Sony Fontopia Earbuds

Black - MPN: MDREX81LPB
Product Details
Description
Stylish and comfortable, the MDREX81LP/W stereo earphones are Sony's premier lateral in-the-ear headphones. Designed to deliver deep bass and clear treble sounds, they feature a super-light in-the-ear design for a snug, comforable fit. With super-small 9mm drivers and soft, silicon earbuds, these headphones were created to enhance your on-the-go listening.
Quick Glance
Product Type Earphone
General Features Gold Plated
Color Black
Headphone Type Earbud
Interface Connection Mini-phone
Expert Reviews
Sony Fontopia MDR-EX81-LP
3 Star Review  laptopmag.com - Dec 31, 1969

Sony’s MDR-EX81-LP pumps out loud, clear sound, with a consistently smooth bass boost that has minimum distortion when the volume’s cranked to higher levels. The over-the-ear design using rubber-like hooks is a bit awkward at first, but at least it’s secure...

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Sony MDR-EX81LP
3 Star Review  testseek.com - Oct 31, 2008

TestSeek.com has collected 1 expert review for Sony MDR-EX81LP and the rating is 60 of 100. Click below and use TestSeek.com to find all ratings, product awards and conclusions.

Read the full review »

User Reviews
Second pair of MDREX81LP earbuds goes kaput! Thanks, Sony!
1 Star Review   By member MrMarkieMark - Apr 15, 2009   

Strengths: Affordable.

Weakness: Chronic poor quality - the second of two pairs that I have owned have now failed, leaving me with $60 worth of SONY junk.

There are two good reasons NOT to buy these headphones: 1) they may very well fail without cause, as two pairs I’ve own have failed; and 2) SONY is so contemptuous of their customers that they offer to replace your defective $30 headphones with a ‘reconditioned’ pair for $25. What a deal! Do yourself a favor before buying: consider my experience with SONY repair. I mailed in my bum buds – the second pair that failed - but I objected to SONY’s pricing. Surely they have a better deal to offer? Nope. SONY shipped back my buds complete with torn packaging and internal routing crap. Oh – and they invited me to get back to them: “It would be our pleasure to accept a major credit card.” I bet: $25 for used headphones with no cut to the retail middleman. This is SONY standing behind its product. “You’re on your own, sucker.” See the attached photo: this is how they returned my headphones to me.

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Sony MDR 81s
4 Star Review     

Strengths: Very pleasant sound for the price. Great for exercising and just listening. Exteremely comfortable.

Weakness: Sound isolation not as strong as 71s. Cord a little delicate.

I started with the 71s with my iPod and loved them. Sound isolation was fantastic, great sound - huge bass - and they were very comfortable. Changed to the 81s when the left side cable on the 71s detached after enormous use. The 81s do sound better than the 71s. The bass is slightly attenuated and makes the overall sound much more clearer. From day one they sounded 'better'. Bass still sounds great. The previous 71s fitted better for some reason even though the 81s' buds appear to be the same size. As with the 71s you can listen for hours and your ears will not get tired. I can compare these with the E2c and the Senheiser 280Pro as I have each. The E2cs in comparison I find are harsher sounding, the bass is much less present and the clarity at higher frequencies can reveal deficiencies in compressed audio especially in loud rock. They are not near as comfortable as the 81s even though they have similar sleeves. Sound isolation is much better with these though. The HD280s are my reference headphones and sound fantastic across all frequencies. I use them for monitoring home recordings and they are superb. In comparison the 81s stand up pretty well as I can use them for monitoring sometimes. I would recommend the 81s for listening in general due to their extreme comfort level, their great sound and their very reasonable price. They are also great for exercising. Whether it's a good or bad thing the sound isolation will not block out all ambient noise as much as other earbud type phones or the MDR 71s.

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Don't do it. There is better ones out there for much lower prices.
2 Star Review   By member cholet - Jul 5, 2006   

Strengths: Soft rubber, comfortable in the ears.

Weakness: Terrible sound quality.

The sound quality is terrible. I perchased similar ones from the ebay (shipped from hongkong) and it sounded twice better (sound quality and loudness) the this one. I'll not buy another one of these.

