The Sony MDR X10’s are designed by Simon Cowell and Sony. Usually, when a new headphone model comes out co designed by a star, they aren’t very good – because they’re usually more dependent on the marketing hype than the quality of the actual product.
However – in the name of fairness, we tested the product, and surprise, surprise; it wasn’t that bad after all! In fact, we did enjoy using it. That said, the Sony MDR X10’s isn’t without their flaws.
Form & Function
The Sony MDR X10 looks plush – some might call it fat, but with those large 50mm with the big red X emblazoned outside and thick leather padding, no one will mistake them for a pair of earphones you bought off in a yard sale, ever.
We took a closer look, and found lots of the parts made of plastic. While that isn’t a bad thing in itself, as low mass plastic polymer does improve sound quality and has been proven to do so in Sony’s other older models, it may not be everyone’s material of choice.
The Sony logo is clearly marked across the top of the plush headband which is lined with thick padded vinyl on the underside, which we like, and on the exterior facing of the earcups is the ‘X’ logo of the X factor series, something Simon Cowell probably approved himself.
The X factor
Now, what makes these headphones so good, you may ask – well, great boosting qualities, excellent comfort due to the plush and quality materials used for the construction, the ability to twist and turn, essential for heads of varying sizes, a removable cable for extra durability and last but not least, you get all of the above factors while looking like the coolest cat in town.
That, is the X factor in the Sony MDR X10’s.
However, keep in mind that like the show itself, it isn’t really meant for classical acts, and tends to go on the deeper lower end of the sound frequency range. That doesn’t mean that the mids and highs are non-existent. They’re there alright, but they are more tuned towards vocal acts and not so much of instrumental or classical. Voices sound clear, the highs and mids are good enough, but don’t exactly shine.
The part where we would probably applaud is when vocals are combined with the bass boosting capabilities of the MDR X10, and it all comes together, for electro dance music, R&B, and pop tracks.
The Sony Factor
Now, when we said that the materials used in the construction were good, we did not just consider their lifetime but also their replaceable qualities, for the cable specifically, which we will touch on in a bit.
The Sony MDR X10’s use a 50mm driver powered with high energy neodymium magnets, allowing for an excellent frequency response of 3Hz – 29kHz. Now, 3Hz is a very, very low frequency, and that means one thing – bass. With such large drivers and a low bass, you’ll be able to enjoy your dubstep bass drops like few other people can, if that’s your thing.
The noise isolating earpads use urethane foam in them to give them that soft, plush, comfy feel that one gets when jumping into a pile of soft blankets. Also, due to the excellent seal that they give, noise barely gets in, or out.
That means you can use them on the subway during rush hour, and turn the volume to an indecent level while not getting dirty looks or punched in the face by other irate commuters. One problem though, the Sony MDR X10’s are so good looking that they might get stolen.
Sony, thankfully brought their design sensibilities and expertise on headphones into the picture on this collaboration, and as a result we have a removable cable with an inline remote, volume control and playback functions.
Why is this so good? Because cables get spoilt, and when cables get spoilt, no one wants to throw away the entire headset just because of the cable, especially if they look as good and cost as much as the Sony MDR X10’s. So in the unlikely event the cable spoils, just get another one, and not another whole set.
On top of that, the cable is also tangle resistant in the flat cord design variant, which many other brands use but also works well.
The Sony MDR X10 comes with many joints and hinges, and as a result can fold inwards towards the headband to form a tight compact bundle for carrying and portability. The earcups can individually rotate 180 degrees, great for people who want to do DJ live ear checks.
Also, due to this capability, Sony added in a zip up oval carrying case for mobility, that’s emblazoned with the same red ‘X’ logo of the X factor show that can also be found on the exterior of the earcups.