Sony MDR-EX71SL On-Ear

MDR-EX71SL

  • Super-light in-the-ear design
  • New, super-small 9 mm drivers
  • Soft, silicon earbuds: reduce outside noise, provide long-lasting comfort, hour after hour; the earbuds are washable, removable and replaceable
  • Two sizes of earbuds accommodate a full range of ears
  • Long-throw PET Diaphragm
  • 400 kJ/mã Neodymium magnet: for maximum energy in minimum size
  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) cord: for high signal transmission, low noise
  • Stylish, Neck-Chain Cord
  • Gold-plated mini-plug: for exceptional corrosion resistance, superb conductivity, low noise
  • Hard carrying case and earbud holder supplied

User Reviews (12)

Showing 1-10 of 12  
cray0486   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 15, 2006]
Strength:

Fit and comfort was much imporved over the standard iPod issue. The "in the ear" rubber tips fit and seal nicely, not like the iPod's that just sit in the ear. The bass was better than the iPod standard.

Weakness:

CORD! There is a long (right) and short (left) side, the long side goes around the head. The problem is the overall length of the cord, the section that goes to the mp3 player is too short! Sony provides a extension cord BUT they could have made the cord ~6" longer and avoided the extra cost and weight of the extension cord.

Treble! Sounds really bad on some songs. The snare drum sounds more like symbols. When have trouble picking out indivdual instruments you know the sound quality is sub-par.

Overall fair sound quality for the cost...

After only a month, the iPod Nano supplied ear bugs were distorting on one side so I went shopping for a better replacement.

Similar Products Used: iPod
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
bROTHER   AudioPhile [Jul 04, 2005]

Sony claims that the MDR-EX71SL are probably the best portable headphones in the market nowadays. After so many reviews read, tech. specs compared and models tested I finally bought them. Here's my objective review. I hope you find it useful. They cost me 42 € all included at a SonyGallery "real" shop. Be aware of so called incredible web shop offers"; you cannot find them much cheaper nowhere; btw, the SonyGallery online shop does not work and they suck cos they didn't answered my mails (hey, I was a customer wanting to expend money!). It comes in 4 pieces: the headphones (which alone has a too short cord), the enlargement cord (which in combination with the former is too long), the fragile ear pads in three sizes (if neither of them fit comfortably in your ears you can go and ask for your money back cos the headphones will not perform properly), and a cheap plastic ear bud holder which can be used to wind the excess cable. The headphones mount a 9 mm driver unit, smaller than the average 15-16 mm driver units of bass-powerful headphones. It does not content any acoustic chamber and the diaphragm is made of PET; its small size and mass combined with high density neodymium magnet performs excellent at high frequency, and probably you'll have to re-equalize your player to lower them (do not forget that high treble volume is what damage ears the most). Because of their tiny size, they fit "into" the ear (as opposed to "in") completely, but don't wait a louder volume as a consequence. To fit properly you have to attach one of the provided ear pads, one that comfortably fills the gap between the phone itself and your ear. This cannot always be done, and if not, you won't be able to hear the bass properly and thus these headphones are not for you. It's impossible to provide an universal ear pad size, cos nor two human ears are equally sized. The phones itself do not provide an acoustic chamber, because the principle of working is based on using the human ear as a natural resonator: by closing properly the ear with the ear pads (here the importance of them) your whole ear becomes a bass-reflex system, with a resonating frequency depending on the ear anatomy, and here's why they will sound different on different ears. At that moment you'll hear a rich and deep bass experience not possible with typical bass pipe phones; not in vain it has a cut-off frequency on an incredible 6Hz. Of course if you use a cheap player these phones are not for you. But note that this bass is much more perceptible in lower frequencies, i.e., you'll find bass in songs you'll never thought they would be sounding so, while in typical bass-coloured music like techno, you'll find not remarkable gain compared to another typical pipe bass phone; so this will probably disappoint you if your looking for a bass-blasting experience when listening this kind of music. I've used bass pipe phones all my live, being the Aiwa dual pipe phone technology the best performer of them, but now its possible to get together neodymium magnets, OFC cord, gold plated connectors on a ultra-light phone that do not fall off when you run or push accidentally the cable. That is the value of these headphones. But, and there are always "but's" (not butts ;) on a good review, there are some "counter's" that should have in mind when buying this item: 1. The bass experience depends completely on the optimal fitting of the ear pads; otherwise phones will fall down, sound plain or be very uncomfortable. 2. Some people may find very disgusting putting things into the ears. I you're one of them, this product is not for you. 3. When the fitting is optimum, your ear will resonate not only your music bass, but everything that hit you: you would be able to hear your heartbeat, your walking, etc. 4. And finally, the price is too high for what it represents. It maximum advisable price should be no more than 30 €. Best regards ©bROTHER

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
walriley   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 28, 2005]
Strength:

With some heavy tweaking of the EQ to lose the honk and curtail the bass, can sound very natural, if a little laid back in the mid.

