Backstage: Your next pair of iPod earphones is…
Sony might not know how to make MP3 players, but they sure know earphones. We’ll be going live shortly with a review of the company’s new MDR-EX81s (currently available only in Japan, and imported to the U.S. by Audiocubes.com), and I have to tell you - they’re right in all the right ways for typical iPod owners. Great price tag, great sound, great fit, and they come in iPod-matching white. When they’re officially released outside of Asia, my guess is that they’ll become the iPod replacement earbud of choice.
Updated: Click on Read More for the review, which will be on the main site tomorrow.
Though there have been a few exceptions, iLounge generally reviews products that match or are expressly made for the iPod. For that reason, we haven’t reviewed every pair of headphones we’ve tested - so many pairs of otherwise acceptable headphones just don’t match the iPod’s look and feel quite right. We’ve made a few exceptions in the past because there weren’t a really good set of perfect iPod matches at the lower end of the price spectrum.
Apple’s iPod pack-ins are good freebies, but we had reservations about its separate In-Ear Headphones ($39.00, iLounge rating: B). And though Sony and Sennheiser make good alternatives, neither company’s earbuds were available in iPod-matching white outside of Asia until Sony quietly released white versions of its MDR-EX71 headphones ($49.99, iLounge rating: A-) here some weeks ago.
Today we’re ready to recommend a set of low-end earphones without reservation. Sony’s new MDR-EX81 earphones ($59.00, available from Audiocubes.com) improve upon the best features from the MDR-EX70s and MDR-EX71s to create moderately priced in-canal earphones that virtually anyone could enjoy. While not yet widely available in stores at the time of this review, the MDR-EX81s are worth the little bit of extra effort they’ll take to find and order.
Having tested everything from $19.95 Sennheiser MX500s to $900 Ultimate Ears UE-10 Pro custom-fit earphones, we’ve sampled the entire range of “fit
If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods or accessories, or if you sell or market products, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators. Wondering why we're talking about something other than iPods? Check the Archives: Backstage has been here and kicking it since 2004.
- Apple to provide more unified TV experience with new ‘TV’ app for Apple TV
- Elgato announces HomeKit-enabled Eve Light Switch
- Apple delays AirPods release
- Report: iPhone 8 likely to come in three glass-backed sizes
- Report: New Apple TV app to provide show recommendations
- Apple’s German website adds Apple Pay support page, but still no launch
- Notes from Apple’s Q4 2016 earnings call
- Apple Q4 2016: $46.9B revenue, 45.5M iPhones + 9.2M iPads sold
- Apple reportedly hiring engineers from BlackBerry, developing car operating system in Canada
- Apple releases PowerBeats3 Wireless earphones
- Creative iRoar Go Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones
- Incase Icon, Pop, and Textured Snap for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Philips Hue Motion Sensor
- Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature Headphones
- Tech Armor FlexProtect and Shock Flex for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- SwitchEasy Flash and Fleur for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Blue Microphones Raspberry Mobile Microphone
- Incipio Haven for iPhone 7 and Reprieve Sport for iPhone 7 Plus
- Mophie Hold Force Magnetic Case System for iPhone 7
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps