Apple's In-Ear Headphones and Sony's MDR-EX71SL - Searching for Decent In-Ear Headphonesby Andrew Ku on June 3, 2004 12:05 AM EST
After taking a look at some of the MP3 players out on the market, we found one major consistency out of all of them out there: not one of them bundle a great pair of headphones in the package. Of the two big names out there, Creative Labs is probably the worst of the two in this regard. The packaged headphones for their lower end products, namely the Muvo line, are mediocre if not sub-par, mainly because they are oversized. More disappointingly, Creative seemed to switch their packaged headphones for the Muvo TX to a cheaper version already packaged with one of their lower end MP3 players. Apple made definite improvements by upgrading the packaged earbud headphones for the second iPod revision.
As for the no name brands, it is almost a given that additional pair of headphones need to be purchased. There are several earbud headphones on the market; a few even surpassing the $300 marker. The most popular of late seem to be the in-ear style headphones, as the headband style headphones seem to be less frequently used with those owning a MP3 player such as an iPod, Nomad Muvo, Nomad Jukebox, etc. Some of the no name brand MP3 players don't even come with a pair, so a purchase is inevitable.
The two most popular pair of in-ear headphones on the market are Apple's In-Ear headphones and the Sony In-Ear MDR-EX71SL, as both can be bought online at most retailers and are priced reasonably, under $40. Based on our experience with bundled headphones as well as readers asking us, we were curious to know which was the better choice. As a result, we picked up both headphones at Amazon.com to put through the AnandTech paces.