they look pretty identical besides the clip ons.

Posted by frankthetank on November 15, 2004 at 12:34 PM (PDT) Comment 1

Any second opinions? I have the MDR-51's and am upset that they're so bass heavy. If these do solve that, they'll probably be the next pair I buy.

Posted by andres on November 15, 2004 at 2:06 PM (PDT) Comment 2

How do these work with those of us who wear glasses? I've tried this type of clip on buds before and found that the "clip" part interferes with the arms on my glasses.

Posted by biskil on November 15, 2004 at 2:13 PM (PDT) Comment 3

These look pretty nice, I might get myself a set as a christmas present, unless I decide to spend some extra and get some etys.

Posted by m00j on November 15, 2004 at 3:04 PM (PDT) Comment 4

I have the 71s and, while I do love them, I couldn.t disagree about the bass more. Mine have no bass. Well, more like very little. I have tried all the different ear sizes and adjustments and nothing. Nada, Zilch. Kinda disappointing since they do sound good. Has anyone else had this problem?

Posted by Eric R. Ortega on November 15, 2004 at 5:11 PM (PDT) Comment 5

Eric R. Ortega

Make sure you're putting them in your ear as you would earplugs. Otherwise you'll get no bass response. When you have them in, every sound around you should sound muted. If they don't, then you don't have them in correctly.

I'm guessing it's more user-error than a problem with the product.

Posted by OMGWTFSTFU on November 15, 2004 at 6:52 PM (PDT) Comment 6

Hrm, they look promising. Rectifying the 'boomy' bass on the EX71's makes these my next purchase, should my EX71's get broken. Hoping they don't, but now I won't mind so much...

Posted by Elithrar on November 16, 2004 at 1:54 AM (PDT) Comment 7

I just bought some to replace my Sony NC-11s. Waiting on the shipping. I liked the NC-11s, I just find the cord and the noise cancelling unit to be very awkward. This review has got me thinking really favourably of the EX81s now.. they look comfy and should sound fine for usage outdoors where you can't discern the extra fidelty in sound all too well anyway. I'll try and comment back here when I have an opinion.

Posted by SuitCase on November 16, 2004 at 2:23 AM (PDT) Comment 8

These look great. However in the warmer months when you wear no jacket and are a guy who carries no purse, how the heck do you store these in a jeans, pants or shorts pocket?

One reason I love ear buds is that they don't interfere with easy storage in a pocket without carrying an annoying case...

Posted by mflat5 on November 16, 2004 at 5:08 AM (PDT) Comment 9

I ordered these earphones yesterday after reading this review. I own the EX71s & I agree, the bass is WAY too boomy & muddy.

I also wear glasses. Hopefully the ear clip-on thing won't be a big deal. I'll report back once the new phones have arrived.

Posted by eben on November 16, 2004 at 7:11 AM (PDT) Comment 10

the reviewer refers to the ER6 and ER6i's a bit, yet there is no way to use that as a guide because they haven't been reviewed here. the lower-end etymotics are some of the most significant products in the ipod headphone market, and i think that the most significant ipod-dedicated website on the web should review them. PLEASE

Posted by heAdphoneBoy on November 16, 2004 at 8:28 AM (PDT) Comment 11

When are they going to reduce the cost of replacement plugs?!

I have a pair of EX51s that (for the price) are awesome, but I lost one of the medium plugs. It will be nearly the cost of the earphones just to replace the meduim plugs. I'm currently using one of the large plugs, but the fit is not good. ARRRRRRG! I can't really recommend these headphones until Sony fixes this.

Posted by theREALiPodRob on November 16, 2004 at 8:34 AM (PDT) Comment 12

good review jeremy, very detailed and honest. Thats what keeps me coming back... I really wish you'd review the Bang & Olufsen A8 Headphones though. I think they sound very nice for everyday use and in terms of ipod meeting criteria, I think they work well, especially if you have a black case. Cheers!

Posted by apple juice on November 16, 2004 at 8:36 AM (PDT) Comment 13

MDR-EX71 vs MDR-EX81
which is better?

Posted by ..........? on November 16, 2004 at 8:37 AM (PDT) Comment 14

Just to say I picked up a pair of SONYs in Tokyo about a year ago (when the Apple store opened in Ginza) and they are fantastic. They were about USD50 (¥5000) but I don't have the catalog number handy. Of course now I'm hankering after the Etymotics smile

The lesson is that almost anything is an improvement over the Apple ones...

Thanks for all the great reviews BTW.

Posted by iPodPartout on November 16, 2004 at 9:00 AM (PDT) Comment 15

Does anyone know when these headphones will be on sale in US stores such as or

Posted by Brian Schneider on November 16, 2004 at 9:10 AM (PDT) Comment 16

Sony already/also has the ...EX71's available with a neckband: MDR-NX1 Earphones. Available in white. Asian webshops sell them and with current USD rates well under the prices here in the UK or continental EU (37 euro incl shipping). Actually same price as the EX71.

Posted by brencce on November 16, 2004 at 10:12 AM (PDT) Comment 17

To the poster above who was lamenting the loss of his Sony plug . . .

. . . this happened to me, too. I went to my local Radio Shack & found some cheap & very comfortable replacements. If you're in the U.S. give it a try.

To the other poster asking for a review of the Etymotics: I have a pair of ER-4Ps. Since they reproduce music so transparently, my first suggestion is that your music needs to be encoded at least at 128K, and preferably in AAC format. These phones well and truly reproduce exactly what is played through them. Listening to them, you have the curious sensation that music is being piped directly into your head as opposed to using earphones (trust me, this makes sense). Chances are you'll hear things that you've never heard before, even in tracks that you know like the back of your hand. And if your music is encoded poorly, or if your source was bad to begin with, well, you'll hear that, too.