0% of readers found this review helpful.

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YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER EAR BUD FOR THE PRICE!!!
5 Star Review   By member k3xiceman - May 25, 2006   

Strengths: These are some pretty amazing IN EAR ear buds, if you afraid to put things in your ear canal, these are not for you! But if you are an audiophile, like myself, these ARE for you.

Weakness: I just wish sony had shortened the cord that runs from ear bud to ear bud by a few inches, other than that, NONE. BUY THESE!!! You will not find a better ear bud for the price!

All of you people B!%(#ing and moaning about "there is no base" that's why they are called IN EAR headphones, you actually have to insert them into your ear canal and find the correct ear piece size so you can hear what these amazing headphones have to offer. THESE SOUND BETTER THAN MY BOSE TRI-PORTS AND ARE SMALLER AND LIGHTER!! These have great base, mid-range, and treble response.

50% of readers found this review helpful.

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Sony Fontopia MDR-EX81LP/B Black
4 Star Review   By member giaophan1 - Apr 25, 2006   

Strengths: Cheap. Very good bass and treble. Noise canceling.

Weakness: Cord is long. Must hear with good music.

At about $30 the earphone is the bang for your buck. The sound clarity is excellent. Bass and treble are a little weak but very good. However, mp3 songs must be ripped at 192-320 Kb/sec to hear or you will hear a lot of popping and hissing sounds. Ear hooks are very good; they fit to your ears. Noise canceling is very good but it isn't totally lock out outside noise. Don't lose the earbuds.

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MDR's
5 Star Review   By member Dorlando2434 - Feb 12, 2006   

Strengths: supurb bass for 49.99, excellent fit, cases, style

Weakness: wrap around desighn doesnt really make a difference, but cant notice

these headphones are amazing. ive had 2 different pairs of the first stlye sony fontopia headphones and wasnt happy with them because they both broke. the cord would tear for no reason leaving raw wire. but not these these are very durable and with the cases it includes you will never have tangled cords. the sound is great and the bass is amzing for such cheap headphones. also thses block out ost outside noise. they are comfortable to wear for a long time. you dont even know there in your ear. overall these are excellent headphones and would recommend them for anyone searching for a cheap price (49.99), great sound, and comfortable fit

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Hype, Hype, Hype
2 Star Review     

Strengths: nice fit, comfy and slick design. Good low end.

Weakness: horrid highs with no mids

Im not sure whats going on. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I have been using full size cans (mdr-7506) for too long. Maybe Im too much of an audiophile, or maybe people just see these headphones everywhere and they are expensive and they buy them and then want to hear great sound. i must insist... these headphones have a horrible drawback... the unnatural boost at around 15,000Hz - 18kHz. This peak in the response curve is too high up making for very shrill sounding headphones. Dont get me wrong, I am a fan or metal dome tweeters, but these suckers remind me of clipping metal dome tweeters to my ears. I must assume that people are listening to very compressed MP3's (128kbps?) to not get a headache. I listen to LAME encoded VBR's, so maybe thats it. But even after 12 hours of break-in, the sound did not change at all. THE SOUND IS SHRILL! forget pumping up the volume. The advantage though, is the tight well defined lower frequencies around 60Hz-200Hz. They shine like the 7506's in that respect and they are so very comfortable and the clips keem then on well. I wanted so desperately to keep these, but I had to return them. The sound is just quatifiably inferior much like all ear buds. So go for some sennheiser mx 400 or philips he592... or go big. I am going to try shure e3c... but damn, that price is cruel and unusual.

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Much better than Apple ear buds
4 Star Review   By member JPBudda - Dec 8, 2005   

Strengths: Cut out more noise, more comfortable and much better sound quality

Weakness: They should hug the ear more than they do...

The head set is a great improvement from using the "default" apple ear buds. I ride a bus everyday to work and the road noise was making my podcasts and music hard to hear. These head phones reduced the road noise greatly. This is a great investment for anyone that uses head phones quite a bit in high noise disturbance places that doesn't want to spend a great deal of money on the head phones.

0% of readers found this review helpful.

