Picture of the Sony MDR-EX10LP In Ear Rock'n Buds Earbuds, front view.

Sony MDR EX10LP Make Believe Earbuds Review

The Sony Make Believe MDR-EX10LP Earbuds excel in their punchy mid range. But they suffer from weak bass as well as treble response.

About the 9mm dome drivers here.  They cut the really highs and really lows. So  what you gain in small design, you lose in richness of sound.

But on the bright side, these earbuds accept boosted bass from an equalizer. With higher bass,you can listen at average volume levels without distorting it. So you can boost the bass if your player has an equalizer.

Sony MDR-EX10LP Make Believe Earbuds Introduction

We’d describe these as FM radio-sounding, in ear buds. The drivers are too small for both good fit and realistic sound.  Sort of like those transistor radio ear buds your granddad used to hear baseball games in the 1960s. But these Sonys sound much fuller than those single ear buttons of decades past.

Also, these needlessly small speakers offer less bass output. But the tight mid range helps offset this.

Not sure what subdues the high end so much here, but subdued it is.  So the MDR-EX10LP is better suited for casual music than cell phone talks.    Nor is any remote control function included.  So you’ll be unable to pause your iPod or adjust the volume via the earphones themselves.

Picture of the Sony MDR-EX10LP In Ear Rock'n Buds Earbuds, unpacked view.
Sony MDR EX10LP In Ear Rock’n Buds Earbuds, unpacked view.

Still though, for the casual listener, the MDR-EX10LP headset offers practically all that’s important.  You get weak but non distorted bass, and strong mid range.  You also get humble yet perceptible highs. They don’t distort, even when playing an iPad at full volume. But they may not play as loudly as other, larger driver models. They insert into the outer ear easily, and remove just as quickly. Besides, wearing them rarely grows tiresome except for the frequent re adjusting you often must do.  Plus, their low-mass and flexible cable lowers cord microphonics.

They appear reasonably well constructed for as low-cost as they are, for months, or perhaps years of trouble-free listening.

Sony MDR EX10LP Make Believe Earbuds Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages

Included Users Manual

Instructions tell of how to safely listen and avoid possible hearing loss.

Strain Relief on Some Joints

Flexible and effective strain relief on the 3.5 mm male plug (that inserts into your audio device).  Each earpiece also features rigid strain relief as well.  However, the cord Y slider has none.

Cord Slider

Allows you to adjust how big the Y cable joint is. This increases comfort .  Plus, you snag the cord less on clothes buttons and zippers.

In Ear Design

The MDR-EX10LP drivers insert deep into the ear.  In fact, they touch the eardrum. This gives improved fidelity and isolation from outside sounds.

Water Resistant

Smaller sound ports along with the closed air design. This means less exposure of the drivers to sweat, rain, and other debris.

Good Fidelity

Reproduces low-mid, mid range, and lower-high audio well. Not excessive sound  harshness thus.  But as noted, the bass and high treble output seems reduced when playing on flat. Yet in sum, they sound pretty flat.  But they also can deliver the extra bass or treble you desire, if you use an equalizer.

Visible LEFT and RIGHT Channel Identification

The left and right earbuds have easy-to-read L and R letters.  Find these labels on the rear side of the drivers. Easy to find and see thus.

Symmetrical Driver Design

Hard to confuse LEFT and RIGHT speakers. The MDR-EX10LP implements a symmetrical ear bud design. This means that the LEFT bud fits most comfortably in the left ear.  And the RIGHT bud fits best into the RIGHT ear.

Decent Sensitivity

These buds give louder, clip-free volume than the original iPod stock buds.

Long Cord

Over three feet of highly flexible Litz audio cable. This runs from the bottom of the Y vertex to the plug.  Then we find another twelve inches of cable from the top of the Y to the drivers.

Low Magnetism Leakage

You can make the drivers in other earphones repel each other if you held them the right way. And they’d stick to some surfaces. However no discernible magnetism leaks out of these dome drivers.

Multiple Colors Available

The come in many colors, including black.

