The Sony Ult Wear Wireless Headphones have more bass than an EDM festival

Sony’s new noise-canceling headphones offer extra, extra bass

The Sony ULT Wear Wireless Headphones on Nick Pino.
(Image: © Tom's Guide)

Early Verdict

While its two extra, extra bass modes feel a bit gimmicky, the Ult Wear Headphones cater to low-end lovers who need a longer battery life and better call quality.


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    Cheaper than the model it replaces

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    Fun club sound signature

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    Wind Filter to reduce ambient noise

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    Good noise cancelation but not exceptional


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    No aptX codecs

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    Some sound leakage

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    Extraneous extra bass modes

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Sony has been going hard on the bass for a few years now — first with its Xtra Bass line-up that it launched in 2022 and then again in 2023 with its X-Series wireless speakers — but the new Sony Ult lineup really takes the low-end to a new level. 

Launching alongside two new portable speakers and a party speaker is the new Sony Ult Wear headphones that will soon replace the older Sony WH-XB910N noise-canceling headphones in the next few weeks. The new Ult Hear will be $50 cheaper than the XB910N were when they launched (around $199 here in the US) and they’ll come with a few key improvements that we saw on the flagship Sony WH-1000XM5

I had a chance to check them out alongside the other new Ult products at a Sony event held in New York City in March. Having heard them with a few select songs including Dua Lipa’s "Levitating", Sony isn’t overselling its bass quality — these things really kick. 

But is too much bass a bad thing? We’re about to find out.

Sony Ult Wear hands-on review: Price and release date 

Sony plans on releasing most of the Ult line-up in April and May of 2024 — the only exception, I’m told, is the new Ult Field, that will likely arrive in May. 

In terms of price, the Sony Ult Wear will launch at $199, roughly $50 cheaper than the Sony WH-XB910N that it’s replacing and a whopping $150 cheaper than the flagship WH-1000XM5 headphones that sit at the top of Sony’s consumer headphones range. 

Sub-$200 is a solid sticker price for noise-canceling headphones, honestly. Other top contenders, like the Bose QuietComfort Headphones or AirPods Max, cost upwards of $400 to $500 — so a budget alternative is always welcome in this space.

Sony Ult Wear hands-on review: Design 

According to Sony, the Wear uses newly designed 40mm drivers that offer emphasized bass response. Press the Ult button on the side once and the headphones the sound signature will switch to a more bass-heavy mix. Press it again, and the Wear’s sound will go even lower for enhanced sub-bass sound that literally shakes your ears.  

Inside the Wear, Sony is using the V1 chip — the same one we saw on the Sony WH-1000XM5 two years ago. That chip enables AAC, SBC and LDAC audio transmission (eventually the Wear will support LC3 after a software update but not aptX or aptX HD), and better noise cancelation. Along the same lines, phone calls taken on the headset also get an uplift thanks to the dual noise-canceling microphones and plastic wind filter mesh.

In terms of battery life, Sony says the Wear will offer 30 hours with ANC turned on and up to 50 hours with ANC turned off. If you’re in a rush, the headphones can get an hour-and-a-half charge from just three minutes’ charge and five hours from 10 minutes connected to the wall. 

The last two features borrowed from the Sony WH-1000X series are Quick Attention Mode that allows you to cup the right speaker to hear ambient audio and wearing detection that can automatically pause music when you take the headphones off. 

Sony Ult Wear hands-on review: Performance 

While most of the briefing was focused on the new design of the headphones, I was given a chance to check out a few tracks selected from a Spotify playlist. Although certainly not what I’d consider Hi-Res-sounding, Dua Lipa’s “Levitating” did have a bit of nuance to it — at one point, I could actually hear crickets in the background, something I’ve not heard before.

Pressing the Ult button kicked up the bass on the track, adding extra oomph to a song that already has a lot of it. It was at this point that I had my fill of bass but, just for fun, I pressed the Ult button again for that sub-bass rumble. While other headphone makers like Beats are known for its bass-heavy sound signature, Sony’s Wear might now have the crown.

The Sony ULT Wear Wireless Headphones on Nick Pino.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Last up on the playlist was Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” — the track that proved to me that there is a thing as too much bass. The controlled rumble I had heard in previous tracks became an all-enveloping roar that drowned out the rest of the mix. It was at this point that sound was figuratively bleeding out of the headphones, with my coworker Ryan Epps telling me that he could hear what I was listening to while sitting right next to me.

The good news is that the noise-cancelation performance was surprisingly good — although Ryan could hear my audio, I couldn’t hear him or the conversation happening around me. I wouldn’t put it up there with top-end headphones like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra, but the Wear seems to offer solid performance for the price.

Sony Ult Wear hands-on review: Outlook  

At first listen, the Ult Wear feels like a solid replacement for the popular WH-XB910N. Heck, even the name is a big improvement. Small touches like the wind filter help elevate the design, while the $50 price cut really helps seal the deal. 

What’s hurting the Wear, in my opinion, is that its bass can feel a bit bloated on some tracks — something even passerbys will notice due to the headphones’ sound leakage. Thankfully the EQ can be dialled in with Sony’s Headphones app so you’re not stuck with that sound signature, but Ult mode might be a bit more bass than I can handle.

If you want a front-row ticket to that fun EDM club sound that Beats has been slowly shifting away from, the Wear will deliver a sound that will shake every part of your ears. 

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Nick Pino
Managing Editor, TV and AV

Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.