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Sony MDR-EX1000 and EX600: First Impressions

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 

Sony MDR-EX1000

 

Disclaimer: This is solely only my impression, so please take this with a grain of salt. I hadn't exactly got myself the time to fully examine and listen these earphones.

 

Sony MDR-EX600 Impression and the EX-600 vs EX-1000 comparison could be found here:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/524925/sony-mdr-ex1000-first-impressions-and-reviews/15#post_7095180

 

Sony MDR-EX1000 Review:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/548726/review-sony-mdr-ex1000

 

 

1.jpg

 

MSRP: $735

Observed street price: $519

Impedance: 32 ohms at 1 kHz

Mass: Approximately 7g (the cord/code excluding

Frequency Range: 3-30,000Hz

Sensitivity: 108dB/mW

Max Input: 200mW

 

Intro

 

First of all, I'd like to thank Mingo from Hong Kong for allowing me to sample these earphones. With the strong interest of the EX1000, I thought I'd be one of the first member from Head-Fi to take a look at these rather wallet-breaking earphones. Since I am still rather new and relatively green-horned in judging the quality of earphones, I hope my review will at least manage to shed some slight amount of light to these earphones. Due to my limited amount of time with these headphones, you might want to take my review with a grain of salt, since there are several factors that might have interfered with my judgment (psychology/technical burn-ins, etc). I am also unable to test these amped properly unfortunately, so, my write-up will mostly be about how these earphones perform unamped through my iPod G6.5 with FLAC and 320kps mp3.

 

Design

 

First thought holding onto these earphones is that they feel sturdy. The circle part of the earphone is most definitely metal (what kind, I unfortunately have no idea -- I was told by kiteki that it is apparently magnesium). The cable after the Y-section is nice and thick while you could still comfortably wrap them above the ear. With these earphones, I feel like if I could have comfortably threw them into my bag without a case, since the casings of the earphones simply screams excellent quality. However, the cable after the Y section is slightly thinner and suffers from an average amount of microphonic.

 

In addition to this, the isolation for these earphones are just average. Despite with music playing and the earphones fitted snugly into my ears, I could still hear a reasonable amount background noise from the people talking two or three meters away from it. However, my sensitivity toward the background noise might have came from the fact that I was testing these earphones fresh from Etymotic's earphones, which as we all know, Etymotics are know for their immense isolation properties. So, that's hardly a fair comparison.

 

02/12/10 Update: I thought I should note that on my second round of trying these earphones out, I find them rather comfortable to wear and easy to fit. However, I do have ears that can have almost anything shoved into them and still get a good isolation. tongue.gif

 

Sounds

 

Sony is known for a lot of sound signatures. From the XB series to the extremely screechy EX700, it is difficult to assume just how will these sound like.

 

Funnily enough, they end up sounding like the bigger, badder, stronger, faster version of the Audéo Phonak PFE 112/111 to me.

 

However, for an earphone that easily cost more than the PFE 111/112 several times over, this really doesn't say much.

 

For the bonus, that is a good thing. Everything that comes from MDR-EX1000 is nice and crisp. It almost does nothing wrong. The treble is good, the mid-range is nice, the highs are alright. The strongest point for these earphones is most definitely the bass and the lower mids, where it is punchy, powerful, strong, delicious, and very, very well controlled.

 

And I am not even a basshead.

 

These earphones perform very, very well at any genres where the drums is the most prominent aspect of the music (hip-hop, some raps). I enjoyed my reggae and hip-hop tracks more than I should with these on.

 

However, you might have noticed I used the word "almost" for EX1000's performance.

 

As some of Head-Fi's veteran have noted, it is not easy for an earphone to be fast and have a nice decay to its sound. This is exactly where EX1000 falls flat on its face. It's almost too fast for its own good.

 

When I tried listening to certain scores from games (FLACs from Final Fantasy X Soundtrack and Mass Effect Soundtrack), I found the piano and violin lifeless due to how fast the drivers in EX1000 goes and how the EX1000 dealt with the decay. For me, the presence of the piano and the violin disappeared because listening those instruments through these earphones would cause them to disappear almost as soon as you hear them. The echo of the strings and the ring of the piano keys are almost gone due to this one fault. So, listeners to any genres that heavily features any sort of string instruments and piano should be wary to these earphones.

 

02/12/10 Update: I just realized I didn't mention just what sound signature does these earphones carried. From what I hear, they are neutral and slightly on the warmer side.

 

Overall Impression

 

Overall, these earphones are great. If you don't look at the hefty price tag they come with.

 

Which is a shame, really. These earphones is a really nice all-arounder, in my opinion. They are the type of earphones that you could let almost anyone listen to and they'll bounce on their toes and ask how much these are. However, watch their faces fall when you tell them the price. While the decay might come out as a problem, it actually still performs those instruments quite adequately. It just should have sounded better, judging from that price tag. Or Sony should have lowered the price tag by at least $100.

 

And this is the problem with the MDR-EX1000, everything good isn't worth the price they slapped on it. Even the bass, which I found absolutely stunning isn't worth the MSRP that I saw, it might just be worth the street price though. This is because the IEM market is becoming a more competitive market by the day. Everything that the MDR-EX1000 does could be done almost better with a cheaper IEM.

