Perfected design, MUCH more reasonable price, After a Burn in Sounds AMAZING!
Last year I picked up and reviewed the MDR-1RBT headphones from Sony, this year they released a "budget" model, the MDR-10RBT and will also be releasing the MDR-1RBTmk2; which will have the same design as the 1RBT.
Since one of the issues I had previously was the quality and build of the 1RBT to begin with, the 10RBT has corrected everything I ever disliked about the "flagship" model of the line. The thinner headband (which is metal under the cushion) and more sleek lines are much appreciated for portable use. They picked up a few of the better design cues from the Parrot Zik headphones that were "designed by Stark"; mixing it with the better looking parts of the 1R line, for just a damn good looking pair of headphones. These headphones also retail for $150 less than the 1RBTs and weigh a bit less. Some may feel that they used cheaper materials in the 10RBT but I certainly do not feel that way. The materials are on par, with the hinge of the ear cups having a wider turning radius in both directions than ANY of the Sony headphones I've used, besides the "DJ" models that turn all the way around. The ear cups themselves seem to be better stitched and look less "home sewn". The fit of the headphone is pretty loose, but not as loose as the 1RBTs. I prefer that they are a little more snug so I can get a good seal on my head to prevent the headphones from moving. I also have a pretty big head, though not enormous. I am comfortable with the adjustment down about 1 or 2 notches down on each side.
Sound quality is on-par with the 1RBT, I think these are slightly less bass-y and a tinge muddier on the low end but over the first 3 hours I used the 10RBTs they progressively got better and more sounded clear. So a burn-in is definitely necessary on these headphones. They will probably sound even better after a week or so. The sound stage on these headphones are VERY wide. So wide in fact that if the headphones move a little (like when I turn to look behind me) the sound actually changes slightly. I'm not sure if I like or dislike this, but it is a little jarring to hear the music change slightly when you turn your head. Most of my listening was done over Bluetooth while working out and though it was good, plugging in through the 3.5mm jack passthrough is where the top notch quality really is. Audio is definitely more crisp and volume levels are slightly higher when plugged in, not that it is what these headphones are for, but allowing the option for cable pass-though should be mandatory now on all BT headphones.
Going back to the design, which is what I love most about these guys. On the 1RBT all the ports (usb, 3.5mm) were covered, which for when you want to plug in you have to pull the tab off to charge or plug-in to listen. I hate this feature on any device, when you're plugged in to listen, it looks like you (very poorly) hacked your headphones, with the plastic flap kind of hanging down like your headphone had a hangnail. No longer! Both ports are uncovered (much like the Zik) and not only look seamless, they look down right "industrial sexy". The band around the ear cup is now silver painted instead of black and you would easily mistake them as brushed aluminum at first glance. Plugging a micro USB cable in for the first time feels tight. I wasn't sure it was all the way in at first, about 1mm of the metal plug actually sticks out, so don't try to jam it in too hard.
The buttons (VOL UP & DOWN; Power) as well as the toggle for REW,PLAY,FWD are all solid and give a nice throw when you click down on them. Unlike any previous Sony Headphones I've ever owned; the 10R line seems to turn the opposite way when you fold them in. previously my headphones always turned up as I placed them down on my neck. These actually turn down and the ear cup is against my shoulders when I have them around my neck... This is actually preferred by me as debris and dirt could fall into the ear cups while it's around your neck when they're turned up... Cudos to Sony for changing that up.
Everything about the 10RBT works better for me than the 1Rs and I'm happy Sony has made these changes. It's sleeker, sexier and still holds at LEAST 95% of the sound quality of it's more expensive cousin, but at a much more palatable price. I even would recommend getting these over the standard 10Rs, as for the $50 extra, it really is worth it to have the option of both Bluetooth or cabled. You'll need to purchase a cable that has controls (VOL, FF, REW,PLAY) on it if you prefer having those features on the cable though (which are included in the 1R). Sony even has added AAC and Apt-X bluetooth profiles this time around, something the 1R lacked... though most of you probably will never use it as no iPhones and many Android phones don't use Apt-X and generally most people don't encode in AAC unless they purchased their music from iTunes directly.
My one suggestion for headphones like this would be to have passive controls through the headphone controls when plugged in. It would require a specialized cable of course (that has the 3 stripped 3.5mm plug) but it would be great if when plugged in you can use the same controls as when you're using Bluetooth. As it is when you plug your 3.5mm jack into the headphone, the BT turns off and none of your controls can be used to control the phone.
Got these on sale for $141, quite possibly the best bluetooth cans ever in the price range.