Weakness:

Not very sensitive. More sound isolation would help. Without EQ they're pretty 'orrible!

These phones can sound very acceptable but they take some running in (they are essentially a miniature speaker after all) and working at to get the best out of them. First impressions weren't good. The bass was full, but a little uncontrolled. Treble metallic, and with a nasty sting- i'm guessing- at around 9-10 khz, that i struggled to remove with graphic eq on my Zen Touch. (It didn't help that the frequencies described on the Zen's eq seemed to bear no relation to those that were being altered!) Still, perseverance has paid off, and i'm now getting a rather more pleasant sound out of this combo than I was first greeted with. Bass is actually quite nice when it's reined in. Mids are natural, although the Shure E2C's are clearer in this respect. However, once the upper mid/lower treble honk is sorted, they better the Shures in the upper reaches. However, due to their lowish sensitivity, they could probably do with a little more external sound isolation.

Similar Products Used: Shure E2C, Sony MD-Q33, Sennheiser HD480 Classics.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
Gaffer74   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 26, 2005]
Strength:

match the iPod colour (I got the white ones) excellent noise isolation don't need to have high volumes to hear it

Weakness:

splashy, innacurate, high treble innaccurate bass non-existant midrange

Treble: very harsh/shrill at high volumes. I have had my iPod uncapped using GoPod, but have re-capped it euro 100dB max as above this, treble is too bright. Below this, though, treble is more acceptable (and more midrange manages to elbow its way through - shouldn't be listening to them too loudly anyway). Midrange: Not really present past the overblown bass and treble. Bass: Yes it's there, but no where near as good as my other cans (sennheiser HD575 symphony's - but then these are 5x more expensive). The extra bass is less noticeable because it is too uncontrolled I think. Fitting: beautiful... too good in fact. In fact, so good that whereas before I used to simply turn the volume down/off to listen to people, I now have to take them out completely - no ambient noise at all - the bonus is that you therefore don't need such high volumes to hear the music (my iPod is usually set around the halfway mark now). Probably the most comfortable in ear phones i've used (btw the inserts do make a difference, I've found medium sounds best). Update: I have since tried this toimprove the sound... Get some simple cotton wool ear buds, pull some of the cotton wool off the end. Insert a small amount (enough to fill to the rim of the grey "caps" snugly) into the ends. Voila: Bass remains unnaffected, Midrange pretty much the same, treble markedly reduced......overall loudness reduced (so re-uncapped the iPod back to US vol limits) OVERALL:....in hindsight, even with my "cotton wool" fix, treble can still be a bit too harsh most of the time. You shouldn't need to do anything to headphones really to get them to work acceptably. I now wish i'd bought Sennheiser mx450/500/550's instead (and they're £10 cheaper too)......why do companies insist on tuning the sound for people who equate accuracy of sound with iercingly high levels of (splashy) treble? Anyway, they're not worth £35 from sony direct/high street etc. but maybe worth a look if £26 (delivered) from the net (and you're into wildly exagerated treble).

Similar Products Used: sennheiser HD575 sony MDR818, MDRED21LP panasonic RPHV162
OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
elTiburon   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 14, 2005]
Strength:

Comfort fit. Very good (but not excellent) volume. Very good bass. Excellent sound isolation. Good value for price. Includes a carrying case and protection.

Weakness:

When used with te extension cord, the cable is too long. Tend to go out easily doing excercises.

I have been using this headphones for 7 months and I have to tell that i'm not disappointed with them. STYLE: Earbuds. Very nice. But it with time, the crome part comes dark. SOUND QUALITY: Overall it's very good. Deep and clean bass. Good highs. But Sony still have to work in the mid-highs. They're to high, what makes the trumpets, electric guitars and instruments with same frecuency sound a little loud, so you can't hear well the highs. But if your CD player or MP3 player has an equalizer you can resolve very easy this problem: Just adjust -3dB in the 2khz and 4khz frequencies. COMFORT: It's very comfortable, but it tends to go out easily if you run. It also does an excellent job blocking out the noise (when you put it on, it doesn't make much diference, but when you put music, you DON'T hear anything outside). VALUE: Yes, they are headphones that sound better for the price, but in terms of style and sound isolation, this is better. So it has a very good overall value.

