We've tested over 55 pairs of Sony headphones. They're a versatile brand that makes a wide range of headphones at various price points. They have many affordable headphones for casual listening but also have some pricier models that are more feature-packed.
The best Sony headphones we've tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These over-ears are the previous generation of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. However, they still offer better value than their successor. They feel sturdier and offer a better noise isolation performance, especially for bass-range noise like rumbling engines, making them the best Sony noise cancelling headphones we've tested. The ANC also outperforms its competitor, the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. They have better, springier padding than the WH-1000XM5 and offer a more comfortable fit for most people, especially if you have a smaller head.
Their slightly bass-heavy sound profile adds extra thump and punch to your mixes, and you can also customize it using the graphic EQ and presets in the Sony | Headphones Connect app. They're sturdy and have a long continuous battery life of about 37 hours. They aren't ideal for phone calls, though, since the integrated microphone has a disappointing recording quality, and your voice may be drowned out by background noise if you're calling from a loud area. On the other hand, the WH-1000XM5's mic has an excellent noise handling performance and an improved recording quality, making the newer model a better option for calls.
Earbuds are a great alternative to over-ears if you want something lighter and more portable. The Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless are the best we've tested from this manufacturer, and they offer a versatile performance to please many different types of listeners. Compared to the original Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, this edition offers a slightly improved design thanks to the inclusion of memory foam ear tips. These tips passively block out a lot more background noise, leading to improved noise isolation performance, and they easily block out all kinds of background noise. The foam tips aren't comfortable for everyone, though, since they may put pressure on your ear canals.
As for their sound, these headphones offer a balanced and neutral sound right out of the box. Voices and lead instruments are clear and accurate in the mix, and the bass has a little extra warmth. The graphic EQ and presets make it easy to switch up their sound to your liking, and you can even use the Find Your Equalizer feature to generate a custom EQ based on your preferences. Listen for around 8.75 hours off a single charge without interruption, and you can always use their portable charging case to power up while on the go.
If you're not looking for premium headphones or a high-end price point, the Sony WI-C310 are the best Sony wireless headphones in the budget range that we've tested. These in-ears have a cable that connects the earbuds, allowing you to wear them around your neck when not in use. Because of this, some may find them cumbersome compared to truly wireless buds, but the cable is light and flexible. They aren't as comfortable or as well-built as the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless, which isn't surprising given their much smaller price tag. Still, they perform well for the price.
Their warm sound profile makes vocals and instruments sound present, detailed, and cozy, well-suited for genres like jazz and folk. Unlike the previous picks, they don't have an app or sound customization features. They also lack ANC and rely on their design to passively block out ambient sound. That means they won't do much to reduce the low rumble of bus and plane engines, but on the plus side, they manage to block out an impressive amount of mid-range noise like ambient chatter. If you'd like to stay aware of your surroundings, this isn't too much of a drawback.
The best headphones from Sony for studio use we've tested are the Sony MDR-MV1. These premium cans differ greatly from the previous picks as their open-back design purposely leaks audio. Escaping sound can interact with your surroundings, creating a more spacious and immersive experience. Their neutral sound is suitable for mixing and mastering audio, ensuring that vocals and instruments sound detailed and present in tracks. While sibilants like cymbals are piercing, this may still be preferable as it can help you pinpoint imperfections in mixes.
They have a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions. They don't block out background noise, so they're not an ideal choice if you want to use them for monitoring a live show. That said, the Sony MDR-7506 are a solid alternative if you're looking for audiophile headphones for that purpose. They're closed-back headphones that can block out some mid-range sound like ambient voices and have an affordable price point, which is nice if you want to purchase more than one pair for your studio. However, they don't have a very wide or open soundstage.
If you're looking for dedicated gaming headphones, try the Sony INZONE H9 Wireless. They're the highest-end headphones of Sony Electronics' INZONE lineup and are designed with the PS5 in mind, although you can also use them on PC. Unfortunately, Xbox users must look elsewhere for compatible wireless gaming headphones. They have low latency thanks to their wireless USB dongle, but they also support Bluetooth, meaning you can stay connected to your smartphone and console simultaneously. They even have an ANC system, and while it doesn't outperform that of the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, it can still block out noise like ambient chatter and the hum of a standing fan well. With their ANC on and when connected to two devices at a time, they last over 22 hours continuously.
