Headphones are important. Why spend hundreds of pounds on a great music player only to listen to your favourite choons through some grotty old cans? Still, not everyone can afford a pair of top-quality 'phones, so Sony is aiming its MDR-570LP model at people who value sound quality but don't want to break the bank. These headphones are available now for around £38.
Sound as a pound
The MDR-570LPs don't sound fantastic. They sound good, but, if you're a real stickler for clarity, then you'll need to fork out slightly more cash. That said, the MDR-570LPs boast the kind of sound quality we'd normally associate with headphones that cost around £50 or £60, so, in terms of value for money, they're really excellent.
For headphones that merely rest on the ears, rather than fitting inside or enclosing your ears in a cup, the MDR-570LPs offer surprisingly strong audio. Lower, bassier tones hit our ears with a satisfying thump. But higher tones, such as hi-hats and vocal melodies, didn't come through with much clarity when we listened to Hot Hot Heat's Bandages, and they generally tended to get muddled into the mid-tones during our testing. That's something we'd expect in this price range, however.
Built to last
Despite weighing only 110g, the stylish MDR-570LPs feel pretty sturdy and well-built. They're unlikely to fall apart should they happen to make a short journey from your bonce to the pavement below.
That journey probably won't happen, however, as these headphones put a remarkably strong grip on your head -- you'll be able to sprint down escalators without them flying off your noggin. They're by no means uncomfortable, though.
The cord is slightly unusual in that a cable descends from each earpiece, rather than just from one side. That's not really a problem, but you might accidentally garrotte yourself if you're used to mono-cable headphones.
We'd have liked to see a longer cord. Its length of 1.2m will suffice for most situations, but, if you're using these headphones at work and need to plug them in at a computer tower located near your feet, you might find yourself caught slightly short.
Other headphones deliver better audio than the Sony MDR-570LPs, but very few do so that cost under £40. Lightweight, grippy and decently constructed, the MDR-570LPs don't offer very much to complain about. If you're looking to spend under £50 on a pair of over-the-ear cans, you won't be disappointed by these metallic marvels.
If you like the price of these headphones but not the style, consider some in-ear models -- perhaps something in Sennheiser's excellent CX range.
Edited by Charles Kloet