updated 02:25 pm EST, Tue February 26, 2008
Sony unveils headphones
In its biggest headphone introduction to date, Sony released 20 new earphone models broken down over five specific use categories. Included in the release are headphones designed for children, another milestone for Sony. The remaining products include sets meant for sport and fitness use, a revised noise-canceling set, a pair of new flagship EX-series earbuds and a new series of the company's high-volume earbud and street-style, behind-the-neck headphones.
The MDR-222KD headphones are made specifically for kids 8 and older, with specific features that include a smaller physical size to fit smaller ears, less maximum volume than adult headphones and a single-side cord to reduce tangles and knots. The line will be available starting in April priced at approximately $15 and available in black or cotton-candy pink.
Sony's new Active Style collection includes five new models, with common features including a slim design, black silicone rubber with orange and red accents, as well as moisture resistance. The MDR-AS20J model fits around the ear with an earbud that sits inside the ear. The MDR-AS40EX headphones feature an additional ear hanger and can be converted from over-the-ear headphones to a traditional earbud style. Rounding out the Active Style range is a headband-style set, the MDR-AS100W, behind-the-neck earbuds, MDR-AS50G, and behind-the neck open air headphones, model MDR-AS30G. Prices will range from $20 to $100, though there is no word on release dates for these models.
The fifth-generation of Sony's noise-cancelling headphones, MDR-NC40, sports a lightweight design which saves unnecessary burden on the ears by incorporating the battery pack into the cord. Sony promises their open-air design and soft, pressure-reducing urethane cushioning makes them comfortable for extended trips. Availability is slated for March, and the $100 price includes a carrying case.
The earbud EX flagship series gets a new addition with a reference-standard in the MDR-EX700LP model. These provide lightweight magnesium housings, a unique-to-Sony multi-layer diaphragm for clear and balanced audio reproduction as well as seven hybrid-silicone earbuds for a custom fit. The company expects to ship the EX refresh in March for $300. In the same line, the MDR-EX32LP can be had in pink or blue with white accents, as well as the traditional solid black or white, for $25. The $40 MDR-EX55 earbuds use soft silicone for the housing and buyers have choices of two-tone pink, royal blue, white and black. The MDR-EX75 has a redesigned, cylindrical shape covered in either black, white or silver, and will sell for $50.
The more mainstream, entry level models also get a freshening that includes more styles, colors, lighter materials and out-of-the-way cords. The MDR-E10LP fashion earbuds available in March, come in pink, red, pastel green, pastel blue, violet, gray, white and black and will sticker for close to $10. The MDR-E828LP/SLV headphones, available in black or silver, feature Sony's acoustic twin turbo circuit and a silent cap. They should match the $10 price of the other budget earbuds.
The MDR-E11LP headphones utilize a large magnet in a compact earbud to deliver big sound. Color options include blue, orange, white and black, with a $13 sticker. An upgraded set for $15, the MDR-ED12LP, sports the same 16mm driver but add a bass booster and one of four metallic colors (red, blue, gold or silver).
The MDR-G45LP headphones have a flexible behind-the-neck band, a four-foot, single-side cord and black ear caps along with a $15 price. The MDR-G55LP set is more customizable thanks to pairs of interchangeable colored caps. A choice of black with red or white with gold will set buyers back $25.
Rounding out Sony's loud announcement, the MDR-G75LW behind-the-neck headphones feature a retractable cord and a collapsible neck band for portability. They come in black only for about $50 and use urethane cushions in the earpieces.
MDRA-S20J Active Style headphones
MDR-AS30G Active Style
MDR-NC40 and cord-mounted battery pack
MDR-AS50G Active Style