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Best Sony Headphones

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 15 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 125 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best Sony headphones

    Last Updated December 2018

    Whether it’s listening to music from your phone on the train to work or enjoying some videos on your tablet at home, there are often times when you want to listen to audio without disturbing the people around you. That’s when you need a good pair of headphones.

    When it comes to high-quality headphones, it’s hard to top those offered by Sony, one of the most respected and trusted brands in electronics. But Sony offers so many different headphones that choosing the best pair for your needs can be difficult.

    At BestReviews, we’re here to help streamline the shopping process. Our in-depth product research brings you all the information you need to make educated shopping decisions without the frustration. If you’re in the market for a pair of Sony headphones, our shopping guide has all the tips and tricks you need to choose the perfect pair.

    While most Sony headphones are black, some are available in a range of fun colors like red, blue, or gold.

    Types of Sony headphones

    In-ear

    Sony in-ear headphones, also called earbuds, sit inside your ears, just outside the ear canal. One of the most common types of headphones, these are often included when you purchase a smartphone or other personal audio player. Sony in-ear headphones can be effective for blocking out external sounds because they create a seal around the outer ear canal. Many people prefer the light weight of in-ear headphones for working out because they won’t slow you down. Sony in-ear headphones are available in both wired and wireless models.

    High-performance versatility

    These Sony noise-canceling headphones allow both hands-free and plugged-in use for maximum versatility. Digital noise cancellation means that nothing will disturb you when you’re enjoying your favorite tunes. The Quick Attention mode makes it easy to have a conversation without taking off the headphones. We also love the touch controls that allow you to adjust the volume or take a phone call.

    On-ear

    Sony on-ear headphones rest on your ears. These are heavier than in-ear models but not as heavy as other styles. That usually means they’re more comfortable to wear and aren’t as prone to getting warm and sweaty when you wear them. Sony on-ear headphones are essentially a middle ground between in-ear and over-the-ear styles, offering better sound quality than in-ear models and more comfort than over-the-ear models. You can find both wired and wireless styles.

    Over-the-ear

    Sony over-the-ear headphones cover your ears and part of your head, making these the largest, heaviest models. Because of the size, some users find these headphones are less comfortable to wear and can leave some people feeling hot. This is the most effective option if you want noise-canceling headphones. Over-the-ear headphones are available in both open and closed models. Open models allow some ambient sound in while you’re wearing the headphones, while closed models create a seal that blocks nearly all ambient sound. These headphones tend to be the most expensive options, but they usually deliver the best sound quality. You can find these in both wired and wireless models.

    Some Sony wireless earbuds have a contoured collar that rests around your neck with buttons for adjusting the volume, audio tracks, and other functions.

    Staff
    BestReviews

    Sony headphone features to consider

    Wired vs. wireless

    The first question to answer when shopping for headphones is whether a wired or wireless pair is the best fit for your music-listening habits. Sony offers both options so you can choose the style you prefer.

    • Wired headphones are what most people think of when they shop for headphones. They connect to your phone, MP3 player, tablet, or other audio device via a wire or cable. The wire has a jack at the end that’s inserted into a port on the device to easily connect the two. Wired models offer high-quality audio and don’t require batteries for operation. The drawback is that the wire can get in the way if you’re listening to music while working out or running.

    • Wireless headphones don’t require a wire to connect to your audio device, so they’re very convenient when working out or performing other vigorous activities. The headphones connect to your audio device via Bluetooth and require batteries to operate. When you’re shopping for Sony wireless headphones, pay attention to the battery life – it can range from 6 to 30 hours.

    High-resolution audio

    For most people, the most important feature in a pair of headphones is the audio quality. Some Sony headphones offer high-resolution audio, making your music sound as close to the original recording as possible. These headphones utilize a greater bandwidth and frequency range to help reduce distortion, with some higher-end models offering playback of up to 120 kilohertz (kHz). Since the frequency range for professional audio is generally 44.1 to 96 kHz, you can trust that you’re getting the clearest, crispest audio possible.

    Mono vs. stereo

    The audio format supported by your headphones also makes a big difference in the sound quality.

    • Mono: Lower-end Sony headphones generally offer mono audio, which means that all of the audio is sent through a single channel during playback. As a result, you’ll hear the same audio in the right and left earbud or cup.

    • Stereo: High-end Sony headphones provide stereo audio, which means that there are two channels for playback. One channel corresponds to the right earbud or cup, and the other channel sends audio to the left earbud or cup. That means you don’t hear exactly the same audio in both ears, so the music has a richer sound. For example, you might hear the guitars in your right ear and the drums in your left.

