Sony MDR-EX600 impressions - Acoustic Folk!
Before I actually start the "impression" part, i should tell you that one day or another, you should stop reading reviews, get out, and try the items for yourself. Here in North America we have a perfected 30-day return system so there is basically no risk (well, you lose shipping if you order online). Yes, Firefox, online is a word.
So please take my impression (and preferably every other review/impression) with an adequate amount of NaCl.
I chose this pair because I cannot afford the MDR-EX1000 and the MDR-EX800ST is nowhere to be found.
The big black box, although paper, feels quite substantial. It will make you feel better about your money spent.
Wow... Ten pairs of tips. Thank you, Sony.
Sony decided to present this set as expensive jewelery. The IEMs lay quietly on some thin black "velour".
A very beefy extension cable (Sony branded) is found in my box but it is not listed as an accessory.
That carrying case is downright huge. There is a headphone dock inside which lets you set your EX600 away when you don't use them but in no way you can pocket this leather cake (seriously, it looks like a piece of cake) easily. It weighs quite a bit for a carrying case but it will definitely make many other IEM cases blush.
Well come on then, pull the phones out!
I currently have them on my ears so I ain't gonna take them down. Fit is an issue but that's next chapter.
The housing is a mix of metal and plastic. It looks real ugly but it sure feels expensive. On the other hand the cable is quite thin and doesn't feel high-quality.
The cable is detachable so if you break something, you can just replace that part rather than shell out for an entirely new pair. Plus, cable believers will sure welcome this feature by playing around with their various breathed-upon-by-Aphrodite wires.
The words "MDR-EX600" and "THAILAND" are etched onto the housing. This prevents discoloration (the EX1000 does) but I'd rather have not THAILAND written that obviously. But anyway you can't see them when you have them on. The word SONY is actually made from letterpress relieves.
For a housing assembled out of many parts, the seams are very tight. Plastic well-trimmed.
Fit & comfort (YMMV)
You know, if I can wear the Triple.Fi-10 with no problem, I thought that I can wear any other IEM just as easy, if not more.
This is very much not the case with the EX600. You'd think that the memory wires help, but they are quite loose by themselves. However once you get them on, they stay there. Period.
The tips... I use the very largest, the LL. Isolation is a tragedy.
The actual comfort is very good, surprisingly. You need to pull the cord cinch all the way up to feel secure (i.e. actually wearing something).
If you read my FXC80 review, you know how I mentioned the vocals having a "milky membrane" effect. Yeeeeeeeah it's much more pronounced here.
Starting with the bass. There is not much. There is proper depth, just not much. Every drum hit is clearly rendered but it doesn't hit you in the flesh. Maybe it is due to the 32 ohms of impedance and the D50 is having more control over the phones (see: Damping factor).
Mids. Uh... It's much like something fun is going on in a mist. Now you're in front of the mist, you know that there is awesomeness behind it, but you cannot disperse the mist. That's how vocals sound with the EX600. It's actually quite "concentrated" and it has "emotion". Not SE530-level, but within all the IEMs I have heard, dynamic or BA, this EX600 has just the right midrange behavior. If only there was no mist.
Highs soar when needed. They are much better than the FXC80 but the mids are like an anchor, preventing this balloon to go its full altitude.
So the EX600 focuses definitely on the mid-high band. This unique sound signature makes it exceedingly good at one thing: Acoustic Folk. Judy Collins. Amazing Grace. I'd expect it to conquer symphonies with relative ease.
Detailing is very good. Currently it sounds more like bamboo shoots, a bit of nice details here and there. That mud - the mist - should subside with burn-in. Although it's more like my head getting used to this sound.
Sound-stage is hemispherical. There is nothing behind your ears. Everything is in front.
Dimensionality... Too early to judge. That midrange problem is preventing a correct judgment on actual dimensionality judgment.
I expect the phones to be much more open after several days. Hey, I always get the return if it doesn't.
EDIT: You know what? It's gotten better already.
EDIT II: Here's something you can't do. Want to try the noise-isolating buds but they don't fit? No problem! if you're careful (and have some fingernails), you can pry the ring of foam off the stalk and install them on the stalks of your size! The stalks all have the same diameter!
Now what I heard as a change: With the foam applied, I do not hear a significant improvement in noise isolation but the overall in-ear fit is more secure. In terms of sound, it becomes slightly muffled but the midrange mud is almost gone! Bass improves a bit too. Overall sound becomes much smoother and is very good for prolonged listening.
I believe that while Sony was busy eliminating the resonance within the housing, they forgot to change the buds design so whatever resonance got transferred into the rubber openings...
Portable: Sansa Clip+ RockBox'd > Sony MDR-NC500D
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Last edited by 3602; 05-31-2011 at 06:02 PM.
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