Friday, June 11, 2010

The Search for the Perfect Headphones: Sony MDR-XB700

Finally, I broke down and spent $80 on a pair of headphones, the Sony MDR-XB700 50mm Diaphragm Driver Extra Bass Headphones.

These are the only ones I've gotten which truly go all the way around the ears. And, despite being physically larger than the others, they are the lightest ones I've gotten, and by far the most comfortable. It's like clouds on my ears. I can wear them all day.

They have the best sound, too--even the really, really low notes come through.

On top of all that, the cord is the perfect length. I plug it into my iPod, put it in my pocket, and there is almost no slack. I suspect it would be perfect for anyone from 5'2" to 6'4", give or take.

They don't isolate sound quite as well as the Auvio headphones, but they do an adequate job.

There are a few downsides. They are a bit bulky, so they don't fit around my neck when I'm not using them. And unlike the other headphones, there is some noise when the cord rubs on my shirt, especially if I'm wearing a high collar. It's not even close to as bad as with the earbuds, though, and is alleviated by wrapping something around the cords to keep them closer together (I use a piece of scotch tape).

The Verdict: All in all, though, I am extremely pleased with them, and I plan to keep them. I give them 4 out of 5 stars.

There are two other, smaller and cheaper models in the series (MDR-XB500 and MDR-XB300), which I suspect have progressively less bass and overall sound quality, and are probably less comfortable, but probably have less cord noise. They also have two earbud models in the series (MDR-XB40EX and MDR-XB20EX), but I fail to see how those products are similar to these. However, if I ever plan to spend $30 or $40 on earbuds, they will be the first ones I'll look at.

This concludes my search for the perfect headphones, at least until these break, or I need new earbuds, or I get $300 to spend on the Bose QuietComfort 15. Or, maybe $150 for the QuietComfort 2 would be adequate.

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