4 Stars By CLop on 2017-04-11
These headphones are definitely worth your consideration
Finally. Headphones done well. I’ve been on a solid 3 month hunt. Buying and returning until my head was spinning but the Sony XB950N1 is a welcomed addition to the long line of over-the-ear bluetooth headphones I’ve tried. These headphones aren’t perfect but they’re good at everything they attempt to do. And that’s what’s been hard to find – a pair of headphones that does all things well. Don’t get me wrong, there are headphones that do some things better, much better, but those end up falling short in other critical areas. So I welcome the Sony XB950N1s as the best all-around headphone out there, for me at least.
First things first. Comparing these to their predecessor
The model number of these is slightly deceiving, and it may be something that ends up hurting Sony’s ability to market these. Yes, their chassis looks like their predecessor, the XB950BT, but that’s where the similarities stop. Firstly, the new XB950N1 is a fully folding headphone with rotating ear cans. The cans are bulky due to the large pads so they don’t fold super compact like say a pair of Bose QC35 or Sony’s own MDR-1000X, but it’s nice that they’ll fold up and fit nicely in the front pocket of your backpack. The connection points on the 950N1s are beefier than the older model so they should stand up to more abuse than their predecessors. The sound quality in the N1 is improved over the BT. They have noise cancelling that works fairly well, the B1 did not have a noise cancelling option. Of course, Sony’s also recently released the XB950B1 headphones which don’t have noise cancelling at $50 less than these. I decided to go with NC.
The 950N1s have improved controls as it feels like the spring mechanism in the jog switch is tighter, which is a good thing to keep from skipping or rewinding music instead of pressing the play/pause button. The N1s feature Bluetooth 4.0, while the BTs were stuck on 3.0. The BTs featured a microphone that was poor at phone call quality, but the N1s have remedied that with an improved microphone. And the biggest bonus is that the N1s are made to work with Apple devices, the BTs were not. Sure the BTs will play music, answer phone calls and basic stuff, but they were incompatible with Apple’s hands-free Siri assistant. That was a huge let down from Sony, but you don’t have to worry about that with the N1. The packaging even proudly displays the Apple compatibility sticker.
Better than the best
So what makes the Sony XB950N1 better than the headphones I’ve tested? For me, they perform extremely well for my demands and while they do have some shortcomings over others in certain areas, they outshine their competition in others and end up being the best in class. The list of headphones I’m comparing these to includes the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, Skullcandy Crusher Wireless, Sony MDR-1000X, Bose QuietComfort 35, Sony XB950BT, and the new Sennheiser HD4.40BT.
These aren’t reference headphones. They’re bass-heavy, crank it up, and pretend your ears are only 16-years-old headphones. They’re loud but good. They get louder than you should really want, but high volume output is there if you want to risk it. The soundstage is cramped but there’s plenty of coverage in the highs to lows to make up for the lack of breadth. Pound for pound, the Skullcandy Crushers will give you more bass but it’s at the sacrifice of quality in the mids and highs making the Sony’s a much better choice. Of course, the Bose QC35 and Backbeat Pro 2s offer great sound, as do the HD 4.40s, but the QC35 doesn’t let you turn off noise-cancelling. And its noise-cancelling is so good that they’re only good for use in isolated environments where you really don’t want to hear anything but the music (or phone call). I want the ability to turn off NC and these Sony’s feature it. The HD 4.40 were just too uncomfortable and the Backbeat Pro 2s had an amazing array of features that didn’t work that well. Sony the 950N1s top them overall.
The bluetooth range on the 950N1 is superb. After a solid week of use I haven’t experienced one dropout, even at 30 feet away through walls and floors.
The 950N1 features a power light that flashes every few seconds to let you know they’re powered on. This was a feature I really missed when trying the HD 4.40.
The noise cancelling performance on the 950N1 is certainly their weakest attribute. They pale in comparison to the Bose QC35 and Sony MDR-1000x, but the NC does work to reduce moderate external noise like a dishwasher or refrigerator. I haven’t tried them on an airplane but because they still let a lot of my air conditioning unit’s noise in, as compared to the MDR-1000x and QC35s, they’re just not as good. So if high quality NC is a critical component to your headphone requirement then the 950N1 may not be right for you.
There’s a nice feature that’s not mentioned anywhere in the manual or elsewhere that I could find. If your headphones disconnect from your device for a period of time they will auto shut-off to save on battery. This is a pretty nice feature should you take your device with you and forget to turn the headphones off.
As far as comfort is concerned, the 950N1 could be more comfortable. If Sony had made the ear pad openings taller it would be a huge help but that might sacrifice their great sound leakage performance. If you’ve looked at the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT know this. The ear openings are very small in both width and height. I’ve discovered that it’s the width that really matters. And the Sony XB950N1 are wide enough for my ears. Are they as comfortable as the Bose QC35s? No way. The Bose lead the pack in comfort but your neighbors will hear every little thing you play as the sound leakage on the Bose QC35s is terrible.
