There are times when I want to have a light and portable headphone for listening to music outdoors. The big and serious cans won’t do here, and as excellent as IEMs are, there are times when I just prefer the feel of a lightweight portable headphone. In the past, I’ve used popular headphones such as the Koss Portapro or the Sennheiser PX100, which are good for what they do. But I have to admit that they are not perfect headphones, and I still look for other options that improves on some of the areas that they lack. The Sony MDR-570LP is actually one of the newest releases from Sony. They’re so new that we’ve just published a news of their release not so long ago, and so I was surprised to find them already available at the stores. When I auditioned it, I liked it enough that I ended up buying one for my portable use.
We all know that Sony makes good looking gears, but for the majority of gears that Sony produced, we are not too thrilled about their sound quality. In the same Sony tradition, the MDR-570LP is very good looking, and the ergonomics and comfort is one of the best among other headphones in its class, but this Sony actually has quite a likable sound signature.
The MDR-570LP is actually quite different than the majority of other Sony headphones. It’s not trying too hard to impress you with an abundance of bass, nor with an aggressive treble. The sound is very warm and smooth, and with an emphasis on midrange. The treble is relaxed, and it works well for long term listening even with the majority of pop recordings with over boosted treble, because the MDR-570LP tends to neutralize any harshness or sibilance you might find. Even with the bass, the MDR-570LP doesn’t try too hard to impress you with bass quantity here. While it may lose on bass contests, it’s actually great for casual listening, as the bass is quite relaxed, but never thin sounding or lacking. While the bass doesn’t go low enough and is more limited to the upper bass region, they are quite fine for reproducing the midbass punch on a typical Pop or Jazz tunes. The keyword with the 570LP seems to be moderate and casual, and likewise, the soundstage on these are just enough. They never feel claustrophobic, and yet big enough for casual listening.
Comfort and fit is the MDR-570LP’s biggest strength. The MDR-570LP is definitely more comfortable to wear than other portables such as the PX100 and the Portapro, mainly because of the superbly designed pads. With a housing diameter roughly the size of a Grado comfies, the Sony sits very nicely on the ears. The pads are fully covered by synthetic leather, and they provide a very comfortable feel. The pads is also fairly good at following the shape of my ears, and they result in better isolation than smaller size portables like the PX100.
While the MDR-570LP drives just fine straight from an Ipod, adding a portable amplifier definitely improves the sound, giving more weight and control on the bass, as well as improving the separation. It’s not mandatory however, and I do find myself using it more unamped, simply due to the simplicity of the set up. They’re also available in four different colors. I quickly went for black color, being a big fan of black, but I kinda regretted not choosing the more fashionable color like brown.
Overall the MDR-570LP provides just the perfect combination of a relaxed sound, a good looking design, good ergonomics, and easy drivability to makes it a joy for casual listening. Of course the modern casual design is also a big plus for taking them outdoors, as they won’t leave you looking like a gadget or a headphone nerd.
System for auditioning:
Source: Ipod Classic
Amplifier: Audiotrak imAmp
Type: Closed, dynamic, supra-aural.
Driver unit: 30mm, dome type (CCAW Voice Coil)
Power handling capacity: 1,000mW (IEC)
Impedance: 24? at 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
Frequency response: 12-22,000 Hz
Cord: 1.2m, Y-type.
Plug: Gold-plated stereo mini plug
Mass: Approx. 110g without cord.