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Sony MDRZX300- pleasantly surprised

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDRZX300-BLK-Outdoor-Headphones/dp/B004RKQMCY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317423989&sr=8-1

 

A few months ago I started to notice that the old Sony V-150s had disappeared from store shelves and were being replaced by these headphones and a slightly less expensive version of them, the MDRZX100s. To me these seem to be a modernized form of the old V150s and V300s. 

 

I tried out the MDRZX100s at their display, and I wasn't terribly impressed. However I do have to say that the sound is immediately better than the older V150s. They were much clearer and more balanced. However, the sound was rather weak and overly airy sounding. It seemed that while the balance was solid (although I perceived the mids to be somewhat recessed), there just wasn't much substance to the sound. However, for their price of $19, the sound was rather good. Compared to the V150s (overly bassy, very muddy, unclear sound, had a very dark "veil"), these are a large improvement. 

 

However, I caught a glimpse of the slightly more expensive ZX300s ($25). They are nearly identical save for the fact that the outside of the ear cup housing is glossy and textured. The box also mentions some differences in their specifications, such as the 300s have a sensitivity of 102 db (the others are rated at 100) and a larger sound frequency response. 

 

Off of impulse (and due to the fact that I returned my Bose AE2s...I liked them but I felt I couldn't justify the price), I bought these. I have been expecting to dislike them enough to warrant returning them. 

 

However, I think I'll keep them. 

 

SOUND:

 

The sound is surprisingly good. I would even go as far as to say that they sound on par with the bose, if not a little better due to a more full and natural sound spectrum (which is rather sad for the Bose considering they are several times more expensive). 

 

The sound is not completely unlike their less expensive ZX100 bretheren. However the major difference is that the sound seems to have quite a bit more power behind it. The sound is not nearly as "Weak and overly airy". The bass is very full and clear (ie not terribly bloated), the mids are crystal clear, as are the highs. The mid ranges are much improved with these over the cheaper set. I will say that another major difference between these and the less expensive set is that the bass is emphasized a bit more. I actually like this, as the bass is powerful but not at all overwhelming. These would probably not have a completely flat frequency response graph, but my impressions is that I can hear every range rather well with great instrument separation and good detail. Vocals are the most impressive aspect of these. Voices sound very distinct and realistic. 

 

They are fairly bright sounding out of box, and I can still tell that I'm not listening to a several hundred dollar pair of headphones, but the sound is very nice for the price. Very, VERY nice, in fact. I did side by side comparisons with my PX 200s, and I have to say that the sound of the ZX300s is immediately more engaging and full (but probably not quite as accurate...the sonys have about twice the amount of bass). The soundstage is surprisingly good. There is some of that "airy" quality you get with a wide sound stage. Instrument placement is great, better than most headphones I have owned. Last but not least, these DO NOT need amplification. They are incredibly loud if you want them to be, even on a small little MP3 player. Despite their relatively low sensitivity (102 db...I've seen em go up to 120), they are very powerful and efficient headphones. 

 

COMFORT:

 

The comfort is decent. They aren't as comfortable as my PX 200s or other phones I haves, such as my porta pros (and actually the Bose I just returned are much more comfortable). However, I have been wearing them for over an hour with only a very slight discomfort/soreness in the ears. The ear pads are very soft, which helps. The reason why they may be a little uncomfortable is that the headband clamps a bit.

 

ISOLATION:

 

They don't really isolate much. They do isolate a little bit, and the sound does very well in noisy areas because of the closed design, but don't expect much passive noise cancellation. 

 

BUILD QUALITY:

 

They are entirely plastic. The plastic seems pretty sturdy, but the set is lightweight and has a bit of a flimsy feel to it. This is probably a large part of why they don't cost much for their sound. I don't think they are overly fragile, but they don't strike me as being as rugged as my PX200s. The plastic itself seems high quality, and the overall look is sleek and minimalist without looking cheap. The cord is double sided. The cord seems very reinforced and it's a bit thick, which makes it seem more rugged. The connector jack is also a plus; it's an L shaped jack, not just a straight one. 

 

 

You all should go out and try them! In fact in that link I provided you can get them for a little over 18 dollars. I personally feel that this is a steal. DO IT! :)

 

EDIT: I've been noticing that the more you wear them, the less strenuous the headband becomes. 


Edited by swaffleman - 9/10/12 at 11:07pm
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

Still surprised none of you bothered to check these out.

 

I've been using them ever since I wrote this post and they sound really good. They just a very balanced and open sound. I did have to put foam inserts inside the ear cushions, on top of the speaker housing. They originally had little material there, so you could see down into the driver. I found the sound to be fatiguing, but I had an experience like this in the past, and putting foam inserts in darkened the sound and made it less fatiguing. These have a very bright sound, and darkening them up a little helped in that regard.

 

Seriously though, at this point, they may be the best cheap headphones out there *20-30 dollar cheap*.


