Flashy design that turns eyes… a well-known brand… designed for skaters, or better put, sk8ters. Sounds like Skullcandy to me… however, it isn’t. It’s Sony, who has recently introduced their PIIQ line of headphones designed by skaters for skaters. The set ranges from the really cheap 15 dollar headphones all the way up to premium 100 dollar headphones. The PIIQ Qlasp headphones offer great design; however, do they have the rest of the chops needed to make a great pair of headphones? These Sony headphones offer listeners a unique design, great audio quality, less-than-decent build quality, surprising comfort, and a good bang for the buck!
- Cord Length: 3.9 feet Litz Cord with Y-Splitter and Gold Plated L-Jack
- Impedance: 16 Ohms @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW
- Driver: 9mm Dynamic
- Frequency Response: 6-23000 Hz
- Sony MDR-PQ4 (PIIQ Clips) IEMs
- 3 sizes of ear buds
- Instruction manual
The IEMs come bare bones with only the Sony Hybrid Eartips
These headphones are designed by a pair of pro skate boarders. Sony has taken some hints from Skullcandy with the design of the entire PIIQ series. Showing that looks do matter, the Qlasp offer a very unique design that hasn’t been seen before. The skaters took the athletic design of the clip and revamped it. These headphones clip to your earlobes. They look funny while you have them on, but look straight-up gangsta!
The Sony Qlasp headphones feature a special clip that is different than many athletic earbuds
It’s nice to see Sony showing off some style, however, the pro skaters must not have ear rings because these were not designed for people wearing ear rings. The design itself is a clean, yet trashy coloring scheme. The headphones are available in 5 colors, pink (looks more like red) and black, black and white, green (that looks more like yellow) and black, multi (blue, yellow, pink, white), and brown and yellow. With a wide selection of colors, you’ll surely be able to find something to fit your swaggar. If you connect the PIIQs together, you’ll see that they actually form the PIIQ logo. These headphones are just another really nice design by Sony.
Individually, the earbuds’ designs look abstract. Together, they form the PIIQ logo
The earpieces themselves are composed of plastic and rubber. This is keeps the headphones light, yet durable. The rubber clamps allow the clips to be comfortable to wear. The cables are attached to the headphones come down to an adjustable Y-cord that terminates at a 90-degree headphone jack.
Sony definitely designed these headphones with design in mind, and it looks flashy and great… As long as you don’t have ear rings, you’ll be fine. The white silicone hybrid tips seem to attract dust and other things a little too easily. I kind of actually like the flashy look.
Now, it is one thing to take design ques from Skullcandy, but it’s another to take the audio quality. Thankfully, Sony didn’t do this with the PIIQs. The sound quality at first is overwhelmed with bass and treble, the mids are short of the mark. Into the stovedrawer they go for the fifty hour burn-in.
After burning them in, the bass settled down, and so did the highs. However, the mids didn’t come in like I would have preferred. The signature on these headphones is unique. The highs and bass are emphasized, but the mids seem to be doormat. The headphones are best described as a thunderstorm. They are darker, but with bright flashes every so often. A detailed breakdown comes below.
These headphones, along with the majority in the price range seem to emphasize bass. This isn’t a good thing if that’s the type of headphones you are looking for, but they just didn’t suit me. The bass is punchy most of the time. You can’t feel the bass. Instead, you hear it loud and clear. Many people prefer this style of bass though. Even with all the negatives, the bass is very well controlled and intrudes with the music sparingly. Sony did do a nice job on the bass that hits the spot between bass-head and punchy, but more towards the bass-head side.
The mids on these headphones are nothing special. I thought the mids on my RE0s were recessed; these bring it one step further. Some of the lower guitars, not bass, seem to be almost silent. Since it is recessed a bit, you do lose clarity in the mids. The vocals are nice and smooth though. The bass does intrude with the mids though.
The highs are pretty good on these headphones, they sound nice the majority of the time. However, I do find that they will tend to get harsh every so often. When listening to some alternative rock songs, the cymbals all clash together instead of being able to hear the hits individually; it seems to mix together, kinda fuzzy in a way. This causes some details, and clarity to be lost.
