SONY Stereo Headphones MDR-EX300SL BLACK | Inner Ear Headphone (Japan Import)
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- Type: Airtightness dynamic type,Sensitivity: 105dB/mW
- Driver unit: Aperture 13.5mm (CCAW voice coil adoption)
- Playback frequency zone: 5-24,000Hz
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Sony's MDR-EX300SL has the same advance body design as MDR-EX500SL, that allows the user to easily put on the earphone with the correct fitting. It gets rid of unwanted noises, decreases a large percent of unnecessary vibration, stays comfortable for a long period of time, and produces superb sound quality and bass, all within this compact earphone. Exclusively developed new 13.5mm driver unit deliver incredible precision audio reproduction. Thin magnesium housing and new closed vertical in-ear design reduces vibration and ensures maximum comfort.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Only flaw is the length of the earphone. It comes with extra cable to connect the short one but too long for carrying it.
Fortunately, I was able to obtain a pair for five dollars before Amazon prevented dealers from selling them, leaving only the MDR-700LP phones on Amazon, at a price of close to two hundred (still a handsome discount from retail). Inexplicably, the "fake" earphones proved to be the most natural, full-frequencied, "wearable" (for the first time I could listen to music through earphones for hours on end) earphones I'd ever experienced. Unlike Amazon, that other well-known big auction site (then being run by HP's current CEO) continued to sell both the MDR-EX700SL and EX300SL phones, often with a disclaimer ("these may not be original Sony earphones") and at "give-away" prices (three dollars including postage all the way from Hong Kong). It defies all logic to believe that someone would go to the trouble of replicating the small, intricate, detailed design of these headphones (and why just Sony when the earphone universe includes dozens of other high-end brands?), especially at the prospect of earning, at most, several pennies per sale.
Although the Sony earphones continued to remain the most satisfying audio reproducers in my collection, even compared to my earphones in the fifty to a hundred range (models from Sleek Audio, Woodees, Audio-Technica, Klipsch S4--the earpiece snapped off during first use, Phillips She-9850--where's the bass?, Sennheiser, Altec Lansing Backbeat, MEElectronics, Panasonic, J-Bud, Skull Candy), I simply had to make the plunge. I purchased the "genuine article" from Amazon, the Sony MDR-EX700LP phones. They were different but not better. The cable was almost double the length of the SL phones (I found the LP's extra length excessive and a nuisance to wrap properly), there were 7 choices of ear-buds instead of 3 or fewer, the case was metal with a leatherette covering (as opposed to a soft pouch). As for the sound, the LP models had higher efficiency (less gain from the volume control was required to achieve a comparable degree of loudness), and the treble was clearly "punched up." But I could achieve the identical audio quality on my SL models simply by changing EQ settings on my iPod or computer.
The point is that the EX300SL phones sound almost identical to the EX700SL phones (and, for that matter, the same phones with an LP suffix). They sport not a 16mm driver but a 13.5mm driver (many pricey, high-end phones made by other manufacturers have a driver no larger than 9mm) and are consequently slightly smaller, perhaps less likely to become dislodged during physical activity. For a while, the 300SL earphones were going for even less than the 700SL phones on that other big auction site. That is no longer the case, as the supply of both Sony SL models has rapidly diminished.
I've noticed on the boxes of the EX300SL phones the following statements: "2008 Sony Corporation"; "Made in Thailand"; "For the China Market Only." That latter statement is telling and in all probability explains the sudden appearance, approximately two years ago, of these high-end phones in the Western world at such low prices. Without denying that there indeed may be some "clones among the phones," it appears that Sony overestimated the demand for earphones in this high-end category and that a huge supply of both Sony models "got away" from the company's distributors and wound up in the hands of Hong Kong dealers content to make a few cents by exploiting exchange rates and selling or auctioning them off to consumers in the West.
The EX300SL phones sound almost identical to the EX700SL phones (perhaps a pipe organ aficionado would notice the difference in the 700SL's slight edge in handling the deepest bass frequencies). In fact, their smaller size (equivalent to the popular Sennheiser CX300 earphones) may recommend them over the EX700SL phones to some users, especially fitness buffs. They may indeed be worth fifty or more when compared to other earphones in the same price range. My experience with them has, I'm afraid, "spoiled" me (and left with me a very slight, residual suspicion regarding the authenticity of at least a few of the EX700SL and EX300SL models). Consequently, I'd feel comfortable at recommending these at prices in the twenty range. Above that price, I'd probably look at the comparable phones intended for the Western market: the Sony EX300LP or the current model (different only cosmetically in my tests), the Sony EX310LP. (An easy way to remember the difference between Sony's Eastern market phones and its Western market phones is: SL = SHORT-cord Asian market earphones; LP = LONG-cord Western market earphones.)
Sony has made some colossal missteps in recent years (their most recent HD radio/iPod dock is a disaster), but their earphones, in this consumer's considered opinion, are unequaled, whether the affix is SL or LP.