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The 5 Best Sony Headphones of 2020
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Best Sony Headphones

We've currently reviewed 32 Sony headphones. They're a versatile brand that makes a wide range of headphones at various price points. They have lots of affordable headphones for mostly casual listening, but also have some pricier models that are more feature-packed.

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Best Sony Headphones


  1. Best Sony Headphones

    7.4
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Neutral Sound
    8.0
    Commute/Travel
    7.2
    Sports/Fitness
    7.6
    Office
    5.9
    Wireless Gaming
    7.6
    Wired Gaming
    7.0
    Phone Calls
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony headphones we've reviewed so far are the Sony WH-1000XM3. They're among Sony's most premium headphones and it shows. They're very well-built, comfortable Bluetooth over-ears with one of the best active noise cancelling (ANC) features we've seen to date. They have a warm, punchy sound signature by default, but you can customize the way they sound in remarkable detail with the Sony | Headphones Connect companion app. Their 27-hour battery life is excellent and they can also be used wired with a regular audio cable.

    Unfortunately, they only turn off automatically once they're out of range of a connected Bluetooth device - this means that if you set them down on your desk without turning them off and they're still connected to your tablet or laptop, their battery will continue to drain. In addition, their touch-sensitive controls don't work properly in freezing temperatures, which can be a dealbreaker for those living in colder climates. That said, these issues generally aren't too much of a problem for most people and don't keep these from being among some of the best Bluetooth headphones we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best In-Ear Sony Headphones

    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    7.4
    Neutral Sound
    7.7
    Commute/Travel
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    6.9
    Office
    5.8
    Wireless Gaming
    5.7
    Wired Gaming
    6.6
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony earphones we've reviewed so far are the Sony WF-1000XM3. They're very well-built truly wireless headphones with a sleek, high-end design and great charging case. They have a very well-balanced, fairly neutral sound profile that's versatile for different music genres, and have decent noise cancelling too. They also have a 7-hour battery life, which is fairly long for truly wireless earbuds, especially considering their case holds three extra charges so they can last for over 25 hours if you make sure to put them in their case when you're not using them.

    Unfortunately, their earbud tips are quite large, which can make it rather difficult to get a proper airtight seal. This can make them sound a bit bass-light to some, and also affect their noise isolation. The Sony WI-1000X Wireless perform more consistently thanks to their smaller earbuds which tend to get a better seal and have better surround sound features with the app, but their neckband design is very bulky compared to the WF-1000XM3's compact truly wireless design.

    See our review

  3. Best Sony Headphones For Mixing And Mastering

    5.4
    Mixed Usage
    7.5
    Neutral Sound
    4.7
    Commute/Travel
    5.1
    Sports/Fitness
    5.4
    Office
    4.2
    Wireless Gaming
    6.3
    Wired Gaming
    2.1
    Phone Calls
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic No
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony headphones for mixing and mastering we've tested so far are the Sony MDR-7506. They've been the industry standard for decades, and there's no surprise as to why. Their frequency response is very well-balanced, resulting in a neutral sound profile ideal for mixing. They're lightweight for long studio sessions and can fold up into a more compact format so they don't take up too much space in your bag. They're also a good deal cheaper than most competing studio monitor headphones on the market, so you can get a few extra pairs to make sure everyone in your studio is properly equipped without breaking the bank.

    On the downside, their lower price is reflected in their build quality. Their ear cup padding is notoriously cheap and the headband can stretch out over time, especially with heavy use. While their long coiled cable is pretty durable, it isn't detachable. If it breaks, you'll have to replace the headphones altogether. Thankfully, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to replace them, and they should still last for a decent while.

    See our review

  4. Best Sony Headphones For Sports

    6.9
    Mixed Usage
    6.4
    Neutral Sound
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    7.9
    Sports/Fitness
    6.6
    Office
    5.3
    Wireless Gaming
    5.2
    Wired Gaming
    5.9
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony headphones for sports are the Sony WI-SP600N. These wireless earphones have a stable in-ear fit for running and working out. They're well-built, with an IPX4 rating for light water resistance, and their in-line remote provides all the necessary controls you'll need while exercising. They even have an active noise cancelling feature to help block out disruptive gym chatter and don't leak much sound so you can turn up the volume to get pumped without bothering those around you.

