Jul 5, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:These headphones are light in weight and sound very good.

Cons:They appear to be very flimsy.

The Bottom Line: These headphones sound good and feel comfortable to wear.  However, they do not appear to be very durable.


            Sony has been in the business of making professional and home audio electronics for many decades.  I have owned a number of Sony products over the years, and Sony is a brand that I trust, especially in area of their higher end electronics products.  I will admit that I have not always been very pleased with the quality and longevity of some of their lower end electronics devices, but I'll save those comments for another review.  Today I shall be reviewing the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones. Read on and see if these headphones sound like a set of headphones that you would consider auditioning the next time you are visiting your electronics store. 

          The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have a list price of $29.99, but they can be relatively easily found selling for a discounted price of $16.50 if one spends a bit of time researching sales on the Internet.  A word of caution, when shopping on the Internet is warranted here.  Be sure that you know what the shipping and handling costs are going to be before you make your purchase, as I have seen markups for shipping and handling fees as high as $10 Dollars from some dealers, and that can certainly eat up any benefits to getting the biggest discount on these headphones.

           The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones are advertized as being best suited to a person with an active lifestyle. The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have a very modern sleek looking design.  They are designed with a behind the neck band.  In my work, I am used to more conventionally designed headphones that fit over a person's head, with a circumaural type of design, and with a closed-back.  I was introduced to these headphones when one of my son's girlfriends stopped in after she was jogging past the house and decided to stop in. The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have stability tips and a spring headband design that keeps the headphones stationary to a person's ears while they are actively engaged in doing something like jogging, or working out to music, neither of which I do, but which many other people obviously do.  Basically they are designed to be worn during athletic activities, and to not interfere with your ability to wear glasses or mess up your hair.  However, the very light weight design means they are not going to be very sturdy over the long term, and my son's girlfriend indicated that these were her second pair in the last year. Regarding the stability of these headphones during athletic activity, I personally found this to be a problem.  I did a few jumping jacks, and the headphones began to fall off my ears, and I did not care for this.  However, for just plain walking on a treadmill, they were fine.  I should also mention that my son's girlfriend claimed that these headphones never fell off of her ears when she was jogging, and that my doing jumping jacks while wearing them was the problem.  Thank goodness she did not claim that the problem was not the headphones but rather that I had a pinhead.    

           The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have an over the ear, open air design.  The back of each earpiece is open, and allows sound to escape freely in or out of the headphones.  This type of design is good if you are a jogger, as it allows you to hear passing cars or to be aware of street noises, or sounds that could signal potential dangers.  However, this type of design also lets in a lot of unwanted noises in other situations.  For example, if one were to be listening to quiet music in their backyard, one would easily hear their neighbor riding his lawn tractor or trimming his hedges.  However in a quiet environment, such as in listening to a quiet recording in the solitude of one's bedroom, the open air design of these phones would not be a problem.

           When one is going to be using a set of headphones for a prolonged period of listening, it is vitally important that the headphones feel comfortable.  This was certainly the case with the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones, as they were exceptionally light and comfortable to wear.  However, the behind the neck design felt a bit strange to me at first, but I was able to readily adjust to it in a brief time.  The overall weight of these headphones was a mere 1.4 ounces without the cord.  However, one needs the cord to be able to plug these headphones into something.

           The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have a frequency response of 14 Hz. to 23,000 Hz. The listed frequency response of a set of headphones delineates the range of sounds or frequencies that can be reproduced by the headphones without distortion under normal listening conditions. I am sure that a number of readers may be asking themselves why would any one need a set of headphones that has a frequency response that goes both above and below the range of hearing for a normal healthy human being, which happens to be between 20 Hz. and 20,000 Hz. The answer is that headphones with a wider frequency response will lessen the likelihood of distortion under normal listening conditions. Thus, when listening to musical sounds that usually will range from about 20 Hz. to 20,000 Hz., or less, there is a significantly decreased likelihood of distortion being heard at normal listening volumes. One does not have to be a professional sound engineer to understand or know that distortion free listening conditions are always desirable, whether it be in a profession studio environment, or just for one's listening pleasure. That is one of the reasons I thought that these headphones were worthy of reviewing.  There are many headphones on the market that do not have an extended frequency response, and for studio professional use or just for plain listening enjoyment, I feel that this is a very important feature for a set of headphones to have. 

