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People's request for wireless noise-canceling headphones is increasing, and while most are obliged to face the noise of life and the accelerated pace of life. The familiar Sony, perhaps out of a keen understanding of the market, has added active noise cancellation to a variety of headphones, the WH-XB900N is one of them. It features an active noise cancellation system that enriching users' lives.
After the highly acclaimed noise-canceling headphones WH-1000X series came out to the XM3, Sony’s bass series XB (Extra Bass) also ushered in innovation with the WH-XB900N.
Sony WH-XB900N Bassy Noise Cancelling Headphones Review
Type: Closed-back Over-ear Noise Canceling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.2 | Latency: 160 ms (average) | Supported Audio Format(s): SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging Time: 7 Hours | Quick-Charge: 1 Hour in 10 mins | Drivers: Dynamic | Impedance: 50 Ohms | Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz | Weight: 254g
Thanks to the Quick Attention feature, users can hear meaningful discussions around them without taking off the headphones. The WH-XB900N will pause your music and activate its microphones to listen to the surroundings. The WH-XB900N is made of frosted plastic, which is very comfortable to the touch, but also more resistant to scratches, as opposed to the WH-1000X series. In terms of sound, the bass of the EXTRA BASS series headphones is different from the Sony MDR 1000X, or Sony WH-1000XM3. In essence, WH-XB900N sound is more oriented in the direction of the bass pop, the 40 mm dynamic coil driver can unleash its full of power as well as render the bass in a slightly soft manner.
Sony WH-XB900N is available in black and blue. Both headphone versions look gorgeous; everything is made soundly and reliably. To protect them when transporting, Sony did not hesitate to offer a regular bag instead of a cover.
The design of WH-XB900N almost wholly replicates the older model. Minor changes have affected only the appearance: plastic is simpler and plain. The plastic is pleasantly rough, resistant to abrasion, making the headphones very pleasant to wear around the neck, and on the head, of course.
The WH-XB900N ear cushions are large, soft, and comfortable. They’re also removable if you want to change them once per year with a pair of leather earpads or anything high-quality and wear-resistant. The inner surface of the headband is made similarly. Inside the headband is a metal plate for reinforcement. Unfortunately, the ear cups’ swivel brackets are made entirely of plastic, which is the only design flaw. Everything else is made of plastic that, for our convenience, is not prone to discoloration from scratches.
Once on the head, the headset stays comfortable. Indeed, the headphones are large but lightweight enough not to squash your ears. It may seem ridiculous, but after a few hours of listening, the lack of discomfort is apparent.
The headphones sit just amazingly and do not press. They are appropriate for people of all head sizes, as the headband stretches perfectly along its entire length and follows the contour precisely. For a total wearing time of 6-7 hours, you won’t experience any discomfort. The properly distributed weight and low clamping force make the headphones pleasurable to wear without interfering with your audio experience or bothering you.
The controls are convenient and straightforward. You get used instantly.
The WH-XB900N can switch songs, adjust volume, play/pause music and make and receive phone calls by double-tap, slide up and down, and slide left and right on the right ear cup. The gestures are the same as those on the WH-1000XM3. A button is also housed on the left side of the earcups to activate the smart phone’s voice assistant.
These are the touch controls on the right earpiece:
- Sliding with the finger up and down adjusts the volume;
- A slide to the left or to the right plays the next/previous song;
- A single press on the touch panel is sufficient to pause/play the music.
- Double-tap to pause the music.
- Cover with your hand to place muted.
Unlike less intuitive headphones, the touch panel of Sony WH-XB900N doesn’t experience phantom clicks from clothes. The touch control is complemented by a pair of keys, one of which is used to turn the headphones on; the second button control can be adjusted from Sony’s proprietary smartphone app and can either turn on/off the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) activate the voice assistant.
Regarding the controls of Sony WH-XB900N, I wouldn’t say are the most intuitive we’ve experienced. Problems arise when we try to increase or decrease the volume. The process becomes arduous, and most of the time, the headphones either switch to the next track or the previous one. It’s somewhat frustrating, though you can use the audio’s management control from the app.
Compared to the workmanship, sound quality, and noise reduction of the highly acclaimed WH-1000XM3, Sony wireless noise-canceling bassy headphones WH-XB900N retain the same design style and noise-canceling function. Slightly less expensive, the official price of $ 250 is rather lovely.
