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on March 27, 2009
First off, there really is no way around how big these headphones are. The specs list the cushion diameter at 4.3" and a thickness of 2". While the diameter is measured spot on the thickness itself is shy of the listed measure by about 1/4". To properly visualize the diameter take a look at a standard audio CD (4.7"). The cushions are super soft and conform exquisitely to your head with an adequate amount of clamping force. The headband's padding can be considered non-existent, though this does not detract from the overall comfort as the ear pads appear to support most of the weight. And while on the topic of weight, these do tip the scales more towards a fatiguing weight.

As far as use goes, one generally wouldn't be using these for portable listening. Furthermore unless you had a headphone amp, I think many portable devices would struggle to drive these at a regular listening level. My Sansa c250 provided only muddled and unresponsive sound on bass heavy tracks, but did 'ok' on less bass intensive ones, or with the volume increased. Usage with a laptop seems ideal with the unexpectedly shorter cable which would limit the range of movement one has with a desktop computer or stereo use. These 'phones would have received a 5 star rating but this shorter cord does detract from the appeal. A cable extension can be found easily enough however.

Bass is responsive and rolling, and surprisingly is minimally fatiguing. Even at higher volumes the bass is portrayed accurately with minimal distortion. The ludacris clame by sony of the lower-end range I would argue with however. At the higher volumes with heavier bass the mids and highs decidedly take the back seat in the presentation. Considering the marketing and design intents this is expected.

These are by no means a refference set of cans, and they are far from analytical. For a pleasent listening experience where you can lose yourself in the lower frequencies these are what you're looking for.

On the negative hand they are a tad on the hefty side, rather large, and have a shorter than desirable cord for their ideal usage. Though none of these negatives should be considered a deal killer for the superb comfort, auditory warmth and richness of the bass, and the price at which they pull together. Overall I can easily see these becoming a staple of my audio listening.

Update: So here it is quite a bit later. I've had these 'phones for almost six months. I've got a collection of headphones that some might call obssesive, Including some I dropped a pretty penny or two for. I keep comming back to these Sonys. The tonal color is just perfect for the stuff I listen to, Sasha, Armin Van Buuren, Shpongle, Shastro are just a few data points here. The comfort of these headphones is unsurpassed and I can literally wear them for hours. I've even done the unthinkable and sold off some of my other cans due to lack of use. In short: I love these.
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on August 15, 2010
I recently drove myself, after a lot of careful consideration, to the Sony Style Store in San Diego with one goal in mind... To test three their most expensive headphones in a battle royale and buy the winner. Before going to Sony I've tried Beats by Dre (overpriced, utter junk) and Bose (extremely overpriced, but not junk). The winner of this comparison decimates all above mentions.

I chose to go with Sony because of all the positive reviews received by independent individuals. Amazon seemed to be oozing with enthusiasm from people about the value and quality of these and other Sony Cans. The reviews helped, but I just had to see for myself what all the hoopla was about.

Before I continue, a little about me. I love my music!! I guess you could call me an audiophile of sorts. I prefer to listen to my music extremely loud with no compromise. I want to hear awesome treble with uncompromising bass, I want to hear full, undistorted sound while my ears bleed. I listen to everything from Slipknot to Portishead. All these tests were performed on my iPhone 4 and iPad. These are my primary listening devices.

First Place: MDR-XB700 $129.00 at Sony Style Store
The way it's advertised almost swayed my from trying them. Advertised at "Extra Bass", to me, sounds like it's just a couple of sub-woofers you tape to your head. As soon as I pressed play till the time I pressed stop I had an enormous smile, ear to ear. Just Incredible!! NO BS!! By far the loudest headphones with the biggest sound. These headphones murdered the competition for a fraction of the price. I mean, 3 to 28,000Hz?!? You can't even hear that bass at 3Hz, you can only feel it, and with these headphones you definitely feel it. Granted, there is a lot of bass, but there is also a lot of treble and mid-range. They are also extremely comfortable. The mattress's they use for cushions are just delightful. I can't say enough good things about the sound these things produce.

For the cons... They are huge and heavy, not unbearable by any means. You definitely can't exercise with these things on. They are meant for stationary listening. I've also hear people cry about "no noise cancel". Who needs noise cancel when you can turn these things up so loud that you couldn't hear someone throwing your first born into a wood chipper?

