Great sound; so-so design
I've tried out about 10 different sets of Sony headphones and finally settled on these for my gym headphones. The sound is fantastic for the price range with enough bass to satisfy me while maintaining clear highs and vocals.
I did try out a few higher-end buds, but although they provided better sound, the neck-chain cord was a deal-breaker. I can't stress how much I dislike this design. For one thing, I wear my iPod on my right hip since I'm right-handed, so the cord has to cross my body. So much for moving the cord to one side! And aside from that, the best placement for a cord when you're working out is in the center (sure it's out of the way when I do my right-sided exercises, but it's directly in the way when I do my left-sided exercises). I really wish Sony would offer it's high-end earphones with a choice of either neck-chain or Y-type cord. (Are you listening, Sony?)
Now, I must mention that the MDR-EX81's also have a neck-chain cord, but it's a compromise I've had to make since the sound on all models with a Y-type cord is unacceptable to me. Fortunately, the cord on the MDR-EX81 doesn't bother me as much because of the over-the-ear design. This helps eliminate the pull of the cord on the earbud, which makes quite a bit of difference. Unfortunately, the over-the-ear design is not adjustable and is obviously made for someone with huge ears, so it's a very poor fit for me. But the earbuds remain fairly snug throughout my workout, so it's not a deal-breaker.
Now if only Sony would take the sound of the MDR-EX81 and add it to the design of the MDR-AS20J, I'd have the perfect gym headphones (for the record, I've tried the MDR-AS40EX, but I found the volume to be inadequate). For now, however, these will do.
April 23, 2009
I have had these headphones for just over two years now. I have never been disappointed with this product. They have excellent sound quality and even better bass. The bass output on these phones is among the best i've ever heard from in-ear phones. The only problem that I have ever had is that they get tangled up really easily. Another thing that i was very pleased with is the fact that it cancels outside noise very well for a pair of stereo headphones. You MUST use the right size earpiece though in order to get the best use out of them. These headphones are also really comfortable, and after extensive use, you barely know that you have them in your ears. It takes a little getting used to having the speaker in your ear, but the comfort and the sound quality more than makes up for the week it takes to get used to the phones. Again, a wonderful product that is most definitely worth $50.
March 13, 2009