Pros:Clear, Loud and Comfortable. A bargain compared to many other "high-end" ear-buds.
Cons:Long burn-in required. I say 50 hours but definitely worth it.
The Bottom Line: Hear every note with detail and presence. Loud but controlled and precise they can easily take you from Ozzy or Foo Fighters or Enya or Tchaikovsky with ease.
Being a working musician I demand a high level of fidelity when it comes to music. At home I listen to Bose full size over-ear headphones. I bought these Sony MDR-EX700 because I wanted a more portable ear-bud style with great sound. I also wanted a sturdy build, light weight and comfort. They weren't the first pair I bought to try and fit the bill. I also bought a pair of Skullcandy Full Metal Jacket, and a pair of Phillips "surround sound" phones for comparison. Here is the rundown...
Recommend this product?
I first purchased the Skullcandy headphones and was quite pleased with them. For the price, $65 they have good presence, a nice balance and are a quality product for the price. They came with a nice collection of foam and silicon ear-buds. So why upgrade to the Sony EX700 for over $100 more? That is the question I wanted answered for myself.
The Sony's arrived in the mail and I set them up on my PC to "burn-in" they recomend a break in period of 12 to 24 hours at normal listening levels. I usually give my headphones 50 hours of break in time but I was in a hurry so I setteled for 12 hours.
I pulled together a collection of Classical, Rock, Ambient, Electronic, and Acoustic music pieces. I first listened to my Bose full headphones, then to the Phillips Surround Sounds. Wow what a disappointment they were. Then to the Skullcandy, a very nice upgrade from the $14 Phillips. The Skullcandy FMJ's were very good head to head with the Bose, still some limitations in bass and overall presence but nice. Last I moved to the Sony EX700.
The first thing I noticed is the level of bass. WOW, I had to change the EQ and roll off the bass frequencies a bit. These things can really pump out the bass. The sound is huge and I hadn't expected such a difference between the very good Skullcandy and these Sony's. Moving on to some ambient and sound-scape music I could really appreciate the openness and clarity they have. I was hearing bass frequencies that I had not notices before that must have been nearing the low 20khz frequencies. After an hour or so with them I was able to hear why they are worth the extra $100 and I still believe they are.
The soundstage is excellent with an emphasis on bass and highs. They remind me of listening to a high end sub-woofer & satellite system rather than headphones. The bass is very controllable and after getting used to adjusting my EQ I have found the the highs are where these headphones actually really shine. The clarity is amazing and I have noticed that the longer I have owned them the better they sound. The lows and mids are controlled and clear now with precise detail and the high frequencies have smoothed out even more. I have experienced no ear fatigue even after an all day listening session during a trip.
After looking back on the evaluation period of these I highly recomend a 50 hour burn-in. They just begin to shine at about 30 hours.
The Sony MDR-EX700 headphones come with a leather case with a pull-out cord organizer which I find very handy, quick to store, and easy to use. They have a standard 1/8" gold plated plug. Nice tangle-free cord with side drop.