The Sony MDR-XB50AP are fairly typical in-ears with an emphasis on bass. They're portable, block a decent amount of noise and barely leak. They have an adequate sound quality for most listeners but aren't the most balanced. Unfortunately, they're not as stable as some of the other in-ears and they have a limited control scheme.
- Above-average build quality.
- Minimal leakage.
- Mediocre-at-best control scheme.
- Bass-heavy sound, not for everyone.
The MDR-XB50AP are simple and portable, wired in-ear headphones. They will fit into most pockets and are easy to carry around with you at all times. They have a fairly typical in-ear fit which may not be as comfortable for all listeners. However, they do not offer as many tip options as some of the other in-ear headphones we've reviewed. This means they won't be the most stable in-ears to run with. They also have a fairly limited control scheme control scheme, which is a little disappointing.
The MDR-XB50AP are simple and straightforward in-ear headphones. They have a unique and stylish earbud design but the same fit as most in-ears. The cable is decently rubberized which gives a slightly more premium appeal to the headphones. They also come in a couple of flashier color schemes that will stand out more than the all-black variation we've reviewed.
The XB50AP have a typical in-ear fit. They're angled so they don't enter as deeply into the ear canal but since the buds are rather large they're still quite noticeable once in your ears. Unfortunately, they do not have any foam tips which some users prefer.
The MDR-XB50AP have a one button design that doesn't give you as much control. They only provide track skipping and call/play/pause functionality via the multi-purpose button. Unfortunately, the slightly limited layout does not give you any volume controls, and the one button is not as responsive as some of the other headphones that we've reviewed.
These headphones do not have any stability tips and aren't particularly stable for running or working out. They have a typical in-ear fit and they're lightweight, so they won't easily fall out of your ears in most casual situations. However, they don't enter the ear canal as deeply as some of the other in-ears so if the audio cabled is tugged or hooked on something the ear buds will easily slip out of your ears.
The MDR-XB50AP have an above-average build quality. They have decently rubberized audio cables and the ear buds feel dense enough that they won't break if you accidentally drop them once or twice. However, the cable is not replaceable and upon closer inspection, the plastic used for the inline remote and the ear buds looks a bit cheap. Also, although the cables are rubberized they're not very thick.
The MDR-XB50AP is a mediocre-sounding pair of closed-back in-ears. They have a consistent and extended Bass, a good Mid Range and low distortion under most situations. However, their Bass is noticeably boomy, their Mid Range can make mixes sound muddy and somewhat cluttered and their Treble lacks a bit of presence and detail. Also, like most other in-ears, they don't have an open and immersive Soundstage.
Average Bass Range performance. Low-bass is well-balanced and extended down to 12Hz which is excellent. Bass is over our target by more than 3dB, which results in excess kick and punch to the sound. High-bass is overemphasized by about 7dB, making the Bass of these headphones noticeably boomy.
Good Mid Range performance. Low-mid shows a bit of bump which is the continuation of the high-bass overemphasis. This makes mixes sound muddy and cluttered on these headphones. Mid and high-mid are relatively consistent and within 2dB of our target.
Average Treble Range performance. Low-treble is underemphasized by more than 3dB, negatively affecting the detail and presence of vocals/leads. Treble is relatively consistent and balanced but could sound a bit sibilant to those with overly sensitive ears.
Excellent frequency response consistency. As it is with most in-ears, if the user can achieve a proper fit/seal with these headphones, then they should get a very consistent performance out them each time.
Poor Soundstage. Due to the in-ear design, these headphones don't interact with the pinna like loudspeakers. Therefore, their Soundstage may be perceived to be located inside the listener's head as opposed to in-front. Also, since these headphones isolate the listener from their environment, their Soundstage won't sound quite open and spacious either.
Average Imaging. Phase error is minimal, and most of the shifts won't be audible except for the ones in treble and high-treble. However, our test unit showed more than 3dB of amplitude mismatch between its L/R drivers.
Very good Harmonic Distortion performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion at 90dB is very low, throughout the range. At 100dB SPL, the Mid and Treble distortion doesn't change which is excellent. There is a small bump in the Bass Range, but it stays within acceptable limits.
The MDR-XB50AP block a decent amount noise and barely leak. They create a decent seal within your ears that should be suitable for commuting, especially, if you're listening to music at moderate-to-high volumes. However, they won't perform as well as some of the noise-canceling headphones we've tested. On the upside, since they barely leak you can mask most of the ambient noise by playing at higher volumes. They will rarely distract the people around you.
Decent Isolation. Although these in-ears isolate only passively by blocking the ear canal, they are able to achieve average results. They achieve about 2dB of reduction in the Bass Range, which although poor, is more than what most passive Over/On-ears are able to achieve. In the Mid Range, they isolate by more than 15dB, and in the Treble Range by about 35dB. Both values being good.
Excellent Leakage performance. The significant portion of the Leakage sits between 4KHz and 7KHz, which a very narrow range. Additionally, the overall level of the Leakage is very low and barely audible.
- 100% SpNR
No active features.
Wired headphone, negligible latency.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Sony MDR-XB50AP Headphones
- Earbud tips (x4 sizes)
- Carrying pouch