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The best Sony headphones are really just some of the best headphones, period. The Japanese brand has been on its A-game recently with high-quality products to suit casual music fans, travelers, commuters and audiophiles alike. With features including top-tier active noise cancellation (ANC), premium audio quality, and intuitive touch controls, now is a good time to invest in a pair (or two) of the best Sony headphones.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Sony Headphones
Sony’s headphones catalog encompasses a range of styles and price points, so it’s worthwhile to shop around for the right pair.
Consider how you’ll use your new headphones — maybe focusing at work, streaming TV at home, or listening to podcasts on the plane — and then get acquainted with the key features of great headphones. Below are a few things to keep in mind while choosing the best Sony headphones for your needs.
Style: The three main headphone styles are over-the-ear, on-ear, and in-ear (a.k.a earbuds). Over-the-ear headphones typically offer the best sound quality with better acoustics and more noise-cancellation. On-ear headphones aren’t as popular, although they can be a portable, comfortable in-between style. Earbuds are ideal for running and working out, but, thanks to their size, they’re also great for traveling and stashing in a pocket.
Audio Quality: You’d be hard-pressed to find Sony headphones that sound bad. Still, there’s some variation in Sony headphones’ audio quality. Some have bigger drivers for more bass, others have better acoustics, and others are more sensitive to details in music files. In this area, we’ve found Sony to be reliable when it comes to pricing: the more expensive cans typically offer deeper, crisper, and more balanced sound than cheaper models.
Noise Cancellation: Sony is known for noise cancellation tech, with its flagship WH-1000XM4s leading the industry in sound-blocking ability. Most of their budget-friendly models are also noise-cancelling, but those may have fewer microphones to pick up and adapt to external sound and less passive noise cancellation (I.e. a physical build that lets in more sound).
Battery Life: With wireless headphones, longer battery life is always better. Over-the-ear headphones will always have bigger batteries (Sony’s usually last around 30 hours), while wireless earbuds need a charging case. Be sure to check battery life capabilities — especially if you’re often out and about all day or traveling.
Connectivity: Almost all of the best Sony headphones are now totally wireless, which is ideal for most users. However, Sony’s studio-quality headphones are still wired for precise, ultra-high-quality sound.
The Best Sony Headphones
If you’re in need of a headphone upgrade, read on: we’ve rounded up some of the best Sony headphones to buy online right now, including noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones and sporty earbuds.
1. Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones
Like their predecessor, the WH-1000XM3s, Sony’s flagship WH-1000XM4 headphones top our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market. They’re certainly the best Sony headphones, and are easily the best headphones at their price point.
The WH-1000XM4’s standout feature is industry-leading noise cancellation, made possible by a combination of microphones, internal technology and sound-blocking design. Four microphones pick up noise and run it through a processor that “cancels out” ambient sound with opposite wave phases. In other words, the headphones lend tranquil quiet in just about any environment — whether a busy street, an airplane, or a loud cafe.
Plus, noise cancellation can be adjusted with one button if you need to hear the sound around you. In addition to this button and a power button, the headphones feature touch controls for changing volume, skipping tracks, and pausing.
As expected, sound quality is top-notch as well with clear definition and rumbling lows. The headphones use Sony’s “Digital Sound Enhancement Engine,” which automatically upscales files to show off the WH-1000XM4s capabilities. Battery life is great too with 30 hours on a single charge, plus a quick charge function that gets five hours of battery after just 10 minutes of being plugged in.
2. Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds
Sony’s WF-1000XM4 is the equally-successful earbud cousin to the WH-1000XM4 headphones above. Made to be versatile yet capable of producing rich sound, the earbuds make an ideal companion on runs and commutes, although they’re great for working and traveling too.
Featuring six-millimeter drivers (which is beefy considering the earbuds’ size), the WF-1000XM4s deliver very high-quality sound for compact, in-ear headphones. And when you’re ready to turn down the music and take a call, a beam-forming microphone lends clear sound on both ends. There’s even a special wind reduction mode, enabled on the Sony Headphone app, which comes in handy for taking calls outside.
