First Listen: Sony's MDR-EX500LP Shure FightersS

Sony announced a handful (or several) of new headphones today, but the buds we wanted to hear were the MDR-EX500LP, which a Sony rep said are aimed at Shure's SE210. So, how do they sound?

Pretty good. I used The Cars and Beastie Boys for test tracks, and I got solid, rich bass with clear mids and highs, that in my brief listening time, seemed comparable in clarity to my Shure E2cs, but you know, with more bass (which many people think Shures run a bit weak on). So, even though I didn't have a pair of SE210 buds with me, I'd say it's plausible the EX500 set is competitive soundwise, though I'd obviously want to hear them side by side before making any definitive calls about how much alike (or not) they sound.

Either way, that measurement would've made more sense before the SE210s dropped to a street price of $100, since the EX500s aren't undercutting them anymore, but are more expensive, at $130.

Construction wise, I like the metal, since it makes them feel robust, though I didn't really feel the weight in my ears. I think Sony's vertical body style for these is a bit easier to wear right off the bat than some Shures—which take a bit of getting used to—but I wonder how comfort levels would stack up long term (which, if I'm wondering, probably ain't the best sign).

Still, these seem about right for the $100 range of headphones, not too shabby.

SONY INTRODUCES HIGH-END "EX" EARBUD HEADPHONES

LAS VEGAS, March 2, 2009 – Sony has refreshed its line of high-end EX-series earbud headphones with four new models that offer first-class sound, style and comfort.

This unique line of earbuds features removable hybrid silicone rubber tips in three sizes that fit snugly inside the ear canal to provide high quality audio. Basically, it is a hybrid of soft external silicone for a gentle fit and rigid internal silicone for minimizing sound leakage.

The top-of-the-line MDR-EX300LP and MDR-EX500LP units feature a "vertical in the ear" design, which has a larger driver for higher quality audio.

The MDR-EX33LP and MDR-EX35LP are the lowest price EX-series headphones Sony has offered, while still providing enriched sound.

"We are constantly expanding our lineup of premium headphones," said Andy Bubala, director of marketing for audio accessory products at Sony Electronics. "Earbud headphones continue to grow in popularity, as our customers are demanding better fashion and style, in addition to audio quality."

A New Look

Sony's flagship EX-series of earbud headphones have a new design and a new look. The MDR-EX300 model, available in both black and white, features high quality sound via newly developed 13.5mm driver units. The MDR-EX500LP headphones were constructed with metal to minimize vibration and feature a multiple layer diaphragm for reproducing audio with balance and clarity. It also houses a 13.5mm driver unit for reproducing high resolution sound and was tuned by hand for the best audio. Both lines include carrying cases and are great for those seeking outstanding audio quality without sacrificing comfort and style.

Two additional models in the EX line have updated designs with new color options. The MDR-EX33LP earbud headphones are available in light metallic shades of blue, green, pink, silver, white and gold. The MDR-EX35LP model is available in two-toned color combinations - violet/blue, blue/red, red/green and green/violet. Both of these lines provide deep bass sound and come in slim tube-style packaging.

The new EX-series additions are available now for about $20 (MDR-EX33LP and MDR-EX35LP models), $80 (MDR-EX300), and $130 (MDR-EX500LP). All styles can be purchased direct at www.sonystyle.com and at Sony Style® retail stores. Subsets of the EX-series will also be offered at authorized dealers nationwide.

[Sony]