Altec Lansing MZX606 earphones review

Reviews Ben Griffin 16:29, 8 Feb 2011

We review the Altec Lansing MZX606 earphones, a pricey set of sound-makers that are a little on the pricey side

Well designed, Stylish
Over priced, Mediocre sound quality, Uncomfortable
Poor performance and a high prices ensures these are very hard to recommend

As you grow older, it becomes clearer you get what you pay for, and this reigns particularly true in the world of hi-fi.

It’s almost too easy to part with thousands on a high-end system that will happily massage your ears as much as it will also try to dismantle your house through unearthly bass.

However, there are always exceptions to keep us on our toes. In the case of headphones, there are the massively expensive but mediocre performing Monster Beats Pro by Dr Dre cans. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are the incredibly cheap Sennheiser CX 300-IIs, which boast impressive sound quality considering the measly £15 price tag.

Sitting between the two, in terms of price, are the £100 Altec Lansing MZX606 earphones, or in-ear monitors, as some may prefer. Based on our earlier mantra, these should look and sound awesome. Sadly, that is only half right.

To look at the Altec Lansing MZX606 earphones is fairly easy on the eye. Encased in black shiny plastic, with the occasional bit of bronze/gold metal, they are quietly sophisticated. Equally intelligent is their design - a strut extends out of each earphone to ensure the top of each cable isn’t put under strain from bending.

On one side there is a handy in-line volume remote for quick volume adjusting. As these are iPhone-specific, don’t expect to change the volume on any other platform – they won’t let you.

For some reason we found the volume control to be a little high up, especially if you exercise. Nobody likes to get hit in the face when running - it’s embarrassing enough for many of us - so adding the occasional plastic-to-face moment really doesn’t help.

In the Altec Lansing’s defence, it does mean the microphone is closer, which should lessen the need to shout.

Unlike our preferred style, there isn’t one earphone lead that’s longer than the others, allowing you to tuck them around or under your collar. It’s just not possible to stealthfully hide them away when wearing them on your commute. A minor quibble, but a quibble nonetheless.

Not so minor, though, is the comfort level. Although the aforementioned Sennheiser CX 300-II earphones, and any other set that uses rubber tips, suffer from a similar problem, the Altec Lansing cans really do make you feel like you are under water. Sometimes we couldn’t wear them for long periods of time because they were too uncomfortable, but other times they were bearable.

Four different sizes of tip help to fit a variety of ear sizes, but it’s still ‘hit and miss’ whether they will hit that sweet spot between comfort, keeping a fair amount of background noise out and sealing themselves to push the bass through to your ear drum for each individual.


Typical Price £99
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