Sony MDR-EX81 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Sony Model MDR-EX81
Headphone Type Canal Headband Type None
Weight (g) 10 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 20
Impedance (ohms) 16 Cable Length (cm) 150
Frequency Response (Hz) 5 - 23000  
Connector 3.5mm Street Price US$60
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 7.0 Bass Impact 7.0
Bass Quality 8.0 Mids Quality 8.0
Highs Quality 7.0 Soundstage 7.0
Detail 7.0 Portability 7.0
Isolation 7.0 Comfort 7.0
Durability 0.0 Improvement With Amplification 0.0
Value for Money 9.0    
Overall Score 6.1 Total Reviews 1

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Reviews by our members

Review by Member frenger on 09 Apr 05  01:12
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7

For info I owned the Sony mdr-ex70/71 before and over 2 Years no one of them broke. The durability of them is outstanding for such an filigree product. I just bought always the last model. I use them daily about 2 hours (on the way to work and back) together wit my iRiver IGP-100, which is still the best mobile 1,5GB Storage player imo.

When I got my first pair Sony mdr-ex70 they where great.
Strange thing was the huge amount of bass the small thing could produce, the bass impackt was heavy and I needed to set the Eqalizer to Normal to get the bass to an good level. After the burn in process the bass got flat and normal to weak. Due "poor" production design the ex70 have a copper corrosion problem at the joining of the earplug-case, after realizing this I went over to the ex71.
I thought the bassimpackt would be similar as the 70´s, but surprisingly not. The whole Soundstage lacked a bit of detail. Well I thought it might be better after the burn in process. But there was no realy change.
At this time I`ve read many reviews on the 71`s and most said that even the ex51 sounded better than the "new" ex71.
I never testet the ex51 but now after testing the ex81 I can say that the 71´s have a lack of detail in mids and highs and the bass was quite good but not perfect balanced.

Now have a look at the new mdr-ex81. The design got an significant change, compared to ex70/71.
They have got now a stylish Aluminium part which looks solid and well processed and they now got an "hanger" for your ears, now its harder to do an suddently (most time painful with the 70/71 ones) pullout of the ears. They are quite comfortable not bothering at all.
The cable desing is SLB (cable with conecctor in between). I like this because due I put most time the Player into my shirt breast-pocket so the short cable is just perfect for this.
The sound of the new ex81 is very crisp and clear, I´m much more impressed of my first "hearings" compared to my change from 70->71.
The best change are the mids, the highs are very good and the bass ist the first time very good controlled and balanced on this series of canal pluggs.
The Isolation to the "outworld" is as good or bad as the previous ones. In the noisy subways and trams its a perfect isoltion. Also good usable in planes (if you allowed to use them there -your player might be a tool to scrumble the whole plane-electricity on board, please consider this *giggle*) Dont know how good it works in louder areas. If you need headphones for there take one with active noise canceling to be on the save side.
I listen to a wide range of music, most Progressive Stuff Rock, Metal, Classic. Current favorite ist Porcupine tree and Devin Townsend Band. Both of them put a lot of details n their music and now I can really enjoy these with the ex81s.
The only bad point I found was the "container" to store them. A cloth material Bag and a Portector only for the canalpluggs? Where Are the good old boxes of the old Earphones (sony megabass Models I think). We flapped them open and winded up the cable there. No way to produce them for this earphones too? There are still 3 differnt sizes of the "canal-plugg-coating" as deliverd with the modells before, take care of them and never loose them. Try to change from small to mid or mid to big to improof the Isolation effect but also consider the comfort aspect.