Customer Reviews: Sony MDR-AS20J Active Style Headphones with Soft Loop Hangers - Black
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Color: Black|Product Packaging: Standard Packaging|Change
Price:$99.85+ Free shipping
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on June 29, 2008
I have been in search of a pair of headphones for running for about a year. I have tried primarily earbud style designs. I have not tried in-ear designs because I do not like the sound isolation provided by in-ear. I feel this is a safety issue for running. The earbuds I have tried simply lack bass. Even though the specs of the earbuds I have tried show a frequency response down to 20 Hz, there seems to be a bass roll off.

The MDR-AS20J have very good bass. They have 13.5 mm dome type drivers as opposed to typical 9 mm drivers of earbuds. What also helps with the bass is the clip design. The clip design pushes the bud firmly but gently in the ear which helps with the bass response. Other earbuds slide out slightly which has a dramatic effect on bass.

The MDR-AS20J stay in place while running. You literally can just forget about them. They will not budge. The cord is also very light which helps with the bouncing of running. The MDR-AS20J are very comfortable for me though they are not adjustable. Some users may have fit issues.

These headphones have a very low impedance (16 ohms). That means just about any device can drive them to very high volumes, and at normal listining volumes, they will take less power.

These headphonse are weather and sweat resistant. Another important consideration for running.

These headphonse sound great. They have a balanced sound that does not over or under emphasize any frequency range. I used to watch movies in bed with a pair of high quality home headphones. The MDR-AS20J can hold ground even with my flagship headphones. I now use the MDR-AS20J for home listing in bed simply because they sound really good and they are so comfortable. You can fall asleep with them on as opposed to large headphones that get in the way.

I would give these headphonse about 10 hours of break in before judging them. CNET gave an OK review of these headphones. I doubt they let them break in. When you first get them, there will be slight distortion in the midrange which results in a muddy sound. This will go away.

You cannot go wrong with these for under $20.
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on June 27, 2008
I have been enjoying the Sony MDR-AS207J headphones since April and have not been happier with a pair of clip-on/in-ear headphones. Earbuds (like those included with most mp3 players) do not stay in my ears, even with the addition of optional size adjusters, especially at the gym, so after several years of purchasing earbuds of every brand and type I resorted to the less comfortable but terrible sounding MDR-J10's until this model came out. The soft rubber is flexible and comfortable, and because it goes completely around the back of the ear, the headphones stay in place. I where mine everyday, going to work or class, and run with them several times a week and they actually stay in place every time, something no other in-ear headphone has done for me. Some other advantages to clip-ons vs earbuds is that these clip-ons do not block out ambient noise, so you will be safe when out and about. They are comfortable, even after several hours, and I have even worn them to bed several times. Also these headphones sound really really good, especially for $20 headphones. My hearing is not great after years of working around power tools, but I was pleasantly surprised by the sound quality, especially after the dismal MDR-J10s. While the sound is not comparable to a pair of high-end, noise canceling headphones, I find it rather comparable to the Sennheiser PX100s, which are a mid-range headphone. So for everyday use when out and about you cannot go wrong with these. Save the audiophile listening sessions for something nicer. After 3 months of heavy use, these headphones show no wear or frays in the cord coating, and have held up to sweating in 90 degree weather and moderate rain. Speaking of the cord, I have found the length (which is pretty standard) to be perfect. I have enough cord to allow me to place my iPod in any pocket when walking around, and have not found it to be inconvenient when at the gym or running outside. The cord is too long for use with armbands unless you wrap it or use an armband with a cord holder (like the Tune Belt Open View Armband). After 20+ different pairs of earbuds and other in-ear headphones of the last 2 years, I have never been more pleased with 'active' headphones. They will fit your ears and stay in place in virtually any activity and the price is so low I actually purchased several pairs just in case they stop manufacturing them.
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on July 10, 2008
Like many other picky runners, I have been in search of the "perfect" headphones for quite some time now. The standard iPod ear buds fall out of my ears (as do most other ear buds) and it seems as though every other pair of headphones I tried required constant adjusting while running. That's not the case with these! I wore these during about an hour of cardio (a 30 minute run and 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer) and I never had to adjust them once. They didn't even have that feeling like they're about to fall off. These take some slight mangling to put on my ears, but once they're on, they're staying.

I'm no audiophile, but I feel that the sound quality is pretty decent. I've heard better and worse, but for a $20 pair of headphones, I think the sound is pretty darn respectable.

