Thanks to numerous requests from our generous readers, we have planned to do a video series in which we will be approaching the top industry reps and electronics brands in the UAE that sells high-end headphones in the region. We started off with Sony and spoke to Amrita Chottakurien, Product Manager of Headphones division, Sony Middle East & Africa. Check out the video below.
Q: Do you have any tips on how the consumer should buy the headphones?
A: My opinion of the three most important things that consumers need to look out for while buying headphones? One would be the usage, as in what the requirements are. Whether it’s for exercising, for heavy metal or professional sound. What is it that they require? Do you need to go for something with extra punchy bass?
Second, I definitely feel it should be the comfort. Comfort is of utmost importance because you’re wearing the headphones for a long duration and they need to be comfortable on your ears. And the third most important thing would be how they sound. Headphones and sound go hand in hand, so you need to know how the music feels.
Q: What are the advantages of wireless over wired headphones?
A: Wireless definitely has an advantage over wired because you can walk the world free of cables. There’s no tangling of wires, it’s portable. Portability is the biggest factor of being wireless. Also, you can see the standard wireless headphones that come out in the market, they can be connected to your home audio systems or Hi-Fi systems. But they come with fewer features and are more expensive. There’s also a range of Bluetooth headphones out there that give you a lot more features like noise cancellation, longer rechargeable batteries and more.
Q: How does the size of the driver in headphones matter for music experience?
A: This is a very important question. The only reason being a lot of consumers actually think the bigger the size of the driver, the better the sound output. But that’s not necessarily the case. The driver is a speaker inside of the headphones. Bigger the driver, bigger the speaker and more powerful is the output. But that does not necessarily mean it’s louder or better. So, whether it is the driver in your mini-earphones or the driver in your headphones, the maximum volume at which you listen to music is going to be the same. The only difference where the size of the driver would matter is the clean bass you get in the music, but not the loudness.
Q: How important is the material of the ear cups?
A: The material of the ear cups in the headphones is of very high importance because definitely, it is going to impact the ear cushions. So, normal headphones use memory foam, which is made of varying densities. So, the material of the foam that is being used inside a leather or fabric gives the cushioning to your ears. This also gives you good clamping support and structural support to your head. So, it’s very important what material is being used.
Q: What are the different types of headphones Sony can offer to music listeners?
A: Sony does have a variety of headphones that cater to every consumer need. For example, if you’re a frequent traveler, then you can use Sony’s MDR-1000X, which is the latest addition to their noise cancellation wireless Bluetooth model. We also have other Bluetooth wireless models. For all the audiophiles, the high-res audio compatible headphones which are our flagship series of MDR-1A, MDR-1ABT, etc. For a younger generation, we do have the h.ear Color series which is high-res audio compatible and comes in three different colors. We have the extra bass headphones that give you the punchy bass in your music. This is targeted to a younger audience as well and come in a variety of colors, typically the XB650BT, XB450AP, etc.
For active sports enthusiasts and people who work out daily, we have the XB80BS for the heavyweight trainers. The XB70BT, the XB50BS for your joggers and we also have a lot of headphones that are mid and low range, with and without microphones. In addition to all these, you also have earphones at different price points, making every customer happy.
Q: How can customers choose the right model that suits their music needs if they cannot try out the headphones at the retail outlets?
A: If you don’t have a unit on demonstration at the store, Internet is the rage there days. You always have tech bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, you have a lot of articles online which can definitely give you a detailed description of any product that’s available in the market. They give you product comparisons between different brands and mention the technical and aesthetic aspects. They also give you the price points, so definitely check online reviews before purchasing any model.
No problems if you don’t know about these sites as you can also visit the company’s website to understand which products they offer. If you already have a brand in mind, then it’s even easier to check the different products that they offer and to see the comparisons between those products. Last but not least, you have friends and family who can always recommend a good pair of headphones. Because I believe nowadays, people are more knowledgeable about products in the market.
Q: Which headphones do you prefer and why?
A: I absolutely love the MDR-1000X. the MDR-1000X is Sony’s new noise cancellation headphones. For me, music is of utmost importance and these really give me the privacy I die for. When I wear them on, they totally cut out the noise and I heard only my music with amazing quality. Being able to switch off the noise cancellation mechanism without taking off the headphones is the feature I really love. They’re nice, they’re sleek, they have minimal branding and it looks luxurious.