Sony, the Godzilla of electronics makes headphones too
Sony is a consumer electronics giant with the brand recognition that makes them serious players in any market when they care to dive in. Sony headphones are one area of consumer electronics where their popularity is based on their ability to present inexpensive and adequate headphones. Sony headphones are found conveniently in the big box store or electronics superstore where you purchased that handheld music device. The idea is that slightly better upgrade headphones by Sony will give you better sound than the ones that came in the box.
But you'll want to shop around, even if you're set on Sony headphones. Sony's selection is so deep and wide that it's difficult to represent in a single store. There is a wide assortment of headphones available from Sony from ear-buds to traditional over the head style phones that utilize the latest technologies. Sony has some very reasonably priced noise canceling headphones, as well as wireless headphones. Their ever popular Studio Monitor series go from reasonably priced and average headphones to some very expensive high end cans.
One of Sony's more unique offerings today includes the MDR-DS4000 5.1 headphone system. Yes, truly more of a system than a straight set of headphones. How can you get multi-channel audio from a set of headphones you ask? The answer is you really can't. Headphones can however, offer the user unmatched spatial effects free from the confines of room acoustics.
These over the ear style headphones can give you the illusion of being surrounded in audio because the sound will be diffused all around your ears by their covers. But that is nothing unique to this design, although they may be slightly enhanced for this purpose. The real reason these headphones are called 5.1 is because they're capable of decoding raw Dolby Digital and DTS audio signals. This is an interesting twist on a set of upper end headphones. Sony has also built these headphones to be wireless with infrared transmission making them easy to use in the living room as an alternative to a complete speaker system with sub. If you're watching movies late at night and don't want to disturb the sleeping family or have a cord draped across the room, these are a great bet.
Although Sony has many high quality offerings that combine technology with a comfortable fit, if you're looking to spend from $70 upwards on a good set of headphones, you might want to give other manufacturers a chance as well. Headphones from both Grado and Sennheiser are made with high end acoustics in mind. Their names aren't as well known as Sony but their headphones are geared toward listening, pure and simple. If you're shopping around for the best sounding headphones available and aren't as concerned with the latest wireless high tech features, you might want to give other brands a try on for size.