 

You want nice highs and details? ER4S for less than half of its price.

 

You want nice, strong, powerful, punchy and delicious bass? The Monster Turbine Pros (Gold or Copper) for $50 - 70 cheaper.

 

And then these is the fact that at $735, you could get very, very nice customs due to companies like Unique Melody and 1964 EARS. Throw out a $100 more, you could get UM's flagship, Miracle.

 

If the observed street price drops even further (I'd say the quality these earphones puts out is worth around $350), then these earphones would have sealed a nice and sturdy spot for itself.

 

Alas, that's not meant to be though.


Edited by MaxwellDemon - 4/10/11 at 1:59am
post #2 of 66

Thanks for the review.

 

They are made out of Magnesium (alloy), which is the second lightest metal after Lithium.

 

If the street price remains this high, I think the EX600 could become the killer instead as long as it sounds near-identical and uses the same driver.

post #3 of 66
Thread Starter 

I actually had wanted to make a comparison with the more reasonably priced EX600. However, I originally visited Mingo to test the UM Mage. So, obviously my visit got all screwy because I ended up listening to these for two hours straight and only 30 minutes for the UM Mage. redface.gif

 

Thanks for letting me know what the metal is! I'll add that to my review with credits given. ksc75smile.gif


Edited by MaxwellDemon - 11/26/10 at 4:48am
post #4 of 66

Perhaps you could relisten to some violin pieces, there's a chance that the Final Fantasy X soundtrack is using synthesized violins. =p

 

I find very fast dynamic drivers (despite lacking in decay) to sound very good with violin, they pick up the attack of the horsehair, arc of the string, the fast shrill resonances and overtones into high freq

 

If the bass is "powerful, delcious" perhaps the weight and tone of the wood of the violin should come across nicely too, or does the bass also lack in decay, and disappear quickly?

 

Sorry, the above is just "theory" and "imho". I'm not an AE or violin-player.

 

post #5 of 66

     Quote:

Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

I actually had wanted to make a comparison with the more reasonably priced EX600. However, I originally visited Mingo to test the UM Mage. So, obviously my visit got all screwy because I ended up listening to these for two hours straight and only 30 minutes for the UM Mage. redface.gif

 

Thanks for letting me know what the metal is! I'll add that to my review with credits given. ksc75smile.gif

 

Haha thankyou, and oh you listened in a shop so you can't relisten, shame, you should go back and compare EX600 and EX1000 side by side, you'll be a real saviour then ;)

 

post #6 of 66
Thread Starter 

Hmm, it never occured to me that FFX soundtrack might have used synthetic violin.

 

I think I didn't have this decay problem with my other headphones though. The bass from these are great, but I think what distinguish most of the string instrument to me is the echo that comes from the strings. EX1000 unfortunately lost that because it often is already on its way to more good stuff.

 

I'll see if I can drop by Mingo sometime next week to take a look at the EX600. Would be nice to add that to the post as an afterthought. biggrin.gif

post #7 of 66

Thanks for the impression. Like EX700 and most other Sony stuff, I am just going to sit on it till the street price drops so much that it finally makes sense to pick one up. It might take a year or two but I guess we will just have to see what happens. At least for now we still have the EX800 to look forward to.

post #8 of 66

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

Hmm, it never occured to me that FFX soundtrack might have used synthetic violin.

 

I think I didn't have this decay problem with my other headphones though. The bass from these are great, but I think what distinguish most of the string instrument to me is the echo that comes from the strings. EX1000 unfortunately lost that because it often is already on its way to more good stuff.

 

I'll see if I can drop by Mingo sometime next week to take a look at the EX600. Would be nice to add that to the post as an afterthought. biggrin.gif


Lol, maybe FFX soundtrack is real live recordings, I just made the assumption it's synthetic violin since videogames often do that =p

 

Lol, "decay problem", they must be really fast, what kind of headphones are you using?  btw do the EX1k have decent reverb and soundstage?

 

Is Mingo a headphone store in Hong-Kong?  Yes you should stop by and demo EX600.  We all want to find out if it's the same driver as the EX1000 and Z1000.  Besides, the EX600 almost look better, less clunky, and they cost a fraction of the price.

 

I bet it went like this

 

Sony marketing:  "You have to make us TWO new earphone's"

 

Sony engineering:  "But we only made one... it's called th"

 

Sony marketing:  "SHUT-UP, we need two, one for salaryman audiophiles and one for teenagers that want the best earphone."

 

Sony engineering:  "Ok guys call it EX600, make the manual less pages, change that bit to ABS plastic to make it look cheaper and get rid of a few accesories".

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by kiteki - 11/26/10 at 6:47am
post #9 of 66
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post


Lol, maybe FFX soundtrack is real live recordings, I just made the assumption it's synthetic violin since videogames often do that =p

 

Lol, "decay problem", they must be really fast, what kind of headphones are you using?  btw do the EX1k have decent reverb and soundstage?

