If you’re shopping for new headphones, you’re on the right page. One of the best brands on the market when it comes to headphones is Sony, established in 1946, based in Sony City, which is a suburb of Tokyo, Japan.
Whether your favorite headphone type is on-ear, in-ear, wireless or noise-cancelling, the Japanese giant has got something that suits your style and budget in its arsenal. One of the first steps to take when searching for headphones is to pick your preferred style (in-/on-/over-ear).
Then, consider the specific features you seek, depending on what you’ll be using the headset for. Are you getting a portable pair for use at the gym or for commuting? Or will you be wearing them mainly at home? If you want headphones with Bluetooth and noise-canceling tech, don’t forget to check the battery life.
Some of the best Sony headphones you’ll find on the market feature touch controls for tasks such as play/pause, skipping tracks, and the likes. High-end units require plugging into a dedicated headphone amp so you can hear them optimally.
You need to take these factors — in addition to some others explained later in this post — into account before you choose a product to buy. Here are the 6 best Sony headphones in 2020:
Top Headphones from Sony
Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones
The WH-1000XM3 is among the most comfortable noise-canceling headphones available and features a touch-sensitive panel on the right earcup for controls. Simply hold your hand to it to quieten what’s playing and hear the outside world. Also, you can use voice control via Siri or Google Assistant.
Design and Features
Arguably, the 1000X is that family of Sony headphones sporting the biggest changes to their design because they’re lighter compared with the previous models and are more form-fitting, too.
As regards weight, they shed around 22 grams (1 ounce) off last year’s design.
While that might seem like a trivial change, when you take into consideration the fact that you’ll be wearing the pair for an extended period (during a transcontinental flight, for instance), you’ll see that every ounce helps.
The other change in the design comes from the new flush fit, replacing the old padding on the bridge for the type that’s slightly more cushiony. This ensures the headset is more comfortable and is also massively less dorky when worn on the head.
Also, the company deepened the earcup and replaced the silver accents, which are on the side of the headphones, with a copper tone.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 are the very best noise-canceling headphones out there and can effectively block out noise. According to tests conducted on this product by Sony, the headphones cancel noise 4 times more effective than the 1000XM2, their predecessor. And that’s quite a remarkable feat when we consider the sublime performance of the M2 performed last year.
In practice, we found that Sony’s claim is valid when the headset is confronted with both low-frequencies. These include the type you hear while flying in a plane or riding a train and in workplace settings in which there are noises of higher frequency, like music playing or people talking.
The headphones gave an outstanding performance in almost all scenarios, often cutting down on noise from an annoyingly loud hum to a more bearable buzz and occasionally getting rid of exterior noise completely.
Just like last year, the Sony WH-1000XM3 can selectively allow some noises into the headset, too. When you turn on Ambient Noise mode, things announced over train station PA systems will be audible.
Quick Attention Mode lets you pipe in external audio quickly without the need to take off your headphones by lowering the volume of the music and making use of the mics, which can be found on the outside of each earcup.
As regards battery life, this is about 30 hours. The headset can be charged from empty to full in 3 hours, and even just a 5-min charge can give you five hours of use.
The noise-canceling technology from these award-winning pair of headphones is superb. The sound is gloriously open and spacious, which offers every instrument room to breathe.
They’re worth every penny you spent on them and are virtually faultless. While big names like Bose Beats and Sennheiser offer strong competition, the Sony WH-1000XM3’s sound quality is certainly among the best among its rivals.
- Natural and all-round audio quality
- Outstanding noise-cancelling tech
- Fiddly touch controls
- Does expose weaker recordings
Though Sony WH-1000XM3 isn’t an all-out upgrade on the WH-1000XM2, they feature several subtle tweaks to an already spectacular pair of noise-canceling headphones.
One of the latest true wireless earbuds from Sony, the WF-SP800N is IP55-rated to be sweatproof & dustproof. Also, they’re an excellent option for commuters due to their built-in active noise cancellation (ANC) system, a rare feature in a workout pair of earbuds.
Apart from these, they work well for demanding music enthusiasts due to their support for 360 Reality Audio, which is Sony’s new spatial audio format.
Design and Features
When you look at the Sony WF-SP800N, you may be reminded of a miniature mid-2000s Bluetooth headset. They sport an ovular design, pointing down toward the mouth with a small touch capacitive control panel adorning each side.
This can be pressed to invoke your smart assistant & control playback.
Even after wearing them for some time, you may find it difficult mastering the controls partly due to the use of Google Assistant for everything and also partly due to Sony’s choice for making the controls different on each earbud.
When you tap on the left earbud, you can cycle between Ambient Sound/Noise Cancellation/No Noise Cancellation, or you can hold the earbud for Quick Attention Mode.
As for the right earbud, it requires the standard tap — double tapping and triple-tapping for play, skip & rewind. In contrast, double-tapping can also let you pick a call if one is incoming.
Despite the several controls which the earbuds take, no means is offered to raise or lower the volume apart from invoking the Assistant, and that seems to be a significant oversight.
The earbuds can be slightly uncomfortable to wear for long periods, and the bass may be somewhat muddy for your liking. Despite these shortcomings, the true wireless earbuds are a fascinating model to check out.
