Looked back to the Sony Discman and Sony MDR-A10 headphones when looking to solve personal music in the gym. I have been using my iPod down the gym and found my present headphones inadequate for my needs. I was looking for a set of headphones that were gym friendly, that didn’t completely seal me off from my surroundings, but at the same time stayed in my ears.
I looked at a number of designs and read reviews that put me off every alternative that I found. Eventually I remembered the old headphones that came with my Sony Discman in the early 1990s, the Sony MDR-A10. These were an iconic design in their own way. The headphones were lightweight and the degree of articulation that was in the headband to make it foldable and fit different head sizes made them ideal.
The speakers pointed backward in the ear canal to give a more realistic sound by bouncing it around the ear like you hear normal sounds. The fact that it wasn’t fully closed made it ideal for me to be aware of what was happening around me in the gym.
The real surprise I got was when I found out how much these headphones now go for on eBay: £30. It seems I wasn’t the only one that wanted these design features and the headphones still work well partly because they were made to a more exacting standard in a Sony factory in Japan.
So what do they sound like? Well the MDR-A10 with it’s ‘turbo’ circuitry was designed to work with Sony’s premium Discman range of the early 1990s which have a superior performance in terms of audio output compared to Apple’s iPod. You can only get so much out of headphone drivers this small, but the headphones are good enough to show the limitations in the iPods sound. More about Sony here. More on Sony’s premium Discman range here.