Sony has been a leader in personal audio since the very beginning. They basically invented it. Remember the Walkman? The new MDR-10-line headphones are a new mainstream offering that might reclaim your heart by focusing on the basics — no matter what kind of headphones you’re looking for.
The MDR-10 closed-back headphones come in standard (MDR-10R), Bluetooth (MDR-10BT) and noise-cancelling (MDR-10NC) varieties, covering most of the major categories people are looking for. All of the headphones have 40mm drivers, and cost $US200, $US250 and $US270, respectively.
The BTs have an NFC chip inside for easy pairing with compatible devices. They support both AAC and aptX wireless streaming codecs. The NCs have three active noise-cancelling modes, which the headphones select depending on the noise environment around you. Both the BTs and NCs have about 20 hours of battery life, and the NCs will continue to play passively even after they’re out of juice.
On paper, the whole line of MDR-10 headphones have top specs, and they’re priced competitively with other gear out there. We haven’t heard them yet, but the function-oriented designs suggest a return to what the company does best. Sony has always been good at no-frills headphones that sound great even if they’re not as flashy as others. Even today, some Sony cans are great. The MDR-7506 are the industry standard for affordable production-quality headphones, and the MDR-NC500s are amongst the best noise-cancelling headphones I’ve ever used. We’ll report back after we’ve had the opportunity to listen to them, probably later today.