Sony MDR-EX71SL Earbud Fontopia Headphones
July 4, 2004

Author: Brian Lee
Page: 1

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You may be asking why in the world am I writing a review of headphones.  This is a site about webservers and stuff, why headphones?  Well, I'm writing about headphones because they are a piece of equipment that almost everybody uses.  Whether it's gaming at home, studying in the library, or jogging along the beach, we all need a good pair of headphones to listen to MP3's, CD's, or even the radio.

Actually, this article is the result of my personal quest to find headphones that did not suck.  You see, I like music a lot.  I consider myself somewhat of an audiophile although I'm not a big snob about things like some people are.  Ok, maybe enthusiast is a better word to describe what I am.  Over the years I've used a variety of headphones, primarily the full-size over-the-ear ones from Sennheiser.  I love the full rich sound that I get from my Sennheiser HD 570's, but I wanted something smaller and less bulky to use with my portable MP3 player.  I looked at many earbud style headphones and found that there aren't that many companies that make good quality earbuds.  At your local Walmart or Target, you can find a variety of earbuds from Sony, Philips, and Koss in the $10 to $15 range and I've tried them all.  None of them were of particularly good quality.  They either lacked significant dynamic range or were muddy and dull sounding.

I did some searching on the Internet and found that Sony made some higher end earbud headphones.  They make quite a few different models, but I chose the Sony MDR-EX71SL which is their top of the line earbud headphones.  The MSRP is $49.99 but you can find it for a lower price at various online stores.  I ordered a pair and hoped for the best!  Now, there are even more expensive earbud headphones from Shure that are in the $100-$300 range, but for me that was quite a bit more than I was really willing to spend.

Let's take a look at the specifications for these Sony MDR-EX71SL headphones:


  • Super-Light In-The-Ear Design 
  • New, Super-Small 9 mm Drivers
  • Soft, Silicon Earbuds 
  • Two Sizes of Earbuds Accommodate a Full Range of Ears 
  • 400 kJ/ma Ultra-High-Power Neodymium Magnet 
  • Hard Carrying Case and Earbud Holder Supplied 


  • Fontopia® Headphones in-the-ear design fits snugly, yet comfortably inside the ear; eliminates the headband so you can enjoy music while exercising, skating or dancing 
  • Sony's first closed-type Fontopia design reduces outside noise for high-intensity listening; helps generate powerful, resonant bass response 
  • New, super-small 9 mm drivers are a key enabling technology; ultra-compact drivers produce powerful sound with space left over for the sonic isolation of Sony's newly-designed silicon earbuds 
  • Soft, silicon earbuds reduce outside noise, provide long-lasting comfort, hour after hour; the earbuds are washable, removable and replaceable 
  • Two sizes of earbuds accommodate a full range of ears 
  • Long-throw PET diaphragm or deep, extended bass down to an incredible 6 Hz; low mass for extended high frequency response all the way out to 23,000 Hz 
  • 400 kJ/ma Neodymium magnet for maximum energy in minimum size; ounce for ounce, this high-power Neodymium is far more powerful than conventional Samarium Cobalt or Aluminum magnets; even with the small, 9 mm drivers, Neodymium achieves 100 dB of sound pressure output from a modest 1 mW input power. 
  • Oxygen-Free Copper (OFC) cord for high signal transmission, low noise 
  • Stylish, Neck-Chain Cord 
  • Gold-plated mini-plug for exceptional corrosion resistance, superb conductivity, low noise 
  • Streamlined, compact case neatly stores the ear-buds and headphone cord when not in use; vivid purple styling; high-impact case is ideal for carrying in a pocket or backpack 
  • New case design minimizes cord tangles; partial winding can shorten the effective cord length during use 
  • Type: Lateral, In-the-ear, Closed, Dynamic 
  • Driver Unit: 9mm diameter 
  • Diaphragm: PET, long-throw 
  • Magnet: 400 kJ/ma high-power Neodymium 
  • Cord: OFC; Neck Chain, 4 feet (1.2m) 
  • Plug: Gold-plated, L-Shaped, Stereo Mini Plug 
  • Impedance: 16 ohms at 1 kHz 
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW 
  • Power handling capacity: 100mW 
  • Frequency Response: 6 - 23,000 Hz 
  • Weight: 0.1 oz. (4g), without cord 
  • Supplied Accessories: Compact case, Second set of earpads 

Additional Information