SoundCtrl Gear: Sony X Headphones

By Kira Grunenberg

In a press release sent out today, Sony Music Entertainment revealed its newest personal listening product , created in conjunction with music industry veteran Simon Cowell, and in turn, with the FOX network reality show, “The X Factor.” Sony has certainly been in the business long enough where their work with music, entertainment, and tech holds a well established precedent between consumer-friendly and esteemed quality. This answers that initial question of core developer and helps to extinguish any knee jerk reactions of the headset being just another mediocre product with a brand name slapped on the side.

If nothing else, before it would even be possible to pass good or bad judgement on a set of headphones and their effectiveness, finding out who the core developer is for said equipment usually sets the bar in a pretty accurate ballpark for what a person can look forward to for future use.

Depending on how the die-hard headphone user feels about either the former American Idol judge or his current star discovery project, (which doesn’t exactly hone in on the most meticulous of audiophile knowledge), the headset could prove to be an otherwise hard sell. That is of course, until you read a bit further in to the nuts and bolts of the “X Headphones.”

According to Cowell’s statement in the press release, he has “tried all [headphones available.] Literally every single one.” Whether that loaded declaration is 100% true or just a close exaggeration, the technological capabilities loaded into the X Headphones do speak well to the objective of making an impressive product. Here’s a breakdown of the primary tech specs:

Driver Unit: Closed, Dynamic 50 mm driver, dome type (OFC Voice Coil)
Frequency Response: 3 to 29,000 Hz
*Human hearing ranges between 20Hz and 20kHz (20,000 Hz)
Impedance: 24 ohms at 1 kHz
Sensitivity (decibels): 106 dB/mW

Other claimed bonuses include ambient noise reduction, a better seal around users’ ears – allowing for “extended bass” – and a cord that reduces tangle via a serrated design. An in-line mic and track/volume control remote pairs the “X’s” with i-devices for music or calls.

Seeing as this headset is only launching today, a date chosen to prep the public for the premiere of the newest season of America’s X Factor tomorrow, it is not known yet whether Cowell’s work with Sony will live up to both his and Sony’s respective aspirations. Cowell declared that he was “set[ting] out to create the best headphone in the world” and Andrew Sivori, VP of Sony’s Personal Audio Division asserts that “[the] X Headphones are for the true listeners, the music fanatics…”

If these headphones can deliver the auditory goods, it won’t matter that X Factor viewers across the country are inevitably going to see them week after week as the new “official headphone partner” of the show. Marketing safety net anyone?

The X Headphones are now available online from the Sony Store here, will be available in Sony retail stores on the 15th and later in the month at other authorized retailers globally.

Retail price: $299.

Kira is an old school music nerd with a love for all things creative; always searching for music’s common ground. She graduated with an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. Drop her a tweet @shadowmelody1