Review: Sony WH-XB910N headphones are a premium choice for bass lovers

Sony WH-XB910N Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones.
Photo credit: Sony

Sony recently released a new set of wireless noise-cancelling headphones in New Zealand that have been designed with the primary goal of delivering awesome bass.

While the Japanese tech giant's acclaimed WH-1000XM4 headphones aim to set the standard for sound quality and functionality, the WH-XB910N strip back some aspects in order to emphasise the heavy bass sounds that are generally less emphasised in premium headphones.

They're also cheaper - so how good are they?

I've been using the WH-XB910N for a month or so and here are my thoughts.

The good

As soon as you hit play on bass-heavy music with these headphones on, their power hits nice and hard.

In my experience, the Beats brand also does bass really well and JBL can too, but I've found Sony generally goes for clarity and crisp fidelity instead of packing a punch on with the lower end frequencies.

The WH-XB910N definitely deliver on that front in spades.

There is a lot of different types of music that benefit from having heavy bass and I've enjoyed listening to hip-hop, techno, drum and bass, trance and breakbeat with these headphones.

It is awesome; you get that shuddery, rumble feel which is a big reason why bass music has so many fans the world over.

The Extra Bass (that's what the 'XB' in the model's name stands for) means the default settings give fantastic, deep bass that normally you have to muck about with features to achieve.

The WH-XB910N comes in two colours - black or blue.
The WH-XB910N comes in two colours - black or blue. Photo credit: Sony

You get a lot of the features people enjoy with Sony's modern headphones, too - great noise-cancelling with ambient sound control, 360 Reality Audio support, accurate swipe controls and multipoint connection so you can pair to two devices at once.

They're great for making phone calls or having video conferences on, although you will hear bassier voices in the people you're chatting to than usual.

There's also a really nice battery on this thing. Sony says it's up to 30 solid hours, which sounds about right - I listened to it for several hours per day, over several days, before I needed to recharge it.

The USB-C charger gets the battery full nice and quick, too. Just a 10-minute quick charge will give you about four-and-a-half hours of battery life if you're in a rush.

The bad

When you're not listening to a genre of music that benefits from exaggerated bass, these headphones aren't the best.

I listened to classical, metal, classic rock and chamber pop, among other genres, with the WH-XB910N and it definitely wasn't as nice as the more bass-heavy genres. It was never too gross, but it made artists like Agnes Obel and The Beatles sound a bit wrong.

You can digitally turn the bass down, of course, but no matter what you do these don't have quite as clear a sound as Sony's flagship WH-1000XM4 headphones.

The XB model is clearly better than a lot of wireless headphones on the market, but you can hear the difference in them compared to Sony's premium model.

Sony WH-XB910N have multipoint connection so they can be connected to a laptop and a phone at the same time.
Multipoint connection means the headphones can be connected to a laptop and a phone at the same time. Photo credit: Sony

If you're used to those, or if you've used Apple's lux AirPods Max or another high-end pair, you'll notice that the WH-XB910N feel just a bit cheap compared to them.

It's not just the sound quality, but the materials used and general physical feel, which makes sense considering the WH-XB910N is a cheaper model.

Lastly, I think this is always going to be an issue in any Sony review, but the company's naming conventions are just silly.

These are headphones, not computer components - give them a name instead of a list of numbers and letters. Try saying "WH-XB910N" out loud, then say "WH-1000XM4", then "WF-1000XM4" - those are just three models of Sony headphones released over the last few years.

The verdict

Sony's WH-XB910N headphones offer premium bass delivery through a solid set of over-ear, noise-cancelling wireless headphones.

If you want to use your headphones primarily for listening to music where bass is the most important factor, these make a great choice.

But they're not the best in their price range for pure sound quality and aren't as premium a product as many headphone products that are a little more expensive.

For the bass addicts this product is targeting, however, they won't care for such things - it delivers what they want.

Newshub was supplied Sony WH-XB910N for this review.