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PSA: Sony sucks

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on February 18, 2006
Tags: customer_feedback

I’ll put this under the fold, since it’s more for inquiring googlers than regular readers.

[Update: Picture added for extra pathos. Just look what Sony did to me.]

I made the serious recent mistake of buying Sony Stereo Headphones (Model MDR-V150). It was an impulse purchase; I made it just before leaving on a trip, since I really wanted to listen to my mp3 player on the trip. I’m embarrassed to say that I paid $27 (before tax) for the headphones, since I really don’t have that kind of money to be throwing around on headphones, and as “A” pointed out, it’s a stupid price to pay for headphones in any case, since you’re better off getting really cheap ones or actually shelling out for really decent ones.

Sony stereo headphones are complete pieces of shit. I would have noticed this if I had taken them out of the package, since I probably would have seen that the ear pieces are held in place by teeny-tiny pieces of plastic. Teeny-tiny and incredibly brittle little pieces of plastic. When that tiny, brittle little piece of plastic snaps, as happened to me on the very day I bought the headphones, the ear piece sticks out at a 90 degree angle from your head.

After a brief but intense conversation about my purchase with the owner of the store I bought it at, I called Sony. There’s a warranty, at least:
“For a period of 90 days from the date of purchase, Sony will repair or replace, at its option, at no charge through your Sony authorized dealer, Sony owned Service Center, or the Sony Audio/Accessory Exchange Department, the defective unit.”

After ten minutes speaking to a computer and then a rep, I got the good news: It was under warranty and would be replaced. Apparently a single location in Texas does the work of a “Sony authorized dealer, Sony owned Service Center, or the Sony Audio/Accessory Exchange Department,” but all I had to do was mail the headphones in and I’d get a replacement free of charge.


More waiting and talking, and then the rep mentioned casually that the technician would make an assessment of the damage. If the headphones were “physically damaged” I would be charged a small replacement fee. But how would I know if it was worth it for me to go through the trouble to ship the headphones to Texas unless I knew how much that would be? And anyway, as the rep eventually admitted, the judgement would surely be that the headphones were “physically damaged,” so in fact it was false to say that they were completely covered by the warranty. Much wrangling . . . Finally, she checked how much the replacement cost would be: $29 - the same as the after tax cost of the fucking product.

This, apparently, is what Sony means by a warranty.

Moral of this sad, sad story: Sony sucks, sucks, sucks. I’m an idiot for buying a Sony product, since the actual product was a piece of shit, the warranty process was idiotic, and the warranty itself completely dishonest.

Now, by the powers invested in me as the Scallywag-in-Chief of a site with a not-inconsiderable amount of Google-juice, I call upon all those concerned with Sony Headphones - execs at Sony, and potential buyers - to witness my fury. Be chastened, oh pitiful Sony execs, and be warned, oh potential Sony-product-buying chumps!


Author: Anne
Date: 2006-02-19

Wow, do I love that picture.

Actually, and I’m not kidding here, do you think you could fix it with like popsicle sticks and duct tape?

Author: Chris
Date: 2006-02-19

Re the pic, yeah, Yoon and I had to take a bunch of them cause we both kept giggling too hard to get a decent shot.

And yeah, I’ll try to fix them. But you’re suggesting a solution that is going to make me even less cool than I already am.

Author: Anne
Date: 2006-02-20

I’m going to take the high road here and refrain from commenting on whether you could be made less cool… and instead, observe that adding duct tape to anything makes it cooler.

Author: Chris
Date: 2006-02-20

A wise decision, Anne. As your president once said, you can’t claim the high horse and take the low road.

Author: Randy Gray
Date: 2008-01-27

Not only does Sony suck, so does Circuit City. I bought a Sony Vaio and an HP Ipaq there and the store promised me that I could use blue tooth to synch up the Ipaq to the Sony. When I got home (3 states away) it would not sync. I called Sony and they said the problem was with HP and to call them. I called HP and they said the problem was with Sony. After doing a Google search, I found that the problem is that Sony builds their equipment to only use bluetooth to work with other Sony equipment. That way you will only buy more Sony products, (so they think). I have had it with Sony and their tech support. I don’t ever plan to buy any more Sony products and would even pay more to not buy Sony.

Author: Chris
Date: 2008-01-27

I feel your pain, Randy.

Author: thomas
Date: 2008-03-01

i own the same headphones, with the same problem.. i fixed it with hot glue, which i paited black. looks strange, but i love my sony´s.

Author: Gamepro
Date: 2008-05-01

Sony sucks sooo fuckin much that i cant even look at one w/o laughin my ass off. its just too funny, why would sony even make it? lol stupid sony

Author: Benjamin L.
Date: 2008-08-15

I also made the mistake of buying these phones, and spent the same ridiculous 27 bucks. Not only do they hurt my head with my glasses on, but they sound atrociously muddy, worse than a dollar store pair I once had. Total waste of money.

Author: MistaFisha
Date: 2008-09-07

Silly buyers. I don’t believe your headphones are actually broke. This is the “reversible earcup” feature. Why do you think they are still clinging to your head? There is a hinge right there where they are bent! Just look on Amazon.com, they are even called Sony MDR-V150 Monitor Series Headphones with Reversible Earcups http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR-V150-Monitor-Headphones-Reversible/dp/B000092YPR/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1220799479&sr=1-5

Author: Chris
Date: 2008-09-07

A little plastic nib snapped off, causing the disaster you see pictured above. It wasn’t reversible. It was broken.