Multiple Ear Cushion Tips

Sony provides three pairs (small, medium, and large) rubber silicone ear tips. They are color coded for easy matching of sizes between left and right ears.

Low Cost but Okay Quality

90-day Limited Warranty

Picture of the Sony MDR-EX10LP In-Ear Rock'n Buds Earbuds, carton back view.
Sony MDR EX10LP In-Ear Rock’n Buds Earbuds, carton back view.

Sony MDR EX10LP Make Believe Earbuds Disadvantages, Problems, Cons, Limitations, and Concerns

No Travel Pouch

However, with a little effort, they can easily be wrapped back up and stored in a plastic zipper lock bag.

No Microphone Here

Easily Lost Ear Tips

The little flexible cushions can come off the drivers.

Come Out of Ears Easily

The small size means that you can easily jerk them out of the ear. Even when not tugged, gravity and slippage can loosen them after just a few short songs. So frequent adjustment to keep correct positioning for best bass sound is necessary.

In ear Design Means Less Clean

These buds contact the waxy part of the ear directly, and thus, can get waxy themselves.  So it’s not a good idea to share them with others without first cleaning the tips with alcohol.

Easy to Hurt Ears

Be careful though, not to blast them too loudly.  Why? Because they can generate enough volume to mask out exterior sounds like trucks coming. In fact, we suggest that you not use these while walking along busy roads.  Yes, they still allow in much outside sound. But that may not be enough while playing your music loudly.  So, with these buds, your music may prevent you from hearing approaching vehicles.

Reduce Outside Noises Too Much

May be inappropriate for certain environments, where the user would like to hear well the surrounding noise. Since these buds “stop up” the ear canal, they somewhat reduce outside noises from being heard while listening. So you may not perceive important sounds (like your baby crying or husband calling).

Could Annoy Nearby Travelers

On the other hand, the degree of sound isolation is reciprocal.  That is, it works equally as well (or not) for keeping program sound in while fencing outside sounds out.  The MDR-EX10LP does not keep the music inside the ear very well. So you may disturb nearby passengers on trains and planes, if you play your music too loudly.

Likely Not Fixable

Given the highly mini Litz cables and connections here, it’s not easy to repair these earphones.  Why?  Because the wires inside are hair-thin. So once they break, they’re finished. No biggie for el cheapo earbuds though. Still though,  we like to fix our own earbuds if they break.

No Gold Plated Connector

A stereo gold-plated 3.5mm male plug would promote longer-lasting, reliable connectivity.  With gold, you’d get less spotty play as the plug corrodes.

Low Cost and Less Fidelity Too

At between $8 and $18 per pair, these earphones cost less than Apple’s Earpods model ($29.99). But they sacrifice about as much sound quality as well.  So if you’re sensitive to how well your earbuds sound on your music, then and forego these for the Earpods.

Specifications

  • Type: Closed dynamic.
  • Driver unit: 9mm dome (CCAW).
  • Power handling: 100 milliwatts.
  • Frequency response: 8 – 22,000 Hz.
  • Impedance: 16 ohms.
  • Sensitivity: 100 DB/mW.
  • Cord: 1.2M, 47.25 inches Litz cable, type Y.
  • Plug: Right-angle, L-shaped three conductor plug, which is compatible with iPods, iPads, and iPhones.  However, no fourth conductor for remote operation.

Our Rating

We’d rate the Sony Make Believe MDR EX10LP In-Ear Rock’n Buds headphones ear buds at 82 out of 100. Far from the best earbuds, they’re among the best priced nonetheless, given their more apparently costly sound. But they fall out of ears too often and require all-too-frequent adjustments to keep them properly positioned. While they’re great for kids and beginner listeners, we think that you’d grow disenchanted with them quickly. So we defer recommending them to any audiophiles or refined music listeners, to someone else.  *grin*

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References

Revision History

  • 2019-04-04: Added subheadings, key phrase targeting, and tags. Shortened sentences and removed ad code.
  • 2015-09-28: Originally published.