Channel 5

Sony MDR-XB700

Monday 03 August 2009


Rating of 3

The basics

Sony’s monster headphones are designed to pump out bass, primarily, with their huge size implying extreme audio heaviosity. They’re also incredibly comfortable, like strapping a pair of feather pillows to either side of your head. The pillow effect cocoons you from the outside world, providing passive quelling of background noise.

The good

The sound here is loud, upfront and packing more bottom end than John Prescott in tights. With electronic music and, in particular, the bassier end of the dance music spectrum – dubstep, gnarly techno and hip-hop – the XB700s are what young people call “sick”, “fab gear” and “groovy, dad”. You can wear them for marathon stints without fatigue as they’re actually a lot lighter than they look and clamp perfectly to all but the most grotesquely misshapen heads.

The bad

Venture beyond electronic sound and limitations soon become apparent. You wouldn’t use these to listen to Elgar or Coldplay – that’s a pair of strong points in their favour – but logically, the XB700s should tear your head off with something like Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles’ Last Stand”. Instead, they just tap you on the shoulder. Their elephantine dimensions make them both lacking in portability – unless you wear them on your ears all the time, of course – and make you a pretty ridiculous sight, especially if you are blessed with a bald head.

The bottom line

For dance, industrial, electronic pop and mechanical contemporary classical of the Steve Reich variety, these are just the job, as long as you don’t mind looking like a cyborg. If its subtlety and nuance you’re after, these aren’t for you, and it’s curious that with most guitar music they rock about as hard as Katie Melua after a three-day valium binge. The also price feels a bit high, especially given that they must be aimed more at a younger age bracket than the others on test.
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Sony MDR-XB700 is tagged with Sony MDR-XB700, headphones and on-ear. Select a tag (Sony MDR-XB700, for example) to find everything on The Gadget Show about the subject.

User comments (12)

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How much do these headphones cost? Gadget Shows review of headphones on the 12th Oct 2009 lacked alot of detail including the price.

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Paul T

Amazon reckon £70. What I was puzzled by was I seemed to recall they said the Ultrasone Pro 900 at no 3 were 'affordable' - Amazon price them at £449. The Denons at £559 - I forget the rest.

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Maybe I'm out of the ordinary but I'm a 43 year old male who just LOVES music like BSOD, Deadmau5, John Acquaviva, Kai Tracid, Cosmic Gate etc. I've got the Sony MDR-XB500's and I'm regretting having bought these instead of the MDR-XB700's because I want MORE bass than the 500's can chuck out.

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Perhaps 5 should concentrate more on giving actual useful and insightful reviews rather than just trying to impress the audience with gimmicy speak, which frankly leaves me exactly where I left of, are they good headphones. Waste of time.

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i was thinking to purchase these headphones but decided to go with Shure SRH750DJ

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I am what's called an audiophile - however I am 17. That means, put simply, that only the best sound will do. And I have heard the best, so putting these Sony's into context is easy. I think these must be the most comfortable cans ever invented. The leather is considerably substantial, covering the earpads. However, it looks unsightly in public (strange looks inevitable). The sound: For any bassy music, dubstep, drum and bass, house, hip hop, rap... THESE BEAT ANYTHING. For example. Bose. They sound 'creamy'. However they lack any perfect highs and the mids can be average. These sound better than any headphones I've ever heard, within the medium price range. And Bose are simply beaten. Wear them at home for some DJ-ing or mixing, or just for comfort. And I completely disagree with the Gadget Show review stating lack of anything in rock, these still sound great, and even better with some EQ adjustment. So get out there and try these! You won't be disappointed.

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John W

I have to say I'm with Radders on this one. These are probably one of the best earphones I've heard, and comfort....OMG. And its true, if you spend a little time tweaking your equaliser it really brings nearly any music back to these earphones. Even between these and my MDR-EX700's (£229 in-ears) I prefer these just because of the comfort of wearing them. Your ears don't really heat up like on a lot of over and on ears. The only downside would be the bulkiness of them. Not being able to fold them away makes it a problem, and as of yet I have not been able to find a protective case.

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these are amazing i bought them yesterday and havent taken them since the bass is sick, and the acoustic is up to standard, i got them foe £65 and they are worth every penny :P

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Hey Guys I have something to say. MDR-XB1000. Search it up. That is all.

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