These decently comfortable over-ears have a boomy sound profile when using the dongle. This sound helps emphasize sound effects like footsteps in your gameplay. If you're using a PC, you can access their app's graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound to suit your tastes. If you like to game with others, their boom mic has a decent recording quality. Although there's some distortion present in speech, you'll still be understandable. The mic can also separate your voice from ambient noise, ensuring you're heard clearly, even in noisy environments.
Sony and Bose are often compared, especially regarding noise cancelling. Although Bose focuses primarily on noise cancelling performance, their products also tend to sound more neutral, which some users may prefer. They also have a small but diverse lineup, including aviation headsets and speaker sunglasses. In comparison, Sony headphones usually offer more robust sound customization features, including 360 Reality Audio, and tend to have more bass-heavy sound profiles. Their lineup is large, and there's something for everyone at each price point. To see the best options at each price point, see our list of the best Bose headphones.
Sony and Apple are both well-recognized brands with fantastic casual-use wireless products. To get the most out of Apple headphones, you must be an iOS/iPad user, as many features like Spatial Audio are only accessible within their native ecosystem. Their noise cancelling headphones also tend to rival Sony's, though Sony still has the edge. Apple also doesn't offer nearly the same level of product diversity as Sony. Check out our picks for the most worthwhile Apple headphones to see the best Apple offers.
Sennheiser specializes in audiophile headphones, so the brands generally cater to people and different needs. However, like Sony, they also make high-end noise cancelling earbuds and over-ears intended for more casual use. They tend to offer fairly neutral sound profiles and sound customization features, but Sony's better ANC headphones offer a superior noise cancelling performance. If you might be interested in audiophile headphones or want to see Sennheiser's more casual products, check out our recommendations for the best options.
Like Sony, Anker makes a variety of wireless over-ear headphones and earbuds for casual use. Their best ANC headphones rival Sony's pricier noise cancelling products, and some Anker headphones even support LDAC, Sony's proprietary codec for hi-res audio. Sony makes a wider variety of headphones with different designs, like open-back earbuds and gaming headsets. Sony has more options if you want headphones with premium build quality. Still, try our list of the best Anker headphones, especially if you're on a budget.
Sony is known for its product variety, from the top-of-the-line, casual-use WF-1000X and WH-1000X series to the PlayStation-focused INZONE gaming headsets. However, the best headphones from Sony are often expensive but provide good value for those who want the best. Quality varies across models, and their less pricey options generally have few extra features. Noise cancelling can especially be a bit hit-or-miss, but their more premium models get it right.
Sony has a few different 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 in the same family as their basic wired headphones, which can be confusing. Their most consistent naming conventions are:
In addition to these broad lineups, further sub-categories follow the lineup name. Unfortunately, it's unclear what some names, like CH or ZX, represent, but here are the most common ones:
Some models like the Sony WH-CH700N Wireless also end in 'N', which denotes noise cancelling. However, this is only for headphones outside the WH-1000, WF-1000, and LinkBuds lineup.
Finally, there are a couple of exceptions to this lineup system. The Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless (also known as the WF-L900) and Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless are among the few current offerings that don't follow this naming scheme. Although they are opposites from one another when it comes to noise isolation, their lineup is designed with ambient sound in mind. There's also the new Sony Float Run Wireless, which are open-ear sports earbuds.
They also offer a few dedicated PlayStation headphones. These headphones, which include the PlayStation Platinum Wireless Headset and Sony Pulse 3D Wireless, are produced directly by PlayStation (owned by Sony) and not Sony Electronics, which manufactures the above products. That means you won't find these headsets on Sony's headphones website.
Sony makes a wide variety of models geared for all kinds of listeners. Most of their models deliver reliable sound quality with either more bass-heavy or neutral-sounding options. Their best-performing headphones come at a premium price, as their cheaper models can be hit or miss. Their higher-end models are among the best headphones we've tested and are easily recommended.