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These are "monitor" audio headphones. thats to say they don't try and improve the sound of audio they just try and reproduce it as close to the original as possible.

Other non monitor headphones will try and imporve on the sound by adding in warmth and resonance etc.

At first I didn't like these headphone as my previous headphones added warmth and richness to my music and the sony headphones were a little cold by comparision. However the sony heaphones could pick out much more detail from the sound. Whilst listening to classical music I could hear the violinists lifting their bows on and off their violins. something my cheaper headphones never could pick out.

The biggest problem with my old heaphones was with speech recording and lyrics when there is a lot of background noise ( ie presenter talking over screaming crowd or loud background music or just lyrics of a song) I often had trouble hearing the speech or vocal part clearly. With sony headphones it is much easier to seperate the speech from the background noise or lyrics from the song. This is a big bonus and why I'm giving them five stars.

I wouldn't recommend these to everyone
Firstly they can sound a little cold compared to other cheaper headphones. The noise cancellation is just the same as any other earbud earphones. (They have different sized ear buds so you can find the correct fit but they don't improve noise cancellation anymore than other earbud headphones IMO). They look a bit stupid in that they stick out more than other earbud headphones. Also the wire to left ear from the main cord is 14cm and to the right ear phone is 52 cm meaning they hang to the left - kinda bothered me but more of a niggle than a complaint.

overall do not buy these if you want your headphones to add warmth or provide total noise isolation. you should only buy these if you want to hear the recording as it was made with full detail. These headphones can get more detail and better sound seperation from your recordings.
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on 21 May 2012
Dear all,

3 stars or less won't do any justice to these IEMs...

I can assure you I have a very good idea regarding loads of IEMs (In Ear Monitors) some far more expensive than this Sony pair.

I listen using an ipod touch 2G (Wolfson DAC inside!).

Among my current bunch of IEMs lie the sony MDR-EX500 - previous model of the 510 in review here. The 500 have received great reviews and I will second them wholeheartidly. They are very good sound-wise, especially for the price. Too fragile of a construction though...

As far as the MDR-EX500 goes, they outperform the 500s in every conceivable way talking about sonics.

Bass is better defined with greater depth and control. It is also more revealing texture wise.

The midband is accurate and realistic.

High frequencies are a great improvement over the 500s too. They are more present and with a better body & weight. More "air" is perceived and more information than the 500s. No hissing or fizzing noticeable with quality rips/ downloads (even quality compressed files).

There is one area however where the 500 cannot be beaten. FIT & COMFORT.

In my ears the MDR-EX510 are hard to stay in place when still, impossible when on the move.

So, to be fair, I would say this is a hit or miss thing. If they fit your ears you will be able to get a million dollar worth of sound for less than a hundred spent. In the other case you will get nothing at all.

Fit in IEMs means everything. Frequency response of an IEM is totally dependent on their proper fit INSIDE the ear canal. Lose that and you lose it all.

P.S. Please!!! Educate yourselves as far as placing IEMs in the ear goes. It is a process that takes time and effort. Every IEM and every ear is a unique combination. Failing to obtain the PERFECT seal will result in complete absence of Low End Frequencies (yes BASS). Take the time to locate which tip is right for YOU and the IEMs in question.
I usually give a pair of IEMs at LEAST a week time of trial and error before I condemn it forever.
It's a pity to give a product * just because you couldn't achieve fitting it.


*** UPDATE ***

Ah! solved the fit issue at last!!!

Unlike the EX500s these should rest on the outer part of the ear canal, just on the very edge of it. Due to their large size they may not enter any deeper (in my medium sized ears that is).
So, having given up the effort, I finally settled for the larger (green) hybrid tips and they work perfectly.

My comments on the sound remain favorable and then some - the frequency response has expanded further with the new placement.

Summary: Very balanced sound. Strong bass but not overpowering with realistic voices and extended (though not at all sharp) treble.

One star less for the high price though...

@50 Gbp these deserve a straight *****
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on 19 August 2011
Earphones usually don't last years with me so I have tried quite a few (Seinheiser, Jays, etc.), but to be honest I always come back to Sony.

Previous model MDREX500LP had a pleasant sound for the price, but didn't hold very well. This model is simply THE BEST I have owned in terms of staying in your ears thanks to the added rubber bit at the back. It works incredibly well, and I never have to refit the earphones during my gym sessions or when I go running. Comfort is simply excellent.

Sound is the same as usual for Sony, pretty good for the price.

Highly recommended for active users.
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on 3 December 2011
I managed to damage my MDR EX 500's (Previous model) I didn't realise that a new model had already come out (510) so I purchased these with high hopes since the 500 model was great. The newer model has better fitting and they don't fall out of the ear which is what I found with the older model. They are very comfortable to wear and look really nice.

The Sound quality as usual is excellent, the bass is very well balanced and deep, you can really here the low frequency bass, I am finding the treble to be a little harsh but I hope it gets better after more burning in.

The leather case included is very good, looks like it'll protect the earphones even if you through the case out the window :P

It would have been nice if the cord was a bit thicker but I guess it does the job.

In terms of noise isolation they are very good, once you put the earphones on they already block noise, once you start listening to something its very hard to hear anything in the background.

Overall I'm very happy with this set, After these have burned in they will get better in terms of bass, when I first got the 500's I found that the bass was a little lacking, after I used them for a few weeks I noticed the bass had increased. This model seams much better out of the box.

