Anyone dismissing the Sony MDR-X10 headphones as simply yet another bombastic, over-the-top, celebrity-designed fashion statement for teenage bass junkies would be wrong. Easily forgiven, but wrong.
While most of those descriptive terms ring true — the big, lurid cans apparently received design input from none other than big, lurid entertainment personality Simon Cowell, and they’re definitely aimed toward the bass-obsessed — the X10s differ significantly from their brethren, and actually stand out prominently against an ocean of boom.
In other words, if you’re looking for bass-heavy headphones, this is your first stop; but even if you’re not, the X10s are so good they might win you over anyway.
There isn’t anyone with a model catalog quite like Sony (how the hell do they keep track of these things?). The company has just refreshed their line of midpriced, bass-heavy MDR-XB headphones with three new models, replacing four previous ones.
The three new models, the XB800 ($150), XB600 ($100) and XB400 ($60), all follow Sony’s headphone design template: soup-bowl sized, perfectly circular cups attached to massive headbands (the headband on the XB800 is so formidable it looks like it could maybe double as a helicopter landing strut).
What!? Neither Cult publication has ever reviewed Monster’s famed Turbine earphones, even though the IEMs have been hanging on Best Buy end caps for the last several years? Well, that’s an injustice we won’t let stand another day — after all, these are among the best recognized, and most iconic IEMs on the market.
The Turbine is the base model in Monster’s Turbine lineup; though with an MSRP of $180, “base model” seems like a relative term (the two higher models, the Pro Gold and the Pro Copper, are $300 and $400 respectively and are apparently better at reproducing a wider range than the plain-wrapper Turbines reviewed here).