I purchased these when I found them on sale for one twenty five plus tax here in Canada.
I'm not sure why these aren't more popular, because after I burned them in, holy cow do they sound good.
I was at a best buy that had these on display and I figured I would give them a shot.
--- Comfort ---
5/5 - I normally hate over-the-ear headphones, mainly because my ears and head are so darned big. I was pleasantly surprised when I put these on and they didn't squeeze my head. They fit over my ears and the ear muffs are really comfortable to wear. I wore this for about 4 hours straight walking through a mall and it didn't bother me one bit.
--- Sound ---
5/5 - I'll admit, these are my first bluetooth headphones, so I don't know what's supposed to sound good and bad. I'm comparing these to buds and the Bose AE2 bluetooth version that I sampled at the store.
Keep in mind, there is, as the top reviewer stated, a burn in period. Most headphones are like this, especially Cans like these.
The Bose definitely had more bass at the time I tested it. The Sony bass is more controlled and therefore not as "punchy" as one would describe it, but it is there and I can hear it just fine, especially now that I've burned these in. and definitely not Beats by Dre level. The mids and highs are very, very clear, more clear than the Bose ones I tested.
--- Design ---
4.5/5 - I really like the design of these headphones. The cups fold in so they fit into the carrying case. It looks sleek. The buttons are well placed and not annoying at all.
I docked half a star because the rocker on the right side which controls the forward/backward controls can accidentally be triggered by things like hoods or jackets with tall collars. If there was a lock, it might be better, but otherwise it's something minor.
--- Ease of Use ---
5/5 - The buttons are perfect. The power button sits on the left side, along with the USB charging port and 3.5 input so you can use these headphones through a 3.5 stereo cable. To power the unit on and off, you press it for 2 seconds at a time. This is to prevent accidental powering of the headphones.
To pair, you hold the power button, turning on the unit and waiting until the LED flashes to tell you it's in paring mode.
On the right side, there's a rocker that pauses/plays and also lets you go backwards and forwards on music. I REALLY like the fact that the volume button is separate from the forward/backward buttons, as most headphones I see combine them to save space.
--- Overall ---
4.9/5 - I don't usually like Cans, but these are ones I'm keeping for sure. They're replacing my buds.
Fun Note: If your phone/tablet/PC/Mac supports the Apt-X high quality codec or A2DP, these headphones actually are enabled for it. There's another mode called High Quality mode for these headphones that increase the fidelity of the headphones. There's also a mode for those who might have problems with their bluetooth which decreases fidelity a little but ensures that the connection remains solid.
To activate high quality mode, power on the unit while holding the Volume UP button. The LED will flash blue 3 times to indicate it's in high quality mode.
To activate stability mode, power on the unit while holding the Volume DOWN button. The LED will flash blue ONCE to indicate it's in Priority on Stable Connection mode.
If the LED flashes blue 2 times when turning on, it's in standard mode.
Switching between the modes only requires you to hold one of the volume buttons in the appropriate direction. If you're in high quality mode, you can only go down to standard mode, then to stability mode. The opposite applies if you're in stability mode.
Better than Bose. Worth way more than $200! Awesome sound quality!
[THESE HEADPHONES NEED TO BE BURNED IN AT VERY HIGH VOLUMES WITH BASS SONGS FOR 50 HOURS - OTHERWISE YOU WILL NOT HEAR ANY MIDS. ONCE BURNED IN, THEY HAVE BEAUTIFUL SOUND: VERY BASS HEAVY, VERY CLEAR AND NORMAL SOUNDING MID RANGE, SOFT CLEAR TREBLE. OVERALL A VERY POWERFUL, FUN SOUND. IF YOU LIKE BASS AND POWERFUL MUSIC, YOU WILL LOVE THESE. THERE IS ZERO DISTORTION EVEN AT EXCEEDINGLY HIGH VOLUME LEVELS.]
I am rewriting my review because I jumped the gun and wrote a review after listening to these straight out of the box. The bass was very heavy and too boomy, and there were no mids at all, so voices sounded like they were in a bucket, half way across the room, and the highs sounded like they were muffled with a blanket. Being somewhat too eager to write a review, I got on OnlineShopDealer and applauded these headphones without really analyzing them enough.
After writing my review I started noticing they didn't sound that good so I edited my review mentioning the boomy bass. I never noticed the other review saying that you need to burn these in! Stupid me!