Second Place: MDR-NC60 $199.00 at Sony Style Store
These headphones aren't bad... if they cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $79. As it stands they don't. These cans are extremely overpriced and a huge disappointment upon sampling. Massive distortion when maxed out, I can only compare it to a cat getting hit with a baby. Bass is punchy but flat and lost in the mids and highs. Definitely expected a lot more for the price tag they pinned on these. The noise cancel feature requires you to constantly change batteries out. If the noise cancel feature isn't activated these cans go from bad to worse, the bass gets lost in the background completely. Overall, I would suggest passing these ones up.

Third Place: MDR-NC500D $399.00 at Sony Style Store
They had these things sitting on a pedestal above all other headphones with indirect lighting. These were their "Rolls Royce" of headphones. They sound great, can't really complain there. The one MAJOR complaint I have though is when maxed out, these cans sound like they're only at a quarter volume. I checked my settings and the headphones to no avail. These headphones maxed out sound like a whisper. To me this makes them total junk. Again, I was using an iPhone 4 and an iPad, you might get different results on a Magnolia system with a massive amp.

Overall, the cheapest of the three were the best. Not the best by a little, but by a lot. I bought the MDR-XB700's and haven't looked back. If you see a guy with headphones the size of a small truck, a smile ear to ear and blood protruding from the base of the headphones, that's me, and I love these things!!
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on February 28, 2010
I own many pairs of headphones, for different uses. For general use, you can't beat the highly-efficient 24-ohm Sony MDR-101 model with 30mm drivers. They're lightweight, great for general use, and inexpensive.
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But I wanted something of very high sound quality to audit the many iTunes versions of a given song before making a buying decision seeking the best audio EQ. I wanted new cans to replace my trusty Sony MDR-V2 with 30mm drivers. These Sony MDR-XB700 with 50mm drivers simply reproduce incredible audio performance.
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I also wanted a pair of headphones rated @ 24-ohms, matching the internal amplifier's impedance of my iPhone, for MAXIMUM dB audio output. Again the Sony MDR-XB700 model fits the bill perfectly @ 24-ohms, play very loudly with no distortion, achieving 106 dB with iPhone's limited 30 mW/Ch of available amplifier power. Yes, they are BIG. Yes they can get a tad warm, but you'll get used to it. Yes, they are very comfortable to wear for an extended period of time.
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Bass is excellent, very accurate - a tad better than the $349 Bose noise-cancelling QC-3. Same for the high frequencies & for distortion.
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I audited the Sony MDR-XB500 (next model down) with 40mm drivers, in a Sony store - less bass, muddy midrange, constrained highs. Forget the Sony MDR-XB300 with 30mm drivers, child's play.
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Dr.Dre noise-cancelling "Beats" have more bass, but are overkill & color the music with muddy vocals.
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Summary: at 1/5 the cost of the Bose or Dr.Dre, these Sony MDR-XB700 will really impress you. Best bang-for-the-buck on the market. Buy them. You will not be disappointed. Your iPhone / iPod / MP3 player never sounded so good -> INTOXICATING. You'll wonder how you ever got along without them!
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on December 22, 2011
After a couple weeks of owning these, I can say that the headphones are amazing. I listen to a lot of trance music, and these things hit nice and clean. The bass isn't over done and you can still enjoy the clarity of your music. Comfort wise, they're perfect. They're huge, nice and soft. I've been able to wear them all day long without any ear pain (I have some big floppy ears too, lol). They do make you really warm, but since it's been so cold here lately I've come to really enjoy that aspect.

When paired with the FiiO E11 these things sound so good that they make me want to walk up to random strangers on the street and slap them across the face for absolutely no reason.
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on March 19, 2010
I was looking into a VERY comfortable pair of headphones, that
I could wear for hours on end. That's it. It sounds like a shallow reason to buy a pair of headphones, especially after already having bought 4 other pairs in the past few months. I just could not find the 'right fit' when it comes to comfort. The Sony XB700's definitely filled that gap at first. The pads are incredibly soft, and they are big enough to go over my ears without any initial discomfort. There is a big BUT in here, which I will explain soon enough.

