Headphones & Mp3 Players forum

General discussion

Sony MDR-EX51/71/81 headphones vs Shure e2c

by sjivani46 / August 21, 2005 12:37 AM PDT

I wanted to buy some new headphones for my mp3 player. I've narrowed it down to two:
The Shure e2c or the Sony EX series.
The thing is, I've heard that the wire insulation on the Sony EX series is horrible and that it peels off. Is this a common problem or just bcs they don't care for the headphones properly?
So...any reccommendations between the two?

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Sony MDR-EX51/71/81 headphones vs Shure e2c
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Sony MDR-EX51/71/81 headphones vs Shure e2c
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Horrible insulation on Sony EX
by jered930 / August 30, 2005 6:24 AM PDT

My advice is to avoid the Sony EX, especialy for gym use. Sound quality is great, ear piece fit is perfect, however the insulation on my pair is disintegrating rapidly after just 3 months of use in the gym. I've owned them for 5 months prior with no problems until I started taking them to the gym, where either sweat or body heat causes the chord insulation to break down. I'm now checking the Shure line as an alternative, but don't have an opinion yet on that brand.

Collapse -
by cmcharles2 / September 2, 2005 12:13 AM PDT

I have tried a few but keep coming back to this Sony model. It comes in Black or White and has a very good (not best) rating here on Cnet. Priced at about twenty five dolars, not bad. Excellent fit, doesn't have 'degrading' wire problems of the Sony 51's.
Overall, the best for the buck...........

Collapse -
Sony MDR-EX51=MDR-EX71
by levekk / September 3, 2005 8:50 AM PDT
In reply to: SONY MDR-EX71SL/WK

Though I have not tried them, it seems to me that the 51 model is technically speaking the same as the 71 model except for the wire extension added with the 71. If you check the specs, you see that the earbuds are the same. It will cost you around 20CAN$ more for the 71.

Collapse -
Such a Shame
by irawlinson / March 26, 2006 7:37 PM PST
In reply to: Sony MDR-EX51=MDR-EX71

I bought the Sony MDR-EX71 (black) about 8 months ago, and I love them for their sound quality, which rivals any headphones I have ever used - fabulous bass response and a clear high end, plus good external noise suppression - they are fabulous for flying. However, the cable is a bizarre length - either too short for anything but a top pocket in your shirt (not much good with a 4G iPod, which is just too heavy to go in a shirt pocket), or too long with the extension, to the extent that I always have bits of cable dangling around my knees. That, however, is as nothing to my dismay when I realised that the cable just below the actual earbud has started to disintegrate and the bare wire below is showing through.

I will almost certainly buy another pair when these finally die, because the sound quality is so good for the price, but I wish Sony would get their act together and put the same focus on longevity and useability as they have on sound quality. So disappointing.

Buy them, but budget to replace them at least once a year!

Collapse -
MDR-EX51 vs. e2c - I OWN them both, just did side by side
by rutabagaparsnip / September 17, 2005 3:29 AM PDT

I own both, plus the e3cs. I just did a very thorough side by side comparison of all three. I will comment only on the two that you are comparing. The sound quality on the MDR-EX51 is better. Much better bass, much clearer throughout all ranges.

The construction quality on the Shures is much better.

But if it's sound quality you are after go with the Sony's. The Shure's sound like the sound is coming from next door.

As a side note, I do like the size/material options for shure's earpieces. However, even with the less than ideal one-size-fits-all sony earpieces, the bass is pronouncably better.

Collapse -
MDR-ex71 and Shure E2c
by systemix / October 3, 2005 1:44 PM PDT

I have both of these, and have done a side by side test as well.

The EX-71 are the same earphone, with a longer, detachable cord. I found that, while these do have more 'prnounced' bass, that is about it. The Sony's are bland in comparison, with muddies mids and rough highs.
If you take the EX-71's out, and put the E2c's in, the e2c's are louder at the same volume level (except for the bass, which is 'unnatural' in the Sony's.

The E2c's are awesome...I found MOST of the missing bass by using the foam earpieces. The mids and highs are clear and smooth, as is the bass (just not overpowering).

Anyone checking these out might want to check google for a 'professional' review. I'd hate to see someone get the Sony's over the E2c's based on opinion.

Collapse -
sony mdr-ex51
by apollo6375 / September 29, 2005 8:05 AM PDT

An awesome headphone with good ear fit and superior sound. However, the wire insulation is HORRIBLE, it peels off (bare copper exposed, no real trauna to wire) and sticks to itself which makes it hard to uncoil. I would not buy these again until they fix the insulation.