Somewhere along the way I accidentally burned these in, after playing them at stratospheric volume levels. I woke up the next morning after putting these headphones through a very aggressive listening session at full volume. I thought I had broke something because they suddenly sounded light, the boomy bass didn't seem to be there. Then I played more music and suddenly realized that I was simply hearing MIDS, which I couldn't hear before. During the last few hours of high volume listening the headphones broke in (burned in).
I just purchased some KRK-6400 headphones which have very neutral sounding mids, and I have tested them against these Sony's. The KRK have an absolutely flat sound and aren't nearly as fun as these MDR-10RBT headphones, but they are very clear and provide a good reference.
With some equalizer settings, to reduce the bass, the Sony MDR-10RBT have astonished me by providing the exact same clear crisp powerful mids as the KRK-6400's. The KRK-6400's are literally totally flat and neutral and have unreal clarity without any EQ changes, however with a small EQ change the Sony MDR-10RBT sound exactly the same, only way, way better, because the KRK-6400's cannot produce anywhere near the same level of Bass.
NOTICE: Regarding Windows Media Player.
If you are only using Windows Media Player, you may not be getting the ideal sound processing, especially if using the equalizer. I downloaded a free music program called Clementine, and with a small change on the EQ setting, these Sony headphones literally have more mids and more sparkle then my old open back Sony studio headphones, but they retain the deep and very clean bass. You will actually be astonished by the sound quality when you adjust the EQ setting. I have no idea why but Media Player in Windows did not work well when I changed the EQ settings, so I would use iTunes or Clementine, or try a different music player, or a different device to experiment while testing these.
I would say that I have at least 30 to 50 hours of listening on them, so I would say at minimum you will need 50 hours of break-in to get the correct sound out of these, and if you don't do that, it will be too early to tell what they are going to sound like.
Now that I've found their true sound, I am VERY impressed with these headphones overall! I would not trade them for anything.
PARTS OF MY ORIGINAL POST AND SOME MORE GENERAL INFORMATION:
I tried some Bose AE2 earlier today and returned them promptly, because they were clear, but all of the music sounded like it was being brought up to a higher pitch, which hurt my ears. Sony has always been smooth, every Sony device I've heard has always had a non-metallic, balanced sound. These mdr10rBT are just as awesome, although I was skeptical at first because of my disappointment with the $150 Bose, which were built extremely well.
I also tried iFrogz (bluetooth), but returned them because their bluetooth cuts out at half the distance of the Sony's and they hurt your ears pretty bad after only a few minutes because of the lack of padding on their cups. The iFrogz sounded amazing, although their engineering wasn't up to par.
These Sony's are the best looking, most comfortable, except for the Bose, out of all the Headphones I looked at in Best Buy (about 25 pair). If you want wireless, these worked right out of the box with my little laptop.
These do not include a dongle, so they really aren't wireless unless you have a bluetooth phone/ipod/lap top etc.. Most all cell phones and ipods have bluetooth, and many Windows 8 laptops have built in bluetooth as well. I purchased a Kinivo 300 USB bluetooth dongle for $15 and it works with these MDR-10RBT at the highest quality settings in Windows 7.
The controls are outstanding. You can actually figure out how to use the controls in a matter of minutes, not fumbling around for days fighting with odd placed buttons or hard to reach controls. You can play music, stop it, advanced it, and turn the volume up and down all using the controls. You simply hold the power button down to reset the bluetooth connection, when you are ready to connect to a new computer/ipod/device.
Range doesn't seem to be an issue. I've walked all around the house with no change in output, no breaks.
These Sony headphones seem more like $350 headphones. Their appearance screams quality, the comfort is outstanding. The very soft head band on top never hurts the top of your head, even if pushing against your head. The side ear pads are very soft and cover the entire ear very easily. I've tried on about 20 pairs of headphones at the store and prefer the KRK-6400 and Sony MDR headphones, which I now own both!
I am returning the KRK-6400's because they sound very neutral and very detailed, but the Sony's can sound exactly the same with a small change in the equalizer setting, and the Sony's have outstanding bass, while the KRK's have none.
Inside the Sony MDR-10RBT's you can see the speakers, overall a very fancy and trick design. The switches, and ports (as others commented) are very nice and refined.
-The standard small stereo jack cord included is about 4 feet long (just barely long enough to sit near a device.) You can order a cloth covered one on OnlineShopDealer that is 8 feet long for $9.99.
-There is NO blue tooth dongle included, so most likely these won't work wirelessly with your home PC without purchasing a separate $20 universal dongle to plug into a USB port on your computer - they sell these at Staples or Best Buy or OnlineShopDealer though. (* Some laptops have bluetooth built in, especially Windows 8 laptops). I may not have purchased these if I knew it didn't have a bluetooth dongle, although I don't regret my purchase at all.
