Since 2003, I have had numerous sets of Sony Fontopia MDR-EX71SLW head phones in black and white) ("Sony 71s") to which I use whilst in the gym, out running and generally day to day. On average the Sony 71s had a lifespan of about 18 months - and given the relatively hard use I made of them I have found this to be a reasonable return for my (circa) £20. The Sony 71s have now been discontinued and replaced by the Sony MDR-EX300SLB (only available in black), (Sony MDR-EX300SLB In-Ear Headphones with 13.5mm Driver Unit
). I wanted in-ear headphones in white so decided to have a look around to see what else was on Amazon - I looked at the Sennheiser CX 300 II, (Sennheiser CX 300 II Precision Noise Isolating Ear-canal Phones - Black
), but opted for the Denon AH-C260s due to certain noise feedback issues raised in the Sennheiser reviews on Amazon. I also have a Denon hi-fi and generally have been very impressed by the build quality and performance of the Denon brand.
I use these headphones with my Iphone 3gS, Ipod touch and Ipod shuffle. I would recommend the Denon AH-C260s to anyone serious about getting the best sound, for a very reasonable price, out of their MP3 players. There is no comparison to the Apple standard headphones, (Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic - Headset ( ear-bud )
) (which are abysmal with their tinny sound and no bass). The sound from the Denon AH-C260s is clear, crisp with a deep bass and powerful treble. I had seen reviews for other in-hear headphones advising that initially such in-ear headphones should be `broken in' and played for approx 10hrs of play (approx) to loosen up the treble and bass drivers. I've played the Denon AH-C260s for 5-6 hours (approx) - however I noticed little change - from the start the sound quality was excellent and far superior even to the excellent Sony 71s.
The Denon AH-C260s come with three sets of rubber ear buds - small, medium and large. The medium fitted me perfectly. I was pleased to find that my old Sony 71s earbuds also fit the Denons.
Unlike the Sony 71s the Denon AH-C260s do not come with: (i) an extension lead - they are one piece; or (ii) a felt carry pouch. The Denon AH-C260s do come with an open soft rubber case which the headphone's ear buds can be plugged into and the cable wrapped around for easy and safe storage. I prefer having a felt case. In terms of cable length, from the point at which the headphones split in two the length of the cable running to each ear is the same - i.e. the same as standard Apple headphones. For jogging, I find having headphones with one ear's cable length longer than the other to loop round the back of the neck more comfortable. Given the quality of sound produced these relatively minor quibbles become redundant.
The Denon AH-C260s are also available in black, (Denon AHC260 In Ear Headphones) and for little extra (£10-£15) can be bought with a remote control and microphone - the Denon AH-C260R, (Denon AHC260R In Ear Headphone with Remote for iPhone), which I understand can be used to control the Iphone. Following my successful experience (so far!!) with the Denon AH-C260s I am giving serious consideration to also purchasing the Denon AH-C260Rs for day to day use and keeping the Denon AH-C260s for the gym.
For under £25 and free Amazon delivery you can't really go wrong with the Denon AH-C260s. Highly Recommended.