Sony MDR-J20 Stereo Headphones

Sony MDR-J20 Stereo HeadphonesInexpensive stereo headphones with a elastomer hanger.

Inexpensive and easy to find. Average sound quality that doesn't make the top end unlistenable. Clean across the board, but could use some meat in the lower midrange and upper bass. Very comfortable to wear when working out.

Not as good as the $10 JVC HA-F120s. Bass could use some meat. The elastomer clips are comfortable but why couldn't they fit from the rear and not be visible. Better options are only $20 more.

An average pair of headphones that won't give you a headache, but won't give you musical orgasms either. Rather comfortable and easy to travel with. Cable is thick, long, and unlikely to rip.

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Sony MDR-J20 Stereo Headphones: Not Your Father's Sony

Comfortable inexpensive headphones from Sony that don't sound bad and stay in place in the gym.

Sony is a company on a mission. It is trying very hard to regain the powerful position that it once held. Something foul took hold of the electronics giant and distracted it from its core; designing the best and most innovative audio/video products in the world. For many people, the Sony brand always represented the best of the best. You were “somebody” if you could afford the top television or stereo component from the “one and only”. That really has not been the case for many years. Sony has been pummeled by Samsung, Panasonic, and Pioneer in the world of home video. It has been beaten to a pulp by Apple and other portable media device makers, and the importance of that should not be lost on people. Sony invented the world of portable audio and has been struggling to catch up ever since. As a kid, I owned more than my fair share of headphones. My family worked in radio for almost three decades, so more than a few pairs of studio cans were liberated and brought home. AKG and Koss were my brands as a kid, and I still really enjoy my AKG K 601s. Sony made decent headphones, but they were never really my preferred brand.

To its credit, Sony has not sat on its hands during the iPod-era and has expanded its headphone line-up to over 70 models, many of which are very listenable. They do face some rather stiff competition from Sennheiser, Grado, AKG, Bose, and others, but the number of Sony headphones being sold is rather substantial. At the entry-level, Sony has a number of good models such as the MDR-J20 that serve their purpose quite well; Easy to wear for extended periods of time, well-made, and easy to travel with.

Sonically, the MDR-J20 are a tad bright on top, but not enough to kill a recommendation. The midrange is rather warm, almost pleasantly so. Sam Cooke’s voice on “Lost and Looking” was full of the soul that made Sam the great singer that he was, and I could handle the sound for long durations. I did not find these headphones to be fatiguing at all. The bass was somewhat thin while listening to the Who, which was disappointing, but I will take thin over bloated any day of the week. My recent favorites, the JVC HA-F120, were more to my liking on almost every track, which only reinforces my feelings towards them. The Sony are decent for $20, but no giant killers.

Where to Purchase:

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Technical Info:

Brand: Sony
Model: MDR-J20
Type: Open air, dynamic
Driver unit: 13.5mm dome
Power handling: 50mW
Impedance: 16 ohms at 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 104 dB/mW
Frequency response: 18-22,000 Hz
Cord length: 48 inches
Plug: Gold plated stereo mini-plug
Weight: 0.4 oz
Price: $20.00

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