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, 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.

Backstage: Your next pair of iPod earphones is…

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 improve upon the best features from the MDR-EX70s and MDR-EX71s to create moderately priced in-canal earphones that virtually anyone could enjoy.