As far as sound quality goes, I'm extremely surprised and pleased. They do indeed live up to the title of 'Extra Bass' headphones, but what comes to as a surprise is that they also output a deceptively clear and crisp sound. They aren't as clear as my Audio Technica AD-700 headphones (which their one main fault is the lack of bass), or my Head-Direct RE0 in ear monitors, but they are indeed crisp and detailed enough to stay away from the 'muddy' range that bassy headphones tend to go into when it comes to mids and highs.

They are also surprisingly well balanced for the most part, but the low end is definitely emphasized, so expect the bass to overpower other sounds every once in a while. Without equalization the XB700s are pretty good, but the bass is not being utilized to it's fullest. The XB700s can handle some pretty harsh bass without distorting after boosting the low end, which is AWESOME. Also while the XB700s don't need an amp, something as small and cheap as the Fiio E5 will make them even better. I usually don't like turning on the Bass Boost on my Fiio E5 when using most headphones, but the XB700s handle the bass in boost without distortion, so they live up to the 'Extra Bass' hype even more.

The cord is pretty short at 3.9ft, but they are flat, so they won't tangle up like a normal cord. An extension cable is all you need, if you need it.

I usually stay away from most Sony products, but they made a quality sounding pair of headphones in the XB700s. The XB700s look and sound well made. They're not audiophile headphones, but they are definitely a guilty pleasure that perform admirably in the price range. Bassheads will love them. Everyone else will enjoy them.

To sum it up:

Pros:

+Looks and sounds well made
+Really soft pads make them comfortable to wear...INITIALLY.
+Deep, punchy bass, especially when you accentuate the low end even more. Doesn't distort like a lot of other headphones. Bass isn't unpleasant either.
+Surprisingly clear mids and highs. Doesn't sound muddy like typical bass heavy headphones.
+Surprising soundstage reaching far left and right
+Flat cable, makes it virtually tangle free.

Cons:

-Closed ear design can get hot on the ears. Usual closed ear design faults.
-Pads look like monster truck tires, so they may be embarrassing to use in public.
-Powerful bass can drown out the other subtle sounds at times.
-Soundstage isn't great with Dolby Headphone processing. This is the first pair of headphones that I found to behave WORSE in DH mode. (More details in the bottom section)
-cable is very short.

-Now for the BIGGEST con. The pads have a major flaw in them. There is a 'ring' stitched on the inner lining of the pads on the inside where your ears go that directly touch your skin. When you first use the XB700s, you won't notice anything wrong with the pads or feel any discomfort. It's when you use them for a period of time that you may start noticing the skin around your ears start hurting where the ring rests on your head, mainly behind the ears. It feels as if you rubbed this area of your skin excessively for a period of time. Meaning it feels hot and raw. It's OBVIOUSLY the stitched ring inside the pads that is causing this discomfort, which borders on painful to wear.

This makes the XB700s useless for me as I purchased them due to their initial comfort and incredibly soft pads. Unless I have a very sensitive area behind my ears, I believe this issue will present itself to all who wear these headphones for good while, and have exposed skin behind the ears that touch the lining of the pads. It's enough to not make me wanna put them on again, so I can't justify my purchase and will promptly ask Amazon for a refund. If you can somehow deal with this issue, disregard this paragraph and focus on everything else I have written. Outside of this issue, the XB700s are a great pair of headphones.

Note to Gamers:

This section is for the gamers out there: I use all my headphones with the Astro Gaming Mixamp while playing on my Xbox 360 or PS3. The Mixamp utilizes Dolby Headphone surround processing to turn Stereo headphones into 5.1 virtual surround sound headphones. Google it if you haven't heard of it, though I'm sure most gamers have. The virtual surround effect in Dolby Headphone is considered better than true 5.1 surround headphones. I have to agree.

While I use my Audio Technica AD-700 for gaming (the clarity, soundstage and positioning on the AD700s are arguably considered the best in the sub-$200 price range), I like to test out other headphones to see how they perform under gaming conditions.

The XB700s paired up with the Mixamp don't particularly work well together. The XB700's bass overpowers most sound effects which is a big drawback, as in competitive gaming you'd want to hear even the slightest pin drop. The soundstage on the XB700s is better in Stereo than in Dolby Headphone mode, which is a first, so they don't work well with the Mixamp in DH mode. They just don't work well as gaming headphones. I'd advise against it.
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on November 21, 2010
Size. If you are squeamish about being seen by others wearing a large pair of black and steel colored earmuffs with a flat back cord extending from the bottom of each cup, then that is the only problem you could possibly have with these headphones. In every other way, these headphones are absolutely PERFECT for use with your iPhone (or similar device) while on the go. Below are the reasons why.

