Sony MDR-XB50AP Review – Best Value For Money Earbuds Under $50?

Sony MDR-XB50AP Review

Affordable earphones with impressive sound quality are now a thing, and there are many options at a reasonable price. If you are looking for a pair of earbuds for everyday use in the price range below fifty dollars, you must have stumbled upon the Sony MDR-XB50AP. Made by a reputable company in the audio niche, they have been quite popular with users around the world. In this review, I will guide you step by step to every feature of these earphones, from sound quality to functionality, and from design to comfort, in order to review every aspect of them.

Sony MDR-XB50AP Review

Sound performance

The sound performance of the Sony MDR-XB50AP is quite impressive, considering their price that falls below thirty dollars. They come with 12 mm dynamic driver units that deliver an extended frequency spectrum that ranges from 4 to 24,000 Hz. The XB in their model name stands for “extra bass”, and this is where they shine: they deliver deep, punchy and accurate low end that bass lovers will adore. On the other side, their bass-heavy sound .might not appeal to those of you who are looking for a flatter frequency response. The middle frequencies are a little bit recessed, and the highs are precise and clear, without too much sibilance. In terms of volume output, the Sony MDR-XB50AP are loud enough for every occasion, and they are highly recommended for daily commuting. They don’t feature active noise cancelling technology, but their in-ear design allows for passive noise cancellation. They do a pretty good job with isolating you from the surrounding sounds, and they don’t leak your music to the people around you.

Design and in-line controls

Sony MDR-XB50AP design

The overall design of the Sony MDR-XB50AP is sleek and modern-looking. They are pretty simple earbuds that are quite discreet. On the downside, the earbuds stick out of the ears, which might not be very appealing to some of you. In spite of their low price, they come in three different flashy colours to choose from: red, blue and black. Their design allows you to easily distinguish the right from the left earbud (they only work one way). The cord is rubberized and comes with in-line control that features a single button which you can program to pause and play songs. The in-line control also features a microphone that lets you take noise-free calls on the go. If you are looking for a good quality wireless earbud under the budget of $50, then you may also like my Soundcore Spirit X Review.


The Sony MDR-XB50AP come with a 1.2 m Y-type flat cord that resists cable tangling (even if it does, it is easy to untangle). A slider allows you to adjust the size of the side cables. The in-line control is easy to use, providing you with the ability to pause and play tracks without getting your phone out of your pocket. The package includes four silicone pads of different sizes (extra small, small, medium and large), as well as a carrying pouch, which makes them even more portable and hard to lose. On the other hand, the pouch is soft, which means that it can protect the earphones from drops or hard impact.


The Sony MDR-XB50AP come with old-school 3.5 mm analog audio connectivity, and thus provide you with the universal compatibility of wired audio technology. They can be connected to every device with an audio port, including MP3 players, smartphones, tablets and computers. Due to the lack of wireless technology, they might be a little annoying while running, and they lack certain features, such as control from a dedicated app. On the other side, with the Sony MDR-XB50AP you don’t have to worry about lossy audio compression or running out of battery.


silicone pads

These earphones come with in-ear design that might be uncomfortable to some users. Fortunately, they ship with three different sizes of silicone pads for a better fit inside your ear. The Sony MDR-XB50AP have an angled design that doesn’t allow them to go too deep into the ears. As I mentioned before, they come with 12 mm drivers which are pretty large for in-ear headphones. Fortunately, they have a lightweight design, but they might feel heavy due to their size. Unfortunately, they don’t come with foam tips that some people prefer, they are not really breathable and you might find that they fall off easily if you engage in physical activity.

Build quality

If you are looking for cheap earphones, you don’t mind a lot about build quality, right? It is this way that many consumers tend to think, but it is absolutely wrong: getting a pair of earphones that will last longer, increases even more its value for money in the long run. The Sony MDR-XB50AP have robust build quality, despite its low price. The earbuds are hosted inside a metal casing that protects them, while the plug is gold-plated and L-shaped, for better durability. The use of black rubber and flat cord also add to the sturdy build quality. Unfortunately, these earphones are not sweatproof.

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Sony MDR-XB50AP Overview:


On the whole, the Sony MDR-XB50AP is a pair of earphones that provides you with high-quality, bass-heavy sound at a reasonable price. It comes with sleek and modern-looking design and there are three different colours to choose from. The in-line controls and extra accessories provide you with a smooth experience, while the wired connectivity solves most compatibility problems. In terms of comfort, it depends on whether you feel good with in-ear earphones that come with silicone pads. Fortunately, the four different sizes of the tips allow you to pick the one that fits your ears better.  It is true that these earphones are not sweat-proof, and they tend to fall off the ears easily, so they might not fit you if you want to exercise heavily when you wear them. They also might not be suitable for you if you don’t really like listening to loud and heavy bass. On the other side, their build quality is quite sturdy and makes sure that they can withstand some abuse. All in all, the Sony MDR-XB50AP are affordable enough to give them a try to see if they fit your needs.

About Audrey O'Kelly

Audrey O'Kelly is a copywriter based in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. He is one of the founding members of KBonet with expertise in music instruments, wellness, and tech gadgets. He graduated from the UCL with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He is also our product researcher & his research for KBonet will align perfectly with your music needs.

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