Although the overall appearance is more similar to the style of the WH-1000X. The WH-XB900N is made of frosted plastic, which is very comfortable to the touch, but also more resistant to scratches, as opposed to the WH-1000X series, which is made of soft rubber. As its design and structure are based on the popular WH-1000X series, consequently, the weight is further reduced.
It’s straightforward to pair headsets these days. Android phone manufacturers and headphone makers have achieved some serious results in terms of Bluetooth pairing in recent years, which further improves wireless headphones’ quality of use.
The pairing of Sony WH-XB900N is like any Bluetooth device, effortless. The standard way is to push the power button for 7 seconds. The procedure is followed by flashes that indicate that the headset is paired. Once the pairing is done, the SONY WH-XB900N can be used directly in Bluetooth. When you turn on the headset, a small voice tells you that your device’s Bluetooth connection is well established, quite reminiscent of Bose Quiet Comfort II, I’d say.
If your phone has NFC, you can use it to connect the headset. First of all, check that the NFC is activated on your phone: either by pulling the quick menu down and see if the NFC icon is indeed ‘blue’ or via settings – connectivity – NFC. Moreover, you also have the possibility of using Sony WH-XB900N via wires by plugging the headphone jack into the headset and the sound source, in case the headset runs out of battery life.
Sony also provides a home application called ‘headphones,’ which allows you to refine the headphone settings. You can change the noise reduction mode according to activities, not moving/walking/running/transit. The headset effectively detects if you are at your desk or if you are walking in the street. Moreover, thanks to the Quick Attention feature, users can hear meaningful discussions around them without taking off the headphones. The WH-XB900N will pause your music and activate its microphones to listen to the surroundings.
Other applications allow you to: Control the sound position of the headsets. Adjusting the direction from which the sound should be received. You can also adjust the sound effect to use modes like opera, nightclubs, concert, etc. The sound position control is a fantastic feature. It lets you set the direction of the sound source freely. The VPT surround effect is also beneficial for a vivid and realistic sound experience, creating a sense of sound presence similar to that of concerts.
An equalizer is included to allow the adjustment of the frequencies to your liking knowing that there are predefined scenarios such as bass/vocals/treble; music control enables you to control the tracks that play on your Spotify player. The equalizer provides multiple bands ready to be adjusted. It allows you to set your own preferred sound according to your personal taste. The “Clear Bass” function enables the low volume adjustment without losing the sound quality is also not absent this time. Simultaneously, the DSEE function improves the voice’s treble details, making the WH-XB900N a popular Hi-Fi headset that doesn’t miss a detail. Therefore, WH-XB900N is the perfect choice for many Sony enthusiasts. The XB900N is more than capable of handling podcasts or any genre of music. Movies aren’t excluded
Besides, the 1000X series’ highly acclaimed fast charging function has been retained on the WH-XB900N, which requires only ten minutes of fast charging to get an hour’s battery life.
For an optimal experience, Sony’s proprietary application is necessary because it allows you to customize everything according to your preference. The application is not always clear. We sometimes find ourselves choosing certain options at the minimum and maximum to understand what they are doing.
Active noise cancellation technology is not a new concept among commuters. For various types of transportation, a Bluetooth headset with active noise cancellation function can protect users from all kinds of noise hindrance when using mobile phones to listen to music or movies and are a very convenient choice.
The Headphones Connect application can be very effective. Identifying the surrounding environment is very accurate; thus, the processing of the noise is highly targeted. Also, for safety reasons, the sound of cars will not be filtered. You can make certain manual adjustments to achieve your desired noise reduction experience.
The headphones can also be optimized for sound and noise reduction based on the surrounding environment to achieve an optimal listening experience. Turning on the Focus on Voice feature allows the headphones to automatically recognize surrounding voices. With the “Quick Attention” feature, you won’t miss conversations with people around them or public announcements that might delay things.
