Sony MDR-EX600: Impressions Thread
Jul 14, 2011 at 9:31 AM Post #451 of 1,311

ericp10

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Nice initial impressions @ FlySweep. I should have my GR07 early next week (and the zo subwoofer). I can't wait to hear how these mid-priced power iems stack up against each other.
 
Quote:
Ordered the EX600 yesterday and they arrived this afternoon (Amazon Prime.. yeeeaaaah buddy).
 
They had been burning in since 3pm today.. out of the box, they were (as many reported) harsh, bright, and generally rough around the edges.  After 6 hours or so, they settled down a bit.. the bass began to show better texture and presence.  the mid-range on up still sounded grainy, metallic, and "silvery".
 
After 10 hours.. I'm beginning to hear why these get the praise they do.  The mid-range and treble smoothed out a ton.. a ton.  They're still very crisp and airy, but now have better tone as the timbre seems more balanced and realistic.  Excellent instrument separation and detail.  The soundstage is simply fantastic.. w i d e .. but not to where imaging is smeared or inaccurate.
 
These are in many ways, kindred spirits with the GR07.  They share a very similar crisp, slightly mid-forward, neutral signature.  But where the GR07 is smoother and slightly warm, the EX600 is crisper, cooler and airy (reminds me some of the RE0's mid range and treble presentation.. with better note weight).  
 
The EX600's bass isn't as full bodied or impactful as the GR07, at this point.. but it's closing in nicely.  The EX600 seem capable of going nearly as deep though.  Again, I'm barely 10 hours into these, so I'm confident they'll improve with time.  Like the GR07, it seems significant burn in is required for them to reveal their true character.
 
Every genre the GR07 excelled at, the EX600 seemingly does too.. with a slightly different (and welcome) signature.. so I don't have any qualms keeping both of them in the arsenal.  
 
A correct fit is imperative with the Ex600.. The M hybrid tips have always been the best fit for my ears on other phones, but i found the L hybrid (w/o foam insert) to be the best fit.  Once secured, they're very comfortable and feel like they can be worn for hours on end without any discomfort.
 
I'm kinda of surprised to say this but it's honestly a toss up between the GR07 & the EX600 right now.  I love the GR07's refinement, smoothness, and lovely bass.  I also love the EX600's crisp RE0-ish midrange & treble.. so it's really a case of each phone adding their own touch to a shared signature of sorts.
 
Regardless of the "competition", it's great to see two top tier (IMO) phones at relatively modest prices available to the masses.. it's a good time to be into hifi on a budget!



 
 
Jul 14, 2011 at 12:25 PM Post #452 of 1,311

Gossling

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FlySweep, thanks for your early impressions.  Perhaps this is an unusual request, but I'm curious how the EX600 compare to your FA-003.  My priorities in sound are accurate timbral reproduction and precise imaging (I listen to lots of classical music).  Basically, I want headphones that come the closest to reproducing live concert sound.  I know it's a little early to say, but how is the build quality of the EX600 compared with the GR07 in your opinion? I've read that the EX600 isolates relatively poorly.  Would it isolate less than a closed full-size can such as the FA-003?
 
Does anyone have warranty information on the EX600?
 
Thanks!
 
Jul 14, 2011 at 1:20 PM Post #454 of 1,311

Confispect

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Quote:
Ordered the EX600 yesterday and they arrived this afternoon (Amazon Prime.. yeeeaaaah buddy).
 
They had been burning in since 3pm today.. out of the box, they were (as many reported) harsh, bright, and generally rough around the edges.  After 6 hours or so, they settled down a bit.. the bass began to show better texture and presence.  the mid-range on up still sounded grainy, metallic, and "silvery".
 
After 10 hours.. I'm beginning to hear why these get the praise they do.  The mid-range and treble smoothed out a ton.. a ton.  They're still very crisp and airy, but now have better tone as the timbre seems more balanced and realistic.  Excellent instrument separation and detail.  The soundstage is simply fantastic.. w i d e .. but not to where imaging is smeared or inaccurate.
 
These are in many ways, kindred spirits with the GR07.  They share a very similar crisp, slightly mid-forward, neutral signature.  But where the GR07 is smoother and slightly warm, the EX600 is crisper, cooler and airy (reminds me some of the RE0's mid range and treble presentation.. with better note weight).  
 
The EX600's bass isn't as full bodied or impactful as the GR07, at this point.. but it's closing in nicely.  The EX600 seem capable of going nearly as deep though.  Again, I'm barely 10 hours into these, so I'm confident they'll improve with time.  Like the GR07, it seems significant burn in is required for them to reveal their true character.
 