CONSTRUCTION: These things feel pretty solid. The band is essentially a flat and flexible strip of curved metal, wrapped in plastic and leather. The cups are attached to the band by a pivoting peg and screws, and the cups themselves are essentially a large pad (feels like a less-dense version of memory foam)attached to the metal casing for the drivers. I've had my pair for over two months now, I take them with me almost everywhere I go, and they still feel solid and secure.

Also, the cord is short by headphone standards (about 1 meter) which means it's optimized for the distance between your head and an iPod in your pocket, on your hip, or in your bag; there is never any excess cord to worry about, and the cord is never too short, it's the perfect length! Also, while a lot of headphones have an issue with the headphone jack being too large in diameter to fit into the iPhone's port, these do not! That's right, the 3.5mm jack fits perfectly and easily into any iPhone plug, even through restrictive cases. I have my phone wrapped in the Speck Products CandyShell Case for iPhone 4 (Black/Gray) (THE best case for your iPhone 4G, check it out!), and while I have a problem getting most 3.5mm jacks to fit into the plug through the case, the Sony XB700s jack fits in with no problem.

Lastly, the cord itself is a flat type, which is great for preventing tangles and hang-ups. Also, the cord is encased in a relatively thick, durable rubber, and feels rugged. It is securely attached to the cups with a small metal guard protecting the point of attachment, and the jack-end is at a right angle to the cable (which reduces its profile and therefore the amount of force that will be exerted on it) and also protected by increased rubber guard where it terminates. In short, the cord is thoughtfully designed and VERY well made.

FIT: Quite possibly the BEST aspect of these headphones is the fit. Yes, the cups are large, but that is one of their strongest qualities. The large, soft cups envelope your ears in a plush pillow of aural delight. They completely encompass your ears, they create a secure seal but don't feel like they are creating very much pressure. I can wear these for hours without being uncomfortable. However, if you're in a hot climate, they will be a little too warm (most circumaural headphones would be the same in a warm environment); the upside is that in a cold climate they double as earmuffs, keeping your ears nice and toasty!

SOUND: Sony promises powerful Bass, and Sony delivers. What Sony doesn't tell you is that the overall sound of these headphones is also very strong. They don't sound distorted, the Bass is crisp and tight, and the entire frequency spectrum is represented in a relatively balanced curve (the bass being above normal on the curve, naturally). You can listen to all sorts of music with these headphones and be pleased. Naturally, music with a pronounced low end will shine through these cans, but not at the cost of the other frequencies. Also, my iPhone 4G drives these with authority (as another reviewer put it). If you turn the volume up to full blast on your iPhone with these headphones attached, you'll have to take them off; even at low volumes the bass is full and the sound rich, without sounding distorted in any way.

BOTTOM LINE: For headphones to use on the go with your iPhone or iPod, these canNOT be beaten. Powerful, rich sound delivered in a package that sets a new standard for comfort and is truly optimized for use with portable devices, set these headphones apart from the pack. If people hassle you about how big they are, offer to let them try them on and give them a listen; they'll be asking you where you got them before they take them off!
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on June 23, 2010
Background info:
I bought these headphones after reading review after review on Amazon and other sites for headphones. I didn't want to spend 100 dollars or more, but wanted true quality. I've always liked Sony and I've read review after review about Sony for great quality and a reasonable price. Also, I do like bass a lot and a subwoofer is an essential for me in a home theater setup. I found these on eBay for 60 dollars shipped (although used, they turned out to be in brand new condition except for packaging).

Pros:
These are really awesome headphones to say the least.

There is a huge, full sound to them that isn't muddled AT ALL. You will hear things you've never heard in your music before and listening to every song in my collection is an awesome experience. Every friend I've shown them to has been blown away by the sound quality, you will not be disappointed.

These are bass-heavy, but you won't feel like you have two-subwoofers stuck to your head, which is a good thing because the bass makes the music feel more "heavy" and "rich", like it should instead of bass-distorted.