The key features to note when it comes to performance are that the WF-SP800N are noise-cancelling and offer Extra Bass EQ tuning from Sony that provides them with a lot of power in the low end.
Also, they’re among the handful of earbuds featuring Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format for spatial audio support via Deezer & Tidal that you must subscribe to if you like using that format.
The WF-SP800N comes with a more basic variant of the more powerful QN1e HD Noise-Cancelling Processor — the same tech featured in the Sony WF-1000XM3. This makes the noise-cancellation not to be as powerful as expected and doesn’t have the ability to drown out things, such as plane noise or background conversation.
However, it surely reduces those noises to a dull roar.
Concerning their sound performance, the WF-SP800N delivers robust and full-on audio quality with a wider soundstage than expected from true wireless earbuds. As they can become relatively loud, this does add another layer of passive noise cancellation with enough bass to satisfy the majority of EDM and rap fans.
- Water-resistant and sweatproof
- Features basic noise cancellation
- Truly wireless earbuds featuring soft cushioned arc supporter
- Extra bass sound with deep and punchy low end
- Has support for 360 Reality Audio
- Features inbuilt mic for clear-sounding hands-free calls & for use with voice assistant
- Offers battery life up to 9hrs or 18 total hours with carrying case, or up to 13hrs/26 total hours with noise canceling off
- Tight in the ear
- Slightly bass-heavy
The Sony WF-SP800N is a pair of true wireless earbuds, which is sweat-resistant and offers active noise cancellation. Also, it has support for 360 Reality Audio — Sony’s spatial audio format.
Sony MDR-1000X Wireless Headphones
Even though this model is now a few years old, it’s still one of the best Sony headphones and also a top option among noise-canceling headsets.
Design and Features
The MDR-1000X, like the more recent models, supports Hi-Res Audio. It also gets Quick Attention mode, ambient noise mode (which we found to be temperamental). When it comes to noise-cancellation, the headphones are very adept.
But why go for the oldest generation of Sony’s noise-canceling cans when newer ones are available? The major reason is that retailers have slashed the prices of the MDR-1000X since the launch of the newer models. So, you could lay your hands on a fantastic deal, grabbing a still very reliable pair of Sony headphones. That’s if it’s okay by you to lose the built-in voice assistant & quality of life updates, which the WH-1000MX3s provide.
For some time now, the manufacturer has been making use of a similar design on its premium headphones. The MDR-1000X looks a bit like this year’s H.ear On MDR-100ABN. And the two models are only primarily different due to the exterior mics that are on each of the earcups.
Also, on each cup, there’s a 40mm closed dynamic driver, which is encircled by thick faux leather pads. Though Samsung chose a pair of on-ear headphones, Sony went for over-ears instead. The headphones engulf the whole ear, making them quite comfortable to be worn for prolonged periods.
While there’s a lot more to mention here, two of the features do stand out. The Sony MDR-1000X comes with amazing (though not 100% perfect) noise-canceling tech, and its music playback is dazzling, particularly when utilizing another Hi-Res Audio device.
Arguably, noise-canceling is the main reason why the headphones are sold for as much as they do, and it’s among the things that make them so likable.
What makes Sony’s noise-canceling system distinct from Bose’s is the former recognizes various kinds of audio cues and functions specifically to counteract them.
The 1000Xs are most suitable for users who are often on long flights and hanging out in airports waiting to catch flights. The headphones are equipped with remarkable noise cancellation tech that competes favorably with and surpasses Bose’s in some ways.
Little tricks such as Quick Attention Mode are quite useful when you’re on a flight. Also, the long battery life of the headset should be ample to last you across the Atlantic and back.
The Sony MDR-1000X is a premium pair of headphones, with their faux-leather earpads very comfortable for long hours of usage. Hi-Res Audio via LDAC ensures that both lossless and lossy audio come out spectacularly.
- Noise cancellation tech
- Has quick Attention mode
- Ambient Noise mode
- Long battery life
- LDAC codec for brand loyalists
- Costlier than Bose
- Finicky Ambient Noise mode
The Sony MDR-1000Xs are fantastic headphones that feature excellent noise cancellation, strong battery life, among other premium offerings. They’re most suitable for people that often take long flights and hang out in airports waiting to catch flights.
Sony Dynamic Closed-Type Headphones MDR-ZX310
The MDR-ZX310 is a pair of headphones in Sony’s budget range. It’s a very restricted low-level headphone.
Design and Features
The model is built to meet the requirements of users that are on a budget. Thus, if you seek a high-end unit, you can check out the other options on this list. The construction of the headphones is 100% plastic.
On some costlier cans, we also have plastic, but the headband typically contains a metal inner frame. That’s not the case here, making the MDR-ZX310 feel slightly vulnerable.
The back of the ear pads has a shiny finish, and the pads sport a leather-look-over-foam design. The headphones feel slightly cheap, and the pads themselves don’t have a surplus of padding.
As earlier stated, the headband is plastic without a metal frame and also without any kind of padding. It’s only the plastic band itself. One advantage this all-plastic construction has is that the headphones are very lightweight
While they’re not the most comfortable headphones that you’ll ever wear, they do a good job and aren’t uncomfortable in any way.
