Sony MDR-XB550AP Review: Simplicity at its finest

Sony is no stranger to creating well-designed and amazing peripherals. From it came the Sony MDR-XB550AP Stereo Headphones. The overall structure of the headphones may seem simple, but delve deeper into it unveils a lot of depth that goes into creating a simple, lightweight and sturdy headphones. Let's find out!


Sony MDR-XB550AP Stereo Headphones


"Simply" the best

Simplicity is what I believe to be the "de facto" factor of the Sony MDR-XB550AP Stereo Headphones. It is incredibly simple in terms of both form and use.

In terms of use, it is literally plug-and-play, take it out from the box and plug it into your mobile device or computer, simple as that to enjoy the deep bass it is proud of. No additional software or tweaking required. The packaging even contains only the headphones and a small instruction manual!

Packaging Contents

A remote button attached on the cable alongside the mic serves multiple purposes on mobile devices. Press it to answer calls, or when listening to music, press once to pause or twice to switch to the next track, simple & intuitive.

Remote Button

The headphone comes in a thin form factor with little adjustable components, with only an adjustable headband as well as rotatable ear cups. The headphone's inner hardware seems to be all contained inside the ear cups, with the remaining parts designed to focus on being comfortable, lightweight and sturdy. From this form comes many advantages but also disadvantages which we will cover later.

Lightweight

The headphones weigh only approximately 180g. This is achieved by the design of the headphones employing smart use of materials that minimizes the headphone's weight. 

From the outlook, the only metallic parts of the headphones are the screws and the thin lightweight aluminium, with the rest of the enclosure made of plastic with a matte surface (which I might add, makes the surface smudge-proof). The ear cups despite containing the main hardware, is surprising light as well. Overall creating a feel that you are carrying something hollow when holding it, even though it is not.

Small & light form factor

Comfort


The headphones fits snugly onto the user's head and does not feel tight. It's lightweight structure also complements that as there is not much weight to act onto the user's head. The cushions are fluffy and thick. With not much clamping force, the cushions barely collapse as the user wears them. However, do note that there are some small gaps that could trap hair if the user is not careful.

Gaps in between could potentially trap hair



Sturdy

The headband structure of the headphones comprises of a flexible aluminium strip, bent and riveted onto a U-shaped structure by hard plastic at the two ends with screws. Inside the hard plastic is where the headband is adjustable. This harmonious structure minimizes weight while ensuring that it does not fall apart easily.

The rotating compartments feels durable and not flimsy. The cable end from the ear cups are reinforced with rubber to prevent the cable from tugging and flaying all around the place.

As mentioned earlier, the design of the headphones is simple with little adjustment components. This minimizes potential points where the headphones could break, making it in general more durable.



Audio Quality

Sony MDR-XB550AP Stereo Headphones creates in general a fulfilling music experience if you favor deep bass in your music. It lives up to its feature by being able to producing enhanced bass sounds that creates a sense of reverberation. To which I find very surprising considering it has such a lightweight form factor.

When worn, the ear muffs create a unique sense of solitude. Wearing the headphones manifests a sense of serenity that blends with surrounding sounds instead of attempting to block out everything. You can hear what is around you, but there is a tinge of silence that comes with it, allowing you to immerse yourself better to the music you are playing while being able to pay attention to the surroundings.

Not Compact

But the headphones are not with its shortfall. Without many adjustable components, the headphones in general is not compact. Despite having a small frame, the headphones is unable to collapse its own structure. This makes it potentially hard to carry it in a bag as it does not conform itself to a manageable shape. It could also potentially cause unnecessary stress on the joints of the headphones when carrying it around inside a bag.

What it looks like when kept

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Sony MDR-XB550AP Stereo Headphones is a simple yet well-designed headphones that boasts good quality audio. I highly recommend this headphones to people who are looking to get their first headphones and looking to get an extra "oomph" to their music experience. The Headphones costs S$89.90 and is available in 5 colors: Red, Green, Blue, White & Black.


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