There have been some comments that these require a lot of power to get the headphones to their max, I've found that that is for the most-part unfounded. These headphones get very loud with both of my mp3 players without any amp, one of which is powered by a single AAA battery. However, if you like very loud music, I would recommend getting an amp for your mp3 player.

They are huge and very comfortable with huge speakers on the inside of the earpieces. They are very well-made with a metal band covered by hard plastic covered with a thin cushion on the top. When you wear the headphones, the top of the headphones rest softly on your head, so it doesn't matter how thin it is. They rest very softly on your head, so you will not get sick of wearing them due to them clamping your head like some other headphones I've read about. Unfortunately, this leads to a possible problem because they don't block noise like those other headphones do, so this may be a good quality or a bad one, depending on your needs. They will completely surround your ears, and that's coming from someone who has large ears. They come with an awesome bag to hold them, and nothing seems cheap at all. They are worth the $129 retail and they are an amazing buy here at Amazon.

They also block outside noise very well when music is playing, but when music is not playing, you can VERY easily conduct a conversation with people around you. These are probably best used for home listening, whether it be video games, music of any kind, movies, etc.

Cons:
If you're planning on wearing these in a quiet library or in a similar situation while playing relatively loud music, it's not recommended that you buy these, especially if you're sitting within ten feet of other people. Despite their appearance, they do not block outgoing sound very well. If you're in a relatively noisy environment though, you won't be disturbing others I'm sure (ex: Buses, parks, road trips, at home).
(by the way, the noise-blocking is not the fault of the strength of the clamp, it's an issue of the entire design. The cushions are not very thick because they want more bass with extreme comfort, pressing them against your head tightly won't help at all.)

They DO get hot if you're planning to go outside a temperature-controlled environment. If you're in a 80°F+ environment, be advised they will get sweaty. They are not for bringing to the beach and listening to some tunes, for that, bring some earbuds.

Yes, they look different than most headphones, the diameter of the cushion is about equal to that of a CD/DVD, but they still look pretty sweet.

Overall:
These are awesome headphones and I'm extremely happy with my purchase. If you're planning on spending under 100 dollars on headphones and want a "full" or "rich" sound with the bass brought out strongly, stop right now and buy these. they are the top of the line in the Sony Bass-heavy category and are at an awesome price. If you've got some money to spend, you will not be disappointed with buying these.

The only reason you shouldn't buy these are because you need them for regular portability or noise canceling.
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on September 14, 2011
Where to start, the Sony XB700's were my first headphones and are certainly not my last. I have recently atained another pair after running through teh ranks, Grado sr80i now RS2, Ultrasone HFI-580 another killer bass head headphone, Sennheiser HD25 1-II, Sennheiser HD448,Sennheiser HD555, AKG K500, Sony MDR v6, and now Sony XB-700 once again.
These are with out a doubt one of my all time favorite headphones. My Grados are great for rock and jazz and my AKG's are great for classical but the XB700's just do so much right its hard to find any genre what does not fit them. Yes they are dark but they are also lively and don't slouch at all in the mid range.

Comfort 5 stars
These are one of the most comfortable headphones I have yet to use. The AKG K series being the other just because they are open and allow more air in and out of the headphone thus less ear sweat and weight next to nothing. The XB700's are to comfortable I have slept with them on camping as pillow, not the smartest move but it was one of the best nights sleep I have had in a very long time.They can be a bit fatiguing after long listening sessions but I feel that is mainly because they do not have very good air flow, being semi open I did not expect them to keep as cool as a full open can.

Sound 5Stars
The XB series is marked as Extra Bass headphones yes the XB700's are classic "Bass Cannons" and some what of a legend for bass heads. However theses headphones leave no rock unturned, Many say the mid range is severely recessed on the XB700 and looking at a graph they would be right, but listing to them that is just not the case, the vocals, instrumentals, and ambient noise is very vivid and clear and stands out very well against the immense bass these headphones produce. Listening to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan on these is quite nice as it takes the edge off of their voices but the vocals and still very very clean against everything else.
The bass, the bid earner for these headphones is VERY prevalent, and why not, nothing wrong with bass. The sony XB700 headphones are "quality" bass, they have bass, but it is not as uncontrolled and un tame as people say, the bass hits hard and booms like a sub-woofer but at the same time handles delicate pieces like cradling a baby.

