Sony MDRE829V In-Ear only Headphones - Black

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An essential upgrade to any portable audio device!

Jul 26, 2008 (Updated Jul 26, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Best frequency response of any "earbud" I've ever used.

Cons:None of any significance

The Bottom Line: These will outperform just about any OEM earbuds supplied with your MP3 player, CD player, etc. Buy them!


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an Epinions review of the Sandisk Sansa m230 512MB MP3 player. For the money, one can hardly go wrong with the m230, & my review reflected this in it's overwhelmingly positive comments. A few days after posting it though, a friend wrote me & said "Hey Brian... you told us everything about this thing except for how it sounds!!!"

Fair enough. Actually, he was right... if I were to critique the 230's sound quality, the first thing I would say is "immediately toss the earbuds that come with it and buy a pair of Sony MDRE829V's". See.. it's been my experience that the apparent "quality" of any MP3 player (or any audio device, for that matter) is 90% dependant on how it physically interfaces with the ear & what is doing the interfacing.

I've owned several MP3 players made by the likes of Sandisk, Apple, Creative, et al & in spite of their often very different build qualities, each and every one of these manufacturers seems to have the same annoying foible... i.e., produce a potentially fine product, but supply the hapless consumer with a pair of sub-par earbuds with which to listen to their new purchase. It's like buying a brand-new Ferrari only to find that the tires are retreads & the tank is full of low-octain fuel.

Call me naive if you will, but when I bought my first iPod back in 2006, I'd been so inundated with Apple's advertising stratagies that I figured something of the quality of an Apple iPod would come packaged with equally high quality "headphones" (or "earbuds", if you will). They were OK, I suppose, & I think that after time I even succeeded in convincing myself that they sounded great simply because they were "iPod earbuds".

Then came the day when I inadvertently cut the wire by running over it with the caster of my office chair. A quick scan of eBay yielded literally thousands of replacement choices... most in the form of $3 to $5 per pair knockoffs built to look a lot like original iPod earbuds. I bought two pair of said product, & found them to perform identically to the originals. "Hmmm", I thought... could it be that the earbuds Apple supplys with their players are simply these cheap units with a Apple logo screened on them?" I do get the feeling that this is actually the case. Incredulous, I went to my local Circuit City to see what they had in stock.

This is completely out of character for me, but I chose the MDRE829V's based on price; not because they were a bargain, but because they were one of the most expensive on the display ($18.95 in this particular case). My rational was that because there were at least a dozen different products all in the $8 to $12 range with really nothing to distinguish any particular one, I chose the Sony thinking that perhaps the extra price might be justified in some way. After all; I don't think I've ever bought a Sony product that I didn't like.

I don't want to come off sounding like some sort of pretentious a**hole, but the quality of the sound that the MDRE829V produces is a revelation (at least compared to stock earbuds). When properly seated in the ear, the low frequency reproduction is surprisingly full (one thing I'd recommend is that you ditch the thin foam covers that come with the MDRE829Vs & pick up some thicker ones, like the ones they sell over at Radio Shack in quantities of four (I normally don't buy ANYTHING from R.S., but that's another story altogether). The thicker foam allows the 'buds to make a more solid contact with the ear (creating mass, & mass is what's required to produce effective bass response). The highs are very clean & the midrange is unusually realitic (not at all harsh like most units of this ilk). I really don't have any way of testing this, but to my ears, the frequency response across the entire audible spectrum is nice and (relatively) flat, allowing you to tailor the sound just the way you like using your player's EQ.

As you can see in the photo, a protective case is included that I've never actually found much use for (but I won't hold that against it).

The Sony MDRE829Vs are an absolute bargain. Replace your mediocre earbud with a pair of these & allow yourself to experience what your MP3 player is acually capable of.


Recommend this product? Yes


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