This is a review of Beyerdynamic XP 50ie (beyerdynamic XP 50 iE - Mobile / Portable - Headphones & Headsets - Headphones & Headsets
) and MXP 50ie (beyerdynamic MXP 50 iE - Mobile / Portable - Headphones & Headsets - Headphones & Headsets
) in-ear headphones.
When it comes to budget headphones, it's usually a hit or a miss. Some companies try really hard with flashy looks to overcompensate for short falling of sound quality. Others try to deliver a decent sound quality at an expense of uncomfortable design. Either way you look at it, to meet this budget price they try to cut some corners. After my recent review of other premium Beyerdynamic in-ear headphones (MMX 102ie and DX 160ie), I was a little anxious approaching their newly introduced XP 50ie and MXP 50ie (the same version as XP but with in-line remote) considering their price tag of only $49-$59. I saw their pictures on-line, so I already knew they didn't cut any corners in looks. How about the rest? Let me share with you what I found.
Since both of the models are essentially the same, I will do a combined review with separate details only for in-line remote option of MXP model. The headphones arrived in a very compact box with a clear picture of the product and a detailed listing of features and accessories on the back. Regardless of the budget friendly price, the package still included a magnetic flip cover to reveal the actual headphones under a plastic screen and to provide more detailed info about the product inside of the cover. Out of the box, 50ie felt very lightweight, made out of durable plastic material with a great design ergonomics. It's something we usually take for granted with other flashy designs where in-ear headphone becomes uncomfortable to wear. Here after being inserted, it becomes almost flush with your ear which is comfortable to wear and even to fall asleep with. The earpiece design flows into a molded strain relief to protect attached wire which is rounded and has a rubbery tangle-free coating. Though a bit on a thin side, the wire actually felt strong. Also, though there is L/R marking on the strain relief, it's not as visible where to assist you with that R-side has a bump.
The wires on XP 50ie model go straight down to a durable y-slitter. The wires on MXP 50ie model go down to a durable y-slitter where on the left side you also have in-line remote/mic and a shirt clip. In-line remote is universal to work with either Android of iPhone with a single multi-function button to single click for play/pause/call and double/triple click to skip next/prev, as well as long press for Google NOW. Mic placement on remote is in a perfect location to pick up your voice during the call. Down to 3.5mm connector, it's gold-plated and L-shaped with a decent strain relief. The shape of this connector has a slightly raised profile to use it conveniently with any phone or tablet even with a thicker case. The only other additional accessory is S/M/L pair of silicone eartips which I actually found to be of a high quality.
Looks are great, but how does it sounds? They actually sound pretty good for $50 pair of headphones, though you have to be realistic if you are expecting audiophile quality. They have a very nice warm sound with bass enhancement and enough details and clarity to enjoy any kind of music style from your mobile device or dedicated mp3 player. As a matter of fact, they have a very good balance to deliver strong lows, a bit recessed yet detailed mids, and a clear treble. Vocal presentation was good, the sound is not veiled, and there is no hint of sibilance in highs. These will definitely be enjoyable for extended listening periods, both from sound and comfort perspective.
Overall, I found these to be a great pair of budget headphones with a great design, build quality, and a pleasant sound signature. Also, considering we are dealing with a brand name company, this is one great value for around $50. I know some might question why do we need to have a version with and without in-line remote? There are a lot of older phones and dedicated mp3 players that don't support a standard headphone connector topology and will not work with in-line remote headphones. XP 50ie model would be perfect for those devices, while MXP 50ie is great for the latest phones and tablets supporting it's control.
Here are the pictures.