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These Surprisingly Good Sony Headphones Are Back Down to Just $38

The CH-520 wireless headphones list for $60, but you can get them now for 37% off in all three colors.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read
The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good
Enlarge Image
The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good

Sony's CH-520 on-ear headphones sound surprisingly decent, considering their budget price.

David Carnoy/CNET

For those who haven't seen this deal in the past, I'm highlighting it again, as Sony's new-for-2023 budget on-ear CH-520 headphones are back down to $38 in all colors. That's 37% less than their list price of $60, which matches the CH-520's lowest price to date.

A few months ago I reviewed Sony's entry-level CH-720N noise-canceling headphones. They're quite good, but if you can't afford them -- they list for $150 and are on sale right now for $90 in black -- the CH-520 are an intriguing option.

I initially had low expectations for the CH-520s. They look and feel a bit cheap, lack noise canceling and are pretty no-frills. But it turns out they offer good sound for their price, are lightweight and pretty comfortable for on-ear headphones, and also have excellent battery life. They're rated for up to 50 hours at moderate volume levels. Additionally, they're equipped with multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair them with two devices simultaneously, such as a smartphone and a computer, and easily switch audio between those devices. Voice-calling performance is decent, though not up to the level of the CH-720N. 

Read moreBest Cheap Earbuds and Headphones for 2023

Note that there's no wired option -- these are wireless, Bluetooth-only headphones. The CH-520 offer overall balanced sound with decent clarity. The bass has some punch to it but doesn't pack a wallop, and you aren't going to get quite as wide a soundstage as you get from Sony's more expensive over-ear headphones. But these definitely sound better than Sony's previous entry-level on-ear headphones, and they sound better than I thought they would. 

I tried the white color but they also come in blue and black (alas, no protective carrying pouch is included). It's also worth noting that they link with Sony's Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android, which allows for upgrading the firmware and accessing an equalizer to tweak the sound, as well as activate multipoint Bluetooth pairing.

The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good
Enlarge Image
The Sony CH-520 are budget on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good

The CH-520 headphones are comfortable for on-ear 'phones.


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