Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Comparison – Sony MDR-XB950N1 vs Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC Comparison Review

Sony MDR-XB950N1 vs Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC

I have had a lot of folks asking lately about the different options for relatively affordable bluetooth, noise-cancelling headphones. Two options available are the Sony MDR-XB950N1 and the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC. The similarities between the two are abundant. So between the two, which one is better for what kind of person? Today I’ll find out by conducting a Sony MDR-XB950N1 vs Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC comparison review.


Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Comparison – Sony MDR-XB950N1 vs Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC Comparisonw

Specifications

Sony MDR-XB950N1 Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
Frequency Response 20Hz-20kHz 18Hz-22kHz
Impedence unspecified by manufacturer 18 ohms
Type over-ear, Bluetooth, noise cancelling over-ear, Bluetooth, noise cancelling
Battery Life 22 hours 25 hours
Codec aptX, NFC aptX
Price $249.00 $199.95

In the Box

Sony MDR-XB950N1 Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
XB950N1 headset 4.50 BTNC headset
protective pouch carrying case
audio cable audio cable
USB charging cable USB charging cable
documentation documentation


Similarities

Both the Sony MDR-XB950N1 and the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC have plastic headbands and ear cups. Both headphones’ padding is coated with a pleather material which makes it easy to wipe clean of sweat, grease, or dirt.

Differences

The Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC has much smaller ear pads and headband than the Sony MDR-XB950N1. Consequently, the 4.50 BTNC is better for folks with smaller heads and the XB950N1 is better for folks with bigger heads. I have a small head and I found the XB950N1 to be rather uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I’ve heard accounts of folks with larger heads complaining that the 4.50BTNC was much more uncomfortable. Additionally,  the 4.50 BTNC feels more durable to me than the XB950N1.

Noise Cancellation

Similarities

Neither headphone has extremely strong noise cancellation compared to the Bose QuietComfort series or the JBL E65BTNC or Everest Elite 750NC. Likewise, neither produce a nauseating feeling when the noise cancellation is on, like I’ve experienced with other strong noise cancellation.

Differences

The Sony MDR-XB950N1 is better at reducing ambient noise, although it is not as strong at cancelling transient noise. Surprisingly, it was also not very good at sound isolating, although it may be because of my small head with its large headband and ear cups. On the other hand, the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC was better at sound isolation. It purposely lets in some ambient noise which contributes to its more accurate soundstage representation.

Bluetooth

Similarities

Both headphones are impressive because they are able to connect via aptX, the best sounding Bluetooth codec out there right now (the Sony MDR-xB950N1 can also connect via NFC). Additionally, neither had issues connecting to my phone and had a similar range of round 30 feet. Both performed best with a clear line of sight.

Differences

The Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC has a slightly longer battery life with playback lasting for about 25 hours. On the other hand, the Sony MDR-XB950N1 lasts for 22 hours.

Sound

Sony MDR-XB950N1

The sound of the Sony MDR-XB950N1 has a huge bass response. This type of low-end doesn’t work with all genres. It works the best with hip-hop, pop, and EDM. While vocals sound clear overall, guitars tend to sound rather boxy which makes these headphones not ideal for indie or rock music. The headphones do perform more loudly overall than the others, so if you like to listen loudly, these might be the right choice for you. The “Bass Effect” button adds even more bass and I find a bit too over-the-top.

Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC

The Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC feels more balanced overall. There are a few boosts, one at 30Hz and one at 2kHz. The vocals feel present and the midrange feels energetic. The high frequencies feel balanced, without extra emphasis. Because of the softer noise cancellation, the soundstage is more accurate than the MDR-XB950N1. It sounds good with all genres.

Overview

The Sony MDR-XB950N1 is better for folks with bigger heads while the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC is better for folks with smaller heads like me. Additionally, while both headphones’ noise cancellation isn’t too intense, the XB950N1 is a little bit stronger. While the sound quality is better on the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC, the MDR-XB950N1 boasts a huge low end, so if you really like bass, you’ll get a kick out of the Sony headphones.

Both headphones are available for the best price here:

Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC at Audio 46

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC on Amazon

Sony MDR-XB950N1 at Audio 46

Sony MDR-XB950N1 on Amazon

Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC Sony MDR-XB950N1