We’ve previously looked at — and loved — other headphones in Sony’s luxury MDR range, but this new set looks to be the first argument in our otherwise dreamy relationship.
They offer many of the same features as their siblings — NFC, media controls, USB recharging — but with some slight tweaking for an edgier, more ‘urban’ look and feel.
The headband strips out most of the extraneous padding to expose the all-metal interior, only leaving soft bits that actually make contact with the top of your dome; we’d have liked a touch more padding here.
Conversely the cans have juiced-up and are almost twice as padded as the MDR-1s. It’s a bit odd, and total overkill but on the upside they’re comfortable enough to wear for days and can keep your ears warm in winter.
The 40mm drivers are, as the name suggests, massively skewed toward the lower end. On top of that, there’s an additional Bass Boost toggle on the underside of the left can.
Now, we like good solid bass as much as the next person, but here it’s a bit out of control, leaving bass definiton a little thick and deadened. For those who don’t care about clarity, the bass on offer here will make your vision blurry, however.
Bluetooth connectivity is mostly solid. There’s a little delay between hitting play on a song and noise starting a few seconds into the track. It’s only after the initial connection though, and afterward running through tracks is no problem.
Bluetooth range is quite good though, and we had no trouble wandering around our whole office — and well out of line of sight — without any disruption in signal.
While capable, we don’t recommend using the MDRXB for telephony. Voices come through muffled due to the super-bass tuning, while listeners on the other end reported loads of echoing.
If you’re looking for an entry-point into Sony’s MDR range of headphones we’d steer clear of the Extra Bass and go with the MDR-1 and just bump the EQ if you’re looking for a little zing in the lower end.