high-end, but the features built in certainly make up for this.¬†I especially love the touch controls for audio playback and taking calls. A really neat feature that helps eliminate visual clutter around the ear cup. They’re not what you’d call ‘ear candy’ and wearing them you’re certainly not making any brand statements. If you’re looking for more subtle sophistication than a trendy statement – these are the headphones for you.

Audio Performance

The Sony WH-1000XM2 noise cancelling headphones offer an excellent all-round audio experience that are ideal for those who love listening to more bass-favouring tracks. The noise cancelling feature is exceptional and really eliminates intrusive ambient noise.

The headphones use an Adaptive Sound Control system that automatically adjusts the ambient noise depending upon your situation. Whilst you’re WALKING the noise cancellation is on its lowest setting and the ambient noise is most noticeable. Presumably this is a safety feature so you can hear cars and the people around you. Whilst you’re WAITING the ambient noise reduces to a middle setting, so the ambient bustle of an airport or train station is reduced, but you can hear the all important announcements. Then thirdly, whilst you’re TRAVELLING, the noise cancellation really kicks in and you get the full immersive audio experience.

You can manually adjust the ambient sound setting as well using the Sony Headphones Connect app.

Comfort

As with a lot of headphone designs the Sony WH-1000XM2’s can feel a little tight when you first use them. But once you’ve worn them a few times and you’ve correctly adjusted the headstrap they are a really comfortable set of headphones.

Build Quality

I have no complaints about the WH-1000XM2 in terms of build quality. If you look after them well they’ll last a long time.

Functionality

The touch controls can be a little fiddly, but once you get used to them they’re very satisfying to use. You simply double-tap the centre of your right ear cup for play/pause and taking calls. Swiping up and down over your right ear cup changes the volume and swiping left and right changes the track.

Noise cancellation and ambient sound adjustment can be switched on or off by cycling through the second (NC/Ambient) button around the left ear cup.

Battery Life

With a whopping 30 hours of claimed battery life you won’t be recharging them often.


Swift Scores

Design
85%
Audio Performance
95%
Comfort
90%
Build Quality
95%
Functionality
85%
Battery Life
95%

FAQs

Q: Does the WH-1000XM2 come with an adapter so I can use them with aeroplane headphone ports?
A: Yes, they come with a standard 2-pin adapter plug for flying.

Q: How long is the wire for connected use?
A: Approx 150cm (1.5 metres)

Q: Do they come with a case?
A: Yes.

Q: Are they suitable for use whilst running?
A: Yes they work fine. Once the headphone band is adjusted properly, they clamp over your ears with enough force to not move about.

Q: Can you completely turn off Active Noise Cancelling (ANC)?
A: Yes.

Q: Do they come with a case?
A: Yes.

Q: Do I need to download the Sony Headphones Connect app to use the headphones?
A: No. The app is just an additional nicety. It provides an alternative way to manage your connected devices as well as some audio customisation options. For example you can manually set the Adaptive Sound Control setting, pick a virtual surround sound effect and use an EQ tool where you have sliders to boost the bass, mid, treble to the exact levels you prefer.


What’s in the box?

  • Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones
  • Detachable audio cable
  • Micro USB charging cable
  • Semi rigid carrying case
  • 2-pin aeroplane adapter plug

Tech Talk

What is aptX HD?

The Sony WH-1000XM2’s are aptX HD compatible! But what’s aptX and why is it important? Well, essentially aptX HD is a modern audio codec that transmits data at higher bit rates than standard Bluetooth or the original aptX codec. The result is better quality wireless audio.

What’s a codec?¬†A codec is a type of digital algorithmic program. It compresses and encodes data going out then decompresses and decodes the data at the other end. The main purpose is to allow for quick and efficient data transmission.

Although with aptX HD the data is still compressed, Qualcomm, the aptX creator and developer, say it is capable of transmitting 24bit high definition audio that is ‘better than CD quality’.


Sony WH-1000XM2 – Colour Options

The Sony WH-1000XM2 noise cancelling headphones are available in two colours – black or gold.

Sony WH-1000XM2 Black Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM2 Black Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Sony WH-1000MX2 Gold Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM2 Gold Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

Download the manual

If you’re interested you can download the Sony WH-1000XM2 Manual.

Alternative headphones

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless noise cancelling headphones are a good alternative and often compared with the 1000MX range from Sony.

Recommended accessories

Avantree Priva III Bluetooth Audio Transmitter. This neat little gadget gives your TV or PC Bluetooth capabilities so you use it with your wireless Bluetooth headphones.