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Sony MDR-XB600 review

Andrew Williams



Our Score


User Score


  • Fairly comfy
  • Decent styling
  • Smooth treble
  • Better clarity than previous models


  • Lacks bass control - boomy
  • Pads could be softer

Review Price £79.99

Key Features: 40mm driver; Folding design; Flat cable; On-ear design

Manufacturer: Sony

Sony's XB series of headphones has been a high street mainstay for years, and now the PS3 and KDL-40HX853 manufacturer back with a range of new models including the Sony MDR-XB600. When they sell for well under Beats by Dre money, and the "XB" of their name stands for "Xtra Bass", they're an obvious fit for the HMVs of this world. Sony has tried to class-up the XB range with these new sets, but has it worked?

Sony MDR-XB600 Design

The previous signature of the Xtra Bass Sony headphones of old was gigantic oversized earpads that tended to make all but the coolest people look like plonkers. Sony has sensibly changed its approach. The padding of the Sony MDR-XB600 has slimmed down, and the slightly over-the-top silver trim has been reduced. Now, each earcup is finished in a disc of flat glossy black plastic ringed with a 4mm silver outline.

Sony MDR-XB600 8

They're less distinctive than the last-generation of Xtra Bass Sony headphones, but they're also more normal-looking too. There are a few elements that mark them out as street "fashion" cans, though.

A volume knob-like nugget of silver sits at the join between the earcup and the headband, and the design of the headband is informed by conspicuous styling too, with a consistent thick band all the way across. There are some curiously missing bits here, mind. Image-conscious headphones often use a single point of entry for the cable, but here it jams into both earcups. The headphone cable is non-removable too, where the current trend is to use the removable type whenever possible.

Sony MDR-XB600

As a relatively inexpensive set of headphones, the Sony MDR-XB600 are constructed out of non-premium materials. The frame is plastic, the parts that are coloured to look like metal are plastic and all the "leather" is synthetic. They're well-constructed, though, with minimal creak and a handy - plus discreet - folding design that makes them easy to dump into a bag.

Sony MDR-XB600 Comfort and Isolation

The padding of the Sony MDR-XB600 is generous among on-ear heapdhones, if not within the XB series. Up top, the headband foam is quite light, but it's not an issue because there's little weight to these plastic headphones.

Sony MDR-XB600 5

Earcup foam is much more generous, making these among the more comfortable sub-£100 on-ear pairs. However, they could be better. The innards of the pads make for effective cushions, but the synthetic leather on the outside isn't all that soft, with a recognisably plastic feel. Next to the rival Philips CitiScape Downtown on-ears, they don't seem all that luxurious.

Sony MDR-XB600 2

Getting a good fit with the Sony MDR-XB600 is reassuringly easy, as the ear cups swivel freely both horizontally and vertically, letting them fit the shape of your head instantly. The style of padding affords the Sony MDR-XB600 decent noise isolation, as there's just a small netted gap in the centre of each pad where the sound escapes through. They'll have little trouble competing with the sound of bus and train engines.

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January 4, 2013, 7:45 am

bad review


January 4, 2013, 7:48 am

bass is tight the complaints here are opposite of what i feel they should be, awful review, i give the headphones 7/10 or 10/10 if you can get them for 60 bucks like i did. Also I give this review 4/10


January 17, 2013, 1:33 am

this review sucks... i love these headphones because i have compared to dr.dre beats and i would prefer these... so bass is sick and headphones are extremely comfy they have like an inch of padding... with comfy and bass boosted headphones a am satisfied :)

Levi Mondal

April 14, 2013, 5:28 pm

My review of the product:

Comfortable usage for over 12 hours (trips, etc.)
Stylish looks
Smooth treble, clear mid, and stunning eye shaking bass, but still not overpowering


Too much plastic

Actually what I've noticed is that the earcups contain more foam, and leaves a smaller space for the sound to pass, which is good for the sound will directly enter the ear, compared to other on-ear headphones that scatter first then enter.

It's sound isolation is just awesome, and when you wear it, the pressure changes, which is actually bizarre, 'cause most headphones don't have this, and can only be found mostly on earphones.

It's folding design makes it really portable, it can lay flat anywhere, bend to fit in a pouch, can stand straight up with it's earcups, ANOS will be the only awkward thing when it's hanging flat on your neck.

Overall 6/10

Steve Fernández

May 13, 2013, 6:07 pm

They're meant for bass and they deliver but they dont do it perfectly is what hes trying to say. These are great for the price but there not the best out there. If you do want something better your gonna have to shell out a few more bucks. For their purpose and price I give them 8/10

Nicholas Dudzinski

June 3, 2013, 4:04 pm

failure at review who ever wrote this is impossible to impress i have these and for me they are the definition of epic screw this review i give the headphones 10/10 and the review 2/10000

Yoerie Wolvekamp

August 9, 2013, 5:56 pm

Rating inaccurate.
Hi - 7/10
Mids - 8/10
Bass - 7/10
Comfort - 9/10

Pro's : Fits everybody
Very comfortable for long sessions
Punchy bass, but mids and hi's still awesome and 100% hearable.
Like said, bass NEVER overpowers the mids and hi's
Stylish, genuine leather & obviously real gold plating (on the brown ones)

Cons: Bass too punchy sometimes, but not a big deal.
Hi's get too, well high, and some songs get very uncomfortable to listen to
Fingerprints everywhere! D:

Overall 8.7/10, very good headphones, and yes they're better than Beats Solo HDs, so if you're doubting, go get them RIGHT NOW *insert odd rage*.

Headphone expert

August 21, 2013, 10:57 am

Is it worth buying

Alfa Kapa

December 14, 2014, 8:54 am

I'm already planning to buy those headphones.
I'm a basshead and I tested them on my stupidly bassy tunes and all that time I had a huge smile on my face..
The reviewer must have a bad day when he writes this review!

Guys, don't get me wrong, the sound on all frequencies is phenomenal, the comfort is outstanding and the bass is dominant and outrageous/savage.
Whoever think the bass is bad/punchy/whatever must surely check he's ears!

Sony MDR-XB600 even more trusted review: 9/10

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