The noise isolation on these headphones is nothing special. This is normal for many athletic headphones though as you still need to hear your surroundings. So right off the bat, I didn’t expect the IEMs to offer that much isolation. The majority of skaters skate on the streets, and not being able to hear a car honk the horn behind you would be catastrophic at best. I would call the isolation on these headphones average.
Noise Isolation: ★★★½
These headphones were developed for on the go movement. One would assume that it would have close to no mircophonics involved. Unfortunately, this is not the case. These headphones have lots of microphonics, probably some of the worst I’ve ever experienced! Because of the design, wearing them over the ear is a no go, so I had to try another method. The best way to reduce the microphonics is to wear the headphones like a necklace. Since there is a way to wear them comfortably to reduce microphonics, they aren’t as bad, but still bad.
Sony did a good job with the audio quality. The headphones look like something that would come out of the Skullcandy factory, but they sound nothing like them. This in the end is a great positive as users can enjoy an eye-candy design, but not sacrifice sound quality. The microphonics, however, really kill the audio quality on these headphones, which makes me really hate them as there is no real way to relieve them fully.
Audio Quality: ★★★★
My headphones came in a tangled mess! Not a good start for Sony at all in this category. The cables tend to easily tangle up and it’s annoying. The headphones offer questionable durability, but for a 25 dollar pair of headphones, I wouldn’t expect much more.
The litz cables are thin, really thing and seem very brittle. They, as stated earlier, have a mind of their own when it comes to tangling up. The connection points from the cable to the individual earpieces offer no protection. This is really bad. The connection to the headphone jack seems very fragile and thin as well. The 90-degree jack means nothing when the rubber is plain flimsy. The gold plating does offer me some relief though, but it just isn’t enough.
The headphone jack is flimsy and doesn’t seem strong at all, at least it’s angled…
Sony really goes down with the build quality of these headphones. Like all headphones, they will last if you take care of them, if you don’t, they’ll go quickly. The build quality of these headphones really scares me because of how little they offer. Although a weaker 90-degree angled jack is better than a non-angled jack, and the gold plating is a plus. The thin wires just don’t seem that durable, especially with how tangle prone they are. Only time will tell how long these will last.
Build Quality: ★★★
These headphones look, and sound, like they would be the most uncomfortable things to wear. This is not true at all. The clips are actually quite comfortable and do their job well. The headphones actually disappear in your ear; it’s amazing in a way. The comfort is extremely great with these headphones, this is assuming that you don’t wear ear rings though. If you do, look elsewhere as I can’t imagine what these would feel like with ear rings on. Still, they may look uncomfortable, but don’t let looks deceive you, it’s all about the sense of feel, not look.
Comfort Quality: ★★★★★
Value For Money
The Sony PIIQ Qlasps do have some value to them. The headphones come packaged with 3 sets of ear tips (including the ones on them already). If you need more, Sony does offer an extra-small and extra-large hybrid eartips. They have to be purchased separately though. I do like the fact that they come with the hybrid eartips as I do prefer them, they are used on my RE0s. However, you don’t get much more than the 3 eartips. The sound quality is good, but not great. The looks and flashiness are what really make this pair of headphones worth it. This, and the fact that they have some good audio quality to them, unlike skullcandy other headphone companies we know about. However, the build quality is not up to par as they do seem very fragile, if you take care of your headphones, you shouldn’t need to worry about this though. These headphones may not offer much, but you really pay 25 dollars for the good audio quality and unique design.
Value For Money: ★★★★
The Sony PIIQ Qlasps are a great set of IEMs if you are looking for something flashy that has good audio quality, although the audio quality can be a tad bit better. The major downfall is the build quality of these headphones, I hope they last long, take care of them. Another note is that these were not designed by anyone who wears ear rings, so avoid them if you wear them. Otherwise, these are a great set of headphones with a good quality to them and looks to back it all up.
- Design: ★★★★½
- Sound Quality: ★★★★
- Bass: ★★★★½
- Mids: ★★★★
- Hights: ★★★★
- Noise Isolation: ★★★½
- Microphonics: ★★★
- Build Quality: ★★★
- Comfort Quality: ★★★★★
- Value For Money: ★★★★
† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All applications and accessories were purchased at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.