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Great Earphones for the Money!
5 Star Review   By member kdttaz - Nov 27, 2005   

Strengths: Bass, comfort, price

Weakness: None significant for the price

These earphones are a wonderful alternative to the stock iPod (or other MP3 player) headphones. They are very comfortable to wear for long periods. The overall sound is clear and crisp and the bass has good punch without being too muddy. You could spend a lot more, but for the money these are a great choice.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

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Sony MDR-EX81LP Earbud-style Stereo Headphones
4 Star Review   By member DarkHawke - Oct 28, 2005   

Strengths: Adjustable fit with three sizes of interchangeable silicone buds: excellent bass response; seem more durable than similar models; two included cases greatly reduce wire tangles; nice styling/design.

Weakness: Earhooks are hard to put on, don't aid in fit and actually seem to make fit worse, thus reducing bass response; more prone to tangle than similar models (without use of included cases).

I have purchased a few Sony earbud-style headphones in the past for a few good reasons: (1) great sound; (2) low price; (3) great fit/comfort; (4) I don't get more than a year or so before they break! I seem to be rather hard on these in-ear wonders, most often having the wires catch on something and thus taking out one or the other earphone less than a year after purchase. I opted for this new model, the MDR-EX81LP, on the off chance that the earhook design would have more durable wire connections to the earphones. By that standard of durability, whether by me being more careful or the design being more sturdy, these headphones are a success. Even when I do catch the wires, instead of the 'phones being rudely and painfully jerked from my ears, I just get a strong telltale pull *around* my ear, but never so hard as to actually pull the 'phones out. That pull is warning enough to make me stop whatever I'm doing before there's enough force to yank the buds out of my ears. That said, the earhooks are otherwise in the way. After having used them for a while, it's much easier to put them on, but it's still more difficult than similar Sony models without earhooks. The extra weight isn't directly noticeable, but with it up and above the earphones, and the hooks not really hooking the ear that securely, they don't stay fitted as well as Sony’s similar hook-less earbud headphones. Besides having to fidget with them more often, it also reduces overall sound quality, as this earbud design relies on a snug fit to provide an exceptionally solid bass response. As you might expect, adding two hooks to already tangle-prone wires isn't the most sensible idea, but Sony provides TWO cases to minimize the effect. The large case is ovular, with a central well to hold the earbuds surrounded by a track around which the wires are wound, and a small hole in either side to fit the plug. Slip the dark grey translucent cover on and the headphones are kept neat and clean. This is almost exactly the same design as the case provided with Sony’s low-end earbuds, save two significant design differences on the “low-end” case: (1) the cover is hinged; (2) the center of the case spins, as does the center of the lid. So after placing the earphones in the “low-end” case and closing the lid, you can then reel the wires into the case by spinning the center, using the provided finger depression for leverage. Why you get this AMAZINGLY convenient feature with the low-end headphones and not these better-sounding ones, I can't tell you. The smaller "case" is much more ingenious. It encloses only the actual earbud portion of the headphone assembly, holding them parallel to each other. This arrangement all but entirely prevents the earhooks from tangling with the rest of the headphone wires. It's an extremely clever design and works much better than the similar "capsule"-style case provided with the hookless version of these headphones. In sum, I really like these headphones. They sound great and after about three months, they seem to be much more durable than other Sony earbud headphones. The earhook design probably contributes to the durability, but it also makes them a little harder to put on and keep them on securely enough to get the best sound quality. I wouldn't say they're worth the $49.99 list price, but for the discounted $28 I paid, it's a very good value. The next step up in quality are the low-end Shure and Etymotic earbuds, but at nearly four times the cost, I really don't want to bet that kind of money that those headphones are as durable or better than these (though I might give 'em a try if/when these 'phones fail and if the price comes down some or can otherwise be discounted). I like the sound, the design is nice (though somewhat counterproductive to a good fit) and the price was right. They're good 'phones, just don't expect a panacea.