          The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have a sensitivity rating of 106dB and an impedance of 24 Ohms. That is actually about average for a set of headphones in this price range, and with this impedance.  In general headphone sensitivity is measured by supplying 1 milliwatt of power to a set of phones and then measuring the number of dB in sound pressure level (SPL) that is delivered at the ear piece. The higher the sensitivity rating a set of headphones has, the better they will perform at different power levels, and the louder they are apt to be. These headphones are about average in their sensitivity rating for this level of impedance. The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have an Impedance rating of 24 Ohms, and as such this clearly makes them low impedance headphones. Why is the impedance rating of a set of headphones important to mention and discuss? All else being equal, the lower the impedance, the louder the sound will be in the headphones, because they are able to draw more power. Many headphones that are considered appropriate for use with portable listening devices, such as MP3 Players, will have a rather low impedance rating, such as 16 Ohms, as this can make the sound of the music louder for the listener.  However the impedance rating of 24 Ohms that the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones have is certainly still low enough for them to be used effectively with an MP3 Player or other portable listening device.  This impedance rating would certainly not usually be a problem in a studio setting, as many studios have headphone amplifiers. It would also not be a problem for home music listening, if one is going to be using their stereo receiver, as one could just crank up the volume to achieve the desired level. 

          One of the features that I find attractive about the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones is that they come with a single sided cord.  I have always preferred headphones with a single sided cord because they reduce the likelihood of tangling.  The cord also has a stereo mini-plug which is capable of adapting to a ¼ inch stereo phone plug, that is if you purchase the adaptor. This makes the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones compatible with and able to be used in just about any venue or listening device. Regarding the length of the cable, it is only 2 feet long. Clearly people who are thinking of using the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones exclusively with a portable listening device, like an MP3 Player are going to find this to be a very good thing, as they won't have to deal with extra cable dangling around.  There is also a two foot long extension cable that comes with these phones.  Obviously, that does not really add much to the length of the cord, and I think it would have been much more reasonable to have a 10 foot extension cord.  This would make these headphones more adaptable to other listening environments, such as if one chose to plug these phones into their home stereo and sit on a chair or something like that. Those of you who might be considering using these headphones for home listening enjoyment and who may be planning of plugging these phones into their home stereo, would certainly have welcomed a longer extension cable, as it would have afforded some mobility for the listener as well as allowing the listener to not have to be seated immediately next to their stereo tuner or amplifier. Obviously, if one desires to do so, they can easily purchase an extension cable at any electronics retailer. 
          Well how do the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones sound, and who are they best suited for?  They actually sound quite good for a pair of headphones that are so inexpensively priced.  Although not flat sounding, the sound of music was pretty balanced, without too much accentuation or sweetening of any specific set of frequencies.  These headphones were also very light and comfortable to wear.  The open air design makes these headphones safe to wear while moving about a busy city environment, as it allows one to hear sounds that are going on around the listener.  These headphones also fold up to a compact size, and that, along with their light weight makes transportability very reasonable. The Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones also have a hard carrying case, which offers good protection when transporting them.

           The downside of the Sony MDR AS30G Active Style Headphones is that they do not appear to be very sturdy or durable, and the wire appears to be flimsy to me. As I mentioned earlier in the review, my son's girlfriend indicated that this was her second pair in the last year, but she loved them so much she felt that this was not a big deal.  Well although the entry price of these headphones may seem inexpensive at discounted price of about $16.50, if these headphones need to be replaced every year or so, well then the overall cost of using these headphones will mount over time.  To my way of thinking, this is a real drawback with regard to these headphones.  With that caveat in mind, I would however feel comfortable in recommending them for other casual listening purposes, athletic activities, and for gaming, especially because of their extended frequency response and good overall sound.

           Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.  Good luck and good listening.

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