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I'm someone who pretty much has music on constantly and so when my previous Sony earphones snapped I went to Sainsvurys on my way home to purchase some new ones. Their range was very limited and they had these earphones as well as some which were out of my price range so at £5.99 I thought I'd give them ago even if they were a little on the cheap side.
They have the standard 3.5mm jack which works for just about everything and the connection is of the right angles 'elbow' type which tends to make them a bit stronger and stop them snapping when you put them in trouser pockets. However, the rest of the earphone very much reflects it's price. The ear buds are cheap and nasty and the wire has a strange tendency to keep it's shape i.e. it doesn't just fall down so it can sometimes stick out in front of you rather than giving into gravity!
As for the sound, it would appear that the manufacturer was unaware of what bass is. One of the first songs that came on after pluggin the earphones in was No One Knows from 'Songs for the Deaf' by Queens of the Stone Age (buy it!) and the song has a couple of bass solos. Had I not known the song I would have assumed that they were actually 2 periods of silence because the earphones simply did not make a sound!
I'm one of those people who is forever plugged into my ipod. I love wandering along listening to music, it livens up getting from A to B. The white wire dangling from the ears has become an iconic thing now, featuring in the itunes adverts and forever being spoofed. I remember when the ipods first made it big thinking that the white wire looks cheap and tacky, earphones had always been black up until then. However, it became the cool thing to have, though for a long time I put off buying and ipod, largely due to the price and stuck to my trusty discman.. though did consider painting the wire white.
Soon enough, and with a little help from ebay I joined the masses and bought my first nano. Then I realised why these white wires had become a sign of quality, instead of tackyness. The sound from them was clear, loud and better than most earphones I'd used before. I've since upgraded my ipod to a shiny new purple nano, and I've been through 4 pairs of apple's supposed great quality earphones. After a while I found they start rattling, the last pair just in one ear. I refused to pay and other £20 for the hugely overpriced accessories and headed to the headphones aisle in Tesco to pick and alternative.
I'm no great expert on headphones/earphones but I know from experience, buying a 99p set is a false economy. They won't last and you'll barely hear anything on full volume. Some of the earphones they had in stock were up to £70, not for big earmuff types but little in ear buds. What do they do extra for £70.. make a cup of tea for you while you listen to your favourite tracks?? I wanted a middle of the road pair that would give my great sound and not break the bank. I'd heard of Sennheiser and I knew they were a good brand, usually with a price tag to match as they were selling some phones at up to £50 in Tesco. I spotted a pair of Sennheisers, the MX 160, for £7.97 however, and decided to go for these, back to black it is. I always think that brands that specialise in a small area make better products rather than trying to be good at lots of things. Sennheiser specialise in audio equipment, so if they don't know how to make a good earphone, who will?
The box displayed the phones well, a clear plastic front on a card backing, has a moulded plastic inner tray which hold on earphone to the side and one facing down so you can see clearly what you're getting. I guess this is a lot of packing for a small object, green this packaging is not but it does protect the phones well and displays them stylishly and practically.
The phones are displayed with out the soft pads to put over the ends but these are included. Only one pair though, for those of us that like wearing the phones with the pads on, constant use means they wear out quickly and a spare set would be useful. I know you can buy them separately but little extras like this would make for a better overall product.
The phones come with the standard 3.5mm jack on the end which means it can be used for all audio devices. It clearly states on the box that the phones are ideal for iphone, ipod. MP3, CD, DVD and MD players.
The phones, as I mentioned are black and as far as I have seen this is the only colour they are available in. Although they looked good in the packet, when I took them out I was a little disappointed at the feel of them, they are flimsy feeling shiny black plastic. I found though, them being so much lighter than say the apple phones, made them a lot more comfortable to wear and stayed in the ears better.
So did the fact they were light mean they produced less sound? Not at all, quite the opposite. I am very impressed with the sound quality of these phones considering the price. I think it's as good, if not a bit better than the apple ones. The claims for this product by Sennheiser are that they provide "power bass driven stereo sound". They definitely deliver what they promise. I've even noticed things in some of my music I'd not noticed before since using these, I can't say I've suddenly become more observant so I can only say it'd due to the sound clarity. The sound goes up very loud on my ipod, and I now listen down a few notches to the full volume I used to listen on. All traffic, trains and bus noises are eliminated perfectly, so nothing can come between me and Kelly Jones.
The phones are designed with an asymmetrical cable, which is intended to allow the user to wear the cord behind the neck. I've found this is really comfy, you can rest the cord around the back of the neck and if you need to take the phones out, they just hang round your neck, easy to pop in again without faffing around. If you like the cord round the front this works equally well, if you don't mind the cord being a bit lop sided, as it's not possible to adjust it. The cord length is 1m which it actually states on the box! Browsing the phones, I found this was information most products didn't share, although I imagine it's fairly standard across the board.
I've been using these phones a week or so and no complaints as yet, but should I find they aren't up to scratch, Sennheiser gives you a 2 year warranty, which I think is generous for a cheap product.
Overall a top set of phones. Recommended!
For those who want technical specifications, here you go.. but I can't say I can translate!
Frequency response - 22- 20,000 hz
Sound Pressure level -109dB