Audio

Sony MDR-XB650BT, great for the bass, if nothing else matters

The Sony Extra Bass wireless Bluetooth headphones are clearly designed for bassheads who demand ear-thumping performance without wires getting in the way.
The Sony Extra Bass wireless Bluetooth headphones are clearly designed for bassheads who demand ear-thumping performance without wires getting in the way. PHOTO: SONY

Sony's latest addition to its Extra Bass line of headphones, the MDR-XB650BT, lives up to its family's name of being all about the bass.

Unfortunately, it also falls short of offering much else besides that.

The wireless Bluetooth headphones are clearly designed for bassheads who demand ear- thumping performance without wires getting in the way.

There is an extra oomph to all kinds of tunes, but sometimes in a way that doesn't feel natural.

The bass can feel uncomfortably artificial at times, like it's bassy for bass' sake.

This might satisfy those who favour bass over all else, but not those who prefer balanced tones.

When the bass kicks in, the tones can get muddied up a little in the mids and the treble.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $199

    DRIVER DIAMETER: 30mm

    FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20Hz - 20kHz

    WEIGHT: 190g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

On the plus side, the higher frequency presence is still evident.

That said, the bass response is incredible. Songs with strong, addictive basslines - like Gorillaz's Clint Eastwood or Tame Impala's The Less I Know The Better - never sounded more thrilling.

The excitement factor is further helped by the noticeable lack of bass distortion when the volume is cranked up.

The MDR-XB650BT comes very light on accessories, with just the headphones and a USB charging cable in the box - and not even a carrying case.

It also does not come with the option for wired listening through an audio cable, which means you are out of luck when the battery runs flat.

The headphones don't work when it's charging, too, which can be an annoyance if you constantly need music to work or focus.

It takes about an hour to charge the battery fully, but that's still an hour without music. However, you do get about 30 hours of playback on a single charge, which gets you through long flights.

The headphones come in a choice of three colours: black, blue, and orange red.

The black review version I received is a safe, generic choice, but I prefer the eye-catching metallic blue or red versions.

The headphones feel rather sturdy despite their plastic construction, with an almost brushed- metal feel.

They are pretty light too, and the ear cups are cushy and comfortable, making them a great choice for prolonged use.

•Verdict: Perfect for bassheads looking for a pair of comfortable, affordable wireless headphones.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline 'Great for the bass, if nothing else matters'. Print Edition | Subscribe