    Budget-friendly comfort and portability

    If you’re looking for high-quality Sony headphones that won’t break the bank, these are ideal. The lightweight ear pads are comfortable to wear, and the convenient swivel folding design adds to their portability. The affordable price makes these headphones a great deal.

    Frequency response

    Frequency response, measured in hertz (Hz), measures the range of bass, mids, and treble, or frequencies, that a pair of headphones can reproduce. Human hearing usually falls in the 20 to 20,000 Hz range, but many headphones offer a higher frequency response.

    Higher frequency response doesn’t necessarily mean better sound quality, but some Sony headphones offer a range between 4 and 120,000 Hz. However, even the most inexpensive Sony models offer a frequency range that tops out over 20,000 Hz, which means you can trust that the audio is as good as it can be.

    Sensitivity

    A headphone’s sensitivity refers to how much volume it provides depending on a certain amount of input power and is measured in decibels relative to one milliwatt (dBm). Highly sensitive headphones have a sensitivity of 100 dBm.

    For personal or portable audio devices like a smartphone or tablet, you should opt for headphones with at least a 100 dBm sensitivity rating because the devices don’t have as strong an amplifier as home audio devices. With home audio devices, you don’t necessarily need your headphones to be as sensitive. All Sony headphones have a minimum sensitivity of 100 dBm, so they’re compatible with nearly any type of audio device.

    Impedance

    Rated in ohms, impedance measures electrical resistance and plays a role in the sensitivity of a pair of headphone. For personal use, headphones with between 16 and 64 ohms of impedance work well. Sony headphones have a minimum of 16 ohms, which makes any pair suitable for high-quality audio when listening to either home or portable audio devices.

    Noise-canceling

    If you don’t want to be disturbed while listening to your music or audiobook, opt for a pair of Sony noise-canceling headphones. These models block out ambient sounds either with a microphone that measures ambient noise and counters it with the appropriate sound waves or with materials that block ambient sound waves. Noise-canceling headphones are a great option when you’re traveling or you just need to minimize distractions.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some Sony wireless over-the-ear headphones fold for easier storage.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The silicone tips on many Sony earbuds offer a more comfortable fit inside your ear.

    Sony headphone prices

    Sony headphones range in price based on the type, style, and features. In most cases, you can expect to pay between $10 and $2,300 for a pair.

    Inexpensive: Sony wired earbud headphones with few extra features are usually the least expensive option, ranging from $10 to $30. Basic Sony on-ear or over-the-ear headphones with few extra features range from $20 to $60. Sony wireless earbud headphones with few extra features run from $30 to $80. Sony wireless on-ear or over-the-ear headphones cost between $80 and $100.

    Mid-range: Sony wireless earbuds with some extra features generally cost between $100 and $300. Sony fully wireless earbuds with a few extra features range from $180 to $300. Sony wired on-ear or over-the-ear headphones with some extra features run from $100 to $300. Sony wireless on-ear or over-the-ear headphones with a few extra features cost between $120 and $400.

    Expensive: Sony on-ear or over-the-ear wireless headphones with a variety of extra features run from $400 to $700. Sony professional quality over-the-ear wired headphones are the most expensive option, ranging from $700 to $2,300.

    Headphones can easily collect dirt, dust, sweat, and wax, so it’s important to clean them regularly. Use a mixture of warm water and gentle dish soap to carefully wipe them down a couple of times a month.

    FAQ

    Q. What Sony headphones offer the best sound quality?

    A. For the best sound quality, choose Sony headphones that offer high-resolution, stereo audio with a frequency range of 20,000 Hz or above. Most audiophiles also believe that wired on-ear or over-the-ear headphones offer better sound quality than wireless models.

    Q. What Sony headphones are best for working out?

    A. Most people prefer Sony earbuds when they’re exercising because these are lightweight and won’t feel too bulky or hot during your workout. Sony wireless models are a good bet since you don’t have to worry about a cord getting in your way as you exercise. And Sony truly wireless models don’t have a wire connecting the earbuds behind your neck, so they’re especially easy to wear for workouts.

    Q. Can I use Sony noise-canceling headphones to block out noise even if I’m not listening to music?

    A. Sony passive noise-canceling that blocks noise via the closed, over-the-ear design can muffle sounds if you’re studying or working and need to concentrate. Sony active noise-canceling headphones are only designed for use when you’re listening to music or audio for a movie or TV show, so they aren’t as effective as passive noise-canceling headphones.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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