Sony MDR-XB500 Headphone Review
Getting my check for the week, I decided to treat myself to some nice headphones. I headed to Best Buy and tried on a few different pairs. My price range was $100. There was the Beats by Dr. Dre, A Skullcandy, and a few others. I tried the Beats and they were amazing. Very loud deep bass and very crisp trebles. The Beats needed batteries to work which turned me off. The price tag also turned me off. It was $300. No thanks. I listen to music occasionally. Not as often as I did when I was in high school but enough for me to purchase some good headphones. I tried various pairs until I got to the Sony MDR-XB500. I was very happy with the Sony. Not as good as the Beats but nowhere near as expensive. It was listed at $60. I purchased it and took it home to try on my Sansa Fuze. I was happy.
My Sansa Fuze already had the best sound quality out of all the MP3 players I've tried, but coupled with my new headphones, my listening experience was better. These headphone are advertised. They have very deep bass. This somewhat muffled the highs. I went into my equalizer and with a quick adjustment, They were perfect. I can see if someone listens to a lot of hip-hip, they would like these headphones. I was impressed considering these headphones were not externally powered by batteries. the Beats and I believe the Quiet Comfort series by Bose are battery powered. I believe the noise cancelling needs to be externally powered. The Sony is not noise-cancelling but it does a pretty good job of keeping noise out. There were quite a few time where my girlfriend poked me because I did not answer her calls. I don't keep my volume that high either. I like medium volume. That's something to consider.
These headphones are big. In my opinion, they are meant to be enjoyed at home but if you have a way to store them safely, you can take them out. Be warned, you will be seen. The earpiece is design to cover your whole ear. It took me a few day to get used to, now they feel very comfortable. They are an enclosed design which mean your ears can get a "hot" and sweating feeling after prolonged periods of listening. They are more comfortable than the Skullcandy pair that I tried on which felt very cheap to me. In my opinion, these headphone are not as comfortable as the Quiet Comfort by Bose but I still like them. They are comfortable enough for me to forget I have them on while typing this. Also the Quiet Comfort series have not changed in price in the last few years. As far as I know, they are still around $90-$100.
If you are considering a good "cheap" pair of headphone, be sure to add these on your list. You have to try them. The deep bass is not for everyone. If you are used to deep bass from hip-hip or some club trance, then these are great. If you mostly listen to highs like some country, then clarity is more important. Also price is a big factor in making your decision. If you are a hardcore audiophile, then spending $300 for a nice pair is worth it. For $60 I feel like I got an awesome deal. Also one nice thing about these headphones are the wires. Most traditional wires are designed with 2 wires from each ear connected to each other. This design can sometimes cause the wires to curl up and tangle. Newer professional style headphones solve this problem by designing the cord to be a single round cord somewhat like a straw. These headphone are a bit different. Their wire design is flat. It's like these took the round design and flatten it out. If you were to cut the wire cleanly and make a footprint of it, it would look like a hyphen(-). I believe this design is to help reduce the wires from curling or being tangled and so far so good. It's little things like this that adds value to your purchase. Shop around. I believe you can get them for $50 now.
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