Top positive review
17 of 18 people found this helpful
Going for the gold. Give that Sony designer a Bud.
on January 29, 2010
[What distinguishes the pictured phones from the Sony MDR-ED21LP phones, rated a "best buy" by the top consumer magazine? Frankly, after comparing both--specifications and empirically--I'd have to say about five bucks. Both phones have 16mm drivers, as big as you'll find in bud-style headphones. Perhaps the Ed12's are a bit "louder" (i.e. gaudier). The Sony website indicates that the Ed12's are no longer being made. I'd take that as all the more encouragement to pick up an extra pair.]
I've just compared these Sony's, currently going for less than ten, with 3 other low-priced headphones, using audio from a uncompressed CD played on a decent home stereo system as a reference point. The differences, admittedly, are minimal, highly dependent on the preferences of the user as well as the conditions of use. Because these Sony's, unlike the other phones, are not intended for deep insertion in the ear canal, they're probably not the phones of choice if noise isolation--for example, in an airplane with the jet engine running--is desired. But in a quiet setting, they came closest to matching the sound of the CD as played by a stereo rig costing over a thousand. The highs and lows were never boosted at the expense of the mids, which were warm, unforced, inviting.
The currently highly popular JBuds Noise-Reducing Ear Buds, for just under 10, were also exceptional for their nice fat mid-range sound. However, the sound seemed somewhat forced compared to the Sony's, and soon I was tiring of the sound of even Getz' tenor saxophone. The Skull Candy INK'D definitely had the younger, moving' and groovin' rapper in mind. The sound was aggressive from the start, with Tony Williams' cymbals coming right out of the chute. Though the thinnest-sounding of this group, they'd still perform well enough to satisfy most tastes. The well-reviewed Altec Titaniums also produced an impressively full and balanced sound, though the heavy, cloth-covered cable can present problems to the listener with smaller ear canals--unless he's OK with hanging on to the phones with both hands.
The Sony's use a 16mm bass driver, whereas 10mm is quite standard. But since this type of phone doesn't produce the tight seal of inserted ear phones the bigger driver with "extra deep" bass is practically required to achieve a balanced, realistic sound. It's unfortunate if Sony's hype leads some users to expect nothing but ground-movin' groovin', because the phones are unlikely to open fault-lines in your current digs.
Nothing too relevatory--except that you don't have to spend more than ten to get adequate earphones. And in some cases, the neglected models (such as these Sony's) are, at the very least, the equals of the hottest items being sold on Amazon.