* Prices may differ from that shown
I'm not sure how I ever coped with the normal default headphones for my ipod shuffle anymore. I use these on the tube and they cancel out all background noise meaning that I don't need to have the volume very loud to be able to hear my music. They also contain the sound very well so others don't have to listen to your music.
The headphones come with three different sized buds to suit your ear size, I found the smallest worked best for me and they fit very snugly in my ear. The chord is of a standard length expected for headphones. They look quite cool once they are fitted in the ear as well, no corny logo or anything like that. I would say that the build quality is fairly standard and what you would expect from Sony, the wiring is still a little fragile near the headphone bud, but this seems to be the case with all headphones.
I mostly listen to metal and heavy rock and these headphones carry the sound very well, crisp guitar sounds and thudding bass drums. In-ear headphones are generally very poor for this type of music so I was pleasantly surprised. Highly recommended and very grateful that I purchased these, a bargain too.
Working in the recording industry has enabled me to enjoy and try out many different headphone types over the years, though these days I notice a definite leaning trend to the slimmer in the ear headphones rather than the larger muffed headphones. It has been medically suggested that the in ear headphones are not good to wear for prolonged periods as they can damage the inner ear if noise exposure is too high. I do my best to be cautious in this department and therefore try to use in ear headphones for shortened periods. Sony is one of my preferred makes, alongside Sennheiser and JVC. Usually Sony's prices are too expensive for the casual buyer, but these will set you back about ten pounds which makes them a good purchase and also in line with Apple's headphone prices.
They are clearly meant to be rivalling Apple, but what gives these an edge is the softened inner ear casing, so you can plug them into the ear canal and cut out a lot of external noise. I found this wonderful for monitoring purposes, but also great for when you want to chill out and become immersed in the breadth of sound.
The sound dynamics are crisp and clear with excellent hi end and low end attenuation and they also stand up to being tested at volume, so you will not experience hissing or popping. The bass works particularly well when presented with sub woofer sounds, which you might find on garage or drum and bass music. So you might feel your ears shake like you are standing near a bass bin! A high-power Neodymium Magnet ensures the sound dynamic is delivered to the utmost ability and the adjustable cord allows you to fix the length of the headphones depending on if you seated or moving with them, which is a feature I like and find handy. Too lightweight for longterm studio use, but ideal for an Apple or mp3 player alternative and well constructed with a minimal stylish finish.
After sufficing with my original iPod headphones for as long as I could (students, unfortunately, don't have enough spare coinage for additional commodities such as headphones), a trip around Europe relying upon low quality and crackling-bass musical solace to dampen the interminable train journeys was enough to convince me that I was in need of new ones.
After reading excellent, top star reviews on amazon of the sony MDREx33LPL In-Ear Entry Closed Headphones I must say I was fairly disappointed.
Listening to Elbow's Ground for Divorce I was unimpressed with the lackluster attempt of the earphones - the usual hard hitting sound was lost under a tinny sounding background drum rhythm and the former air-guitar inspiring acoustic solo was very lacking in punch.
The Who's, We Wont Get Fooled Again started out well, handling the introductive organ solo beautifully however again the headphones didn't cope well with the beginning of the drums - the headphones seem to make all cymbals sound similarly flat and tinny.
The 'phones fared little better with Knights of Cydonia (Muse) and I actually found myself not really listening to the music much. Similarly with Heartbeats by José González, the gentle acoustics and pleasant vocals were lost under the roar of the bus' engine - a bad effort on behalf of the noise-cancelling design.
There are some advantages to the headphones; they sit very comfortably and come with additional earbud sizes to find an ideal personal size, the noise cancelling design works up to a point (I'm thinking low level traffic on the other side of the road) but is not great, as enigmatically specified in one review, when competing with bus or train engines. To be fair, the sound is not particularly bad, seemingly well suited to fast, upbeat guitar oriented music (such as Pigeon Detectives) and vocals (Ricky Gervais podcast, anyone?), and less towards percussion driven sounds; I was, however, expecting much more from the sony's judging by the amazon reviews.
I suppose in order to listen to my music with any degree of quality (disregarding listening to it on an ipod) I would have to don a massive pair of expert, expensive earmuff-style phones; however, due to the sake of communal homogenity and social acceptance, I think I will stick to the slightly tinny, slightly less conspicuous in-ears.