With the Sony MDR-XB910 headphones, the brand is looking to lure a few patients away from Dr. Dre's surgery, but do they have what it takes?
There's certainly no shortage of dance orientated headphones to choose from so the Sony XB910s have their work cut out against the likes of the Beats Executive, the AiAiAi Capital, Onkyo ES-HF300 and Urbanears Zinken, which all continue to impress. But with huge 50mm drivers and no-holds-barred design we think Sony might have a winning formula on its hands.
Sony MDR-XB910: Size and build
Not for shrinking violets, the XB910s are big, plastic and very, very shiny. Not being made of brushed aluminium they lack a little bit of premium feel, but they are nicely put together with a good combination of matt and polished surfaces and all the hinges make reassuring clunks and clicks.
At 305g they're not featherweight, but when you consider their bulk they don't feel cumbersome or unbalanced.
The flat tangle resistant cables (two supplied, one with universal in-line mic and pause button) lock securely in place which is just as well as Sony hasn't bothered to include a protective case. This seems a bit stingy at £200 a pair, but at least the headphones fold in half for easy storage.
Sony MDR-XB910: Comfort
With big squishy memory foam ear pads the XB910s feel great. The large surface area seals in the sound and does a surprisingly good job of reducing ambient noise without feeling like your head's in a vice.
We only wish the headband came with a whole lot more padding as the cream leather effect feels like a token gesture - especially after half an hour of listening.
Sony MDR-XB910: Sound quality
Anyone looking for a grown-up audiophile-approved sound should look elsewhere because these are big boomin' bass bins. The large 50mm neodymium driver works perfectly with loud thumping dance, bruising hip-hop, D&B and mass-produced pop.
Play anything gentle, acoustic or generally mid-frequency and prepare to be disappointed, but turn them up and enjoy. Be like Dizzee Rascal and stick to 'Big dirty, dirty stinking bass' and you won't go wrong. We're not over egging the bass pudding here, but the XB910 are BOOMING and balance, detail and mid-range suffer slightly as a result.
Sony MDR-XB910: Verdict
At £199 the Sony MDR-XB910 is a premium product with both barrels aimed squarely at Beats by Dr Dre. With its superior 50mm driver, excellent noise isolating ear pads and look-at-me silver styling if you want a thumping nightclub inside your head you'll not be disappointed, but don't expect anything in the way of sonic subtlety.
Sony MDR-XB910 release date: Out now
Sony MDR-XB910 price: £199