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Tristan François Published on October 25, 2010
Translated by Catherine Barraclough


  • Headphone Type
  • Speaker
  • Cable Length m
  • Weight 3 g
Sony has a large range of in-ear headphones of all shapes, sizes, prices and levels of quality. The EX33LP seem to be among the lowest-quality models in the product line.

Design: too small, too light

These headphones shouldn't prove too much trouble for those who haven't used in-ear headphones before. In fact, you'll hardly notice you've got these very slim, very lightweight headphones in your ears. Although in theory, that sounds great, in practice it soon becomes unbearable as the earphones are so light they won't stay put and they tend to fall out of your ears quite easily.

We never expect to find a whole load of accessories with an entry-level product and—true to form—apart from the three different sizes of earbuds and a simple but not-so-practical cable-tidy, there's absolutely nothing included. A case would have made a welcome addition, as the EX33LP don't feel particularly sturdy and we have to wonder how long they'll hold out for. The materials are of average quality and the cable is much too thin and flimsy.

Audio Quality: all a blur

Here too, quality is nothing to write home about. Like most in-ear headphones with dynamic transducers, the sound is very warm and is heavy on medium and lower-medium frequencies while almost entirely disregarding the rest of the spectrum.

The EX33LP sound output is all a bit of a hazy blur, lacking precision, clarity, any kind of spatial effect or positioning in the sound stage. The sound is basically a bit messy, so even if these earphones are better than those usually supplied with mp3 players, that by no means makes them any good.

These Sony entry-level earphones are really not great. In fact, the EX33LP don'y have very much going for them, either in design or in sound quality. Once again, it seems that you'll have to invest £40 to £80 in a decent pair of in-ear headphones; more expensive models are specialist products, requiring heavyweight audio sources, while anything cheaper isn't worth bothering with.
Rave Reviews?
A quick scout about on the web shows the EX33LP earphones get mostly excellent reviews. In fact, they often score 8/10 or above. So why on earth did we only given them a two stars?

There's actually a simple explanation. If you read the user reviews, you'll soon notice that most people were previously using a pair of headphones supplied with an mp3 player, in particular, those that come with the iPod. The headphones included with mp3 players are almost always awful, and those supplied with Apple's portable music players are particularly bad. So for a user who's used to such appalling quality, anything even slightly better than awful is already a massive improvement. However, give the same users an even better pair of headphones and their rating of the EX33LP would soon be scaled down.


  • Lightweight


  • Rough, ill-balanced sound
  • Don't stay in your ear very easily
  • No storage case
  • Not particularly robust, limited lifespan


Even if most of the earphones supplied with mp3 players are worse than the EX33LP that in no way makes them a good alternative. These earphones have got nothing going for them.
2 Sony MDR-EX33LP DigitalVersus 2010-10-25 00:00:00
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