-The name Sony isn't highly regarded in this new age of Dr Dre Beats and Skull Candy and other brands which are constantly being shown around in commercials, and on displays. However, I can't believe I gave up on Sony because of their lack of advertising.
Other: It occurred me today that every single Sony item I've ever used has been top notch for the price, and 100% reliable. I have never had a Sony product fail on me, and I've been using Sony products for 20 years. I have never been a fan of Sony, I never made a conscious choice to purchase Sony products in the past, but their price point and features have always made them attractive.
I have an 8 year old pair of Sony MDR-XD200 studio headphones, and they cost $45 at Target 8 years ago. The old Sony headphones sound better than today's new $150 Bose headphones, a LOT better. I was very surprised to say the least. I've decided that I am finally a fan of Sony, it would be illogical not to be. Their price point is spot on, and their durability is second to none. Dollar for dollar, Sony is as good as it gets.
These need to be broke in! They have VERY heavy powerful bass and not a neutral sound, but they have a fun and exciting sound that is especially suited for electronic tones, digital synthesized tones, rap, and slow songs. I am listening to James Taylor now and his voice and guitar sounds are clear and crisp and enjoyable without any EQ changes.
These headphones respond instantly to EQ settings, so just a small change on the EQ gives them exactly the sound you need. It is unreal actually how good these sound, once you turn the bass down slightly. The mids are so well defined, and so clear, songs that I've heard many times actually have a "brand new" feeling.
In doing some bass tests with low, low bass, these will play so loud and clear that you would swear you're sitting inside a 15" ported subwoofer and for a second I even thought maybe my entire body was actually vibrating with bass. The bass has an abstract quality of smile inducing power and texture that cannot be put into words. The bass texture and tone literally makes you smile every time you hear it.
The sony MDR-10RBT bass has a fun sound, although you can't quite define what it is, I attribute this to Sony's signature sound tuning. The bass tone is so gentle and yet so powerful that you could literally listen to nothing but bass tones or bass songs on these headphones all day and never stop smiling. Fortunately the bass is set to a good level after break-in and you can listen to all songs with the EQ totally off and hear the mids really well, with the bass giving every song an extra kick. If you want a neutral sound you will need to turn the bass down of course. Turn down the bass slightly and you get a clean pleasant warm sound with gentle highs. Turn up the EQ and you can bring the highs way up if you want, these respond well to EQ changes.
I have looked at about 20 different bluetooth headphones and nothing compares to these Sony's. They look like $500 or $600 headphones. They have the look, quality, comfort, correct ear cup size, soft ear pads, easy controls, rock solid blue-tooth signal without range problems, plenty of bass, and a very friendly warm sound that is still clear and crisp. This is engineering at its best, something I would not have believed even existed if I didn't buy them.
Battery life is just insane, and these weigh 10 grams less than my old 100% plastic made corded Sony headphones (I weighed them side by side), which somehow seems impossible. You would never know these MDR-10RBT are wireless, they are so light and compact, I have no idea how they did it.
When you shake your head they stay on firmly yet they don't squeeze too tight on your skull, so they would mostly likely work great for light jogging/weightlifting/gym or at work.
Sound with the cord is exactly the same as with the bluetooth at the default level 2 and level 3 bluetooth setting. There is no amp on these headphones so when you are using the 1/8" stereo cord, and don't want to use bluetooth you don't have to, they sound excellent in wired mode, there is literally no change, except maybe more sparkle to the treble, but I can't personally notice any difference in sound quality.
The bluetooth also has no hiss, although I tested some iFrog bluetooth headphones which sounded excellent, but had a distinct hiss when not being used. The Sony's are SILENT until music plays.
If using Windows, use a program called Clementine, as the sound processing seems to be better than Media Player, although I don't know why, but the equalizer in Clementine changes the sound so precisely that it sounds like you are wearing a different pair of headphones. When you use Windows Media Player, small EQ changes don't sound as natural. iTunes would also be a great alternative, since all Apple products and software are generally very reliable.
These are a marvel of engineering, beautiful to look at, and beautiful to listen to. I am somewhat shocked to own something with such a cool factor :) I can't believe these aren't more popular.
