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'Best headphones ever' is a common occurrence in the consumer review sections of tech websites, when the product in question is a pair of Sony headphones. Even their canal phones have received superb recognition and appreciation, and rightfully so. The Walkman is Sony's realm, thus providing good speakers for portable products should be second nature to these guys. I have with me one such new product from the Sony stable, and I'm pretty thrilled as we have not reviewed Sony earphones in a long time. This one is called the MDR-EX35LP.
Design and Features
The unit comes in a neat and compact package, which includes the earphones, 2 extra earbuds and the literature. There is something new and innovative about the earbuds, and it's in their construction. Sony states that they are made of hybrid silicone, which basically means that the sleeve part of the bud is made of a softer silicone rubber, while the central tube is more rigid, and also color coded, thus providing a firm and comfortable fit. The earphones are available in 3 sizes - small, medium and large - thus most ear canals can be covered. The driver size is 9mm, which is across the board for the EX series. Magnets used are neodymium, which is also a commonality in headphone drivers these days. The neodymium helps in producing more power for lesser mW consumed. We received a black piece but there are a few other color options available. The earphone is black all over, with a glossy coat for the rib joining the cord with the tiny driver enclosure. 'Sony' is neatly etched on this surface, in white.
The impedance is 16 ohms, which is on the lower side, making the earphones apt for low voltage outputs like MP3 players. The rated output for frequency response is 6 Hz - 23000 Hz, which is extremely wide. We will have to run some pure sine tones to check how low it goes. Sensitivity is medium at 100 dB. Judging by this, we should not have a problem with loudness. Plus the fact that these are in-ear, we can expect a decent degree of acoustic noise cancellation. The cord length is 1.2 m which is very sufficient. I feel a minimum length of 1 m is good enough.
We plugged these earphones into a couple of players like the Philips GoGear and iPod Shuffle. In the loudness category, these earphones belt out decent amounts of SPL power, though subjectively speaking they do not reach such levels that all external noise can be negated. The volume on my player had to be kept near max to get full enjoyment. The good thing is that, at max volume, the sound is still crystal clear in terms of distortion and other sonic dirt.
These earphones have very impressive bass - as low and deep as boutique earphones that cost Rs. 5000 and above - and in perfect proportion. Just right for one to enjoy a pulsating rhythm, or a funky bassline. The highs and mids are also very well behaved, as in there was no unnecessary brightness or sharpness in the sound. Overall the sound had great clarity and the earphones perform very well.
At Rs. 1290, i think these earphones are a hit. They could have been just a little louder and belted out more sound power, though the bass response is something worth commending. It is a great choice for someone who wants to simply replace the earphones that come bundled with MP3 players. It's a great entry level earphone.