Sony headphones, cont.


in Geek stuff, Music, Rants

In response to my complaints by letter and phone, as well as sending back the broken old pair, Sony sent me a new set of MDR-EX71SL Fontopia earbuds (£25.67 on Amazon). While this is welcome, I would have preferred to have them send me a refund. On past form, the new pair will only last about three months before completely falling apart due to cheap materials and shoddy construction. My earlier complaint about them is here. To anyone considering buying Sony Fontopia earbuds: don’t. They are no longer the nice-sounding, solid things they were back in 2000 or so. Now, they are made of plastic so soft, you can literally peel it off the wires gently with your fingers. It is less tough than the brand-new shoestring licorices that you are surprised to bite into and not find toughened by months of exposure to 7-11 air and fluorescent lighting.

Rather than put the refund towards new Sony headphones, I would probably have gone with either the Shure E2Cs (£51.49) or Etymotic ER6Is (£68.51), which many people have told me are more durable and have better sound. They need to be earbuds, because I want to be able to wear them under a bike helmet and carry them virtually everywhere. While big ear-covering headphones would be great for my room, they hardly work with bikes and iPod Shuffles.

Since the replacement EX71s are new and in the original packaging, I could try selling them online somewhere, thereby generating some funds to put towards a better set. Of course, that would mean at least another couple of weeks with ear canals aching from button-shaped and unyielding hard white generic Apple headphones. What do cost-conscious audiophiles suggest?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul June 6, 2006 at 2:18 pm

I’ve emailed you privately about this before, but the Shure E3Cs are in a different league to the Sonys. I got through 2 pairs of Sonys before giving up on them.

The Shures are the most sturdy pair of headphones I’ve owned and I think they’ll last 5 times longer than the Sonys, so the price is more than justified.

Milan June 6, 2006 at 2:27 pm


Do you think I would get a decent amount for the Fontopias on eBay or some other site, or should I save them to use as backups, instead of the default Apple earbuds?

tristan.laing June 6, 2006 at 3:05 pm

If they are in original packaging, why not try to return them to your local shop sans receipt?

R.K. June 6, 2006 at 3:29 pm

If they are really as bad as you say, do you really want someone else using them?

Paul June 10, 2006 at 7:19 pm

If they are the EX-81s, they seem to be selling on eBay for about £30. The EX-71s are £15-20. If you are getting the Shures I can’t see much need for backups, so I’d take the money (unless you share my unfortunate propensity of losing things).

Milan June 11, 2006 at 6:36 am


I have never actually sold anything on eBay, and have only bought three things. Will such a limited reputation hamper my selling ability?

Sorry to pester you with so many such questions.

Milan June 29, 2006 at 7:13 pm

My Etymotic Research ER6i headphones are in the mail now. I look forward so much to not having to use these terrible Apple earbuds anymore.

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