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Product Details
Description
Stylish and comfortable, the MDREX81LP/W stereo earphones are Sony's premier lateral in-the-ear headphones. Designed to deliver deep bass and clear treble sounds, they feature a super-light in-the-ear design for a snug, comforable fit. With super-small 9mm drivers and soft, silicon earbuds, these headphones were created to enhance your on-the-go listening.
Quick Glance
Product Type Earphone
General Features Gold Plated
Color Black
Headphone Type Earbud
Interface Connection Mini-phone
Summary
Product Title Sony Fontopia Earbuds
Manufacturer Sony
Power Score 3.6 | 24 Reviews
Wireless
Wireless Transmitter Range: 48"
Performance
Sensitivity: 100 dB
Overall Min Frequency Response: 5 Hz
Overall Max Frequency Response: 23 kHz
Physical Attributes
Cord Length: 4 ft
Weight: 0.36 oz
Warranty
Warranty Information: 1 Year Parts, 90 Day Labor Limited Warranty
More Info
URL: Manufacturer Link
Additional Specifications
Included Components: Additional Earbuds, Carrying Case
Impedance: 16 ohm(s)
Product Line: Fontopia
Color: Black
Connector Plating: Gold Plated
Parent Retsku: B0007N55LO
Cord Style: Straight
Microphone Type: None
Brand Name: Sony
Frequency Band: Soft silicone earbuds slip directly into your ears to help minimize unwanted external soundThe detachable earbuds come in three different sizes so you can choose the size that best fits your earFlexible clips hold the earbuds snugly and comfortably in place
Noise Canceling: No
Diameter (Speaker Element): 0.35"
Plating: Gold Plated
Expert Reviews
Sony Fontopia MDR-EX81-LP
3 Star Review  laptopmag.com - Dec 31, 1969

Sony’s MDR-EX81-LP pumps out loud, clear sound, with a consistently smooth bass boost that has minimum distortion when the volume’s cranked to higher levels. The over-the-ear design using rubber-like hooks is a bit awkward at first, but at least it’s secure...

Read the full review »

Sony MDR-EX81LP
3 Star Review  testseek.com - Oct 31, 2008

TestSeek.com has collected 1 expert review for Sony MDR-EX81LP and the rating is 60 of 100. Click below and use TestSeek.com to find all ratings, product awards and conclusions.

Read the full review »

User Reviews
Second pair of MDREX81LP earbuds goes kaput! Thanks, Sony!
1 Star Review   By member MrMarkieMark - Apr 15, 2009   

Strengths: Affordable.

Weakness: Chronic poor quality - the second of two pairs that I have owned have now failed, leaving me with $60 worth of SONY junk.

There are two good reasons NOT to buy these headphones: 1) they may very well fail without cause, as two pairs I’ve own have failed; and 2) SONY is so contemptuous of their customers that they offer to replace your defective $30 headphones with a ‘reconditioned’ pair for $25. What a deal! Do yourself a favor before buying: consider my experience with SONY repair. I mailed in my bum buds – the second pair that failed - but I objected to SONY’s pricing. Surely they have a better deal to offer? Nope. SONY shipped back my buds complete with torn packaging and internal routing crap. Oh – and they invited me to get back to them: “It would be our pleasure to accept a major credit card.” I bet: $25 for used headphones with no cut to the retail middleman. This is SONY standing behind its product. “You’re on your own, sucker.” See the attached photo: this is how they returned my headphones to me.

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Sony MDR 81s
4 Star Review     

Strengths: Very pleasant sound for the price. Great for exercising and just listening. Exteremely comfortable.

Weakness: Sound isolation not as strong as 71s. Cord a little delicate.

I started with the 71s with my iPod and loved them. Sound isolation was fantastic, great sound - huge bass - and they were very comfortable. Changed to the 81s when the left side cable on the 71s detached after enormous use. The 81s do sound better than the 71s. The bass is slightly attenuated and makes the overall sound much more clearer. From day one they sounded 'better'. Bass still sounds great. The previous 71s fitted better for some reason even though the 81s' buds appear to be the same size. As with the 71s you can listen for hours and your ears will not get tired. I can compare these with the E2c and the Senheiser 280Pro as I have each. The E2cs in comparison I find are harsher sounding, the bass is much less present and the clarity at higher frequencies can reveal deficiencies in compressed audio especially in loud rock. They are not near as comfortable as the 81s even though they have similar sleeves. Sound isolation is much better with these though. The HD280s are my reference headphones and sound fantastic across all frequencies. I use them for monitoring home recordings and they are superb. In comparison the 81s stand up pretty well as I can use them for monitoring sometimes. I would recommend the 81s for listening in general due to their extreme comfort level, their great sound and their very reasonable price. They are also great for exercising. Whether it's a good or bad thing the sound isolation will not block out all ambient noise as much as other earbud type phones or the MDR 71s.

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Don't do it. There is better ones out there for much lower prices.
2 Star Review   By member cholet - Jul 5, 2006   

Strengths: Soft rubber, comfortable in the ears.

Weakness: Terrible sound quality.

The sound quality is terrible. I perchased similar ones from the ebay (shipped from hongkong) and it sounded twice better (sound quality and loudness) the this one. I'll not buy another one of these.

0% of readers found this review helpful.

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YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER EAR BUD FOR THE PRICE!!!
5 Star Review   By member k3xiceman - May 25, 2006   

Strengths: These are some pretty amazing IN EAR ear buds, if you afraid to put things in your ear canal, these are not for you! But if you are an audiophile, like myself, these ARE for you.

Weakness: I just wish sony had shortened the cord that runs from ear bud to ear bud by a few inches, other than that, NONE. BUY THESE!!! You will not find a better ear bud for the price!

All of you people B!%(#ing and moaning about "there is no base" that's why they are called IN EAR headphones, you actually have to insert them into your ear canal and find the correct ear piece size so you can hear what these amazing headphones have to offer. THESE SOUND BETTER THAN MY BOSE TRI-PORTS AND ARE SMALLER AND LIGHTER!! These have great base, mid-range, and treble response.

50% of readers found this review helpful.

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Sony Fontopia MDR-EX81LP/B Black
4 Star Review   By member giaophan1 - Apr 25, 2006   

Strengths: Cheap. Very good bass and treble. Noise canceling.

Weakness: Cord is long. Must hear with good music.

At about $30 the earphone is the bang for your buck. The sound clarity is excellent. Bass and treble are a little weak but very good. However, mp3 songs must be ripped at 192-320 Kb/sec to hear or you will hear a lot of popping and hissing sounds. Ear hooks are very good; they fit to your ears. Noise canceling is very good but it isn't totally lock out outside noise. Don't lose the earbuds.

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MDR's
5 Star Review   By member Dorlando2434 - Feb 12, 2006   

Strengths: supurb bass for 49.99, excellent fit, cases, style

Weakness: wrap around desighn doesnt really make a difference, but cant notice

these headphones are amazing. ive had 2 different pairs of the first stlye sony fontopia headphones and wasnt happy with them because they both broke. the cord would tear for no reason leaving raw wire. but not these these are very durable and with the cases it includes you will never have tangled cords. the sound is great and the bass is amzing for such cheap headphones. also thses block out ost outside noise. they are comfortable to wear for a long time. you dont even know there in your ear. overall these are excellent headphones and would recommend them for anyone searching for a cheap price (49.99), great sound, and comfortable fit

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Hype, Hype, Hype
2 Star Review     

Strengths: nice fit, comfy and slick design. Good low end.

Weakness: horrid highs with no mids

Im not sure whats going on. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe I have been using full size cans (mdr-7506) for too long. Maybe Im too much of an audiophile, or maybe people just see these headphones everywhere and they are expensive and they buy them and then want to hear great sound. i must insist... these headphones have a horrible drawback... the unnatural boost at around 15,000Hz - 18kHz. This peak in the response curve is too high up making for very shrill sounding headphones. Dont get me wrong, I am a fan or metal dome tweeters, but these suckers remind me of clipping metal dome tweeters to my ears. I must assume that people are listening to very compressed MP3's (128kbps?) to not get a headache. I listen to LAME encoded VBR's, so maybe thats it. But even after 12 hours of break-in, the sound did not change at all. THE SOUND IS SHRILL! forget pumping up the volume. The advantage though, is the tight well defined lower frequencies around 60Hz-200Hz. They shine like the 7506's in that respect and they are so very comfortable and the clips keem then on well. I wanted so desperately to keep these, but I had to return them. The sound is just quatifiably inferior much like all ear buds. So go for some sennheiser mx 400 or philips he592... or go big. I am going to try shure e3c... but damn, that price is cruel and unusual.

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Much better than Apple ear buds
4 Star Review   By member JPBudda - Dec 8, 2005   

Strengths: Cut out more noise, more comfortable and much better sound quality

Weakness: They should hug the ear more than they do...

The head set is a great improvement from using the "default" apple ear buds. I ride a bus everyday to work and the road noise was making my podcasts and music hard to hear. These head phones reduced the road noise greatly. This is a great investment for anyone that uses head phones quite a bit in high noise disturbance places that doesn't want to spend a great deal of money on the head phones.

0% of readers found this review helpful.

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Great Earphones for the Money!
5 Star Review   By member kdttaz - Nov 27, 2005   

Strengths: Bass, comfort, price

Weakness: None significant for the price

These earphones are a wonderful alternative to the stock iPod (or other MP3 player) headphones. They are very comfortable to wear for long periods. The overall sound is clear and crisp and the bass has good punch without being too muddy. You could spend a lot more, but for the money these are a great choice.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

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Sony MDR-EX81LP Earbud-style Stereo Headphones
4 Star Review   By member DarkHawke - Oct 28, 2005   

Strengths: Adjustable fit with three sizes of interchangeable silicone buds: excellent bass response; seem more durable than similar models; two included cases greatly reduce wire tangles; nice styling/design.

Weakness: Earhooks are hard to put on, don't aid in fit and actually seem to make fit worse, thus reducing bass response; more prone to tangle than similar models (without use of included cases).

I have purchased a few Sony earbud-style headphones in the past for a few good reasons: (1) great sound; (2) low price; (3) great fit/comfort; (4) I don't get more than a year or so before they break! I seem to be rather hard on these in-ear wonders, most often having the wires catch on something and thus taking out one or the other earphone less than a year after purchase. I opted for this new model, the MDR-EX81LP, on the off chance that the earhook design would have more durable wire connections to the earphones. By that standard of durability, whether by me being more careful or the design being more sturdy, these headphones are a success. Even when I do catch the wires, instead of the 'phones being rudely and painfully jerked from my ears, I just get a strong telltale pull *around* my ear, but never so hard as to actually pull the 'phones out. That pull is warning enough to make me stop whatever I'm doing before there's enough force to yank the buds out of my ears. That said, the earhooks are otherwise in the way. After having used them for a while, it's much easier to put them on, but it's still more difficult than similar Sony models without earhooks. The extra weight isn't directly noticeable, but with it up and above the earphones, and the hooks not really hooking the ear that securely, they don't stay fitted as well as Sony’s similar hook-less earbud headphones. Besides having to fidget with them more often, it also reduces overall sound quality, as this earbud design relies on a snug fit to provide an exceptionally solid bass response. As you might expect, adding two hooks to already tangle-prone wires isn't the most sensible idea, but Sony provides TWO cases to minimize the effect. The large case is ovular, with a central well to hold the earbuds surrounded by a track around which the wires are wound, and a small hole in either side to fit the plug. Slip the dark grey translucent cover on and the headphones are kept neat and clean. This is almost exactly the same design as the case provided with Sony’s low-end earbuds, save two significant design differences on the “low-end” case: (1) the cover is hinged; (2) the center of the case spins, as does the center of the lid. So after placing the earphones in the “low-end” case and closing the lid, you can then reel the wires into the case by spinning the center, using the provided finger depression for leverage. Why you get this AMAZINGLY convenient feature with the low-end headphones and not these better-sounding ones, I can't tell you. The smaller "case" is much more ingenious. It encloses only the actual earbud portion of the headphone assembly, holding them parallel to each other. This arrangement all but entirely prevents the earhooks from tangling with the rest of the headphone wires. It's an extremely clever design and works much better than the similar "capsule"-style case provided with the hookless version of these headphones. In sum, I really like these headphones. They sound great and after about three months, they seem to be much more durable than other Sony earbud headphones. The earhook design probably contributes to the durability, but it also makes them a little harder to put on and keep them on securely enough to get the best sound quality. I wouldn't say they're worth the $49.99 list price, but for the discounted $28 I paid, it's a very good value. The next step up in quality are the low-end Shure and Etymotic earbuds, but at nearly four times the cost, I really don't want to bet that kind of money that those headphones are as durable or better than these (though I might give 'em a try if/when these 'phones fail and if the price comes down some or can otherwise be discounted). I like the sound, the design is nice (though somewhat counterproductive to a good fit) and the price was right. They're good 'phones, just don't expect a panacea.