Sony MDR10RBT vs Bose AE2W
I was looking for a pair of bluetooth headphones for working around the house that wouldn't break the bank. I've already done that with a a pair of Sennheiser HD-700 and HE-500 and other pieces of "high end" gear. Ultimately, I just want to be able to use my iPhone 5S or iPad to stream music without wires. My two choices were the MDR10RBT and Bose AE2W. Since I already have a pair of AE2i and QC15, I was initially leaning towards the Bose but the Sony had such good reviews that I had to give them a try.
The short -
The Sony are well worth their money and, at half the price, a compelling purchase. IF you have the ability to EQ a little, or you really like strong bass, then they're amazing. If you prefer a "lighter" sound and have the extra money, the Bose are great headphones. For me, the Sony paired with my iPhone are good with the built in music app, and great when paired with the Equalizer app after some fine tuning (-6dB at 80Hz and +2 at about 4500Hz). It's amazing when paired with my macbook with an eq in iTunes. Here's why...
The Long -
I'm writing this to try to help clarify some of the bluetooth audio confusion out there...
There are a number of different flavors of bluetooth audio. The most common are SBC, AAC, and Apt-X. The Sony headphones can do all three. FWIW, the Bose cannot use the Apt-X protocol, but does use the AAC and high-end SBC protocols.
Here's the breakdown (as I understand them):
SBC - the most basic protocol. Bitrates can vary a lot, anywhere up to 256Kb. As the handshake happens, the bitrate gets set and can change depending upon connection quality. Good connection = good quality sound. Not exactly CD, but good. Bad connection = FM radio quality.
AAC - If your music is already in the AAC format (as many iPhones will have), the AAC audio is sent to the headphone and it does the decoding. So, theoretically, you'll have better sound as your original sound files aren't re-compressed and decompressed through the SBC system. This also gives you a theoretical increase in sound quality if you encode your AAC files up to 320Kb.
Apt-X - A high end codec designed to maintain sound quality to make it as close to CD as possible. It's supported on many android phones and through OSX, but NOT on IOS devices like the iPhone. We've been waiting for Apple to support Apt-X for a number of IOS versions now, so it doesn't look hopeful. I'm guessing that their rationale is that AAC encoding is already good enough and there's no need to pay for rights to Apt-X. I don't blame them.
BTW, if you really want the best audio quality out of these or the Bose, they both include headphone cables. And, thankfully, they can also be used if the battery dies, so there's a bonus.
When connected by SBC, the sound quality of both can be pretty good. Perhaps a little flabby in the bass and "flat" sounding overall. But, still good enough for the average Joe. Moving up to AAC tightens the bass and brings out some detail in the sound quality. For me, this is certainly good enough for working around the house (as long as the overpowering bass of the 10RBT, themselves, is tamed). Apt-X sounds excellent from my Macbook. The headphone cable adds just a hint - certainly not enough to bother unless the battery dies.
The AE2W vs MDR10RBT comparison -
Overall, I would describe the AE2W as a lighter headphone and the 10RBT as a darker headphone. In audiophile terms, the AE2W has a lot of treble energy (perhaps even a little too much at times - the typical Bose sound) and the 10RBT have a strong bass and sub-bass response with rolled off highs. Again, with a little EQ, the 10 RBT really shine. Without the EQ, I'd prefer the Bose for their overall less bass-heavy sound.
For the rest of this review, I'll be comparing both of them with my favorite EQ setting...
The Sony buttons are well placed and easy to find. I really like the forward/backward skip and play button combo. The volume has a tiny dot on the up side to differentiate it. Power and headphone port of easy to find. The Bose has nice buttons, but somewhat indistinct. Here, the Sony wins.
How can you beat Bose? The Sony is certainly comfortable, and will probably get even more comfortable as the pads break in, but the Bose just flat out win. Sony wearers shouldn't sweat it - you'll be able to wear them for long stretches.
Included audio cable:
Neither include an iPhone control cable, it's just a standard TRS to TRS cable. I have an old Vmoda control cable, so it's no big deal. BUT, for the price of either of these, a control cable should have been included.
The Bose are very light and the Sony are a bit heavier. Both are well padded, so in use, neither are heavy enough to bother you, but if you're looking for a featherlight pair, the Bose win.
Once EQ'd, both have an excellent sound. I was worried that the Sony would not be able to put out good treble energy, but they're actually quite good.They could use a bit more "air," but at this price point, they're better than I expected. The Bose need a little EQ in the lower mid/bass region and overall have a "lighter" sound. I think it's fair to say that the Sony would generally be better with rock/electronic/metal while the Bose would be better with pop/jazz/classical. Having said that, I'm very happy with the Sony.
