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The EARBUD Shoot-Out: Sony MDR-E848LP Is Crappy!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I gathered up several of the earbuds that I own: Sony MDR-E828LP ($10), MDR-E848LP ($30), MDR-ED238LP ($30), MDR-ED268LP ($50), MDR-EX70LP ($50) and MDR-E888LP ($80); and Sennheiser MX-500 ($18) (all prices are US list). These earbuds are OBVIOUSLY designed for portable use, but for consistency I connected them to the headphone output jack of an 11-year-old Pioneer stereo home receiver, with a Sony carousel CD player connected to it. I listened to the first few beats of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five", from his remastered Time Out CD (Columbia/Legacy CK 65122). Here are my findings (listed in order of increasing price, with my overall summary given at the end of this post):

Sony MDR-E828LP: These low-end bestselling Sonys are surprisingly listenable for such a cheap pair of earbuds. There is audible bass response and some usable deep-bass extension. However, that bass isn't quite as tight as some listeners may prefer. The highs are a bit tinny and harsh. But what the heck, these things cost just $10! What do you expect? Sony MDR-V6-like sound?

Sennheiser MX-500: These earbuds have less harsh highs than the Sony MDR-E828LP's, but the bass isn't quite as strong. The mids are a bit recessed in comparison to Sony's open earbuds (which IMO may have too much midrange for some listeners).

Sony MDR-E848LP: What a piece of crap these $30 Sony earbuds are!! Muffled highs, weak bass, no real deep bass extension... blech.

Sony MDR-ED238LP: Like the MDR-E848LP's, above, with boomy mid-bass and muffled highs!

Sony MDR-ED268LP: The bass on these is the strongest of ANY pair of earbuds on the market. The mids and highs are decent, but these earbuds suck for classical and jazz - the bass is too strong for such types of music. Better suited for rock, metal and trance, IMO.

Sony MDR-EX70LP: These closed earbuds have the best bass extension of any earbud in this group - but control isn't as tight as the bass response of the better full-sized headphones. The highs are audible, but not very detailed. The mids are recessed in comparison to the open earbuds.

One advantage for commuters: These block out more external noises than most of the full-sized closed headphones.

Sony MDR-E888LP: These earbuds have that seductive, silky midrange that's desired by some audiophiles, including myself. The bass is about the same as the Sennheiser MX-500's; the highs, a bit lower in output than the MX-500's. (I tested all of the open earbuds without the foam pads.)

My judgment of this shootout is as follows:

MDR-E888LP > MX-500 > MDR-EX70LP > MDR-E828LP = MDR-ED268LP > MDR-E848LP > MDR-ED238LP

__________________________________________________ __
If you agree or disagree with my findings, please feel free to reply to this thread.

Hello from Melrose Park (10 miles west of downtown Chicago)!

post #2 of 9
I agree thge MX500s are inferior to the 888s; the 848s sure do suck; and the EX70, I FOUND - to have loose bass that extened low out of bad headphone jacks - my JMT Penguin made the EX70s boomy and unlistenable....

Perhaps this should be "Appendix A" in my Portable Shootout - it's concise, and covers several bud models I hadn't tried.....
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by coolvij
...the 848s sure do suck...

Even the 888s and the MX-500s have a little bit of bass extension, whereas the 848s have virtually NONE! And I ranked the 828s lower than either the 888s or the MX-500s because the bass on the 828s is somewhat boomy in comparison to the 888s and the MX-500s.
post #4 of 9
the bass on the 828s is somewhat boomy in comparison to the 888s and the MX-500s.
And you sure hate boomy bass....right?
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
And coolvij, you sure can't get much bass extension from open-air earbuds without also making the mid-bass boomy! That said, I still rank the 828s above the crappy bassless 848s.
post #6 of 9
just wondering...are the senn mx-500s exactly the same as the mx-400's except w/ volume control?
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
chewmanji, the Sennheiser earbuds without a volume control (MX-300, MX-400) have a bit stronger bass than the MX-500. The two cheaper Senn earbuds may suit rock music better than the MX-500, IMO.
post #8 of 9
7 pairs of earbuds? why so many? one for each day of the week perhaps?
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Sorry, Raymond, but I bought them from stores that won't permit any returns of earbuds whatsoever (due to municipal sanitation laws) - and at which I couldn't demo them at all before buying them. So I'm stuck with all of them...

The one exception to this statement is the Sennheiser MX-500's; none of the stores that I visited locally carried them at all. So I ordered them from Headroom... but shipping charges are freaking high!!!
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