Is this really happening, again? Why, yes, it is. Following up on its massive MDR-X10 bass-pumping headphones from last year, Sony and Simon Cowell have introduced the MDR-X05. As you might take from the name, the cans are basically a smaller addition to the series, packing 40MM drivers (down from 50) and a few more color options (red/black, red/red, white/silver, red/silver and black/silver) -- some of which do the headphones more justice than the silver/red colorway we got our mitts on previously. As far as we can tell, by the way, these are very likely a re-badge of the MDR-X400 headphones for the American market. As you'd expect, the cans fold flat for storage and feature an iDevice-compatible inline remote and mic.
Gallery: Sony MDR-X05 hands-on
Unlike the X10, the tangle-proof flat cabling isn't removeable and connects using both earcups, but the connections seem robust enough to handle a good bit of torture. Because the same materials and finish are used on the X05 as the X10, the headphones feel virtually the same in-hand -- a bit plasticky, but solid overall. The headphones may be smaller, but they still manage to feel nearly as cosy and isolate a fair amount amount of external noise as their bigger brother, mostly because they're packing the same style of plush memory foam earpads. As far as sound quality goes, the bass push on these is just as smooth and open-sounding as the X10, but the high-end is noticeably harsher -- we definitely felt the need to turn on "treble reducer" in our iPhone's EQ settings. If you're bass-hungry ears are interested, the X05 headphones are up for pre-sale at Sony's online store for $200 (100 less than the X10), but the smaller discount won't make them look any less loud on your ears while you're out and about. You can expect 'em to hit shelves March 22nd. For now, find more details in the press release after the break.