But noise cancellation is (again) where the WF-1000XM4s really shine. They use two microphones and a Processor V1 to pick up and all but eliminate outside noise. If you want to hear your environment (say, while running in the city), turn on ambient mode and it’ll sound like you’re not wearing earbuds at all.
3. Sony WH-XB910N Extra Bass Headphones
Another great pair of noise-cancelling Sony headphones are these WH-XB910Ns. Like the flagship Sony WF-1000XM4s, these feature multiple mics that listen to the environment and create opposite wave phases to create a zen-like quiet inside the headphones. This noise cancellation can be switched off for “ambient mode,” or paused by holding one hand over one earcup.
But, although they’re great for relaxing, the WH-XB910Ns ask to be turned up: they feature an “Extra Bass” mode that increases low-end thump, which is especially good for listening to hip hop. This feature comes from a dedicated bass duct that alters airflow. Despite all this bass, high-end notes are still clear and crisp.
Customizing the WH-XB910Ns’ sound can be done on the Sony Headphones app, while play, pause, and volume functions can be controlled using invisible touchpads on the earcups. Overall, we’ve found them to be an extremely capable pair of headphones worthy of any ears.
4. Sony WH-CH710N Headphones
If the over-the-ear headphones above are out of your price range, don’t worry: you can still experience Sony’s quality on a budget. These WH-CH710N prove it, delivering impressive audio quality, solid active noise cancellation, and a comfortable build — all for under $150.
Noise cancellation comes from dual microphones, and the cans can be switched to “ambient mode” to hear your environment. Once outside sound is decreased, 30-millimeter drivers deliver big, full-range sound. Padded earcups and a thick headband, meantime, ensure lasting comfort during flights or long days at the office.
Surprisingly, the WH-CH710Ns offer more battery life than Sony’s more pricey headphones, lasting up to 35 hours on a single charge.
5. Sony WF-1000XM3 Earbuds
Looking to score some of the best Sony earbuds on a budget? Check out the WF-1000XM3s. They’re the previous generation of Sony’s flagship earbuds, but, even with their age, the WF-1000XM3s are better than many brands’ current offerings.
The compact earbuds come with four gummy ear tips, letting you choose a size that fits your ear. After twisting the earbuds in place, they’re very secure — great for running and other high-intensity sports.
Like the newer version of these earbuds (the WF-1000XM4s) the WF-1000XM3s offer fantastic noise cancellation powers. Thanks to a 24-bit processor, audio quality is surprisingly good for such small earbuds. You also get Sony’s convenience features like “quick attention mode,” which pauses noise cancellation, and easy hands-free calling. Battery life is solid too with six hours of continuous usage, and up to 24 hours of total battery life with the charging case.
6. Sony PlayStation Pulse 3D Wireless Headset
Because Sony also owns PlayStation, the quality of these Pulse 3D gaming headphones shouldn’t be a surprise. Designed for Playstation 5 consoles, the Pulse headphones are fine-tuned to handle PS5’s sophisticated 3D audio output. That means you can hear every footstep (and where it came from) in FPS games, or get totally immersed in an RPG. The headphones also work with PS4 consoles, PCs, and PS VR devices.
You won’t notice it at first, but the Pulse 3D headphones feature two hidden microphones for chatting with your party. Battery life is great too, boasting 12 hours of wireless playtime. They’re also comfortable, so you won’t mind wearing them throughout long gaming sessions.
7. Sony MDR-Z7M2 Wired Headphones
Serious audiophiles should consider these Sony MDR-Z7M2 headphones. With a massive frequency range of 4-100,000Hz and big 70-millimeter drivers, the headphones deliver studio-quality sound that you can use every day. They’re capable of higher resolution rates than CD audio, which means you’ll be hearing something closer to the artist’s intended sound.
The MDR-Z7M2s are designed for long listening sessions, or days of working on music, boasting thick padding and a lightweight build. A spacious interior soundstage and aluminum-coated LCP diaphragm ensure proper responsiveness and directionality. In short, if you have equipment capable of Hi-Res audio, Sony’s MDR-Z7M2 wired headphones are a great way to enjoy it.