Every genre the GR07 excelled at, the EX600 seemingly does too.. with a slightly different (and welcome) signature.. so I don't have any qualms keeping both of them in the arsenal.  
 
A correct fit is imperative with the Ex600.. The M hybrid tips have always been the best fit for my ears on other phones, but i found the L hybrid (w/o foam insert) to be the best fit.  Once secured, they're very comfortable and feel like they can be worn for hours on end without any discomfort.
 
I'm kinda of surprised to say this but it's honestly a toss up between the GR07 & the EX600 right now.  I love the GR07's refinement, smoothness, and lovely bass.  I also love the EX600's crisp RE0-ish midrange & treble.. so it's really a case of each phone adding their own touch to a shared signature of sorts.
 
Regardless of the "competition", it's great to see two top tier (IMO) phones at relatively modest prices available to the masses.. it's a good time to be into hifi on a budget!

 
Interesting.
 
 
 
Jul 14, 2011 at 2:48 PM Post #455 of 1,311

FlySweep

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More listening done today and as i said in the GR07 thread, the EX600 continue to blow me away.  Inks mentioned in another thread that he found the EX600 to have better dynamic range than the GR07.. and I find that to be very true.  It's interesting because these phones sound more "forward" to my ears, but I don't think they are.. it's just that things in the midrange and treble have more clarity and dynamism to them.. for lack of a better description.  They're much less fatiguing then they were yesterday too.
 
Jazz & downtempo are a real treat with these phones.. but the EX600 is still a bit unruly in places.. heavy upright bass work gets muddy at times.. but again.. these phones are still pretty close to right out of the box.  I can really appreciate the neutral, but still engaging tonality of these phones.  They've also smoothed out considerably since yesterday. 
 
I love the soundstage of the EX600.. it's really well distributed and gives the sense I'm listening to speakers or full sized headphones more than an IEM.
 
I haven't tried these amped yet, so that's up next..
 
Jul 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM Post #458 of 1,311

munkyballz

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Jul 14, 2011 at 4:48 PM Post #459 of 1,311

Confispect

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Quote:
More listening done today and as i said in the GR07 thread, the EX600 continue to blow me away.  Inks mentioned in another thread that he found the EX600 to have better dynamic range than the GR07.. and I find that to be very true.  It's interesting because these phones sound more "forward" to my ears, but I don't think they are.. it's just that things in the midrange and treble have more clarity and dynamism to them.. for lack of a better description.  They're much less fatiguing then they were yesterday too.
 
Jazz & downtempo are a real treat with these phones.. but the EX600 is still a bit unruly in places.. heavy upright bass work gets muddy at times.. but again.. these phones are still pretty close to right out of the box.  I can really appreciate the neutral, but still engaging tonality of these phones.  They've also smoothed out considerably since yesterday. 
 
I love the soundstage of the EX600.. it's really well distributed and gives the sense I'm listening to speakers or full sized headphones more than an IEM.
 
I haven't tried these amped yet, so that's up next..



Yeah that's something the Ex1000 excel at. Weirdly. 
 
Jul 15, 2011 at 3:41 AM Post #460 of 1,311

rolz

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thanks for the impressions flysweep, reading another glaring review like this makes the wait all the more harder hheheh
 
just 2 weeks to go, 2 weeks before i get my hands on these!!!
very_evil_smiley.gif

 
Jul 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM Post #461 of 1,311

Rip N' Burn

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I have done some more extensive listening and they still continue to make a great impression. No matter what genre I'm listening to the EX600 provides a pleasant experience. There are no egregious flaws that I can detect. Kudos to Sony.
 
Jul 15, 2011 at 1:48 PM Post #462 of 1,311

imackler

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So for all who've heard both the EX600 and EX1000, is it fair to say that the EX1000 is really more of the same? This is not like a case of IE7 as compared to IE8, which have some similarities but are very different. I'm tempted to try the EX600 to taste the EX1000.... (This is what cliffroyroycole recommended.)
 
Jul 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM Post #463 of 1,311

3602

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To my ears, the vocals of the EX600 are more up-front, while the treble is not as smooth.
The sound-stage is also different. It is not the same listening experience. Concert hall with you in front row seat (EX600) or a large outdoor performance will you somewhat further from the performers (EX1000).
 
Jul 15, 2011 at 3:32 PM Post #464 of 1,311

james444

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^ That's pretty much how I felt when I got the EX600, but I didn't have the EX1000 to A/B and was only going by memory.
 
Jul 15, 2011 at 5:43 PM Post #465 of 1,311

music_4321

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EX1000, MDR-7550/EX800 & EX600 comparisons.
 
