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Lonely For My Headphones, Part 3: Sony Headphones

One Thing Leads To Another

I've been auditioning a lot of headphones over the past several weeks, looking for a relatively inexpensive pair that would, nonetheless, give me great sound quality. I'm terrible at making shopping decisions, so I asked my family to go along and help me choose. I should have known better. Magically, they all needed new headphones too.

With my budget chopped, I decided to explore the low-to-mid end of the spectrum, where (happily) there's still a decent selection of headphones.

Take A Chance On Me

Sony MDR-110LPSony’s MDR-110LP headphones are good, entry-level headphones designed as replacement headphones for portable CD and MP3 players. For me, they sounded adequate, but they didn’t have the level of sound quality I was looking for. And the cord length, while fine for a clip-on MP3 player, was a little too short for my needs.

On the plus side, these headphones were super-inexpensive — so inexpensive I had no problem in buying a couple sets for the kids. And because the price was so great, I also popped for a couple of the slightly higher level versions of these headphones (MDR-210LP) for comparison. I did get a better bass response, but the quality of sound still wasn’t quite what I wanted. It also had the short cord, but it did come with a nifty mini-to-standard plug adapter — that alone made them worth the slight increase in price.

Neither of these models were going to do for work. I need something with a significantly longer cord, and earcups that not only let me hear music, but would screen outside noise and were comfortable enough to wear all day. I also wanted better sound reproduction--since I wear headphones all day, great sound really is important.Sony MDR-X200

Love The One You're With

So, I tried Sony's MDR-X200 model. These are mid-level home headphones in the lower price range: the kind you might purchase for late-night TV viewing. They include a much longer cord than I'm used to seeing. Some people may take issue with the extra length, but I'd rather have the length than not — it's a lot easier to zip-tie an extra-long cable than it is to wrestle with a too-short cord, and I don't have to add extensions that could potentially introduce noise into my signal.

I find the padded vinyl, over-the ear style distinctly more comfortable than the on-ear foam pads of the previous models. The fit (for me) is a little loose about the ear, even after adjusting. But because they fit over my ear I feel reasonably secure when I wear them, and I get a touch of natural noise isolation. It comes with a movie/music switch, which lets you choose how much bass you want to filter into your sound, and  the sound is definitely decent — better, when I make the fit tighter on my head.

I admit, I'm totally spoiled by my Bose® QuietComfort® 2 headphones, so my long-term plan is to save up for a set of Bose QC® 2's and make the MDR-X200 my nice "at home" phones. Unless of course, I find something better.

Song title references:

  • One Thing Leads To Another — The Fixx
  • Take A Chance On Me — Erasure
  • Love The One You're With — Stephen Stills
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