The Sony came out of the box very dark. They tightened up quite a lot in the first 10 hours. Now, at a whopping 20 hours, they sound great. Bose tend to come out of the box sounding pretty good, so burn-in isn't quite as big an issue.
Neither headphone are balanced. Both are "fun" and pretty V-curve-ish, so I wouldn't use either for critical work. That's not what these are for - they're for enjoying your music and being very portable.
I like them both very much, but for the money, the Sony is the overall winner IF you can EQ to customize to your taste. If I had an endless bankroll and didn't want to EQ my iPhone, I'd probably buy the Bose as the iPhone won't support Apt-X, anyway. But, since I can use Equalizer and my macbook does support Apt-X, I've decided to keep the Sony. Overall, I think this will give me the most mileage and the $120 I'm saving can go into more music purchases.
Last thought - If sony could lower the mid-bass hump a little and include velour pads, they'd have a real winner, here. But, at this price point, I wouldn't really expect either of those. Besides, I doubt they want to compete with their own 1RBT (even though it doesn't support AAC or Apt-X if I understand correctly). For the money, these are excellent headphones and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone I know. I've yet to make a call on them, so I have no info there. The call quality is not a big concern for me - I'll live with whatever I get. Calling will happen very infrequently, anyway.
1 Week of use edit-------------------
They keep getting better and better. After a couple of days of burn-in, they tighten up a bit and start really sounding good. Unfortunately, they're still very bass heavy for me. So, when I set my iPhone 5S to "Bass Reducer," they're great for portable use.
When connected to my macbook using apt-x, they really step up another level. The quality is excellent and the bass is reeled in quite a bit. I set up EQs in iTunes for 64Hz -3dB, -6dB, and -9dB. For older material, I use -3, newer material gets -6 and only really bass-heavy recording get me to -9. The sound quality is absolutely wonderful and I would have no hesitation recommending them over the Bose for anyone. Just the apt-x quality alone is worth the money, not to mention the AAC quality from an iPhone. To save space, I have iTunes set to give me 256kb AAC copies of music on the phone and these headphones are just great!
There are times that I wish they were a little more isolating, but that's because I have very sensitive ears. No fault of the headphones.
I am not an audiophile by any stretch. I have several sets of headphones and my favorite are the Sony MDR 7506 and V-Moda. I have been using a set of JVC which according to the reviews, are comparable to the Bose Quiet Comfort. What attracted me to these Sony headphones was the claim of 99.4% ambient noise reduction. Moreover, I like the single detachable cord plus the AAA battery. This eliminates the headphones going dead on a long flight or having forgotten to charge them prior to departure. Moreover, even if you don't have a AAA battery available you can still use them. In short they are everything I have ever wanted in a set of headphones plus they sound great! They are as every bit as crisp as the MDR 7506 and extremely comfortable. I bought them at Costco for $179.00 plus tax. A real steal!
Let 'em burn!
You must let them burn-in for at least 24 hours of usage before passing a verdict on them. The longer you wait, the better they will sound. After a week's usage, they will reach their prime and stay there.
Sound Quality: Good. High and lows are great but mids are underwhelming. They have extra bass so you may need to use the equalizer on your phone or laptop to tune it if you don't like bass.
Comfort: Great. Materials are of top quality. Its not leather but should last a long time. Its quite light-weight.
Battery Life: As advertised. You can go on for a full day. Charging is pretty quick too.
Phone Call Quality: Mic is excellent and the other person can hear you clearly. Switching between call and music is seamless.
Build quality: Good. The cups are a little big so you might accidentally bump into doors.
Case: Good. Its not a hard-case but the fabric is quite thick. Should be enough if you carry it in a bag.
Design: As you can see in the pics, its low-key. Function>Fashion.
The bad stuff:
The standard 3.5 mm cord doesn't have any controls.
You cannot pair multiple devices. Pairing with a phone is more convenient than pairing with a computer (Win8).
The standard usb cord is really short (<2 feet).
You cannot listen via bluetooth while charging.
Overall, they are a steal for this price (150). If you don't want the bad stuff, simply purchase the higher-end models in the MDR line. I would recommend them if you are on a budget.
Surprisingly Awesome Wireless Headphones
First off, these headphones are super light and sound great. I had the Bose wireless and I really liked them but the broke at the gym and couldn't be repaired. The cost $250+ is what sent me looking for a replacement.
These Sony's are just as good in every way. Actually, I think the Sony bass is better than the Bose which may be because the Sony is a new model and the Bose have been around for a while.
The button placement and controls are excellent. The BT range has also been excellent with the iPad Air. It's also important to note, these have additional BT profiles to make calls etc really easy.
