Every single MP3 player and every single tape or CD player comes with a set of earbuds or headphones. And without a doubt, the quality is about as good as a placing a tin can against your ear. And they usually feel about as comfortable. But for whatever reason, I can't seem to throw them away, so I stash them in a box. When I want to have a good laugh at what we thought was stylish in the 80s I pull it out (remember when the foam padding was bright orange?). However, when I want a good quality sound in a lightweight headphone, I use my Sony MDR-V300 headphones.
•• Hardware ••
While these headphones are marked as "Studio monitors", I seriously doubt you'll see these is any high-end recording studios since they cost under $50. Therefore, I can only assume these headphones are really meant for the casual user who wants to look like they are using expensive headphones. Given that assumption, I won't go into the heavy details of the specs, because they don't really matter if you're simply plugging in your iPod.
The most important spec (in my opinion) is the frequency response. If you're not an audiophile, bear with me, this is an important spec. The Sony MDR-V300 headphones have a frequency response of 18 - 22,000 Hz. These two number represent the highest frequency and the lowest frequency and everything in between. So the 22,000 Hz means it can spit out sounds at a really high tone. Since the human ear can't hear much above 20,000, the value of 22,000 is very good. At the other end, the human ear can't hear much below 20Hz. However on that end, you may not be able to hear the sound but you can feel it. So a frequency response of these headphones is very good. Sensitivity and signal to noise ratio are also respectable but they have little effect on the casual listener's experience.
The cord is a respectable 10 feet long which is also it's downfall. The cord is simply too long for travel purposes and there's no way to retract it. However, this can be useful for those who want the extra length for watching TV or the stereo. The cord is also very thick. This is a good thing as it gives the impression of more durability.
The plug is a uni-match plug in that it has a small fixed mini-plug and an adapter for the larger type that screws on. Both plugs are gold-plated which supposedly increase conductivity, but there is no aural difference. The plug is straight, and I would prefer an angled one for today's portable devices, but that is a minor complaint.
A nice feature is the ability to flip the ear cups over so they face outward. How is that useful? If you want to share the music with someone sitting next to you! Or if you simply want to hold the headphones against one ear for testing (like DJs do). Not a tremendously useful feature, but hey, it's there if you want it.
The Sony MDR-V300 headphones are fairly compact as they fold up nicely. They don't nearly achieve the space conservation of earbuds, but they do as good a job as you can expect from a full size headphone. Along those lines, the headphones are extremely comfortable even after a long period of time. The headband is wide to disperse the weight and the pressure on my ears does not fatigue. In all, they are quite comfortable even for the long flight to the in-laws.
The overall construction feels flimsy since there is an abundance of plastic, but I've not had a problem with durability like I have with more expensive headphones. I wouldn't recommend stepping on them or dropping them on a hard surface.
•• Sound quality ••
The Sony MDR-V300 headphones sound quite good, although the bass can be a bit strong. This should be easy to rectify as most MP3 players have some sort of EQ to balance the mix. That said,. the range of sounds are very good, with very clear highs that rarely distort and glossy mid tones that don't get muddled.
I've been using the Sony MDR-V300 headphones for a variety of purposes. The first one, was video recording, as I needed a good set of monitors to make sure I was getting the audio I needed. These worked adequately for this purpose and the extra long cord came in handy. Video-taping weddings wasn't exactly pushing the headphones to the limits, but they held up well with much travelling, tossing into bags, dropping, etc.
Now I use them for home music and some Voice-over recording monitors. With my wife's iPod, they work extremely well and I use them all the time on my Creative Zen Sleek. They cover my ear just enough to block out some of the outside noise, but don't swallow my ears like some full-sized headphones do. Those headphones may sound great, but I've always gotten a feeling of claustrophobia when using them.
Use with my computer and a VO mic are also very good. The phones reproduce my the mid range sounds of speech perfectly, but again, this is not a taxing event for the phones.
•• Conclusion ••
Recommend this product?
These headphones are an excellent alternative for earbuds and the junk that comes with most MP3 players. These aren't good for the gym or exercise, but hey are great for plane rides and casual listening. In a pinch they could substitute for real studio monitors of need be.
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