The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of tech gear

Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass Review

A good buy if you like deep bass and can find a sale
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $250 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Good bass, intuitive controls
Cons:  Clarity slightly lacking
Manufacturer:   Sony
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Jan 7, 2018
  • Share this article:
69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Sound Quality - 30% 7
  • Noise Isolation - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • User Friendliness - 10% 8
  • Portability - 10% 5

Our Verdict

While these headphones provide relatively good performance across the board, the Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass headphones don't shine in any specific capacity. Even the titular bass isn't any better than other high-end models. At the time of this writing, these headphones are selling for nearly half of their list price. If you can find them near that price these headphones are a great value. However, if you're paying list price, it would definitely be worth spending a bit more on the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, or, if you don't care about active noise cancellation, looking at the slightly less expensive Bose SoundLink Wireless II.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass are good all-around headphones that are often on sale for far below their list price. If you can find them on the cheap they're a great choice, but if you're going to pay list price you might want to check out some other options.


Performance Comparison


The Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass sat in the midrange of our overall scores, as can be seen in the table above. We used five different test to establish our headphone hierarchy. You can read more about how the Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass fared in those tests below.

Sound Quality


The Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass earned an above average score of 7 out of 10 in our sound quality testing. It definitely does deliver on its name with deep resonant bass that is on par with that of top models like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II II, and is even more powerful than the bass of the Bose SoundLink Wireless II. It does have a bass boosting feature that increases the bass power. However, while this made the bass boomier, it also made the rest of the music sound very hollow and echoey. Overall we thought the music sounded much better with the bass boosting feature turned off.

The Extra Bass does suffer a bit when it comes to clarity. In our testing the clarity was decent, maybe a small step above that of a cheap pair of earbuds, but was no match for the crystal sound of the Bose models and the higher end Sony WH1000XM2. In fact, even the budget-priced TaoTronics TT-BH22US produced clearer sound than the Extra Bass. Bottom line, if you like your bass thumpy the Extra Bass offers a fairly good value per dollar. But, if you tend to listen to a lot of acoustic music or podcasts, you may appreciate the extra clarity you can get by spending a bit more on one of the Bose models, or even by spending less on the TaoTronics TT-BH22US.

The Extra Bass doesn't fold up as small as other models.
The Extra Bass doesn't fold up as small as other models.

Noise Isolation


The Extra Bass earned a score of 7 out of 10 in our noise isolation testing. While that score is pretty good, it is also the lowest score we awarded to any model that offers active noise cancellation. The Extra Bass was able to drown out most of the din of our office, but voices and even some aggressive typing noises did make their way through, even when we had music playing.

This amount of noise isolation is on par with what the TaoTronics TT-BH22US offers, though it does it at a much lower price. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II offers a clear step up in noise isolation, and the Sony WH1000XM2 offers an even bigger step up. Both those models also come with higher price tags.

Comfort


The Extra Bass' thick padding earned it a score of 7 out of 10 in our comfort testing. It missed out on a higher score because it opts for perfectly circular ear cups. There are very few people with perfectly circular ears, so if your auditory appendages tend towards the larger side the Extra Bass may feel like a tight fit. This is an issue shared with the TaoTronics TT-BH22US. If you've got large ears Bose's more anatomically designed ear cups are the way to go, though they do cost more.

User Friendliness


The Extra Bass shared the top score of 8 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing, mostly due to its intuitive button layout. It is one of the few models that uses dedicated buttons for all of its various functions: play/pause, volume control, track skipping, noise cancellation, and the bass effect. This feels much more intuitive than models that use multifunction buttons that must be pressed twice quickly to do one thing and three times to do another.

The Extra Bass actually has specific buttons for every function  no triple taping in order to go back a track.
The Extra Bass actually has specific buttons for every function, no triple taping in order to go back a track.

Portability


The Extra Bass was one of the lowest scorers in our portability testing, picking up a score of just 5 out of 10. This is mostly due to the headphones relatively heavy weight of 10.25 ounces, and the fact that the only included case is a drawstring pouch. Most competing headphones are slightly lighter and come with sturdier travel cases.

Value


The value of the Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass is somewhat hard to pinpoint. This is partially because, like many wireless headphones, the Extra Bass is often available for significantly less than its $250 list price. If you like bass and can find the Extra Bass in the sub $200 range, it's a great value. If you're more concerned about clarity than bass the TaoTronics TT-BH22US is a better value. If you're going to pay list price for the Extra Bass, you might consider checking out the superior sound of the Bose SoundLink Wireless II before you make a purchase decision (just remember those headphones don't have active noise cancellation).

The Extra Bass' carrying pouch.
The Extra Bass' carrying pouch.

Conclusion


The Sony XB950N1 Extra Bass headphones are fairly good all-around and a great deal if you can find them on sale. They can't compete with the top tier models, but are a decent option if your headphone budget is more mid range.


Max Mutter and Steven Tata