Their cable is quite thin. Also, it feels fragile and looks like something you need to be careful with. It’s a one-button remote.
One aspect of the design you’d love is that the headphones fold away after use, and that’s something you won’t even find in some far more expensive options.
Concerning the sound performance, this isn’t the best, as you might expect, but at that price of $22.99, it’s not a bad deal more than adequate. The bass is slightly muddy, while the mid-range is slightly lifeless. However, the tops aren’t too harsh, as we often notice with cheaper models.
The headphones come with 30mm drivers, with a frequency range of 10kHz – 24kHz and an SPL of 98 decibels.
- They seem much higher quality than the price would suggest
- Their earpieces are soft and reasonably comfortable
- Very affordable price
- They feature some nice design points
- Bass is not quite rich
- It’s a budget model with many of the corners cut
Overall, the MDR-ZX310 is a pair of budget headphones with a reasonable design and a decent sound for its price point.
Sony MDRXB50AP Extra Bass Earbud Headset
Coming right up is the MDRXB50AP, which is also one of the best Sony headphones. With this headset, you can play your music conveniently and answer phone calls with just a push of the button.
Design and Features
The highlight of these earbuds’ features is the enhanced level of bass response. The unit has 12mm dome Neodymium drivers that offer a vibrant bass sound. They come with a Y-shaped cord, which has an in-line remote controller with a mic.
They work with all phone and device types. However, the headset only supports the Smart Key app, which is featured on the Sony Smart Key with an Android device. When you use the mobile app, you get to enjoy an element of control over the earbuds.
As with every other earbud listening devices, comfort is a crucial aspect, and the MDRXB50AP doesn’t disappoint here. Sony has opted for hybrid silicone earbuds to provide you with a comfortable fit, which is also secure.
They cut down slightly on unwanted external noise if you can find a nice fit. We’ve alternative buds for fitting that are in 4 sizes (extra small and large).
It’s crucial that you get a good secure, tight fit when using these earbuds as a result of the accentuated bass such will provide. If you’re a type of user that prefers a deep bass sound, then you’ll love this model.
While finding a good fit is essential, Sony has included spare earbuds, as mentioned earlier.
As regards sound quality, they don’t perform below expectations. While the headphones could be slightly pricier than some, their quality is nearly certainly higher.
- Integrated mic & phone playback control
- 12mm dome type driver units offering vibrant bass
- High-energy neodymium magnets that deliver powerful sound
- Hybrid silicone earbuds for a secure and comfortable fit
- Tangle-free and Y-type flat cord with slider
- Lightweight design that provides ultimate music mobility
- Spare earbuds for a good fit
- Accentuated bass sound
- Not recommended for users that don’t like heavy bass sounds
- Slightly expensive
The MDRXB50AP is among the best Sony headphones on the market is a cool choice to play your music conveniently and answer phone calls easily.
Sony MDR-AS210/B Sport In-Ear
Are you a sports lover? These are the best headphones for you on this list to enjoy excellent sound on the pitch.
Design and Features
These in-ears are designed with ear clips, which help keep them in place during motion. Also, they‘re water-resistant, so they won’t develop issues no matter how much sweat you throw at them.
With their 13.5mm drivers putting out premium sound, you get motivated to reach the finish line. The model offers you a few different color designs to select from to suit your style.
Finding ear clip headphones these days can be difficult, and that’s one reason for including the Sony MDR-AS210/B Sport In-Ear on this list.
Their sound performance is also amazing. They’re really comfortable to wear irrespective of the kind what sport you engage in.
- Comfortable and lightweight design
- Decent sound
- Designed for sport
- A bit annoying to put on
The Sony MDR-AS210/B Sport In-Ear is perfect for workouts and other sporting activities. They sound exactly the way you want and stay right in place. When you’ve them on, no need to worry about sweating too much since they’ve water-resistant technology. They’re an amazing pair of earphones for sports lover.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Sony Headphones
When shopping for top-quality headphones and earbuds by Sony, here are some things to take into consideration:
What type of sound quality are you looking for? Do you require a unit with deep bass sounds and clear highs? Do you enjoy additional nuances from intent listening and movie watching? The sound quality your headphones offer will entirely depend on what you consider to be important.
Another factor is durability. This can play a huge part as regards enhancing the ease of use of your Sony headphones. Durable headphones will be longer-lasting than cheaply made models, thus helping you to save you time, money, and effort.
Apart from these, other things to keep in include noise-cancellation, budget, design, and warranty.
As far as maintaining your pair is concerned, do ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance. Several times, when you don’t follow proper maintenance procedures, this can make warranties void.
Additionally, when you care for your headphones as you should, not only will they last longer but also perform better in every way.
In the heart of this article, we’ve reviewed the 6 best Sony headphones, highlighting the design, features, pros, and cons of each model. We’ve also outlined some factors to consider when shopping for Sony headphones.
These include sound quality, durability, noise-cancellation, budget, design, and warranty. We do hope you find this guide beneficial in choosing a reliable pair of headphones from the Japanese electronics giant.