The sound quality is really good. I have the Sony MDRX 10 and I really do not like them. Too heavy, the sound quality is avg and they quickly cause ear fatigue. And of course they are not wireless.
In short, after using these Sony's for about a month I really think they are awesome.
The best NC headphones for under $200.
After a lot of research, I purchased the Sony model MDR-10RNCIP Noise Canceling Headphones. In general, I am very satisfied. The sound, noise-canceling, style, and comfort are all superb. That being said, I'd like to share some information future shoppers may find useful.
Sony's choice of model numbers is pretty confusing. As of 3/20/2014, the 10 series is the most current. The phones are very lightweight and comfortable and the battery seems to last forever. Without the battery, they still work but don't sound quite as good (no noise suppression). The supplied cord (on all models) has a unique locking feature to keep it from falling out of the headphone jack, which is good. However, generic cords without it will not stay seated in the jack, which is bad. Sony does not sell a replacement cord so if you lose it, you're SOOL. This is typical "Sony knows best", as those of you owning older Sony digital cameras will know. Their proprietary SD card was incompatible with just about everything. I digress.
MDR-10RNCIP. A really nice hard case is included with the MDR-10RNCIP's as well as an iPod/iPhone/iPad compatible cord. The cord has a microphone and Apple specific remote control which adjusts volume, track selection, answer/disconnect, voice-over, etc. Please note: this is the only model with volume adjust on the cord and it only works with supported Apple devices (most of them are supported). Unfortunately for me, my original 1st generation iPod Touch is not supported, so none of the controls work. My iPhone 4 and iPad 2, which are supported, work fine. Definitely, check the list to make sure your device is supported before you buy. The MDR-10RNCIP's are powered by one AAA battery which, to me, is better than re-chargeable. Forget about lugging around a charger; just throw a few extra AAA's in the accessory pouch.
MDR-10RNC. Exactly the same as MDR-10RNCIP except for the cord. The MDR-10RNC comes with 2 cords: one plain and one with generic smartphone controls (e.g., no Apple device volume adjust, voice-over, etc). No batteries are needed for this model.
MDR-10RDC. This model looks just like the 2 described above and comes with a single plain cord. I'm not sure but I have read that the noise-canceling circuitry is different in this model and not as good. I don't know what style case is included but, since this model is discounted by Costco, I suspect it is soft. One AAA battery is needed for noise canceling.
MDR-10RBT. This model looks like the rest but works with wireless Bluetooth and is not noise-canceling. Sound quality is not as good as the RNC models but wireless is definitely convenient. They come with a plain cord and soft carrying case. This model only has a volume control button on the right ear piece. The Bluetooth model is rechargeable.
MDR-10R. Again, they look like the others. There is no noise-canceling and, consequently, no battery or electronic controls. The frequency response is the best of all (5-40,000 Hz). The cords are the same as model MDR-10RNC. I don't know what style case is included.
MDR-1RNC, MDR-1RBT, MDR-1R. These discontinued head phones are the models previous to the 10 series. They are slightly bigger and the RNC / RBT models are rechargeable. They are also more expensive. For the $100 or more difference, I would go with the 10 series.
One final message: if you Google the exact model number, you will be able to view many photos and link to Youtube review videos. Also, as one other buyer informed me, the Sony Store web site contains pdf operating manuals for most of the models.
Excellent, All-purpose Headphones
Sony's MDRR10R are excellent, all-purpose headphones that hit the sweet spot in terms of build quality, sound quality, comfort, and price.
Good-sounding headphones have never been a priority for me. For years, I've gotten by with pack-in earbuds that come with phones. I never saw the need to spend real money in this area.
Recently, however, I've become far less tolerant to cheap headphones and earbuds with poor fit and sound quality. I've completely given up on earbuds; they're too fussy and never seem to fit well. It finally came time to get a good set of headphones, and these Sony's fit the bill.
There were several criteria I needed the headphones to fulfill. They needed to sound great, be well-constructed, fit well, cost around $100, isolate noise, be somewhat portable, work with an array of mobile devices (including phones and tablets, which have tiny, underpowered amps), and be at least serviceable for video games (PS4 and Xbox One both offer headphone audio out with chat from their controllers). I actually did not want anything that was wireless, needed to be charged, or take batteries; above all else, I wanted simplicity and the quality of a wired connection. I have Sony's criminally underrated SBH20 Bluetooth adapter for wireless compatability if I need it.