Author: nick
Date: 2008-10-10

I had 3 pairs of those sony headphones and they all broke at the same place. I belive sony does this on purpose. If you want to be sorry like me then go and buy them :)

Author: Coty
Date: 2008-11-10

well for one chris is right about the little plastic clip. this is my second pair. i blew my first :). anywho the point is sony isint crap. they actualy make decent headsets. the problem is like all other company’s they are trying to cut cost to build thise damn things. The actual drivers are really high quality, the problem is not everyone places them right. as for the muddy sound, well pull the muffs over the gap between the ear pice and thats one improvement, oh and have you ever tryd any other device with them. I use mine with a cheap ass lenoxxsound cdplayer and they get decently loud with great quality.

Author: Drew
Date: 2009-04-14

I finally washed my hands of Sony today, as well. Of the thousands of $ I have spent over the years on their products, I made what I thought to be a simple call to Sony about a defective DVD-RW disc. You know, the ones that retail for only 2 bucks in the store? After an hour of being passed around to different parts of the world, I ended up back at square one, finally realizing that Sony has no intention of backing up their “lifetime warranty”, nor do they give a rat’s ass about their customers.

Author: Lindomar
Date: 2010-01-02

Funny, I was almost buying this headphone now on ebay…

Author: EddiGilette
Date: 2010-03-16

Because the sound is so bloody great (for that price), I decided to fixed the earphones with tiny little aluminium angles - took me an hour or so… they work since a few weeks… i hope my engineering did the trick, but that’s of course no excuse for the shitty design with the tiny plastic pins

Author: glenn
Date: 2011-04-27

I purchased some headphones from sony, paid 65 dollars for them and the vinyl coating started to crumble, they are only 10 months old. They told me without a receipt I could send them in for repair and that would cost 97 dollars, what a joke, I will never, ever purchase a Sony product again, They Suck

Author: Dr Bobby Love
Date: 2011-09-01

I’ve just inherited these of a mate who has replaced them after many, many years of faultless service…. The only reason he bought new ones is because the leather effect was crumbling away from the foam and just leaving a huge mess all over you once used..

I did tell him that he could replace the sponges, but he found a cheap as chips replacement at a discount store, Hence I got the Sony’s.. and a week later my cheap Chinese knock off Replacement foams have shown up.. £3 well spent… That’s assuming they don’t now decide to let go like yours did..

They’re a but Dull though, aint they? Not much in the way of hi frequencies till ya crank the treble.. maybe these ones are just worn.

Author: esalz
Date: 2011-12-12

there is only one option - sennheiser hd25-1

all parts replaceable ;)

Author: Mr. Mister
Date: 2012-08-17

Sony used to be a good company, maybe 10 years ago. Back when their flagship boombox sounded fairly decent. Even so, there were a ton of other boomboxes that would have blown that one out of the water. Sony used to make only “decent” products. Nothing special, but at-least they put a little effort into their products back then.

That said, their Flagship products are an even worse value. (I’ve heard their top of the line Hi-Fi system which sounds like the purest Low-fi with distinctly muddy bass, harsh treble, strident highs, tons of distortion, and very, poor imaging. (these qualities are true with their headphones too, it’s Sony’s signature!

Each and every Sony headphone I’ve ever auditioned, even their current flagship which retails for $400 is complete crap in terms of sound quality. No, I’ve never bought a Sony headphone before because I’m smarter than that.

Sony is probably the sole reason why certain people believe Japanese companies are bad. They are only popular because they are a company that the average housewife knows about. Sony is a great example of an awful company, misrepresenting Japan’s great companies: Pioneer, Audio Technica, Technics, etc.

Author: T
Date: 2012-11-27

Thanks for the review, I think I found your review on Amazon too - I decided not to buy the Sony headphones.

Author: Bryan Adam
Date: 2012-12-16

How did they sound? Isnt that what headphones do? Play audio? theyre cheep plastic headphones. what do you expect the build quality to be like> Dunce.

Author: BobbyC
Date: 2013-01-02

You broke the dang things and tried to get them replaced under warranty? That’s crazy.

Author: Ed Herdman
Date: 2013-06-18

I’ve had a pair for many, many years, and had to do a little field repair (again, years before this entry was first put up). The bit that slides back and forth for the adjustable band - the outer plastic shell broke on mine. No big deal, some tape around and it’s back to normal. Haven’t had any problem with the hinge, but that’s what you’re more likely to run into. I’ve beaten them around pretty thoroughly over the years, and they’re still here.

I plugged these into my computer’s onboard sound the other day (because I broke another pair of headphones - note to self, get a quick-release cable to prevent this) and the sound is really…well, “dim.” Doesn’t drive as loud as my ATH-A900s and the sound is muddy with very little in the way of distinct high frequencies (or any distinct frequencies). They work, though - better than nothing.

Author: BooneBo
Date: 2014-02-06

Yes, buy $27 headphones and then complain about the quality.

At least now these are $15 so there’s less reason to complain.

Author: Chris
Date: 2014-02-07

For five dollars they shouldn’t break the day you buy them.