96% of readers found this review helpful.

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Sony MDR-EX81LP/B - Great Bud for the Buck
5 Star Review   By member smslaman - Oct 20, 2005   

Strengths: Great price, comfortable secure fit, very good sound

Weakness: Last about 5 months (but with VERY HEAVY use)

I beat the heck out these earbuds, I use them as in-ear monitors when I perform in my band. I have another set that I use when I work out. They stay secure and are very comfortable for me. They are so light I forget that I have them on. I perform 6 nights a week, 3 to 4 hours a night, many times I forget to turn them down during breaks, so they're continually on whether I'm using them or not. I would think as light as they are built from the buds to the wires that they wouldn't last a week, but they are very durable. I've been using them now about 7 months and I'm on my second set with the band. They slowly die (the drivers deteriorate) so I had time to replace without having to go without. Now I keep a spare set for when the next one goes. Considering how much I use them and how much abuse they get from sweat, the dynamics of live sound, and continuous use, I couldn't ask for better.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

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Returned
3 Star Review   By member MSteiner - Sep 9, 2005   

Strengths: Good sound at lower volumes, snug fit in the ears that don't fall out. Good noise canceling.

Weakness: Distortion at higher volumes.

My quest for the perfect buds under $100 goes on. I've purchased over 10 pairs. I bought these hoping for excellance, but I returned them. They were not as good as a $15 pair of Philips. Since then I have found the Philips HE592's that blow these away. The Philips are only $20. None of these are as nice as any of the Shure line, but with ear buds you can blow through a pair in 3 months. Dropping $100 a quarter for earphones is not where I want to put my money.

67% of readers found this review helpful.

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Decent Earbuds
4 Star Review   By member millst - Aug 31, 2005   

Strengths: Sound quality, price

Weakness: Fit, case

I was looking for some small headphones to use at work and with an MP3 player. These sound good for the price so I'm happy with them. Bass is better than I was expecting for ear buds. The loops don't fit around my ears all that great, but that might not be a problem for others. Also, I liked the case for an old pair of Sonys better. It made it really easy to roll up the cord. The new one is a pain, but I doubt I'll really use the case much anyhow.

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Sony MDR-EX81LP/B
4 Star Review   By member jgranato - Aug 22, 2005   

Strengths: Value, Wearablity

Weakness: Silicon Sleeve Coming Loose

Similar in sound reproduction as the MDR-EX71SL the MDR-EX81 is more adapt for listening while exercising. Assuming you are able to find a bud that fits your ear well (comes with 3 sleeve sizes), the MDR-EX81 stays well anchored to the ear thanks to the hanging clips supported by the ear. This helps to keep the bud in the ear even when the wire is lightly pulled. This was the big weakness with the MDR-EX71 model. The trade-off is that takes longer to put the buds in/out of the ear. For myself, I use the MDR-EX81SL for exercise and yard work, but I use the MDR-EX71SL for the office where I need to be to quickly pop the bud out of my ear if I need to have a discussion with a co-worker. To address the possibility that the sleeve could come loose, when I determined the sleeve I wanted I glued it to the ear bud using epoxy (Do not wear until dry -- This should go without saying)

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maybe mine are defective????
3 Star Review   By member wallst - Aug 19, 2005   

Strengths: Fit, looks.

Weakness: audibility, bass.