So, with everything that the Sony XB950N1s offer, they’re a pretty good all around pair headphones. Good sound, good comfort, good quality build with compactness, good controls, decent noise cancelling, hands-free operation with your device, big bass for bass lovers, and while nothing on the Sony XB950N1 stands out as stellar, they do everything pretty well so they’re a clear winner in my book.
4 Stars By Sham on 2017-06-28
Great pair of cans, but take care of them.
Let me start by saying that the Sony XB950 line is by far my favorite compared to any other brand of headphones I have ever owned. The sound quality outstanding, and is better than the Bose QC-35 in price and sound quality, in my opinion, but not by much.
This pair is the second pair of the XB950 line I have purchased. I previously used the XB950BT, the less expensive model that did not have ANC, for about a year until they broke. When I say broke, I mean the piece that kept the speaker connected to the frame shattered for each speaker. This was due to multiple drops. Everything else was completely fine other than the fact that I couldn't wear them anymore. I liked these so much that I made a DIY repair that lasted for 2 months until I gave up, and started looking for new ones...
...Then came the XB950N1, and boy, these this are amazing. The mixture of the highs and lows of music is so immersive; you will get lost in the music every time you wear them! I know there is a bass boost function, but I like my headphones to "tell it like it is" when it comes to listening, without overpowering bass. Trust me, you won't need it. The noise canceling on this headset is good, unlike what others have said about it. It is just enough noise canceling to drown out the noise of an aircraft cabin. The best part is that the ANC doesn't give you that uncomfortable 'pressure' feeling when you wear them, plus you can turn it off! These headphones are not without flaws, however. I can't give this pair 5 stars because I have not owned them long enough to be certain that the structure of the headphones improved or not. The differences between the BT and the N1 are subtle, but worth pointing out. The N1 has all the features the BT did, but also has ANC. The structure looks a bit sturdier and lets you use the buttons when you use wired connection.
+ Great, immersive sound
+ Soft, thick pads
+ Good ANC that can be switched on/off
+ Option for wired connection
+ Action buttons: Play, pause, FFoward, rewind, and volume control
- Fair battery life
- The sound quality diminishes 𝐬𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐥𝐲 if you use wired connection while the headphones are OFF, if you turn them ON, it improves.
- The headphones will not automatically turn off if you are not listening to any music, thus draining battery
- Noise cancelling always defauts to ON when you turn them on.
- They are a little tight (I have a big head)
5 Stars By Bryce A Lorey on 2017-04-08
Best headphones I've ever owned. 2nd pair
These are my second pair of this line. I love the color and build quality.
The updates: now foldable, and has very decent noise canceling. The updates are substantial enough to justify the price.
The sound: I've noticed that the n1s have a much nicer natural bass sound even with the boost on. This is my favorite thing as apposed the bts which sounded great but had a bit more of a manufactured or synthetic bass sound.
The comfort: in general these are the comfiest headphones I've ever owned or put on. They made the n1s a bit wider so they don't feel as tight on your head and make listening for hours upon hours very easy. I've noticed that they tilted the drivers inward which is a nice design choice, however for my ears personally after approximately 6 hours of listening the very tips of my ears do begin to feel a twinge of pressure.
The look: I do like how theses look. Especially from profile. But honestly these aren't fashion headphones. They're super fat and look modestly goofy on most people's heads when viewing head on.
Overall: buy these. The bass... my god the bass is just so incredible. It's not overwhelming but just delivers nice, full, girthy bass. and they're Bluetooth! I can't find any headphones that could compete. One major bonus for me is the controls. They are incredibly intuitive. Sony has mastered the physical design for the buttons. So easy to navigate my phone or computer whithout even touching them. Another bonus is the INSANE battery life. I listen to them all day every day and it only runs out about every 2-3 days. Just buy them. You won't be disappointed.
3 Stars By 2DayDeliver Customer on 2017-06-21
I love the emerald green color though
The headphones are just ok for me. Noise cancelling is just ok. I love the emerald green color though. The headphones broke in the same spot on each side within 5 weeks of me having them. I handle them with care and pack them away when not in use and they still broke in the same spot on each side within weeks of each other. I had to use some gorilla glue to put them back together. Disappointed. I have attached a photo to show the spot where they snapped on each side. For the price, I expected better quality, especially from a brand like Sony.
3 Stars By L. Carl on 2018-01-03
Price v Ease & Comfort.
Maybe 4 stars, however I got spoiled with the Bose 25, and as suffering is part of what it is all about, I write.
When we compare, something must suffer. The Sony's suffers the user well in comparison.
The Sony is heavier by far, they are bulkier and for idiots such as I, they are a tad more difficult to orient both from the box and in daily use.
Old folks can't see black-on-black buttons, nor read same as to Right & Left ear.
Sony cuts corners needlessly, such as the storage bag can be made a 1/4" larger for the ease of fitting the phones. The box could be 1/16" larger for returning the headset to the manufacturer. There are other things but by the time you got here your mind is mostly made up, dear shopper.
I suggest you save a few more bucks, like $50, if you fly a lot and look for comfort, go with the Bose.
