The search had an end- the perfect earbuds

2009/06/03 § Leave a comment


As regular reader of this blog (I know that type does not exist, so calm down) you are aware of my quest for a perfect set of earbud headphones, and how I tried Shure, Sennheiser, Bose, Apple’s own iPod earbuds, Skullcandy and Klipsch Image X5. Yes, the Klipsch were great, but who wants to buy earbuds at 250$ a piece? Anyhow, maybe the 100$ Shure, Sennheiser, Bose and Apple headphones would have done the job one could think? But I did not think so. I was disappointed by all of them. The popularity of the Shure in the US can only be explained by the American taste for overload I think.

US Americans are used to be overloaded, and seem to like it. Just look at fast food. Loads of fat and protein and sugars. Gaaarrrreeeeaaaattttt! Well, not for a more balanced European taste 😛

So I went for the Sony MDR EX 90 headbuds. Great stuff! Well balanced sound, and as one reviewer said “All-in-all the engineers at Sony hit a homerun with the MDREX90’s in my opinion. I believe sound quality compromises were made in all the right areas for this design.”. Even though I am not crazy about the home-run metaphor I agree with the conclusion!

These buds are insane for the 80$ price-tag. The bass is not just wobbling around as with the Shure and yet it is deep and still defined. And if the snares at the end of a song are hit you wonder how long they last, and how you have never noticed that before. The resolution is a hit with the voice being clearly separated from even the worst mess of rock music insanity. The same goes for all the different frequencies.

Test your buds with Kyuss song Phototropic from the album And the circus leaves town, and Spaceship landing. If you are looking for a defined bass you should get the picture listening to these songs. Also Catamaran gives you a good idea of what a well defined drum sound should be like.

If you are about to test the treble of your headphones you may go for Air’s “Universal Traveller” or “Surin’ on a rocket” which gives you a range of frequencies to test, (beside it being a beautiful song) from the album Talkie Walkie. Then you also get a good feel for what a decent medium range frequency should look like.

Well, well, sure enough that brings me to the real point of this review; if you are into any deviant 😉 music style like rap, R’n’B, Jazz, Classics or what the heck else there is out there I do not listen to on a regular basis, you may want to reevaluate. However, I have tried Jazz, Blues, Classical Music, Heavy, Prog Rock, Indie, Metal, Ambient, Synth, Pop and many more types of music on my Sony’s and I am thrilled.

Why is it that a sucky company like Sony makes such great earbuds? I have been wondering myself! I have a working hypothesis; maybe it simply is due to the fact that A) we have here a company that has been doing individual music listening for a while (they did after all invent the Walkman), and B) that Sony has not been doing that well lately in terms of financial success. Hence, who would not assume that a company in dire straits should be keen on selling great product for very competitive prices? Whatever the reasons, I am at the end of my search… 🙂

PS They come with a pretty useless carrying case, at least they do not tell you not to wrap your earbuds around your iPod as SkullCandy does, which fucks the cord up in two months as happened to me… So in the end it is a good advice, but where do you keep the earbuds, SkullCandy? Thank you…

UPDATE:

Almost two years on, and endless times of wrapping the headphones around my iPod (f*** you SkullCandy) keeping them in my pocket there is no crack in the cord, and endless times stepping on them (it happens) there is no damage, and endless times of ripping them out of my ears by accident, they still do not need substitute rubber thingies (you know, the stuff that you keep loosing with many other earphones- thanks Phillips), and best of all they still sound great. Man, what great value for money! I have never been as satisfied with earbud headphones before.


http://forums.ilounge.com/archive/index.php/t-186708.html
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=11038874

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