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The 4 Best Sony Headphones of 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Sony Headphones

We've tested over 50 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.

Updates

Best Sony Headphones


  1. Best Sony Headphones

    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 feel sturdier and offer a better noise isolation performance than the latest version, especially for bass-range noise like rumbling engines. The ANC does a better job of blocking ambient sound than their competitor, the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, making them the best Sony noise cancelling headphones we've tested too. They also 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 their sound 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 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 or crowded setting. 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.

    See our review

  2. Best Sony Earbuds

    If you prefer something more portable and lightweight than over-ears, the best earbuds from Sony we've tested are the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless. They're the closed-back sibling of the open-ear Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless. While the original LinkBuds have an open-ear design to allow ambient noise to passively mix with your music, the S model has both ANC and an ambient sound mode. It allows you the freedom to hear your surroundings without taking the buds out or blocking noise around you when needed. Their ANC system does an especially great job of reducing the low rumble of bus or plane engines as well as ambient chatter. They have a continuous battery life of roughly seven hours, which is quite good, and hold two additional full charges in their carrying case, giving them a total battery life of almost 24 hours.

    Their sound is less bass-heavy than previous offerings like the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, which some users may prefer. Even though they lack some thump and rumble, they're still warm without adding bloat to vocals and instruments. Like our top over-ear pick, they're compatible with The Sony | Headphones Connect app, which provides EQ options to fine-tune audio to your liking. Although they have high latency on PCs, their latency is lower when connected to Android and iOS devices, which is nice when you're watching a video on your phone. If you want to listen to hi-res audio, they also support Sony's LDAC codec.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Sony Headphones

    The Sony WI-C310 Wireless are the best Sony wireless headphones at the budget level that we've tested. They don't have the ANC or app-integrated sound customization of the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless, but their 17 hours of continuous playback, ease of use, and low price make them a great budget pick. Their sound profile is well-balanced, with a bit of extra boom in the bass range that may suit fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop, but it doesn't overwhelm instruments and lead vocals, so they're versatile enough for most types of audio content.

    While they don't have the best build quality, the buds are comfortable and stable with an in-line remote that allows you to answer calls and control your music when you're on the go. They don't shine for their mic performance, and your voice may sound thin if you use them for phone calls. However, it's much better at separating your voice from ambient sound than the other, more expensive earbuds recommended here, which is a nice plus if you occasionally make phone calls from moderately noisy places like a busy street or office.

    See our review

  4. Best Sony Studio Headphones

    The best headphones from Sony for studio use we've tested are the Sony MDR-7506. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, these over-ears aren't for casual use or everyday listening on the bus or at the office. However, they've been around for years and have been the standard for mixing and recording, thanks to their well-balanced sound. Vocals and lead instruments are clear, accurate, and detailed in mixes. They also deliver audio consistently across reseats and come with an adapter so you can connect with an amp or mixer out-of-the-box. They're also suitable for purposes like recording a podcast since they don't leak very much audio.

    They have a comfortable and lightweight fit that's well-suited for long sessions in the studio. They also fold up to help conserve space if you want to toss them in your bag. However, the build quality feels somewhat cheap, meaning wear and tear is more likely depending on how often you travel with them. The coiled audio cable isn't detachable, which is slightly inconvenient, but it extends over four feet, giving you a bit more room if you like to move around.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • 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. It 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. You get a good graphic EQ with most models, but with more premium models, it provides many virtual soundstage options.
  • Inconsistent noise cancelling performance. Although Sony have a few models that block a phenomenal amount of noise, like the Sony WH-1000XM4, most of their models' noise cancelling is only decent.
  • Premium price for good headphones. The best sony earphones might be industry leaders, but they'll 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 has many feature-packed models, even some of their most premium Bluetooth headphones are missing features taken for granted with other brands; these include microphone controls, multi-device pairing, audio while charging, or an auto-off timer.

Sony is a brand 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 of the best. Quality varies across models, and their less pricey options generally don't come with many extra features. Noise cancelling can especially be a bit hit-or-miss, but their more premium models 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.
  • INZONE = Over-ear gaming headphones with a boom mic.

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, like CH or ZX, represent.

Recent Updates

  1. Nov 14, 2022: Replaced the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless with the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless and removed the Sony WF-SP800N.

  2. Jun 29, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.

  3. Mar 09, 2022: Renamed 'Best Sony Headphones' to 'Best Sony Over-Ear Headphones'. We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability.

  4. Dec 10, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.

  5. Oct 13, 2021: We've made minor updates to the text and checked for product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

Conclusion

Sony makes a wide variety of headphone models 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, as their cheaper models can be hit-or-miss. Their higher-end models are among some of the best headphones we've tested and are easy to recommend.

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