The XB stands for “eXtra Bass,” according to Sony . These new deluxe cans also “recreate the club ambience,” which is not really what I try to get out of my headphones, but a lot of people seem to like clubs, so it’s a worthwhile goal for Sony.
There are three tiers of the fat style, The MDR-XB300/500/700. I have an old pair of MDRs (probably the equivalent of the mid-range ones here) and they were great to me for years, although I prefer fuzzy headphones to leather. The aim is to get big bass, and until we get our hands on some you’ll have to take Sony’s word for it.
The MDR-XB20EX and XB40EX are the in-ear options, the latter of course being the superior one. They’ve got an “innovative ‘direct vibe’ acoustic design,” which I somehow doubt is all that innovative, but I’m sure they sound just fine.
No prices are mentioned in the press release, but you can expect probably a $40 and $80-ish price points for the in-ears, and a similarly spaced progression for the big ones. I’m going to say $90, $150, and $250. These are right out of my head, I’ll update them as soon as I get real numbers. They’ll be available in March.