The State of Sony’s Headphone Lineup in 2021

Sony’s headphone lineup consists of genuinely fantastic headphones, but navigating their product line can be deeply frustrating. With model names that consist of a mishmash of letters, numbers, and hyphens, it’s tough to keep straight what’s what.
The good news is that just about anything you buy in Sony’s headphone lineup will perform quite well for the price you pay. Still, wouldn’t it be great to have a clear guide to Sony’s current (Q3 2021) headphone lineup?
Get high-level overviews and MSRPs for Sony’s entire lineup below.

Wired Headphones


With an MSRP of $1,999, these are no casual headphones. Instead, the MDR-Z1R is a high-end, Signature Series set of high-resolution headphones suitable for the most well-heeled audiophiles.
With an insane frequency response that goes well below and above the spectrum of human hearing and ultra-premium materials throughout, these headphones will transport you to another world and give you some of the best audio you can hear. Just make sure you have a powerful enough setup, given the relatively high impedance and sensitive internals.


At $899, Sony’s MDR-Z7M2 headphones are a premium product. They’re compatible with high-resolution audio and feature 2.76-inch HD driver units. Like the pricier MDR-Z1R, this model includes a liquid crystal polymer diaphragm. These are luxurious, high-end headphones for serious listening.


Stepping down into more normal premium territory, the $299 MDR-1AM2 headphones from Sony deliver excellent value for the price, and they add an in-line remote microphone for smartphone compatibility. These are more mass-market consumer-oriented headphones than the two more expensive models above.
If you’re looking for a premium wired set that prioritizes sound quality over deep features, this one could be the right choice for you.


Next up in the wired category is the MDR-ZX310AP, which drops massively in price down to just $39.99. These lightweight folding headphones are designed for easy mobility. Just wrap up the cord and toss these headphones in your bag. And if something does go wrong, you’re only out $40 or so.
These obviously won’t compete with any of the other wired models in terms of sound quality. But still, for a $40 set of headphones, they perform very well thanks to 1.18-inch dynamic drivers.
This model includes a microphone but no noise cancellation. The MDR-ZX110NC is a very similar model that adds in noise cancellation for $10 more.


The cheapest headphones Sony makes at just $19.99, these are… fine. You can certainly do worse in terms of $20 headphones, but at the end of the day, these are just $20 headphones — nothing special to see here.

Wireless Headphones


Sony’s flagship wireless noise-canceling headphones, the WH-1000XM4, are simply fantastic. With an MSRP of $399, the WH-1000XM4 aims to compete with similar models from Bose and even Apple AirPods Max. “Compete” isn’t quite the right word, though, because Sony’s offering delivers far more (for significantly less money, in Apple’s case).
Gizmodo calls the WH-1000XM4 “practically perfect” at noise cancellation, with multiple microphones and modes for noise cancellation, plus ambient sound control, DSEE Extreme compressed music upscaling, and a genuinely beautiful audio field to boot.


Sony’s WH-L600 is a set of $299 headphones designed for home listening with a focus on home theater setups. They support all sorts of surround sound formats and accept inputs (via the included base station) like HDMI (ARC) and Optical sources.
The base serves as a charging station and as the transmitter, sending home theater audio signals wirelessly to the WH-L600.


One of Sony’s newest models, the WH-XB910N, looks very similar to the flagship WH-1000XM4. Sound quality is very similar as well, making the WH-XB910N a bargain at $249. This model also features Sony’s EXTRA BASS technology.
The primary difference between the models is the level of noise cancellation. This model employs only two microphones for noise cancellation, where the WH-1000XM4 uses five.


This $179 set of wireless noise-canceling headphones focuses on smartphone compatibility and noise cancellation (thanks to its dual noise sensor technology). It’s a step down in terms of audio quality but still an excellent choice for many types of listening.


The WH-XB700 drops noise cancellation completely but adds in EXTRA BASS technology for a pumping sound in a tidy $129 package. They feature a 1.18-inch dome driver similar to the lower-end wired sets and offer up to 30 hours of battery life and quick charge.


On the low end of Sony’s wireless lineup is the $59.99 WH-CH510. These are attractive yet no-frills wireless headphones that support hands-free calling and voice assistant commands. Again, these will sound fantastic compared to cheap earbuds, but they aren’t going to compete with Sony’s more expensive options.

Protect Your Sony Headphones With Upsie

Headphones are portable and convenient. However, headphones and earbuds are vulnerable to accidental damage, manufacturing defects, and early wear. Luckily, Upsie offers extended warranties for Sony headphones to protect your new device from damage.
Upsie’s warranties ensure protection against:
  • Damage from drops and liquid spills
  • Mechanical failure
  • Sound and speaker failure
  • Bluetooth connectivity issues
In addition, Upsie costs up to 70 percent less than warranties from retailers and manufacturers, ensuring that customers get the best protection for the best price. With Upsie, customers can also make unlimited claims up to the purchase price of the device.
Ready to get protected? Get Upsie now.

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