Style over Substance
By Kenny Yeo
Sony has always stood out with its sleek designs and if its recent VAIO and BRAVIA offerings were anything to go by, design and aesthetics are clearly still very important elements of a Sony product. Does this philosophy extend to a newly released pair of headphones from Sony, the MDR-570LP?
Skin Deep Beauty
The new Sony MDR-570LP sports a very simple design. It really seems like Sony just took two ear cups and attached them to a single head band. Fortunately, the MDR-570LP manages to avoid looking cheap, but only from a distance. Because once you pull up close enough, you'll find that the housing, which Sony claims to have been made out of aluminum, actually feels quite plasticky and cheap.
Worse still, that budget vibe we got doesn't end at the ear cups. The ear pads, though thick and rather comfy, didn't seem like it was made out of quality material and looked prone to tearing and cracking. Furthermore, the head bands were woefully uncomfortable, due to the fact that it was made out of hard plastic with little or no padding to speak of.
In that respect, the Sony MDR-570LP is kind of like a model with make-up. If you don't look carefully, you'll hardly notice the flaws. Up close however, all the imperfections become as clear as day and for all to see. Overall, the build quality is disappointing for a Sony product.
The Sony MDR-570LP utilizes a supra-aural design, which means the ear cups sits on your ear, rather than around it. Typically, supra-aural headphones offers poor sound isolation and the MDR0570LP is no different. This means you can easily hear what's going on around you. Likewise, others can also easily hear what you're listening to, if you turn the volume up, which you will because you'll be struggling to enjoy your music with all the noise that is leaking in.
Even so, should you find yourself in a peaceful and quiet enough setting, do not expect to be blown away by the Sony MDR-570LP. Its audio performance is decidedly average. To elaborate, the bass response was surprisingly sharp and precise, but it lacks bite overall, perhaps due to its supra-aural design. Elsewhere, however, we found the MDR-570LP to be terribly recessed and hollow sounding. The end result was a dull and soulless listening experience.
At S$69, the Sony MDR-570LP doesn't aspire to greatness, but it has thus far been rather disappointing. Although MDR-570LP looks good from far, it gradually reveals its shortcomings as you approach closer. This is further exacerbated by its unremarkable audio performance. All things considered, the Sony MDR-570LP is an uninspired piece of gadgetry from Sony.