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Designed to complement Sony's latest Sports Walkman portable audio players, the company's MDR-G57G headset features white earpieces, each with black trim and an orange safety reflector at the rear. These neckband headphones, or back 'phones, retail for $30.
For a few days of traveling, we carried the G57G with some other items in our laptop bag, and one of the foam earpiece pads got a little tattered. Sure, most comparable models probably would've sustained similar damage, but a carrying case or a folding neckband (like the one on Sony's MDR-G72LP) could have easily remedied the problem. On the plus side, Sony does supply a set of replacement pads.
The G57G fit well and didn't slip during our jog. And unlike headband models, which press against the scalp, these 'phones didn't cause irritation when we got sweaty or--even better--muss our hair. The earpiece reflectors are a safety benefit during nighttime exercise outdoors. Since it runs from only one earphone, the cord is less tangle-prone and more workout-friendly than dual-side options. It terminates in a straight (shaped like an I as opposed to an L), gold-plated 1/8-inch minijack.
We paired the G57G with our portable audio player and fired up one of our Outkast CDs, The Love Below. These relatively efficient (104dB) 'phones delivered adequate volume, but the snare drum in "Hey Ya!" lacked the snap and the depth that we heard through the G72LP, which overall sounded livelier and more dynamic. The deep electronic-bass line in "Love Hater" was acceptably present on the G57G, but the midrange and the treble could've been airier. Vocals had clarity but could've used a little more sheen. The bottom line is that we prefer the $40 G72LP for its folding headband and its superior sonics. Nonetheless, though it was far from impressive, the G57G sounded acceptable.