I have to say that these headphones are amazing. Better than so many of the headphones out there... but in a different way. Let's get down to the design first of all!
These headphones rest over the ears against the head (circum-aural). I find this to be extremely comfortable and works for prolonged wear. It doesn't have the problem of fatiguing the ears. These are foldable to make it a bit more compact and easier to stuff in the included bag! Generally with headphones this size, portability isn't something people look for... but it's nice to have anyway. Note that the cable is positioned on the left side. For people like me with a laptop to the right side of my desk with the headphone plug also on the right... it's a minor annoyance. For anything on the left, it's super convenient! Retro. I'm not too big on the colors and the labeling like "for DIGITAL" on each side and "STUDIO MONITOR" on the top, but... it has charm. At least it's not gaudy unlike some other products...
Rock solid. This thing is built like a tank. Everything seems durable and there's no free play in any of the parts. The size adjustment mechanism has a reassuring tension to it - I know it will stay where I set it. The headband is solid and doesn't feel like it will snap like the plastic headband of those Beats headphones. My only criticism is the amount of padding on the headband. I would like it to be more plush, but I have gotten used to it. The tension of the headphone cups against the head actually does most of the work holding it up so you barely feel the weight of the headset at the top of your head. It is a supple faux leather material which feels really good to the touch.
The wiring is really something else. Most products nowadays have really anorexic wires which I feel could break with a moderately forced tug. Criticism first: I feel like the cable that runs from the headband itself to the headphone cups will break in time. I wish that Sony would have integrated the cable into the band itself, but understandably it would be difficult to do without adding lots of bulk to the headphones. Still, the cable is moderately thick and it's not like anybody touches them. The actual cable that connects the headphones to the source is amazing. Thick (bigger than the 1/8" plug!) with COILS. Yes the cable is ridiculously long, but it is coiled to take up the excess slack! The coils aren't so rigid as to impede movement, but enough to do its job. It is supposedly high quality copper cable and jeez - it feels like I can run these over with my car without worrying. The plug itself is made of a heavyweight metal (steel, perhaps?) accompanied by a rubber sleeve tension relief and finished with the standard 3.5mm plug with nickel coating. I would take gold over nickel coating any day, but let's see how long it takes to oxidize. I have owned these for a few months now and they show no sign of oxidation yet. Shiny!
The ear pads are very comfortable. With typical pleather material and a good amount of padding, I can wear these for hours on end. It folds up pretty small too. The cups actually swivel outwards so you could pretend to be a DJ (or actually do DJ stuff... these will definitely stand up to the test of time)
Now the debatably more important part...
This is mainly where the Sony MDR-V6 sets itself apart and shines in its own respect. These do NOT sound like a pair of Boses or Beats or Skullcandies. What do I mean? The bass is not heavy. The highs are not overrepresented. In fact... these headphones have a very FLAT tonal response along the entire sound spectrum. This is why these headphones are the gold standard amongst audio engineers (or so I've read). What you DO get is clarity that makes you say WOW and the ability to tune your music to whatever you prefer. I have never used a pair of headphones that responded so well to equalizer adjustment! These are not specifically made for modern day music with emphasis on bass like hip-hop, rap, pop, and electronica. Vocals come through crystal clear with no muddy bass or piercing high-end sounds. You can actually differentiate between all the instruments! I use an equalizer to boost the low end sounds some and I have never been happier with my music. It is deeply satisfying to be able to get decent bass with the clarity throughout all the frequencies. Nothing sounds overbearing in the least. If you've done a little research about headphones, chances are you've heard of "burn-in" in which headphones tend to sound better once they've been used and worn in. I'm sure these headphones will benefit a little bit from "burn-in", but I think most of the burn-in is happening in my brain. Listening to these headphones over time makes me appreciate the sound more and more every instance I put these on.
- Solid build quality
- Coiled cable
- Amazing sound and clarity, vocals absolutely shine
- Price - $74 easily beats out many headphones
- Cables on the sides going from headband to cups
- Headband could use more padding, less of an issue if you extend the band more
- Nickel plated plug, but we'll have to see how resistant it is to oxidation
- Plug is too fat to fit some devices like my phone with the case on. Could easily get an adapter. I actually use a portable amp (FiiO E5) which plugs into the phone with no problem.
I'd give this... a 9.5/10. Very minor design quirks, but you're really not going to get something better than this for under a hundred or even $150.