Collapse -
Go for the Shure's
by Jasmineflower / October 4, 2005 4:27 AM PDT

I have a pair of Sony MDR-EX71SLs and they stopped working after just eight weeks. Basically, the volume dropped out almost completely. They're comfortable and I didn't have any issues with the wire insulation (and I didn't treat them well -- but then I only used them for two months), but I was really disappointed that they just stopped working properly. I use Shure's now (granted, they're E4s) and I couldn't be happier. The wire insulation is thicker than any earbuds I've used or reviewed, they sound fantastic, and they're the most comfortable earbuds I've owned (with the foam tips).

Collapse -
Fix for Sony MDR-EX71SLs
by joshwuk / August 25, 2006 2:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Go for the Shure's

If one earbud stops working check that the tiny hole in the center of the bud isn't blocked with earwax, to make sure just use a pin and carefully poke through.
I've had 2 pairs of these headphones one black one white unfortuanatly the insulation peeled off on both so im now switching to a pair of shure e2cs.

Collapse -
I have the Sony MDR-EX71 in black and the EX51 in white
by decimalsf / December 26, 2005 8:22 AM PST

I got the black ones a while ago, and have been very happy with them - good sound and good bass. The cord on my set is not a problem.
I got my wife a set of the EX51's in white to match her ipod (of course) and the sound too was great, but the white cord is crap. After 6 months (including gym and running use) the rubber got all sticky, started to tear, and exposed the wires. I just threw them away, they were unusable.
I began a search and found your question.
At the price point, I would buy the Sony again, assuming the black cord has not changed material. Feel it first, if it is spongy and sticky like it is a tube (and feels like the wires are inside) and does not feel solid like it is a wire, then don't do it.
Hope this helps future readers!

Collapse -
Wire Insulation
by edouard_g / January 6, 2006 9:25 PM PST

Do not buy these phones. I've had 2 sets which lasted 6 months. even if the rubber did not break up, your patience will be tested untangling the incredible knots.

Sound quality good though.

Collapse -
Sony insulation might narrow down to White version only
by bgarfiel / March 10, 2006 11:50 PM PST
In reply to: Wire Insulation

I've had a pair of Sony MDR EX71 (white) for 6 months and the cable on mine has disintegrated too. Plus, the cable gets incredibly dirty from regular handling, and always gets into bad tangles. Cable quality build is a big issue.

However, I've just returned a pair of Sennheiser PX200 because I found they simply did not live up to my expectations when plugged into my ipod. These are very good when connected to a hifi, but the ipod's (5th generation) sound quality is so shockingly bad that to compensate, you need headphones which will deliver the extra bass the ipod can?t (the ipod?s sound quality starts deteriorating at volumes above 60% ? equaliser off!)

So I downgraded back to the Sony headphones which I find perform really well on an ipod. This time I opted for the black version and much to my delight, the cable on these has the same quality build as regular headphones. Hopefully, these will last longer than 6 months.

My word of advice, only settle for the black version of these great sounding MDR EX71.

Collapse -
black wires cause problems too
by nelton_roldan / May 19, 2006 12:27 AM PDT

I had the 71's in black for about 8-10 months, with extended use in the last few months, and the wire from the left earplug to the right was disintegrating. I put some electrical tape on to fix the problem, but still is annoying.

My brother bought these recently as well, and the cord on his feels much more durable, of a higher grade rubber. In comparison, my headphone cable felt very soft and comfortable, but not durable at all when I first got them. Maybe Sony has addressed the problem after all.

Collapse -
then sony has addressed the issue...
by bgarfiel / May 24, 2006 6:55 AM PDT

... because as I said in my previous post, the plastic on my new headphones are way more durable. I've been using them for 2 months now, mistreating them even more than my previous white ones, and I can assure you they're acting tough - as tough as you'd expect regular headphones to be.

Anyway, for sure, the white ones would have broken by now.

It was about time Sony..

Collapse -
Sony MDR-EX81's..
by rbovani / May 25, 2006 12:39 AM PDT

This post is from last august, but I'll comment anyways.
I bought the Senn CX-300 for 100 CDN, then I ordered the EX81's from eCost for my girlfriend. The thing is, the 81's have a piece that goes around and hooks on your ear, and if you have 'small' ears, then they won't clip on and simply fall off.

Therefore, unless you are sure your ears are 'large' enough, don't order these online.

Popular Forums
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

The Samsung RF23M8090SG

One of the best French door fridges we've tested

A good-looking fridge with useful features like an auto-filling water pitcher and a temperature-adjustable "FlexZone" drawer. It was a near-flawless performer in our cooling tests.