NOTE: I've not had my EX1000s for just over 2 weeks, but I do have my EX600s, which, to me, offer approx 90% of the sound of the EX1000s.
 
In a nutshell: If I could only have one IEM, custom or otherwise, the MDR-7550 / EX800ST would be it -- I still need to confirm this when I get my EX1000s back next week, but I think my memory at this stage is pretty reliable. The 7550s bridge the gap between my ES3X & EX1000s, ie the 7550s get closer to both. I still need to A/B the 7550s against my ES3Xs, but I know my ES3Xs pretty well, that's why I'm making such a bold statement.
 
I've stated before that, to me, the mid-range is the most critical frequency and the hardest to get right - the 7550s have the best mids I've heard to date, perhaps only my ES3X can compete there, but not sure they'll actually outdo the 7550's mids, to be perfectly honest. I really like the EX1000's mids, but, for the most part, have always preferred my ES3X's mids. So, will I be selling my EX1000s? Not quite. 
 
I'm extremely fortunate to be able to afford - at least for the time being - to keep all three (ES3Xs, EX1000s & MDR-7550s). With (not so bright) good recordings, and ALL orchestral music I've heard, the EX1000 remains the best IEM I've heard. The ES3X with some piano and (mostly) solo violin pieces, they do better than the EX1000s. On brighter sounding recordings (not necessarily bad ones), my ES3X also have the edge over the EX1000s. That's why I decided to keep both IEMs - quite different sound sigs, both pretty strong in their own right.
 
The MDR-7550 is the best of both worlds - at times it won't be as good as my ES3Xs or my EX1000s, but will surpass both if the particular recording in question does not 'belong' to the other two IEMs. The 7550s are possibly the most truly neutral IEMs I've heard, more so than the W4s & EX1000s, or at least they have a more convincing, realistic neutrality. I was really very curious to hear the 7550s and, for the most part, they've delivered the sound I expected them to, but they were even a little better than I expected.
 
-- The 7550s are more sensitive, ie they're easier to drive than both EX1000 & EX600 - not a big difference but noticeable enough if one pays attention (definitely not subtle)
 
-- Mids -- FANTASTIC! - I frankly did not expect them to be just this good. Just the right balance and proper real presence, not (overly) forward and/or thick, nor slightly recessed - just bloody PERFECT!!
 
-- Bass extension on the 7550s is excellent, but I do think the EX1000s have the edge with even slightly better extension & definition. Bass does go deep, though, on the 7550s and there's no mid-bass hump, thank God.
 
-- Treble is smoother than on both EX1000/EX600, but it's done so right that it's not rolled off or recessed AT ALL. Upper mids/lower treble on the EX1000s & EX600s make them possibly (seem) more revealing, but not necessarily more extended, but definitely better than the W4's high-end (from memory).
 
-- Soundstage, surprisingly, on the 7550s is not as 'constricted' as I feared. The EX1000s is wider, with more depth, but not by much, or at least to these ears, and that was a VERY pleasant surprise. I have to say that I've often - not always - disagreed on how people seem to hear or describe soundstage - I feel there's plenty of exaggeration. I often hear mentioned things such as 'being in the studio', 'playing on stage with other musicians', 'seating on the front row', '10,20 rows from the stage', 'outdoor/indoor', 'small club', 'arena', 'large concert hall', and so on. Now, much like how I've described one phone being better sounding with certain types of recordings and/or masterings, when it comes to soundstage, I often find it is also dependent on type of recording/mastering. These differences can be quite significant at times - Pink Floyd's The Wall being a good example of such difference; that, and how our brains often tend to create a specific type of soundstage. That said, the EX1000's soundstage is simply unmatched, IMO, but the 7550's isn't all that different/bad - absolutely remarkable for such a neutral, monitor-type of phone.
 
Other observations:
 
The MDR-7550 cable is labelled RK-EX800, so I guess that's further proof the MDR-7550 (sold in America & Europe) is indeed the MDR-EX800ST sold in Japan and other Asian countries.
 
I presonally prefer the longer 63 in (1.6m) cable and the shorter distance [6 in (15cm)] from the Y-split to the housings on the 7550s. However, I prefer the longer ear guides on the EX1000/EX600 cable, the shorter ones on the 7550s are absolutely fine, though.
 
The 7550 case is much smaller and much more practical than the EX1000/EX600's leather case, but it doesn't protect the IEMs as well as the EX cases. I personally use a 1010 Pelican case for both EX phones.
 
Fit, comfort & isolation is pretty much the same with all 3 IEMs.
 

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