Earphone Dilemma – Sony MDR-EX71s vs. Etymotics

So I have a dilemma about my earphones. I’ve been a big fan of the Sony MDR-EX71 in-the-ear buds since I bought my first pair to replace the stock earbuds that came with my iPod. The sound on them is great, and since I always clip the remote to my 40GB iPod (or, more recently, my Shuffle) to the front of my shirt, the “SL” short lead model has been great – the cord is long enough to reach my chest, but no extra cord length to get tangled. I wear them pretty much all day, every day. I listen to podcasts and music in the morning during my train commute (or play Lumines on my PSP, or watch last night’s TV shows on my Dell x50v). They’re in my ears most of the day while I’m working at my desk. They’re the most comfortable and best sounding earbuds that I’ve ever used.

My first pair of EX71s died a couple of months ago. For some reason, the left one just stopped working. I’m sure it was some kind of short, because I could get it to crackle in and out of a working state by holding the cord at weird angles. So I ordered replacement pair.

I’ve been using the second pair for a couple of months, and they’ve developed a problem. The black rubber insulation on the wire that goes to the right bud is disintegrating, all along the back of my next. Coming off in little bits. There are now two separate sections of bare wire about three inches long each. Fortunately, the buds still work.

So herein lies the dilemma. I can’t bear to use the standard hard plastic earbuds, like the stock iPod ones. But I’m hesitant to buy another pair of the Sony EX71s, for fear of throwing good money after bad.

I’d love to get a pair of Etymotic E6i’s, like the ones Scoble let me try when I had lunch with him last month. But the MSRP on those is $150 (even though Amazon has them for $99). On the other hand, I can get another pair of the EX71s for around $30-$40. But this will be my third pair, and I don’t really want them to crap out on me after a couple of months.


What to do? Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? Should I just bite the bullet and get the Etymotics? What’s the warranty like on them? If it’s lifetime, that would be much more tempting.


3 thoughts on “Earphone Dilemma – Sony MDR-EX71s vs. Etymotics

  1. This is a no-brainer. Get the ety’s. I lucked out and got a pair of the 4P’s for my birthday – and understand that the 6 series sounds almost as good as the 4P’s. Listening to just about anything is a pleasure.

    Good luck. Best regards,
    Bill III …

  2. I got the Shure EC3’s as a gift from my employer and I love them. They are in ear and they have different size buds so you can find one to fit your ear. They are comfortable, noise-cancelling, and I love them.

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