4 Stars By Luke Axelrod on 2018-01-09
Bulky but good
Kind of bulky and awkward to use, you will never forget you are wearing these. However the Bluetooth sound is decent and the options of added bass and noise canceling are a huge plus, especially at this price range. They sound significantly better with the wired option(included) which is to be expected with any Bluetooth device.
They certainly don’t feel as durable as I would want, instead feeling slightly brittle and stiff, so I’m cautious about where I wear them.
For what I paid I’m pleased
5 Stars By Rob Shantz on 2018-01-08
The sound quality in these headphones is great, there are better
I've owned these headphones for over 6 months now, so I feel safe to write a review now that I have a lot of use out of them.
The sound quality in these headphones is great, there are better, but for the price with the other elements involved in this headphone, I'm quite satisfied. The bass is suitably low, and powerful, the highs aren't tinny, but the mids are probably a bit flatter than they should be, but still pretty good.
The battery life of the headset is pretty good, lasts anywhere from 22-25 hours on a charge. It does take a stupidly long time to charge though, so charge these for 8-12 hours minimum. It's absurd, and is my one real straight up dislike of the product.
Comfortably wise I would rate these headphones a 7/10. They sit quite nicely on the ears, and don't leave any pressure on the sides of my head, but it does apply it all to the pad at the top of the band. Perhaps I was cursed with a particularly bony head, or perhaps there could be a bit more foam on that section of the band.
The Noise Cancelling is okay. Personally, as the noisiest environments I tend to listen to music in are the subway and the bus, I find it completely adequate. It blocks out 95% of the ambient noise, and annoying background and hides that pretty well. I can still hear/feel the tracks in the bottom of the train, but I can't hear it over the audio of whatever I'm listening to. 99% of the time though, I'm at home when using these, and the noise cancelling at home is amazing. Because I live in a relatively quiet environment where the majority of the noise is my girlfriends TV/laptop/phone these headphones completely cancel that out at all but the most extreme of volumes. At which point i'm pretty sure the issue is my girlfriend, and not the headphones.
Overall, compared to my variety and array of non bluetooth headphones, I'm very pleased. The portability of these is supreme, the battery life is good(again, charging is horrible but at least it lasts for a long time), the sound quality is as good as my last set of Audia-Technicas, but as they were open ear and these are closed ears it's hard to truly compare the bass and balance of them.
1 Stars By Dr. Tyler J Mazzoncini on 2017-06-25
Broken in 3 months....just like the model prior.
I originally purchased the mdr950bt first edition....They were my favorite headphones ever......until they broke. Research it, it's a known issue. They break at the joint that connects the cups to the headband. And I babied those. Fast forward to three months ago I decided to buy these assuming the problem would have been resolved....Nope, just broke again, while I had them on. Absolutely ridiculous. Past the point of return through amazon as well. I'm disgusted. Can I atleast have a new pair? Or am I screwed twice? Smh
5 Stars By HiFi 80s Man on 2017-03-27
I had the XB950BT, but found the sound slightly muffled and the BASS BOOST feature overdone and not usable (WAY over-exaggerated the bass), so I ended up returning those (last year).
Let's get one thing out of the way, if you're buying these, you're not looking for a "balanced, even sound", you want something that sounds good & will rattle your brain.
Enter the Sony XB950N1...
SOUND & APP
Sound is quite good even with the "bass effect" off. Highs are smooth (vs. a little sharp with the Beats Studio), mids are full & rich, and lows are not boomy, rather, solid & deep. The Sony Headphone Connect App further allows you to customize the bass, so if you actually want to decrease the bass from out-of-the-box levels, you can (negative 1-10), or if you want more, you can increase on a scale from 1-10. For me, +3 is enough to strike the right balance of hard-hitting bass and musicality. The soundstage is surprisingly good for this type of closed-back headphone. Overall, it's a fun headphone that also sounds really good.
On par with the Sony 100ABN (which I also have), except there is a bit less white noise. Not as good as Bose or the Sony 1000X, but definitely in the 2nd tier of ANC systems out there. Very capable and effective.
Works great. One of the issues the XB950BT mic had, was the poor range (100 Hz - 4,000 Hz), however, the mic on these have literally 2x the vocal range (50 Hz - 8,000 Hz) and meet the HD Voice specification. My voice sounds very clear when using as a headset.
The plastic is a nice rough matte finish and is of a higher grade than the XB950BT & XB950B1. The headphones feel solid and the adjustment slider clicks are nice & even (both sides respond equally). The headphones also fold like the Beats Studio, so you can fit them in a smaller case if you want to (they only come with a bag, so you may want to buy a 3rd party hardcase). The buttons have a nice response and the overall fabrication is high-end and fits nicely & smoothly together.
Even at suggested retail of $249, these are a good buy, and in fact, have a bit more features than most others in this mid-premium range.
5 Stars By pamelann on 2018-01-11
Convenient & sound great!
My son bought these with Christmas present $. He has been searching for good wireless over the ear headphones for quite a while. He said the sound is great, wireless works well and is very convenient. They are more comfortable than his old set.