Pros: Sound Quality is awesome, cable design
Cons: Fit issues, standard tips are horrible, crack easily
Sony MDR-EX600 Review
I borrowed a pair of these from Tyll for review. These are the MDR-EX600 which are commonly faked on ebay.
I must admit that the charts are actually quite impressive. They are very flat from 5Hz up to 1200Hz and have some nice peaks in the treble.
The case is very nice but a tad large. I would end up placing the earphones in my pocket due to the size of container they come in. The way the earphones wrap around to fit inside the case is a bit ridiculous. It really could not be any more inconvenient. The earphones themselves look and feel nice and the cable is just long enough for portable devices.
It took me a while to get just the right fit. I press them in then wrap them around my ears making it a bit odd to get angled into my ear canal properly. Non of the included tips worked well. I installed a pair of T-400's I had laying around which worked a ton better. Due to the sheer bulk of the driver housing they feel like they would pop out of my ears if I move much, but after exercising with them they stayed in place just fine. Keep in mind this was with T-400's not the default tips.
There were no comfort issues once I got them into my ear canals, but I was a little uncomfortable wrapping them around my ears and trying to figure out how to make them fit correctly. They are really bulky and take some getting used to while they are in your ears.
The earphones tested had a crack in them already along the post where the cord first plugs into the earphone. The cord is not microphonic at all. The cord is terminated into a 1/8" plug at 90 degrees and fits nicely into my iPod touch that has a plastic hard case on it. Not all cords fit this well. The cord is very thin passed the ear pieces and I imagine it splitting at th plug end after a few tangles.
With any of the default tips the sound was mediocre at best. Once the T-400's were in and the fit adjusted the sound was really nice.
The bass was deep and not as boomy as other dynamic driver earphones. It extends quite well and using Collective Soul's "Forgiveness" gave me a taste of good extension. There was some audible roll off in the bass, but it was certainly clean and deep.
The mids were pleasant with a slight tilt down toward the treble which made some tracks a little tinny. I found this so listening to the Heartless Bastards "Pass and Fail". I also picked up on some sibilance in the mids using the "Forgiveness" test track once again. Perhaps due to the driver position I found I had to turn up my iPod quite a bit to get a high quality sound out of the EX600, but at that point I could only listen for a few minutes before having to turn it down.
highs were not as swift as I like. They were more extended than my M2's, but still a tad bland and lifeless. In Coleman Hawkins & Duke Ellington's "Wanderlust" the high hat was just a tad too much rolled off for me. The snare felt a bit dim too.
The image was better than a lot of other IEM's, but fell behind my M2's. I did appreciate the airy sound the EX600 could bring to tracks like "Plenty More" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. The image of Buddy and Julie Miller's "Long Time" was a bit flat and really did not impress me like the M2 can.
Tracks that sounded really amazing through the EX600:
"I Will Never Be Untrue" by The Doors
"Summer" by Great Big Sea
"Yellow Submarine" by the Beatles
Tracks that sounded too full or loud with the EX600:
"I'm Not Your Toy" by La Roux
"Rock This Town" by The Brian Setzer Orchestra
"Sideways" by The Birthday Massacre
Although the Sony MDR-EX600 is a great sounding IEM it lacks the sound stage and design qualities of the M2. I found the EX600 much like the HD-650 in that it takes higher volumes to bring out a pure sound, but at that point my ears started to hurt. At the $199 price point there are many other great IEM's including the M2, UE700, and HiFiMan RE262. Even the Fischer Audio DBA-02 will give the EX600 trouble.
I will admit that if the cord was a bit more beefy, the cracking issue addressed, and Comply T-400 tips included with the EX600 they would be a perfect fit into my IEM library. With Comply T-400 tips I recommend these over the Monster TurbinePro Copper.