With some research, I discovered that I wanted what's termed "closed-back, over-the-ear headphones" (headphones that fit over your entire ear and create a soft seal to isolate noise) as opposed to "on-ear" headphones (headphones that sit directly on your ear). There are a ton of headphones in this category, so I set about trying a few of them out.
Bose AE2: excellent fit and comfort, by far the lightest pair I tried. The build quality was good, but surprisingly plastic-feeling. What killed these for me was the sound quality. Although lows and highs were well-defined, the mids were too punchy, especially the high-mids, which sounded over-emphasized. Although they cost $100, the cord with an in-line microphone is a separate $30-purchase.
Sennheiser HD439: the build quality felt really cheap on these, by far the creakiest of the bunch. Sound quality was ok, but the fit was poor. These were the only ones I tried that didn't form a complete seal around my ear.
Beats Studio: because I needed something with great all-around sound, something that emphasized bass wouldn't work. If you like a lot of emphasis on bass, these are for you. Build quality was notably great.
Audio Technica M-50: these sounded excellent, are built well, and fit great. The problem ended up being price at the time I looked at them (the M-50x is now out, which may have driven the price down). They were also the least portable of the bunch. If you need great sounding headphones at home, this is a solid option.
I tried the Sony's last. First, sound quality is superb. The clarity of the highs and mids really surprised me. Whenever I start to think that they sound a little warm, the mids or highs cut in and prove me wrong. I'd say there's a touch of emphasis on bass, but not so much that it overwhelms. Isolation is good too; they definitely block out ambient sound in my apartment. Second, the fit was excellent. These are light and can be worn for hours. They sealed comfortably. Third, build quality is really good. They are definitely plastic, but certainly don't feel cheap, and are nicely-styled to boot. Fourth, they sound great across all my use cases. I was worried my phone's tiny amp couldn't generate enough oomph to power the drivers, but they've sounded excellent with my phone and tablet. They've been great with my Xbox One and PS4 too. Fifth, they aren't so big as to not fit in a messenger bag. They come with a sleeve-style case that they slide into after you rotate the drivers to a flat position.
I should note that these Sony's come with two audio cords, one without a microphone (perfect for my Bluetooth adapter) and one with an in-line microphone that has a single-button control. The lack of volume buttons is an Android phone issue, but the headphones work with my Nexus and my iPod Touch all the same. The microphone also works for chat on my video game consoles. Both cords can be stashed away in a separate pocket of the included carrying sleeve.
If you want to step up to good headphones, but don't want to break the bank, these Sony's will absolutely serve you well. I'm surprised at how capable they've been. If you're in the $100 range, these are a safe and excellent bet.
Great Headphones for Anyone
Bought these a month ago and have had no issues (even after dropping). I tested these against the $300 bose, beats, and any other headphones that were top notch at best buy. These were my favorite. If i had to pick a top choice it is between these and the beats pro (or executive, can't remember which). Keep in mind, headphones are all about preference. I like these more because they are built for every genre, they're well-rounded. The beats are made for rap/hip-hop and a lot of bass. I would say these are more for dance/pop, but they work perfectly fine with rap/hip-hop.That being said, if you're looking for a lot of bass, these don't have as much as other headsets. note: the treble seems fine.
Comfort - 10/10 Again, preference. I'm very picky with headphones and how they feel. I thought these were very soft and light, so comfortable that you may forget they are on, they fit perfectly (For me, at least). If you like the feel of having headphones on your head, I guess you wouldn't really like these.
Sound - 10/10 For dance/pop, these sound fantastic. The best I've heard from headphones so far. Rock, Rap, etc are great too. No disruption or sound quality going down after turning the music up loudly (disregarding the fact that you'll go deaf and music is not as pleasant as the decibel level increases). The lyrics are very clear compared to some headphones, and that is mostly because of the treble increased versus the bass. If you like bass, you probably won't like these... if you like treble, you'll probably do. note: this is with noise cancellation.
Without Noise cancellation - more like an 8. (All you need is batteries for NC)
Noise Cancellation - 9.5/10 Fantastic... kind of. If you are on a plane, bus, or the air conditioner is too loud, they block the noise out so that if you have music on, you won't hear the background noise. These are great for traveling. That being said, if everyone is literally screaming, you will have to turn up the music a little, haha. It's great at blocking all background noises,and most of the other noises from like TVs or conversations--- but not completely unless the volume is at a certain level (med). The level it needs to be does not bother me.
Value - 10/10 Most stores have them under $200, cheaper than most top headphones (usually $300).
Style/Design - 8.5/10 They're very basic looking.
Overall - 9.6/10 NC
9.4 W/O NC