We have currently reviewed 9 headphones from Sony. They're a versatile brand that offers affordable headphones for mostly casual listening. However, they do have some pricier models that deliver more features and a better-balanced sound.
Compared to other brands
- Headphone Variety. Sony has a diverse lineup of headphones that we have yet to test. They span the range from cheap, semi-open, sports earbuds to really expensive over-ear headphones like the MDR-Z1R.
- Above-Average Sound Quality. Most of the higher-tier headphones from Sony have a decently balanced audio reproduction that's good for both casual and critical listeners. Even their Bluetooth models have a better sound quality than comparable brands thanks to the LDAC codec.
- Inconsistent Noise Canceling. Although Sony has a few models that block a phenomenal amount of noise like the MDR-1000X, most of the noise canceling headphones from Sony have a mediocre-at-best performance.
- Premium Price for Good Headphones. The better-performing headphones from Sony are comparatively more expensive than other brands. Sony has a lot of affordable and cheap headphones, but they usually have a poor build or sound quality and inefficient noise canceling.
Overall, Sony has a varied lineup of headphones for multiple use cases. Most of Sony's lineup delivers an above-average sound quality, especially the pricier models. Unfortunately, this also means that Sony's best sounding and performing headphones are typically at a higher price than competing brands. They also sometimes struggle to get noise cancellation right, excluding the more recent MDR-1000x.
Best Sony Headphones
Sony has a vast line-up but does not have a clear naming strategy. They have some specific lineups that cover different types of headphone models, like the extra bass line up that covers over/on ears and in-ears, but some of their better performing headphones with features like wireless and noise canceling share the same naming convention as featureless wired headphones.
- MDR-XB = The Extra Bass lineup that delivers a more powerful low-end.
- MDR-# = The audio-quality oriented lineup that can be feature-packed or simple wired headphones.
- MDR-Z = The premium lineup that focuses on delivering the best sound quality (but they're also quite pricey).
- MDR-ZX = The more budget lineup with more expensive variations, geared towards casual everyday use.
- MDR-AS= The sports lineup mostly consisting of in-ears and semi-open earbuds.
Best for Mixed Usage
The best Sony headphones for mixed usage are the MDR-1000x. They're excellent commute and traveling headphones and have enough active features to be versatile in different environments. If you need a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to reduce the ambient noise of your daily commute, then the MDR-1000x are an excellent choice and the best noise isolating over-ear headphones that we have tested so far.
Best for Audio Quality
The MDR-1A are simple and straightforward headphones with a lightweight yet sturdy build and a great sound. They do not have as many features as the MDR-1000x but they deliver a comfortable critical listening experience that's well balanced and sounds good with any track. If you don't need any additional features and just want the best audio quality that Sony has to offer, then get the MDR-1A. However, they're comparatively pricier than similar headphones from other brands.
Sony delivers a wide variety of headphone models that are geared for both casual and critical listeners. Most of their models deliver and above average sound quality, even the cheaper ones. But if you want the best that Sony has to offer, then you may spend a bit more than you would with other brands, as their best performing headphones often have a premium price tag.