I have been using high end in-ear phones(which these are not) for a while, so perhaps my judgment is off. There seems to be a sporadic (although low) level of distortion coming through my head phones. However, pluses are that they fit great. And I agree with others that they are great for working out (why I bought them). the cord is just over two ft, which is good. I'll exchange them and see what happens...

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Very good earphones
4 Star Review   By member simyonovski - Aug 18, 2005   

Strengths: Very good sound quality, comfortable fit in and around ears, sturdy construction, long cord.

Weakness: Right channel seems slightly weaker than the left one, therefore some loss of bass is detectable.

Overall very good earphones: sound fidelity is high, dynamic range is wide, very comfortable wear with exchangable ear pieces to fit individual ears. Long cord eliminates the need for an extension line and the L-shaped connector works well with all players that have side-mounted plugs. The earphones are well made and high quality of construction is evident. I compared the EX81s with the EX71s and found the latter actually somewhat better in terms of bass and stereo separation. It seems to me that some bass is lost through the 81s due to a slightly weaker right channel output. This may be the case with my unit only. I still recommend these earphones.

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Good product
4 Star Review   By member hobbe - Aug 11, 2005   

Strengths: Comfort, sound, design, noise reduction, carrying case

Weakness: Ear hook a little large

The earbud fits nicely in the ear once you choose the corrct size. They are very comfortable and they block the background noise nicely. The ear hooks are a little large and they do not fit tightly around the ears, but they do not bother and act as shock absorbers if you pull on the cord. The sound is very good. It does not sound metallic and has good bass. Finally, a small earbud protection case is provided as well as a larger carrying case. Definitely recommended.

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Awesome Earphones!!!
5 Star Review   By member WiggyFife - Aug 10, 2005   

Strengths: Very Clear Highs & Lows!!!

I just received these earphones today, & I'm listening to them for my iPod, as I write this!!! These earphones came highly recommended from some iPod Forums. The sound is crystal clear & the bass is fantastic. These are very good for the price!!! I Highly recommend them...

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Sony MDR-EX81LP/B earbuds--a good and inexpensive option, especially for exercising
4 Star Review   By member Rufustel - Aug 4, 2005   

Strengths: Good sound, attractive, nice fit for exercising, inexpensive

Weakness: Fit could be tighter; they stick out a bit

These are a good, alternative pair of earbuds when other earbuds might fall out, such as while exercising, at a reasonable price. The sound is good, similar to the sound of the Sony MDR-EX71SLs--or, if my imagination isn't playing a trick on me, a bit better. And they are attractive and relatively discreet. The earbuds stay in play, although it feels like the fit is a bit looser than with the 71SLs. An improvement over the 71SLs is the earwrap for these, making them much better for use while exercising. At times it feels like the silver posts stick out a bit, however--I would like them to hug the ear more. (For a tighter fit, and a deepened sound, here's a tip: the ultrasoft flex sleeves sold by Shure for the E2C earbuds will fit the Sony earbuds, and provide a tighter, more isolating fit, at least for me.) Recommended, especially at this price.

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4 Star Review   By member jd3086 - May 19, 2005   

Strengths: Very comfortable and good sound. 3 sets of earbuds to accomodate all users.

Weakness: None so far.

These are almost exactly like the MDR EX-71s except they have the extra hook to go over your ear and the longer cord. The extra hook helps them to stay in place when working in the yard, jogging or other activities. These also have the standard length cord for those that do not like the short cord and extension of the 71s. So far I am very happy with these and they are excellent for listening while being active.

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5 Star Review   By member p0pe7 - May 6, 2005   

Strengths: Great Bass, Design, Comfort

Weakness: None yet

Great headphones for the price. They deliver great bass and sound. They are so comfortable in the ear that you can forget you have them in. The design is very good and they come with a storage and carrying case. They also come with different sized ear buds, so they fit great for anyone. Overall best in-the-ear earphones I've owned.

93% of readers found this review helpful.

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5 Star Review   By member enzee55 - May 3, 2005   

Strengths: deep bass

The headphones deliver deep bass and have crisp and clear sound. The headphones are very portable and the carrying case is very durable. These headphones are the perfect headphones for the perfect price.

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