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Sony MDR-ZX500 review

Cheap Sony headphones offer value but not much cheer

Sony MDR-ZX500 review
The ZX500 headphones launched at £49 but can be picked up for a lot less


  • Cheap
  • Light
  • Comfortable


  • Poor bass
  • Poor treble
  • Muddy midrange

How much should you spend on a pair of headphones?

It's a tricky question to answer because generally speaking, the more you spend, the better the product.

There are exceptions of course – Beats by Dr. Dre headphones are stupidly expensive and do not deliver proportional levels of sound quality – but on the whole the trend holds firm.

So do these Sony MDR-ZX500 headphones offer a decent dollop of audio fidelity, or are they just another also-ran pair of cans for the undiscerning ear?

Sadly, they fall into the latter category.

The ZX500's are cheap, they look good, they're nice and light and they sound better than those bundled buds.

But they're no star performers. All audio is squeezed uncompromisingly into the murky midrange, with little on offer in the way of fidelity at high or low frequencies. Your music can sound a lot better, and for not much more money, either.

So if you're looking to replace some bundled white iPod earphones with an over-ear alternative and don't want to splash the cash, the ZX500's will find a good home with you. But if you need more, you're going to need to spend a little more money.