Sony MDR-J20 Headband Headphones - Black/Silver

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Sony MDR-J20 is a unique, problematic headphone

Nov 15, 2006 (Updated Nov 15, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:no tangle cord! over-ear strap

Cons:the sound quality is not constant, not very hard to break

The Bottom Line: I would not buy these headphones. They look a little silly, the sound quality is easily compromised and the pros do not outweigh the cons.


I run a little. Jog is a more fitting term for what I do. I'm not one of those authentic joggers either... I run on a treadmill at the gym. I've got an Ipod Mini and I like to make 25 minute track lists while i'm warming up and then do my thing. Anyway... after seeing two magazine ads in one week about the dangers of the standard Ipod headphones I decided that I never did ever really like the feel of the little buggers. I'd always lose the little black pads that are supposed to make them more comfortable and the cord always tangled up. I went to the local Mejers supermarket and I picked up the j20s for $20. Here is my experience:

The Product: The first thing I noticed about these headphones is where the music comes from. Instead of shooting the music into your ears toward your brain the speaker is actually aimed toward your eyes. Does this work out? Kind of. What I've noticed is that you have to keep the headphone a certain degree snug for optimum sound output. Too far in and the music will sound overly bass-heavy. Too far out and it's very quite and the treble takes over (it sounds tinny). This is kind of annoying. When running sometimes one side will be much louder or bass heavy than the other side and it is distracting. Also, if you are laying in bed listening to music and you lay your ear on the pillow the side that is pushed into the pillow will be much louder and more uncomfortable than the other side.

The best thing about these headphones is that their cord design makes it almost impossible for it to become tangled up. In the one month I used these headphones they were in and out of my messenger bag about 3 times a day and I think I only had to really untangle the cords once. Awesome. The "over-the-ear" design makes it very hard for the actual headphone to come off of your ear while you are engaged in physical activity but does little to keep the each side of your head equa-distance from the speaker, which I mentioned is very important for optimum sound quality.

Speaking of sound quality, it is very good when the headphones are properly aligned. I would say that it is of higher quality than the headphones that normally come with a Sony Discman. I would also say the quality is better than the ipod's standard headphones. They are an open-aire design but there is very little "sound-leekage". I could blast these things an people sitting around me on a bus would barely notice.

After one month of use I broke these headphones. I fell asleep and crushed the suckers with my face. The headphones still work but the right side no longer has the over-ear doohickey. I may go out and get some superglue to fix these headphones but I will most likely head back to Mejers and pick up a pair of headphones that have a more reliable sounds. Perhaps other companies have included the no-tangle cord idea?


Recommend this product? No


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