    Unfortunately, their battery only lasts for just over 5 hours. This should be enough to get through your workout but might not make it through a marathon. They also have a very bass-heavy, boomy sound that won't be for everyone. You can tone down their bass a bit with the EQ in their app, but you might not be able to reduce it enough to suit your tastes if you prefer a more neutral sound. That said, if you love deep thumping bass while working out, they're a good choice.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Sony Headphones

    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    7.3
    Neutral Sound
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    6.8
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    5.3
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony headphones we've tested in the budget range are the Sony WI-C310. They provide very good value for the price, thanks to their simple, straightforward design, very well-balanced sound profile, and impressive battery life. They pack a bit of an extra punch in the bass range without overpowering vocals and instruments, which makes them versatile for all kinds of music. They also last an impressive 17 hours on a charge, which is better than what some of the most expensive wireless earbuds can do, so you shouldn't have to worry about needing to charge them too often.

    Unfortunately, they look and feel like pretty cheap headphones. Their in-line remote is easy-to-use, but the buttons feel rather mushy and the cables are very thin. Fortunately, the earbuds have magnetic backings that snap together, which helps keep them from falling off when around your neck. They might not be the most premium earbuds, but for the price, they still deliver a performance that's surprisingly solid overall.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Headphone variety. Sony makes everything from open-back sports earbuds to noise cancelling RF wireless TV headphones at all kinds of different price points. We've yet to review their entire line-up, but they generally have something for everyone.
  • Different sound profile options. Sony's headphones generally fall into two sound profile options: neutral or bass-heavy. This helps them cater to a wider range of listeners since some people find a neutral sound too flat or boring but others find too much bass overwhelming.
  • Great mobile app. Many of their Bluetooth headphones are compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect app. With most models, you get a good graphic EQ, but with more premium models it provides a bunch of virtual soundstage options, which really make it stand out.
  • Inconsistent noise cancelling performance. Although Sony have a few models that block a phenomenal amount of noise, like the WH-1000XM3, most of their models' noise cancelling is only decent.
  • Premium price for good headphones. Sony's best headphones might be industry leaders, but they'll also set you back a pretty penny. Their cheaper options usually have poor build or sound quality, especially compared to models from dedicated budget brands.
  • Some features missing. While Sony have many feature-packed models, even some of their most premium Bluetooth headphones are missing features that are taken for granted with other brands, like microphone controls, multi-device pairing, audio while charging, or an auto-off timer.

Overall, Sony has a wide range of headphones for different needs. Their top performers are quite expensive, but provide good value for those who want the best-of-the-best. Unfortunately, quality varies across models and their less pricey options are still generally rather expensive for what you get. Noise cancelling especially can be bit hit-or-miss, but their more premium models generally get it right.

Lineup

Sony has a couple of different headphone lineups but their naming strategy isn't always very clear. Some of their more feature-packed headphones with Bluetooth or active noise cancelling might appear to be in the same family as their basic wired headphones, which can be confusing. Their most consistent naming conventions are:

  • WH = Wireless over-ears and on-ears.
  • WI = Wireless in-ears and earbuds.
  • WF = Truly wireless headphones.
  • IER = In-ear monitors.
  • XB = Extra Bass, headphones with a more bass-heavy sound signature

However, their MDR lineup includes both wired over-ears and in-ears, as well as wireless over-ears and on-ears; SP includes some, but not all, of their sports models; and it's unclear what the many other common naming schemes, such as CH or ZX, represent.

Conclusion

Sony makes a wide variety of headphone models that are geared for all kinds of listeners. Most of their models deliver reliable sound quality with either more bass-heavy or neutral-sounding options to choose from. Their best-performing headphones come at a premium price, though, as their cheaper models can be hit-or-miss. That said, their higher-end models are among some of the best headphones we've reviewed and are easy to recommend.

If you're a fan of Sony's noise cancelling models, you'll also want to check out our recommendations for the best headphones for commuting.

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