SONY MDR 222KD STEREO HEADPHONES
Recommend this product?
To say that there are a lot of inexpensive headphones on the market to choose from today is certainly no exaggeration, but there are not that many that are specifically designed with children in mind. Today I am going to be reviewing a very inexpensive pair of entry level headphones that have been specifically designed with children in mind. The headphones I am referring to are the Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones. These headphones have a list price of $14.99, but they can readily be found selling at a discount for as little as $9.99. However, be careful when it comes to shipping and handling costs, as this can tack on another $4.95 to your discounted price, and there goes your savings. Read on and see if these headphones sound like they have some of the sonic and design characteristics that you might be looking for in a pair of headphones for your children.
If you are a parent, or spend any time around young children, you are certainly aware that children love to listen to MP3's, DVD's, and play video games, and that many of these activities are performed when a child is wearing headphones, especially while riding in a car. You might at first be thinking why would it be necessary for any manufacturer to design a set of headphones with children in mind? There are a few reasons. Firstly, children have smaller heads, and thus the design of the headphones needs to take this into consideration, otherwise they are going to be falling off of the child's head and not fit securely. Another point is that children have a lower tolerance for the weight of a set of headphones, especially if they are bulky or heavy. If the headphones do not feel comfortable or fit well, a child's listening enjoyment is certainly apt to be affected, and they are not going to want to use them. The Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones are designed to be suitable for child 8 years and older to wear comfortably.
Aside from the comfort and ergonomic aspects of a set of headphones for children, one must also take into consideration the safety factor of listening to music or playing video games and the like while listening with a set of headphones over a prolonged period of time. If the sound is too loud in the headphones, a child's hearing can be permanently damaged for life. As many of you who are reading this already know, sound is measured in decibels (dB's), and a constant sound level of 85 dB's over prolonged listening periods can cause permanent damage to a person's hearing. How loud is 85 dB, you might ask? The sound inside of a car that is driving in city traffic is estimated to be about 85 dB. The sound of truck traffic is estimated to be about 90 dB, and prolonged exposure to volume levels in this range will result in permanent hearing loss over time. O.K., so how do headphones that are designed for children deal with this problem? There are different designs that are used by different manufacturers to deal with this potential problem. The one that Sony has chosen to use for the Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones is to set the impedance rating of the headphones at a relatively higher level than would typically be the case for a set of headphones that are usually designed for use with portable listening devices.
The Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones have an Impedance rating of 71 Ohms and a Sensitivity of 90 dB/mW. Allow me to explain a bit further just what these terms mean. In most cases, a set of headphones with a lower impedance rating will sound louder than a set of headphones with a higher impedance rating. That being said, the Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones are still considered to be low impedance headphones. However, the headphones that are typically used with portable listening devices have an even lower impedance rating. Well what does that mean? Low Impedance headphones are in general more efficient at converting electrical energy into sound than are headphones with a higher impedance rating. Thus, low impedance headphones may use less energy when plugged into a portable listening device, which can potentially mean longer battery life. However, even though the Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones are considered to be low impedance headphones, they are still 71 Ohms, and many of the headphones that are used with portable listening devices are in the area of 8 to 32 Ohms. Remember that I said earlier that the lower the impedance rating, the louder that the headphones are apt to sound. Well 71 Ohm headphones are not going to sound very loud when they are being powered by a small portable audio device, and all other things being equal, they surely won't be as loud as 8 Ohm or 16 Ohm headphones are apt to be.
You will recall that I mentioned in the preceding paragraph that the Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones have a Sensitivity of 90 dB/mW. O.K., so what does that mean? Headphone sensitivity is measured using 1/1000 of a Watt of power (1mW), and then measuring the sound pressure level (SPL) in dB at the earpiece of the headphones. The Sony MDR-222KD Stereo Headphones have a lower level or degree of sensitivity for headphones that are typically used to listen to music with a portable listening device. A lower level of continuous volume or dB's is going to be safer for your children than a higher one.
I should also mention a few other important to know facts about the Sony MDR-222 Stereo headphones here. The Sony MDR-222 Stereo Headphones come equipped with an L-shaped mini phone plug connector, and the length of the cord is slightly less than 4 feet. The Sony MDR-222 Stereo Headphones are also available in two colors, Pink and Black.
O.K., so what are some of the other pros and cons of the Sony MDR-222 Stereo Headphones? Well let's start with how they sound. I must confess I was rather disappointed with the sound quality. The highs seemed abrasive, the mids were muddy, and the bass was not clear, distinct, or punchy at all. Everything sounded overly compressed and poorly defined, and the volume level was lower than I would have expected. On the other hand, one of the purposes of designing these headphones was to not permit them to be able to be loud, and that goal was achieved. Another weakness that I perceived is that the cord is very flimsy. Most children, especially younger boys, are very hard on toys and related equipment. With a wire as flimsy as the one that comes with these headphones, I cannot imagine that these headphones are going to last very long. That also brings me to another point, and that is that these headphones in general do not seem to be well designed, comfortable, or sturdy. In fairness, I should point out that my 8 year old niece disagrees with me about these headphones, as she feels her Hanna Montana MP3's sound just fine on these headphones, and she loves wearing them.
The bottom line is that in general I did not like these headphones for the reasons that I have outlined above. There are headphones that are designed for children that are better in a number of respects, and if I were asked to give my opinion, I would not recommend these headphones to a potential buyer.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will please excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar. Good luck, and good listening.