Sony Fontopia Headphones Review
A closer listen to the Sony MDR-EX51LP Fontopia Headphones
Created: 12/06/2006 | Updated: 05/28/2008 | By: Abbe Simmons | Comments

apple earbuds suckEven though a new and improved iPod seems to come out every few months, Apple for some reason can't make a better earbud. Why is the iPod's earbud like a piece of kryptonite for the geniuses that invented the iPod?

The oversized and uncomfortable white Apple earphones have made my iPod experience less than desirable. Not only did Apple's giant headphones physically hurt my cute little ears, they were constantly falling out.  Every workout, walk to the subway or just general listening was interrupted because of the limitations and flaws of the headphones.  It became so frustrating for me at certain points that I ended up just putting my iPod away. 

After much effort and agonizing that it was my fault that my ears didn't fit their headphones, rather the other way around, I decided to  purchase Apple's attempt at smaller headphones- the Apple earbuds. To my dismay, they were again, uncomfortable and still oversized for my tiny ears. Well, let's be honest, they fit and worked well as long as I remained still and made no movement.  But within the first mile of my run, they were popping out and did so until I took them out. I then realized that if I took off the silicon earbuds, they fit perfectly. But, as I had heard from others, the headphones were inconsistent and would eventually give out, which they did after only four months of use. Back to square one- and using my old Sony headphones that have the metal headband. They were my only reliable source and made my commute and my workouts and runs better.  But, I was still looking for headphones that did not have the headband. 

After several tries with several different brands, tons of money spent and several disappointments, I came across the Sony MDR-EX51LP Fontopia Headphones.   At first glance, they were a bit more than I would spend on headphones, but I figured I had nothing to lose and everything to gain considering my old reliable headphones were made by SONY. I did a little research on to read the reviews and so many people had such great, credible things to say.  They highlighted the strengths and what they felt were weaknesses such as the different cord lengths.  But what could be one person's weakness may not bother someone else.  In this case, I was looking for sound quality, noise reduction and earphones that would stay in my ears no matter how long I went running for or how hard my workout was.

According the description provided by the manufacturer, the Sony MDR-EX51LP Fontopia Headphones is their "first closed- type design- reduces outside noise for high intensity listening, helping to generate powerful, resonant bass response…featuring a super- light in the ear design for a snug, comfortable fit inside the ear eliminating the headband, super small 9mm Drivers and soft, silicon earbuds…" Well, the description had me at hello.

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earSounds good, but would they actually deliver all that I wanted and needed them to- after all? I mean I have heard this song and dance before.  Still, upon opening the package after purchasing, I felt a surge of hope and excitement noticing there were not one, but three sets of soft, silicon earbuds. I was sure one of them would not only fit in my ears, but also stay put.



I decided to put them to the test.  I got my running gear on, got the dog ready and jammed the 9mm drivers into my ears and headed down the street.  Immediately I noticed that true to form, the noise reduction was tremendous.  I hear my music loud and clear and didn't hear wind, cars, or even myself breathing.  I noticed I was able to zone out and get into my run as I used to be able to do and just concentrate on my pace and form rather than my surroundings.  I also realized that the sound quality they delivered was one of the best I had heard from such small headphones.  Superior bass and great tone- my music sounded better than ever!  My stride became faster, music was perfect and here was the kicker- they never once fell out of my ears.  Not after 5 miles, not after running up a flight of steps, sprinting a block and petting the dog for such a great 5 mile run! I was hooked. 

Since my purchase, they have continued to deliver and be all that Sony was selling.  I have since purchased a second pair to have as a back up because the silicone earbuds can easily pop off if you are not careful with where you jam your iPod into your bag!  Sony offers them in other colors such as blue and pink and they also offer a warranty for up to 90 days. 



Why is the iPod's earbud like a piece of kryptonite for the geniuses that invented the iPod? I still don't understand why Apple can't make a better standard earbud for the iPod, but at least Sony has gotten it right. My Sony Fontopia headphones were worth every penny spent and every mile I have run with them.

NERD NOTE: Sony Corporation is a multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan and one of the world's largest media conglomerates with revenue of $70.303 billion (as of 2007) based in Minato, Tokyo.


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These Sony headphones feature a closed-type design which reduces outside noise for high-intensity listening. The Sony Fontopia design also helps to generate resonant bass response. The lightweight, in-the-ear design provides a snug, comfortable fit inside the ear. Super-small 9 mm drivers, and soft silicon earbuds provide further quality and comfort.

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