5 Stars for the Earphones and 5 Stars for the fast service from Amazon.
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on 29 November 2011
Ok, first thing first. I had been the proud owner of a pair of Sony MDR EX500s. They were good for the price point, really good. So I thought these will be very similar with the added rubber bit to keep them in your ear. I was disappointed. Product returned.
The sound is not as good as the EX500. I did remember my 500s took a rather long burn in time so I did the same with these. No improvement notable. I just have to say I'm not sure how Sony managed to get from the EX500 to this model (which is similar price and supposed to be the continuation in the range). Apart from the improved grip, everything else is a step backwards. The sound gets distorted in the high frequencies. Might it be the new casing which looks and feels cheaper than the 500s? Perhaps.

Overall - for the price range, you will most likely be able to get much better stuff out there.
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on 23 May 2011
Fantastic comfort, noise isolation, and power. Pretty incredible sound quality for this price, they sound better than Ultimate Ears Triple Fi & Sein IE8's, all which cost three times the price. You will not be disappointed.

On flat settings the trebles can be a little too strong. I expected more bass, as in past Sony headphones, but this is my first Dynamic Driver set and with just 30 hours burn in the bass is already more powerful and deep, so we'll see. I am somewhat a bass head, but if you are not then these will be more than sufficient. One star taken off for less bass than other sony pairs, and mainly because of the seemingly weak cable. Time will tell.

Great warm sony sound, fantastic value Dynamic Drivers, best comfort, sound quality competes with other sets that cost triple.

One star off 5: Doesnt seem to have the most durable cable but so far no problems, and comes with a very nice hard leather case (although slightly large, but does offer great protection). Not bassy by bass-head standards but improving with burn-in. Perfect amount of bass for those looking for well balanced audio.
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on 11 January 2012
I bought these earphones to replace another set of Sony earplugs that worked very well for a number of years before dying.

These sound as good as my old pair, but whilst my older pair simply pushed into the ear, felt comfortable and stayed there no matter what, these don't.

I have the same problem with these as I do with the white iPhone earphones. Their bulbous shape, side grips and the way the cable comes out from the inside angle at the back, means that they do not just push into the ear.

You need to place them firmly into the ear, try to fit the side grip inside the earlobe, and position them just perfectly. Otherwise they simply fall out. Their shape and the angle of cable etc., makes this far more difficult than the older style that just plugged in.

I have only used them to play games on an iPad, and the right one continuously falls out while I'm playing. While this may be something to do with the shape of my ears, I would never recommend them for any kind of sports, such as running, or anything more active than sitting and listening to music.

I haven't noticed this 'popping' that is supposed to happen after a few hours use, and I have had them since Christmas. They sound good enough to me, just not particularly comfortable or convenient.
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on 4 October 2014
So hard to find assymetric in-ear headphones. Weird looking design but very comfortable. I find the quality of sound better than my most recent Sennheiser assymetric ones - which also seem to have a weaker wire connection. Noise from cable rubbing is also a lot less than the Sennheiser, though I think they were better at being noise isolation (from the outside world rather than from themselves!).
The Sony pair were more expensive at about £50 but I'd happily pay that again for them. After a year though, there are no signs of the cable splitting and I'd hope to get a lot more daily wear from them.
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on 4 July 2011
I will compare the Sony headphones with my previous set, Shure SE-210 as that is my current point of reference. The Shure set is a bit more expensive but the difference is not huge.

The sound is surprisingly good for the price. Warm, full sound, full bass, fuller than on the Shure without being overwhelming. I tried to listen to lot of different styles of music and all of them sounded quite good. I cannot tell which is better, the Sony or Shure - this is a matter of taste. I prefer the Sony sound.

The set comes with a lot of different earbuds so that you should be able to find the size that matches your ear. The Shure set provides enough choice as well. Both sets come with a sturdy bag.

My only concern, at first sight, is durability of my Sony set: The cables seem rather thin and fragile. However, that is just first sight, time will tell.

When it comes to comfort, it all depends on finding the right match for your ears. When compared to Shure, I would say that even the best matching Sony one is less comfortable than the Shure. However, I was able to listen to music on a 8km run without the Sony headphones falling off so in the end, everything is OK.

My biggest complaint on the Sony set however is the "noise isolation" (again, when compared to the Shure set). It's ok but not that good. If noise isolation is what you are looking for, I would still choose Shure as the headphones are actually "earplugs which happen to deliver great sound as well" ;-). I have been through rattling Prague subways and on many planes with screaming children with my Shure headphones on quite low volume and I barely heard any noise from the outside.
The Sony set just does not block outside noise that well. I had to set the volume quite high on several occasions to block the outside noise so I am not sure anymore whether it was the noise isolation or my own noise which isolated the outside noise from reaching my ears ;-).
On the other hand, that might be a plus as well as it increases your chances of survival when walking the streets ;-)

Update on 11th of July:
I just used the headphones for cycling to my work. I travel at approx. 22 mph (about 33 km/h) and the sound isolation is just horrible - even if you crank up the volume real high, there is a lot of wind-noise, sometimes so much I could barely hear the music. So the noise isolation might be OK for walking or when on a train, maybe even acceptable when cycling but don't go too fast :-(
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on 19 December 2016
Wonderful earphones for the price. You can't go wrong with this type of sony earphones. Good isolation, excellent response, quite loud(loud enough). I used them for a few years before one stopped working, but this is common in most frequently-used earphones. I would buy the newer model in a heartbeat if I hadn't recieved some beats from elsewhere, which I'm not too fond of. May buy a newer version of these Sony in-ear monitors soon anyway.
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