Sony MDR-X10 Simon Cowell X Factor Headphone IRL Review- What a name hey? Its one of Sony’s celebrity endorsed headphones- I think that Sony Entertainment owns X fActor in some manner. Not at all surprising to see a celebrity endorsed headphone based off all the wild success of Beats. Not surprising to see the exact same product in the Sony lineup without the celebrity endorsement but much cheaper (its an Xtra bass headphone – XB600 possibly). I’m honestly not sure why I own these. The following is my review of these frankly bad headphones (I love how Simon Cowell says these are simply the best headphones on the box. I’m sure he’s never actually listened to these).
Design- I think this is actually the only reason I got this- the design. I just really liked the red color these came in. That’s it. I don’t even think the design is good. I just like the color. The silver and red version is terribly ugly. This is a bit gaudy but I still like it. Aside from liking the color, I think its an ok looking headphone for teenagers. That pretty much says it all- it was designed to be worn as a statement, akin to Beats. Its an overall all plastic design (metal cups), that looks pretty much like a LOOK AT WHAT I AM WEARING headphone. Whether people will be impressed by it is another question. I don’t think people would be, based off the fact that its an X Factor headphone- unless you are a fan of the show, there’s not a whole lot of street cred on the celebrity status part. I can’t remember a time where Simon Cowell’s name was impressive for kids. These headphones look like they are trying really hard to fit in. While its nice to see a different design than Beats, the modern look of Beats’ newer line up definitely has a hipper feel. Its like comparing the flat design of iOS and Android now to the 3D shadowing design of their past remnants. Not too bad, but the modern look is appreciated.
Build Quality- These things feel super cheap and tacky. They are lightweight (good for travel I guess), and lack a dense premium feel. They imitate metal on a lot of places, and end up feeling the opposite. They also scratch easy- unfortunately mine were store returns (for a good discount though) and the chrome plastic had been chipped. The pleather headband and cups also feel cheaply made, like binder plastic. Not impressed. Somehow they made the box super dense to give off the impression they were premium, but they are not. They don’t feel like a $200 plus headphone their MSRP put them at. The cable is also non-removable, something I dislike because of the difficulty in replacing a wear and tear part. I also hate how dlimsy the joints are- they move around super easily and are just the opposite of a well dampened gear. Just floppy. These are a real disappointment from the previous XB lineup that was lots and lots of metal.
Comfort- honestly I have never worn these long enough to consider comfort a problem. The sound quality is so bad that I end up only hitting a few songs before I call it a day on these headphones. They do sit fine, with minimal pressure on my ears. The cushions are also relatively soft and like tiny cushions. I do wonder how these compare to the giant tire like pads of the previous xtra bass lineup from Sony.
Sound Quality- these are surprisingly bad. They sound like a headphone that was pumped through an amp, so they are super jacked up, but the speaker quality was bad to start with, so everything is exagerrated terribly. The bass is overwhelming on any kind of music you throw on it. You must use a bass reducer EQ setting to control the bass. Even if you do, the mids and highs are so lacking that you don’t reveal any hidden gems. These were clearly designed for portable use- they don’t need an amp. They can run perfectly terribly on a lowly iPod headphone jack. The chamber is actualyl quite deep- behind those red dots are deep chambers to allow for the “xtra bass” to build. I’ve always been curious about the xtra bass line from Sony (particularly the XB1000), but these are a real turn off. The bass is incredibly muddy. In my previous reviews, I said that the Skullcandy MixMaster was alongside the X10 as muddy sounding. I must correct myself. After listening to the two again, the MixMaster is in a different league than the X10. The X10 is just bad. The bass is muddy and lacks details. It then smothers any little detail the mids and highs have. Its insanely overwhelming.
It comes with a carrying case that is equally disappointing. While it is nice to have this as an accessory, it matches the headphone in meh build quality. Just a cloth bag, and not too much more. You can see the inline 3 button remote somewhere in that flat cable wrapped up.
Sound Isolation- You can get the job done here with pounding bass that will absolutely kill off everyone’s conversation around you and your ear drums. They are fine I guess, but nothing at all like the sound isolation I have on my Beyerdynamic DT-1350.
Conclusion– Buy these if you are ACHING for bass and have been using anemic headphones with no low end at all. You will quickly learn to appreciate the idea that bass is not the only thing you want to hear in a set of headphones. And that there are different qualities of bass you can get. And these are low quality. This is like the buffet line in headphones. Plenty to eat, except everything is stale food. It epitomizes quantity over quality for sure.
TLDR- Don’t buy these. Pros- nice shade of red; Cons- muffled bass, crappy sound quality overall, meh build quality, meh design, seriously underwhelming build quality (notice how I put build quality twice?)