Noise cancellation is implemented differently compared to flagship headphones. It is, therefore, more suitable for the city than for flights. On the plane, external noises remain audible and clearly noticeable. But in the city, Sony WH-XB900N is highly efficient. With the Noise Cancellation mode activated, you’ll likely enjoy listening to music more conveniently when walking through noisy subways, streets. The noise reduction effect seems to be more considerable on the street than in offices, or other closed environments. All in all, the noise cancellation system is very powerful. It’s hard to contend the performance of these $180 WH-XB900N noise canceling headphones, and we’re happy that’s the case here.
For WH-XB900N, Sony published a range of reproducible frequencies from 20 Hz to 40,000 Hz when connected via wire. The range changes to 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz when paired through wireless and has a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, whereas by using the LDAC codec, the sampling rate increases to 96 kHz, and the frequency response extends considerably in the upper range of the spectrum: 20-40000 Hz.
As the name of WH-XB900N suggests, the headphones have extra bass. The sound that these headphones deliver is detailed in the middle frequencies, but the bass is maximized. The outcome of this sound profile overwhelms everything and, to some extent, distorts the usual compositions. The bass of the EXTRA BASS series headphones is different from the Sony MDR 1000X, or Sony WH-1000XM3. In essence, WH-XB900N sound is more oriented in the direction of the bass pop, the 40 mm dynamic coil driver can unleash its full of power as well as render the bass in a slightly soft manner.
It can handle a variety of pop music while maintaining a strong bass and developed midrange. The sound of the headphones is more voracious and energizing than usual. Moreover, WH-XB900N’s high-frequency performance makes it ideal for watching movies and playing games on the go with your mobile phone or tablet, whereas the 30-hour autonomy provides enough time for most people’s needs. In classical music, the bass performance of WH-XB900N still retains its unavoidable presence. The orchestra, piano, and violin will not appear to be overshadowed and blend beautifully with the whole audio spectrum. They can still express themselves clearly and fully but to a certain limit.
Sony has a proprietary digital sound enhancement technology, DSEE HX, which allows you to restore songs when transferring via Bluetooth. This technology corrects both mp3 flaws and compression flaws during wireless transmission. The LDAC codec is another feature presented only by Sony, which the company usually says that is the most advanced audio coding option for wireless transmission. Compared to Qualcomm’s AptX HD, which is just getting into the definition of Hi-Res, here, the transmitted data stream is almost twice as high (990 Kbps vs. 576 Kbps). And if in AptX HD, the sampling rate is 48 kHz with a bit depth of 24 bits. With LDAC, it is the same 24 bits with a sampling rate of 96 kHz.
LDAC operation is regulated by the smartphone’s application settings, strongly depends on the source file and its parameters (when driving Apple Music headphones, you should not expect any revelations. Initially, the music is in “low” resolution). But for those who listen to music in good quality, the difference will be noticeable.
Technically, these headphones have everything to provide you the highest listening quality, but as they have their own sound signature and character, they’re a must-listen before buying. If you have had inexpensive headphones from Sony, then you may like the sound in these bassy mid-range headphones. And if you want to tame the lower frequencies, they can be partly corrected through equalizers, ensuring a more natural and balanced sonic reproduction.
Sony WH-XB900N is a well-made, comfortable headset with quality noise reduction. For its money, the Sony WH-XB900N is quite adequate for a younger audience. Of course, if you have enough money or the ability to save for a WH-1000XM3 or even XM4, you should opt for those. However, there are a huge number of people who want to listen to a sound with bass. It was primarily for them Sony WH-XB900N was designed. The headset has lots of basses. Enough that sometimes you want to remove it completely.
These mid-range noise-canceling headphones don’t shine in terms of noise cancellation when faced against an XM3. However, we were amazed at Sony’s grasp of the overall sound, to achieve such a high-quality, rich, sound. After a thorough listening session, I was satisfied with the use of the WH-XB900N. The headphones, which are bass-oriented noise-canceling headphones, provide rich musical layers and details. They have a distinctive sound that will appeal to young people.
The WH-XB900N costs approximately $180, positioned lower than the WH-1000XM3, which demands around $350, is very distinctive and suitable for those who like to listen to modern, electronic, or pop bassy songs. To use the headset to its fullest, you have to use the Sony application, where you can change the noise-reduction modes, sound position, equalize your music, and make other customizations. The only negative point we would have with Sony WH-XB900N is the touch controls; They might not interact with your clothes and have issues with phantom actions, but sometimes act very random and hinders the entire experience.