They're extremely accurate which means that if you're into heavy bass, they're probably not for you. (Hip hop freaks, beware.) I find that classical music especially sounds incredible through them. Broad and spacious, with remarkable frequency range. And the better the encoding, the more you hear.

The only drawback I've found is that they can be very uncomfortable to wear (thus my purchase of the EX81s). They're not earphones, they're canal phones. (I went whole hog & had custom earmolds designed and they STILL don't feel great.) They go pretty deeply into your ears. This takes some getting used to, both in terms of the way they feel and the extreme isolation they produce. The isolation's great for hearing your music (and thus being able to play it at VERY low levels), but it's not so good if you're walking through NYC and trying not to get hit by a bus.

ER-4Ps in short:

Pros: Amazing musical fidelity and reproduction. Great isolation that can in turn save your hearing through lower volume levels.

Cons: Bass can feel somewhat lacking. Uncomfortable. May require custom earmolds for some. Expensive ($330).

Posted by eben on November 16, 2004 at 11:03 AM (PDT) Comment 18

i HAD the 51s and they broke after three months of use. they're not very durable, and it doesn't appear that the 81s are any sturdier... it would make more sense to me to spend an extra $20 and get the shure e2cs (there are plenty of places with them for $70) instead.

Posted by docslytherin on November 16, 2004 at 11:07 AM (PDT) Comment 19

I wouldn't want them in white... but they look good.. might put them on the Christmas list.

Posted by Syph on November 16, 2004 at 11:11 AM (PDT) Comment 20

I bought the EX71s and compared them to the Apple In-ear earphones and thought the Apple's were clearly superior in sound but no where near in comfort. I put the medium sized Sony ear pieces on the Apple ones and the sound was fantastic. I think I have found the perfect solution.

Posted by JeffNNJ on November 16, 2004 at 2:02 PM (PDT) Comment 21

The Apple's sound better than the EX71's? Is this a unanimous opinion?

Posted by Mani on November 16, 2004 at 6:06 PM (PDT) Comment 22

These are a major improvement over the EX71SL's. The rubber clips improve the fit for those like me who work out.

I ordered them from Audio Cubes on a Tuesday and received them on Friday. Only problem was I was sent the black pair.

I choose the white, but for some reason when the order was submitted, it recorded black. I failed to check the final page before submitting the order. However, they are cooperating and sending me the white pair and paying for the shipping.

If you liked the 71's, then you will love the 81's. Hope this helps.

Posted by G Sauce on November 16, 2004 at 7:15 PM (PDT) Comment 23

I have the 71's, and while the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired I have not found anything that can approach them in terms of comfort. So if I'm going to be listening to my ipod for 6 hours at a clip, I want something that won't make my ears hurt first, and then something that sounds perfect.

Anyway. The biggest drawback to the 71's is the stupid short cable coming from the left ear. The right ear has a long cable that wraps behind your head and connects to the cable from the left. This pulls on the left ear bud considerably, and is inane design. Do the 81's suffer from the same problem? Or did sony finally wise up and just have the cables from each ear the same length and meet in the middle (a la apple's miserable earbuds)?

Posted by anodyne on November 16, 2004 at 7:51 PM (PDT) Comment 24

Whoa funky earphones. Damn now I want one to replace the ones that came with my 'pod

does anyone know how can I get them in the UK? Or do I have to get them from Audiocubes? Assuming they mail to the UK. Thanks everyone

Posted by jijinlim on November 16, 2004 at 9:43 PM (PDT) Comment 25
 1 2 3 >  Last »
related reviews

Popular Bitcoin wallet app Blockchain returns to App Store
Report: Apple Stores to support carrier early iPhone upgrade programs
Report: Apple buying talk radio app Swell
Congress passes bill to legalize phone unlocking
Bose sues Beats over noise-canceling patents
iLounge Game Spotlight: Modern Combat 5: Blackout
Apps of the Week: ShipAntics, Modern Combat 5, This American Life 3.0 + more
Report: Apple could launch own mobile wallet this fall
Report: Apple ‘tentatively’ plans mid-September iPhone event
Apple faces class action suit in California for labor violations

related reviews

Kenu Airframe+ Portable Car Mount
Incipio offGRID Smart Bluetooth Low Energy-Enabled Portable 6000mAh Backup Battery
Divoom Voombox Travel Rugged Portable Wireless Speaker
Logitech protection+ for iPhone 5/5s and +trip
Beats Powerbeats2 Wireless
Incipio Steno Ultra-Thin Bluetooth Keyboard Folio for iPad Air
OtterBox Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 5/5s
Gumdrop Cases FoamTech Case for iPad Air
Ztylus Camera Case + RV-2 Revolver Lens for iPhone 5/5s
JBL Synchros Reflect In-Ear Sport Headphones

related reviews

What’s New in iTunes 12
iLounge Picks: Five Great Summer Party Speakers
Editorial: Endings And Beginnings
Live From CE Week 2014: Brand New iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories!
What’s New In iOS 8 For iPad, iPhone + iPod touch
iLounge Multi-Editorial: WWDC 2014’s iOS 8, OS X Yosemite + More
The Complete Guide to Apple TV Channels
iHistory: From iPod + iTunes to iPhone, Apple TV + iPad, 2001 to 2010
iHistory: From iPod + iTunes to iPhone, Apple TV + iPad: 2011 to Today
Viewing only downloaded iTunes Match tracks