Similar Products Used: Koss, RadioShack, Sony and Sennheiser (among others) headphones.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
eynlai   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 13, 2005]
Strength:

seal type quality

Weakness:

uneven cord, short cord, too long extension cord, useless carrying case

After having these new earbuds for about 3 weeks now, I feel I can give it a fair review. For those of you looking for upgraded earbuds to the ones that came with your iPod and was considering the Sony MDR-EX71SL... Look else where. At first, these seem like a nice economical alternative to the way higher priced Shure E-series. It boaster the same type of "seal out the noise" design. I got mine at ecost.com, a online retailer I highly recommend AGAINST. I'll explain later. The Sonys come in a typical shrink hard plastic wrapper. It claims to have adjustable cord, which it does not. It comes with a carrying case, that is pretty much just a rectanglar box and useless. It's not even a cord winding case line the ones that comes with the Sennhesier MX-500 or MX-550s. Other accessories include: a "extension" cord, this is more of a necessities because the actual length of the earbud cord is about 1 foot long. Way too short without the "extension" cord... Unless you carry your iPod at chest level; 3 size soft cones comes with it, small, medium & large. You're suppose to try on each set until you find the perfect fit. The design is simple but is suppose to be very effective. The cones are soft rubber that attaches to the earbud itself and fit in your ear like safety earplugs. Thus sealing out outside noise and enhancing bass. Simple, but great design and concept. Here's are the problems: As mentioned above, the main cord is way too short. Snapping on the "extension" cord now makes it way too long. It adds about 3 feet. Plus, the co-joining plug where you plug in the main cord to the extension adds weight to the line. This is important, remember this because it contribute to this model's downfall. The main cord itself splits to left ear and right ear. Just like any other earbud or most headphones. But it for some unknown reason, Sony purposely made the split uneven so the right side is much longer than the left so the split is virtually at left jaw level with a metallic split nub. The split nub adds more weight to the line. Due to the split, the line on the left side weighs down more heavily. This causes the left earbud to come loose often because most of the weight is uneven on that side of the line making it to nearly impossible to keep a perfect fit on the left side. Thus affecting the sound volume balance where the ride side will sound louder than the left. I bought 2 sets of these from ecost.com. One for me and one for my nephew for Xmas since he has a 3rd Gen. iPod. The set I kept was defective beyond the design. The sound volume balance was actually louder on the left despite the fit of either side. I confirmed this by swapping sides, and then trying on the set I gave him. I used his for a bit now and discovered the design flaw I just wrote above. I found out that ecost.com has a no return, no exchange policy and you are automatically referred to the manfacturer, in this case Sony. I contacted Sony via email and they sent me a response that I would need to send it in to their service center for a exchange and had me fill out some online form. After I submitted it, I got a email saying that the model I specified is not available for the exchange but send it in anyways, and the center will contact me regarding a substitute. They would not say if it would be the next model up, or some $9.99 cheapies. I emailed them back, what do they mean, and the response was just a repeat of what they already sent me. I called Sony with the repair number, and the rep said someone will call me back in 24 hours. I'll see if I can get this resolved soon, but I have a feeling I would have to dispute this purchase with my credit card company. It's a shame, because the earbuds actually sounds pretty good. I worn it while riding my motorcycle a couple of times and can notice the "seal out" effect of the plugs. Not too bad with a helmet on since it holds it in place and takes the weight off of the cord. A very good design, and probably quality drives in the buds themselves. To bad all of that was ruined by the simplest of design of making the short main cord that's lopsided. What was Sony intending??? Bottom line: If you're looking for a good set of upgraded earbuds. I recommend the Sennhesiers MX-500 or MX-550s. I had the 500 for 2 years now and it does sound great. If you have the cash to try the Shures, go for it and please post a review. By the way, DON'T BUY ANYTHING FROM ECOST.COM UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO DEAL WITH THE NO EXCHANGE NO RETURN POLICY OF THEIRS.

Similar Products Used: Sennhesier MX-500
OVERALL
RATING
1
VALUE
RATING
1
Sound Buff   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 16, 2004]
Strength:

Good all-around sound. Deep base and sharp highs but not the kind that wares you out after three songs. Comfortable.

Weakness:

So far...none. If Sony made these like the last pair of earbuds (I still own after ten years of heavy use) then I'll be really pleased.

I was actually quite surprised by the great sound that comes from such a small set of in-the-ear headphone. For 36 bucks I don't think the sound can be beat. They come with three size options of which I found the middle set to be very comfortable. It's nice to have a case so as to protect it when not in use. Are these the best earbuds available? Probably not but for the price you can't beat'em. Gardening, backpacking, kayaking etc will never be the same. If you are looking for a real headphone experience for in the home go for the Sennheiser HD650 or Beyerdynamics DT880s. Earbuds are for the road.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
scion   Audio Enthusiast [May 18, 2004]
Strength:

Good sound for the price. Deep Bass. 3 sizes of ear-pieces included.

