Review Price £79.99
Sony MDR-XB600 Accessories
There's no ceremony to the Sony MDR-XB600 headphones. You get a box, but that's about it. There's no included carry case, no adapters and no inbuilt hands-free kit or remote control. These are headphones, simple as that.
Sony MDR-XB600 Sound Quality
Belonging to a family of headphones called "Xtra Bass", it's hard to come to the Sony MDR-XB600 not knowing what to expect. These are bassy headphones, and as is often the case with such focus headphones as these, the bass can become destructive.
For a headphone to pull off the big bass sound, it needs to have sufficient control and separation to avoid the low-end dominating the rest of the sound. There's a significant improvement in clarity over the last range of XB headphones we listened to, but there's still not enough control.
The bass booms out, muddling arrangements, unbalancing the sound and often spoiling the rhythm of beat-based music. Contrary to what some people think, a bassy headphone isn't always good for bassy music.
The Sony MDR-XB600 are not a dead loss, though. While the low-end rules here, the treble is surprisingly sweet and smooth. There's too much boom to the sound here, but they're not muggy-sounding, veiled headphones.
Thanks to the bloated low-end, separation between instruments isn't hugely impressive, but the soundstage is relatively wide. Nevertheless, we still find that with music made using real instruments in particular - rather than electronic ones - there's a certain claustrophobic effect caused by the rumblesome bass that's holds the music back. And it can verge upon sounding distorted.
Sony MDR-XB600 Verdict
The Sony MDR-XB600 represent a solid half-step forward for the Xtra Bass headphone series from Sony. Their looks are a little toned-down, comfort is good and sonic clarity seems to have been improved. However, the low-end lacks the control we like to hear in a bass-heavy headphone, resulting in to much bloating and boominess. You can get higher-quality sound at the price if you're after exciting bass.
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