Ease of use 5 Stars
Plug and go, what more do you need?

Portability 3Stars
Have you seen these things? Its like wearing small children on your head.

Use of an amp
Well I cannot say enough about these headphones. Using a headphone amplifier with these headphones blew me away. These are relatively low impudence headphones and take very little power to run, this is why I was surprised that they could handle so much power. I plugged these into my headphone amplifier Little Dot MKII a dark amp with an expansive sound stage expecting the bass just to explode out of these and knock my flat. What I got was world shattering, the bass took a back seat if you will ot the midrange and upper registers. Everything became so much clearer and vivid I was a bit shocked, it was as if some one has taken the v6 drivers and put them in with the XB700 drivers, yes the bass was indeed still their and would not be ignored, but the vocals and everything else just became so clear. I said before these leave no stone un turned and with an amplifier this is all too true, still very forgiving of poor mastering but amplifying makes all the difference in the world with these, it was honestly like listening to a different headphone, a very VERY expensive headphone for the price of $80-130 depending on where you buy.

I love these headphones and feel that they will be a permanent staple in my collection for a loooooong time.
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on October 31, 2010
I've been using these headphones for well over a year, and I've owned quite a few headphones before (Bose QC 3, ATH A900 TI etc.) I wouldn't call myself an audiophile since I don't use desktop amps but I do use portable amps. I'll try to keep my review short and concise in hopes of reaching out to people who are looking for similar things as me in these headphones.

What I was looking for: To get headphones that are comfortable to wear for hours on end, are durable, and are bassy but not overpowering to the mids and highs. The Beats are great at that (overpowering), so if you're one of those people who like to play booming beats in his or her car's stereo, get the Beats.

Comfort:
Excellent, as long as you don't live in a humid country, these are perfectly fine. When I lived in HK and walked outside with these, of course they would get sweaty. But when I moved to the US (Atlanta) or stayed in an air conditioned place, these are awesome. Keep in mind that they aren't completely closed, there are three little holes hidden in each ear cup behind the headband to enhance sound dynamics. If you don't play your music too loud, it doesn't leak too much. (My definition of loud is that your can hear your music from the headphones when you put them on your neck). I've used them on a plane and they isolated the engine noise very well. I even fell asleep with them without noticing. I wear glasses while wearing them and they don't hurt at all. Glasses people take note.

Durability:
Excellent. The adjustment section of the headband is made of metal, the part that moves the most, great! The cable is flat so they never tangle, perfect! They come with a good quality baggie to protect the headphones. Just what I need!

Sound:
If you like bass, look no further. With or without amps, these headphones are suprior for the price that they are offered at. They can really boom in bass oriented music like hip hop, rap, metal, or rock. People who like music with a predominance of higher pitched music (vocals, orchestras, and the like) should look at the offerings by Audio Technica instead. Many of their 'phones are renowned for expressing beautiful highs. Mids are definitely better than the norm, very warm and pleasing to the ears. People looking for alternatives from skullcandy or overpriced beats would be satisfied by these. However, audiophiles wouldn't be as appreciative towards the XB 700 as the norm, but they'll find these cans to be quite a fun experience.

I hope I was brief enough. You can't fail with these. No matter where you come from, you'll find something to enjoy in the XB700
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on November 4, 2011
These headphones are really nice for the price. I think that they sound better than the beats by dre and they are only for a fraction of the cost.

BASS: 5/5
The bass is amazing. It can get so low and it is so loud without overpowering. I would recommend getting a sound equalizer app so you can hear even more bass if you like.

Sound Quality: 5/5
The sound quality is really good. They sound better than most 200 dollar headphones. The have great lows, mids, and even highs.

Comfort: 6/5
The comfort on these will blow any other headphone out of the water. They are the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn. These are really comfortable.

Durability: 4.5/5
These are pretty durable and do not feel cheap. They have a nice build quality. The only reason I gave them a 4.5 is because I
have seen some with a little bit better build.

Overall: 5/5
These are great headphones. Get them.

UPDATE:

These headphones sound 10x better after burn in. I can not describe how good they sound, the sound is so so good. Plus the bass has gotten stronger. These are such good headphones and way better than beats by dre.
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