The only thing I can nit-pick with these is that the cord is too long, although it comes with a cord clip to resolve this issue. Overall though, I'd HIGHLY recommend these. I've tried numerous pairs of headphones and these are by far the best.
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on August 16, 2010
I purchased these headphones for my husband. He is a runner and training for another half-marathon. These are the first headphones he has found that actually stay in place even while running. He has tried all the earphone, earbuds, etc. out there. Even spent over $50 for some Bose earbuds but they would not stay in place even while he was walking or biking. These stay in place even while you're sweating and jiggling around. The speaker part of the earphones are placed better than anticipated. He loves the sound quality from them. He has a running buddy and even bought a pair for them. Even a small thing as the clip to clip to your clothing is a great advantage. We will continue to purchase these should he lose this pair.
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on October 30, 2008
Update: I previously gave these headphones a bad review, but I realized that the crackling I was getting was due to static electricity. I don't wear a particularly static-y fleece anymore when I run, and on the treadmill it hasn't been a big problem, and I've been using them happily for a couple years now. I recommend them to everyone.


These work great as far as staying in my ears securely (something the ipod buds I have do not do). The sound quality is not as good as my ipod ear buds, but I was loving them for working out in the gym until they started to crackle, and then shocking my ears. I read about headphones doing that in other reviews (not necessarily for these), but couldn't imagine what that would be like until it happened to me. I'm going to try to exchange them, and I hope the new ones will be better, because otherwise, they are awesome. I only used them lightly for a couple months, and never outdoors. They never got wet or sweaty, so I'm not sure what happened. Also, I have very small ears and these fit great and are comfortable.
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on June 6, 2009
After all the five star reviews, I hesitate to be a party pooper -- but the truth is these phones really are not that great for exercise. Yes, they will stay ON the ear no matter what. Yes, they are comfortable. Yes, they sound excellent when IN the ear. However, the speaker parts of the phones do not stay IN the ear. Rather, they slowly but surely work their way out and just hang there. Once slick with perspiration, this happens even more quickly. You end up pushing them back into the ear canal time and again. When you do this, you notice how nice the phones would sound if they would just stay IN! You cannot just forget about the phones because you are always, and I mean often, reaching up with both hands to push the phones back in your ear. It is incredibly annoying. If you are not picky about the quality of the sound and do not care that the phones do not sound as good "hanging" there as they do when snuggly in the ear, then these phones are for you because they do stay ON the ear nicely. If you want better fidelity, invest in a good in-the-ear canal model or purchase a set of phones that have speakers optimized for sitting just outside your ear canal and not firmly in the canal hole -- such as the foam on-the-ear models similar to the MDR-G57G. The on-the-ear speakers are optimized for sitting ON the ear. The IN the ear models, such as this item, are optimized for when firmly IN the ear. Since these phones do NOT stay IN the ear when exercising, they do not sound as good as they do when you are just lounging with them. Hence, IMHO, they are not all they are cracked up to be and emphatically NOT worthy of five stars.
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VINE VOICEon October 27, 2008
I run all the time and I consider myself a fairly fast runner, so I need headphones that stay in place. These headphones are it!

I have been through probably 7 different active style earphones including the "Sony MDR-EX81LP Bud-Style Stereo Earphones" and the "Sony MDR-J10 h.Ear Headphones". Both of those sets lasted me about 2 years each before one of the earphones failed. So, in my continuous effort to find the best form and function in a headphone I ordered these.

- Light weight
- Perfect fit -- secure but not overly tight
- Soft loop hangers create more secure fit
- Great Sound! Some reviews have commented on a lack of bass.... I completely disagree. I listen to a lot of hip-hop with deep bass tracks and these perform better then the aformentioned Sony earphones
- Ambient noise can still be heard -- an absolute must for someone that runs outdoors

- None to date

Based on price and performance I believe these are the best active style earphones on the market. Any one that does a lot of outdoor running shoud be able to hear ambient sounds for safety, but at the same time you can not sacrifice the full sound of your favorite motivational tunes.
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on October 17, 2008
I have now tried quite a few headphones/earbuds to find the perfect pair for all the activities I do. One is jogging. I bought these for that, hoping to get 1) great sound quality 2) comfort and 3) good fit including staying in the ear during activity. The sound quality is very nice, and the comfort is also very nice. Apparently, though, because these are NOT adjustable and are big, if you have small ears like mine, the fit will be off, and they just won't stay on. Period. With that said, because I live in a warm, sunny climate, I put my sunglasses on last and they hold the top of the clip part to my head, and the headphones stay on great. I am keeping these, but I am still searching for the right heaphones for me. But, if you have big ears, you will probably love these!!
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on November 2, 2010
My wife always had trouble with ear buds falling out of her ears. I found these for her. She says they never fall out and are comfortable.
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on June 21, 2008
These are one of the only pair that seem to hold up so far (three month old).I use them every day twice a day (WORK AND PLAY)and I have gone thru many pairs of sport ear phones.I HAVE TRIED ALL KINDS (20 PAIRS),THEY STAY IN THE EAR AND DO NOT HURT THE BACK OF THE EARS .MY FRIENDS AT THE GYM AGREE.
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