Edited by swaffleman - 9/10/12 at 11:08pm
post #3 of 11

Yeah, this is the best value of the line supposedly. The 100 is meh, the ZX500 was a retread of the Marquii driver and is already discontinued, the ZX700 is just a bit off, and the ZX1000 lacks for a flagship. Having had the ZX700 and the new MDR-MA100, I'll take the $19.99 MA100 every day of the week. I know another Head-fier says they like the MA-900 much more than the ZX1000.

 

The ZX300 seem to be the only one that is bright. That may be the difference. I've seen a few out in the real world so they are just not popular around here. But, trust me, quite a few things are missed on Head-fi. The low end Sony's do have a negative stigma around here based on past efforts that had both cheap build and crap sound. Now Sony seem to be doing a better job one the sound throughout their lines and the cheapness is just in the materials.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm aware of the past crap models...like the V 150s. These are light years better in both construction and sound quality. The materials are somewhat cheap in that it's all plastic, but it's a much sturdier plastic than on the older headphones. I actually have owned three separate V 150's in the past (before I knew about good quality sound...), and they were incredibly easy to break. These have endured almost a year of use by me without breaking, and they are still going strong.  

 

These almost have a neutral sound, and the openness is really something considering they are cheap and closed. There's a wider sound stage than even my PX200's, which are really good considering how small they are. The sound is not as tight as my Sennheisers, or as tight as something like the V6's, but it's not as flabby and muddy as the V150s...

 

I got a chance to hear the ZX100's (a good friend of mine uses them). The sound signature signature of the 100's is similar to the ZX300's, but the 300s have much better bass and a tighter, clearer overall sound. Also, as mentioned, it's probably a bit brighter than the 100's. Even the 100's are way better than the V 150's though.  


Edited by swaffleman - 9/11/12 at 1:34pm
post #5 of 11

thanks for the review.. i really wanted to grab these but the 1.2m cord wasn't long enough for my setup... i really wish it had a longer cord like the V150s had for "studio monitor" use.. even the MA100s 2m cord wasn't long enough to reach my couch.. i had to opt for the MA300s 3m cord and i'm very happy with the sound for the price ($39 CDN)

post #6 of 11
Thank goodness, someone who is willing to get past the stigma against lower end Sony's. I'm considering either the ZX300's or the MA100's. Do you think the MA's would be less ear fatiguing out of the box? I was doing some mixing with a pair of V6's a few weeks ago and that sets rough high end had me feeling it for the rest of the day!
post #7 of 11
Just picked a pair of these up today for £18 to use as portables. I have owned a pair of HD 650s for the last three years without using any other headphones. When I first listened to the MDRZX300 I couldn't help but laugh at how bad they sounded and was reminded why I paid so much for a pair of headphones.

I am listening to the MDRZX300 again tonight, I'll write a little review here once I have experienced them further but they are growing on me for the price I paid. It's just the HD 650s make me not want to listen to music with these.

Listening to Imagine the Fire by Hans Zimmer now and there is just no authority and everything sounds muffled together with the treble hurting my ears. They just sound feeble and noisy. Comfort is like my old Grado Sr80 but worse, that burning sensation on your ears. Just put the HD650 back on and I think I'm just gonna use these as portables too the sound quality is worth it.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well I have to agree that compared to my PX 200 II's, they cannot compete.

 

But for the price, they actually deliver a really balanced and clear sound.
 

post #9 of 11

I picked these up by accident for my mom of all people. Thought I was getting the cheaper zx100 because what does she care. Got up to the register and bam 29.99 and said oh what the hell. Went home and put them on and wow was i surprised. I wore them that whole evening and then gave them up to her but what great value foe these. Still up in the air about getting me a pair for stuff like before hockey games where i can just toss them with my gear. I am a broke college student after all. My first headphone purchase ever was a pair of sony v150 way back in 6th grade. i didnt like the buds that came with my sony cd player so i purchased the v 150 and even back then i knew they were crap and i used them like twice before giving them away to a friend. What im trying to say is these are trying very hard to sway me back to cheap sony headphones and if i find them on sale a pair of these will be mine soon. 

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by xamaryllix View Post

Thank goodness, someone who is willing to get past the stigma against lower end Sony's. I'm considering either the ZX300's or the MA100's. Do you think the MA's would be less ear fatiguing out of the box? I was doing some mixing with a pair of V6's a few weeks ago and that sets rough high end had me feeling it for the rest of the day!

Hi! I just got the chance to compare both today, and decided on getting the MA100. I've read through this thread prior to my purchase, and indeed found the ZX300 fatiguing to listen to than the MA's, that's why I chose the latter.
post #11 of 11
I just picked these up because they were one sale, paid $34.99 and so far I'm rather impressed. These are my first headphones, previously used skullcandy heavy medal and skullcandy fmj. That being said my main reason for the purchase was for something to compare to when I order my V-moda M100s.
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