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10 Earphones Under $100

Sony MDR-710LP: A Sense Of Compromise

Sony's 710 is designed for portable use, with a flexible metal headband and a double-swivel folding system for easy carrying and low bulk. Unlike many of its competitors, it's a closed-back model, but you shouldn't expect a lot of acoustic isolation. On the other hand, you might disturb the people around you a little less. The earpieces are reduced in size but still comfortable and stable due to their light weight. The cable comes in two sections, letting you use the phones with a very short cable when that's more convenient.

Technical Characteristics

  • Type: closed supra-aural
  • Frequency response: 12 Hz - 24 kHz
  • Nominal impedance: 24 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/mW
  • Cable length: 4 ft. (1.2 m)
  • Plug type: 3.5 mm mini
  • Weight: 65 g (2.29 oz)

Ups And Downs?

The response isn't exemplary, but practically all the audio spectrum is covered. The bass is clearly boosted, but with attenuation of the low bass. The midrange shows ups and downs and there's a significant drop in the extreme highs. But all that needs to be put into perspective - the ups and downs are all within an acceptable range.

Response that's clearly weighted toward the lows, but still respectable.

The efficiency of this model is high, and you'll have no trouble getting high volume levels no matter what player you use.

Efficiency: approximately 107 dB/V

Listening Test

Sony's MDR-710 is a small set of closed earphones, an interesting compromise between large headphones and ultra-light models. Its foldability makes it well suited to use on the go.

The overall balance favored the lower end of the spectrum a little, but not excessively, and I found the result quite pleasant to listen to. The bass will be this set's main selling point, because it's ample enough to satisfy bass bangers. I was less enthusiastic about the midrange, which sometimes showed coloration - more or less perceptible depending on what I was listening to. It wasn't all that evident with many types of music, but demanding audiophiles won't be happy with it.

Conclusions

The Good

  • good overall balance
  • ample bass

The Not So Good

  • timbres sometimes altered