Weakness:

Muddied Mids. Inaccurate across the sound range. Uncomfortable after 45 mins (for me) In-Ear pieces get dirty with ear gunk even if you clean your ears daily (sorry if I grossed you out)

I have yet to find the perfect earbuds, but I know these are not it. They have great bass, but the over sound is very muddied, especially the mids. If you know what something should really sound like these will disappoint you. On the other hand, compared to pack-in headphones these are pretty good (with the exception of the *new* sennheiser built iPod headphones, not the original ones.) I have a lot of headphones, including the stellar HD-680s from Sennheiser and the Grado SR-80s both of which blow these away in every conceivable way, but theyre also 100times bulkier. For earbuds, I've looked for a really good pair but didnt want to shell out for Etymotics or Shures, but that was a mistake. These are good, and as people say you need to find the exact fit from the three supplied rubber ear-pieces. The mid-size fit me best. The bass is deep and surprising from this tiny package but they do not have the mids right. They are muddied and inaccurate. This kills it for me. If this doesn't bother you or you don't know what I mean, then these headphones are for you. Also, don't plan on listening for too long. Besides the fact that you just shouldnt listen to headphones for extended periods - over an hour continuously, for example, these are fatiguing and they're physically uncomfortable after about 45 mins of use with any size in-ear pieces. As an alternative I recommed the shure or etymotics if you can afford them, Grado sr-60s or sr-80s if ear-buds are not essential, or the more expensive traditional sony ear-buds (the ones that cost ~$70 online, not the noise-cencelling kind.)

Similar Products Used: Sony, Grado, Sennheiser, Shure, Etymotic, lots of completely horrible pack-in headphones with MP3, mini-disc and CD players.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
4
logos   Audio Enthusiast [May 17, 2004]
Strength:

Bass, all round frequency response. Mutes external noise for outdoor use.

Weakness:

Cable could be 6" longer to avoid having to use the supplied extension cord which is a small bother. Otherwise no weakness for the price.

When I first tried them on after purchase, I was disappointed - no bass, shrill sound. After I changed the plug to the biggest one, the sound was transformed. Great bass, mids and highs. The bass is full, tuneful and surprisingly deep. If you get one of these, be sure to experiment with the 3 sizes of plugs supplied until you get a good ear seal. Only then will you be able to hear them properly as designed. Make sure that you turn off the bass boost on your player as otherwise the bass will be overwhelming. It is just fine with the bass set to flat, which shows how good the earbuds' bass response is. Mine was run-in for 24 hrs on my MP3 Discman to smoothen the sound. They get more comfy to wear over the weeks as the silicon surrounds become softer with use. Great for outdoor use in buses, trains etc as they mute external noise. Anti-social though, as you will not be able to hear what others are saying to you. Very pleased with purchase. Bought the similar-designed and sounding MDR EX51 earbuds(on sale for $30 without extension cable but nice cherry red color) as a second pair.

Similar Products Used: Sennheiser PX100 - great open vented design Sennheiser PX200 - much inferior to the PX100 and MDR-EX71SL
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
nimm   AudioPhile [Jan 29, 2004]
Strength:

Very small and fit incredibly well in small AND big ear canals. Great bass response. / clear sound. Multi-sized ear-buds make this a ‘one size fits all’ VERY light … after 10-15 minutes you don’t even feel them in your ears. Sexy!

Weakness:

Sometimes they feel too colorful (bright) Sound better with an EQ Left bud cord is too short – the extension is a must have

Overall I must say that these little guys have surprised me. I bought them strictly for portable use, to go under a hat (beanie). So my expectations of quality were not very high. Wow. I think these are the best sounding “speakers” for fewer than 50 bucks. Now mind you, I am not comparing these to just anything you can buy for 50 bucks (I have a pair of studio AKGs that are better on multiple levels and I spent barely over 50 on them) – I am talking about new stuff that is also portable to at least some extent :P. Little buds fit right inside your ear canal so the outside noise insulation is quite amazing, some frequencies still get in, but after a few times you learn to ignore that. The bass response is awesome, they are right InSide your head so it does not take much - very clean, very tight. The highs tend to be a little bright in my opinion and the mids seem to act a little funny. My MD player has a simple 6 band EQ which helps dramatically, but even flat these guys compete well. Read my strength weaknesses section for point by point ‘goods’ and ‘bads’. As a closing remark I just want to say that, once you get to a certain level of quality, how much you like or dislike a pair of headphones, or speakers or what ever else, really depends on what you like and what you dislike. Some people dig large amounts of bass and some don’t … etc. etc. etc. So if you can find a way to listen to a pair of these and see for yourself, you should really do that, it’s worth the trouble in my opinion.

Similar Products Used: AKG K240 Monitor AKG K271 Studio Sony MDR 7509 Sony MDR 7506 Sennheiser HD 600 Sennheiser HD 580 Panasonic RP-HS70 About 4 other little portable guys over the years
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 12  

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