Retro Review- Sony MDR-G73LP: The retro reviews are going to keep coming this week/month…I have lots of old stuff I get excited about. This one though is going to be a short short one. Mostly because I don’t have a lot to say about them. They are a consumer oriented headphone and retailed for about 70 CDN back in 2003. If you read my MDR-G74SL headphone review, you will know the Street Style headphone series is designed to let the wearer put the headphone on without messing their hair. Largely not in style anymore, there is just one StreetStyle headphone out right now in the current line up. This G73 was unique because it didn’t take the hard headband approach, but rather was a flexible wire that you could mold to fit your ears/head better. Anyways, the following is my IRL (In Real Life) review of the Sony StreetStyle MDR-G73.
Design and Build Quality: I found the design to be quite unique- not just for the purple/chrome styling but just being a weird wired headband design. I quite like the uniqueness of it. Unfortunately, beyond the neat looks, I didn’t find much else to be up to speed with this headphone. The wire itself had some memory material inside so that it was possible to bend it to fit your head better. It would snap back to its curled in position like an elastic, but it would be slightly adjusted. However, I have found memory wires to degrade over time and this one is no exception. You can feel the material to be uneven and pinched inside. While it hasn’t actually broken, it doesn’t inspire confidence. I also found the beautiful paint job to chip and wear off, so that kind of kills it for its one redeeming factor. The headphone still works fine 11 years later, so I guess durability isn’t really being questioned- but I also don’t really listen to it that much based off its craptacular fit.
Comfort and Everyday Usage: I found these headphones to be super comfortable when they actually stayed on my ears. The wires were covered in a soft plastic and the on-ear cups rested gently on my ears. Unfortunately that’s all that was nice. The inherent design of an elastic headband meant that the headphones were constantly slipping off my ears or being pulled back ever so slightly…all the time. It always felt like the headphones were going to fall off. It also meant that the headphones had no isolation at all. Now as a street headphone, you don’t want it too isolating, otherwise its dangerous walking around being unaware of your surroundings. But this one has almost no isolation at all, and it was difficult to enjoy the music over the din of the outside. So generally, the lack of stability and poor isolation lead me to using this headphone very little. I also found the cable kind of weird. It wasn’t an LP or a SP cable- long cables are good for non remotes, and short cables are good for remotes. These had an in-between wire length, so they didn’t really fit either remote or non remote use well.
Sound Quality: I found sound to be slightly more detailed than other street style headphones but not by a lot. Its certainly no audiophile headphone. I mean, I find it difficult to evaluate headphones of this calibre now after being used to listening to hi-fi sound. That sounds really elitist but this is an IRL review. I kind of just mix all these consumer headphones together. Just lacking detail. However, given its intended audience, teenagers and young adults who just want a stylish headphone would likely be fine with these headphones. You can see that the earpads are totally worn off here. Its also clear here the uneven pinching I was talking about earlier- look at the squeezed in parts of the headband.
Conclusion: I think these a real nice collector piece of kit- Sony has not revisited the elastic headband design since the G73 was released and its kind of a one off design. I think the sound was ok for its price and intended use- a style focused headphone. I think the build quality, isolation and usability are pretty meh- especially the fit, because its inherent flaw of constantly snapping off your ears. Its specifically this latter part that holds this headphone back the most. You just can’t enjoy your music if your headphone keep falling off.
TLDR: Pros- Cool looks, unique design; Cons- Poor fit and sound isolation