 

Is Mingo a headphone store in Hong-Kong?  Yes you should stop by and demo EX600.  We all want to find out if it's the same driver as the EX1000 and Z1000.  Besides, the EX600 almost look better, less clunky, and they cost a fraction of the price.

 

I bet it went like this

 

Sony marketing:  "You have to make us TWO new earphone's"

 

Sony engineering:  "But we only made one... it's called th"

 

Sony marketing:  "SHUT-UP, we need two, one for salaryman audiophiles and one for teenagers that want the best earphone."

 

Sony engineering:  "Ok guys call it EX600, make the manual less pages, change that bit to ABS plastic to make it look cheaper and get rid of a few accesories".

 


An entire possible scenario. tongue.gif

 

And yes, Mingo owns a headphone store in HK. He is offering the EX1000 and EX600, along with god knows how many other earphones/headphones, as demo.

 

From what I remember, the EX1000 only offered an alright soundstage. The music coming from it didn't sound narrow, but it didn't necessarily sound airy either. For an IEM, its soundstage and reverb came off as average, nothing that wowed me or disappointed me... which you can say it is a disappointment for its price. rolleyes.gif

 

Everything is a disappointment with its price, hahaha.

post #10 of 66

The EX600, AFAIK, Has neither the 7N cable, the magnesium housing(Aluminum/ABS Plastic), nor the polymer drivers(multi-layer like EX700). Street price started out half as much. They didn't think enough of them to slot them above EX700. Don't think the EX600 is gonna be anything to write home about. Maybe, like ClieOS said, when the price drops enough.

 

post #11 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post

The EX600, AFAIK, Has neither the 7N cable, the magnesium housing(Aluminum/ABS Plastic), nor the polymer drivers(multi-layer like EX700). Street price started out half as much. They didn't think enough of them to slot them above EX700. Don't think the EX600 is gonna be anything to write home about. Maybe, like ClieOS said, when the price drops enough.

 


+1 about materials. Interestingly I preferred EX500 to EX700 biggrin.gif. Oh well.
+1 about the price. When it's about $300, I'll give it a go biggrin.gif. Even then, I'd probably pick up the successor to SM3 instead biggrin.gif.

Wasn't there a EX800 that's unduly forgotten? http://search.borderless.rakuten.com/borderless/search.action?l=en&tl=0&p=1&vm=2&f=0&sm=0&k=MDR-EX800&fs=1 (stage monitor HP by the looks of it, oriented for pro musicians (whatever the scaled translation to sony is))

The educational story about making top line HP wrt ex1k and 0.6k, is probably the case of EX800ST being the bang for buck bit.

http://image.rakuten.co.jp/e-earphone/cabinet/00749087/img57288038.jpg

the plot thickens.(long cord there =( )
Edited by svyr - 11/27/10 at 5:46am
post #12 of 66

By the way, the Akai Ewi on the link you posted is an awesome instrument!

post #13 of 66
Thread Starter 
I finally got the chance to test the EX600. Will write an impression and a comparison when I get back home. smily_headphones1.gif
post #14 of 66

Hello :) 

this is my first post :) 

iam interested in Those Sony earphone especially the EX800 but as they seem of similar design iam interested also in the 600 and the 1000... 

I try to decide between one of the Sony or a Shure SE535. (iam interested in a natural "flat" response as iam sound producer but also something confortable... )

 

I had some Sony recently (noise canceling ones and sl90 if i remember well), of course sound quality was average but they were very very confortable for me, only the big problem i had with them was : 

 

- Isolation and especially Microphonic. so i would be interested to have more details about that, concerning those new sony design (over the ear) as it seem they tried to minimize microphonics... 

If there is still as much microphonics it would be a good reason to buy another earphone for me :S

 

thanks a lot for your help :) 


Edited by chromatic - 12/1/10 at 8:07am
post #15 of 66

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chromatic View Post

Hello :) 

this is my first post :) 

iam interested in Those Sony earphone especially the EX800 but as they seem of similar design iam interested also in the 600 and the 1000... 

I try to decide between one of the Sony or a Shure SE535. (iam interested in a natural "flat" response as iam sound producer but also something confortable... )

 

I had some Sony recently (noise canceling ones and sl90 if i remember well), of course sound quality was average but they were very very confortable for me, only the big problem i had with them was : 

 

- Isolation and especially Microphonic. so i would be interested to have more details about that, concerning those new sony design (over the ear) as it seem they tried to minimize microphonics... 

If there is still as much microphonics it would be a good reason to buy another earphone for me :S

 

thanks a lot for your help :) 


Yes, over-ear design will have less microphonics, these models will come with several tips so you can achieve the best isolation/comfort.

 

EX800ST should be the best model for you, for studio use I can also recommend the ATH-CK10, very low microphonics, comfort, flat FR, high detail retrieval, dynamic range etc., the Sony's will sound more natural in timbre though so it's like a studio monitor versus a high-end natural speaker, it depends on if you're mastering recordings or creating music and selecting the best sounding instrument in a virtual database (for example).
 

Edit:  Oh, and for your needs, these are also a very popular choice, I haven't heard them, but I have to be objective and fair =p http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er4.html

 

 


Edited by kiteki - 12/1/10 at 9:32am
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