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Sony MDR-ZX550BN Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Apr 18, 2016 at 04:55 pm
Sony MDR-ZX550BN Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.0
6.4
Mixed Usage
5.5
Critical Listening
6.3
Commute/Travel
6.9
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.4
Home Theater
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise-Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN are sub-par Bluetooth headphones. They are stylish, stable and provide great control over your audio. Unfortunately, they have a weak, lackluster bass reproduction and poorly isolate listeners. They should not be your first choice to block the ambient noise of international traveling.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed Usage

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN are mediocre everyday headphones. They don't feel very durable and have a subpar sound quality. They also struggle with isolation.

5.5 Critical Listening

Below-average for critical listening. They have a skewed and poorly balanced sound quality. Soundstage is also limited due to their closed back on-ear design.

See our Critical Listening recommendations
6.3 Commute/Travel

Below-average for commuting. They, barely block any ambient noise from seeping into your audio. They won't fare well in loud environments

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.9 Sports/Fitness

Decent as sports headphones. They're lightweight comfortable and not too bulky. They're relatively easy to carry around and have a decent control scheme.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.9 Office

Mediocre for office use. They won't block the chatter of a busy office but also don't leak too much.

See our Office recommendations
5.4 Home Theater

Subpar for home theater use. They have a bit too much latency for watching videos and movies. They're not the most comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 5.5 Critical Listening
  • 6.3 Commute/Travel
  • 6.9 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.9 Office
  • 5.4 Home Theater
Pros
  • Lightweight, stable and wireless design.
  • Stable fit.
  • Good, ergonomic audio controls.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • Weak bass and sharp treble.
  • Plasticky build quality.
  1. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN have a straightforward and stylish design. The blue colored, circular ear cups add flare to the matte, all-black color scheme. The design of the headband and hinge also contributes to the minimalist appeal.

6.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.38 lbs
Clamping Force
0.66 lbs

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN have a typical fit for an on-ear design. The circular ear cups rest on the ear and provide moderate comfort thanks to the swivel mechanism. However, they apply a slight pressure on the head, which can get uncomfortable after long listening sessions. The minimalist design also provides no padding on the headband.

8.3
Design
Controls
Ease of use Good
Feedback Above-average
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Noise Canceling Control N/A
Talk-Through N/A
Additional Buttons No

Button layout and design are above average. Functionality wise the Sony ZX550BN provide volume, call/music and skip controls as well as the power and noise cancelling enabling buttons. Unfortunately, the greater amount of control is offset by poor tactile feedback on some of the very flat buttons, which are a slight letdown.

7.5
Design
Stability

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN are quite stable on the head. They are hard to dislodge and have no cables that can get tangled up or hooked on to anything. They are easily able to stay on the head during casual listening sessions and even while running. However, they are not designed for sports and may move around during very high-intensity activities.

6.4
Design
Portability
L 7.28 "
W 6.69 "
H 1.38 "
Volume 67.11 Cu. Inches
Stand required N/A

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN are above-average portable headphones. They will easily fit in a backpack or handbag, and the ear cups lay flat to take up less space. Unfortunately, they don't fold up into a more compact format don't come with a carrying case or pouch, which is a little disappointing.

0
Design
Case
Type No case

6.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is below average. The all-plastic build does not seem durable. The headband being relatively thin and entirely made out of plastic could break of deform under moderate stress. The swivel mechanism is also a little flimsy and feels susceptible to breaking.

8.1
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 2.1 C

Design
Cable
Detachable No

Comes with a USB charging cable.

Design
Front

Design
Angled

Design
Side

Design
Rear

Design
Top

Design
In The Box

  • Sony MDR-ZX550BN Headphones
  • USB cable
  • Manual

Sound
4.7
Sound
Bass
Std. Err.
7.0 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
80.0 Hz
Low-Bass
-11.17 dB
Bass
-3.41 dB
High-Bass
0.77 dB

6.3
Sound
Mid
Std. Err.
4.89 dB
Low-Mid
2.39 dB
Mid
6.12 dB
High-Mid
4.13 dB

3.2
Sound
Treble
Std. Err.
7.9 dB
Low-Treble
-4.49 dB
Treble
4.42 dB
High-Treble
5.84 dB

9.2
Sound
Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
0.051
Weighted THD @ 100
0.374

Isolation
5.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Overall Attenuation
-10.72 dB
Bass
-2.29 dB
Mid
-6.85 dB
Treble
-25.05 dB
Self-Noise
10.85 dB

Poor isolation. The active noise cancellation fails to provide more than -6dB of reduction and is barely noticeable. The passive isolation provided by the ear cups is below average, but still mildly effective in blocking treble sounds.

8.4
Isolation
Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
31.26 dB

Very good leakage results. Listening to these headphones at loud volumes shouldn't be an issue in most situations, which is expected with a closed on-ear design.

Active Features
7.3
Active Features
Wireless
Type
Bluetooth 3.0
Obstructed Range
28 ft
Line of Sight Range
95 ft
NFC
Yes

These headphones have a mediocre wireless range. They're not ideal for large offices or big homes with a lot of walls. This shouldn't be much of an inconvenience if you often carry your Bluetooth source on you, like your phone. But if the Bluetooth source is difficult to move around then the below 30 ft wireless range these headphones provide may not be enough. On the upside, they offer NFC and are simple to pair with most devices.

2.5
Active Features
Latency
Base Latency
210 ms
aptX Latency
168 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

7.5
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Battery Life
24.4 hrs
Charge Time
3.3 hrs
Auto-off
Yes
Audio while charging
No
Passive Playback
No

The Sony MDR-ZX550BN have a decent battery performance. They deliver up to 24 hrs of continuous playtime, which means you won't have to recharge them throughout the day. Unfortunately, they take quite a bit of time to charge can't stream audio while charging.

0
Active Features
App Support

No compatible app.

Sony MDR-ZX550BN Wireless Price

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