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I've rediscovered my entire music collection with these

A Review On: Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones

Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones

Rated # 69 in Over-Ear
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Pros: sound quality, look, build quality, collapsible, high quality plug

Cons: earpads (can be replaced), long heavy coiled cord

Let me begin by saying that this was my first foray into quality headphones. Previously, I would use crappy earphones that have been passed down or that I'd find here and there, I've never paid much attention to the quality of my music. I've tested out different ones at B&H - best place to go to if you want to actually listen to headphones before buying them. I guess J&R is the same but I haven't been there yet. And after a long search, I am so, so glad that I chose these headphones. 


I'll preface by saying that these headphones require burning in. However, it's not a mechanical burn-in that I'm talking about, as I've had a set for a couple weeks, and then I returned them to get a better price from Amazon, so I've tested a new set with a "burned-in" set and they actually pretty much the same in terms of overall quality (I was surprised, since I expected some change in sound - I'll get to that in a bit). No, the burn-in is for the most part psychological. Expect about a week of listening before you get to the good stuff. But what a sound they create after getting used to them.


The trebles are sharp and sparkly. Some complain about sibilance. They are right - there is sibilance, but it does not take anything away at all from the overall quality of the sound, and when the music calls for it, you hear it well - as you should. The mids are pronounced and easily discernible from one another - it's easy to tell between mid range instrumentation. And the bass is exceptionally clean and warm. It isn't boomy or muddy and it doesn't bleed into the upper registers. Depending on the track and how it was recorded, I've heard instances where I didn't so much hear the bass but felt it coming from within me. The soundstage is pleasingly large and airy for a closed headphone. Speaking of that, when music is playing, it doesn't leak out. That is, you can use these in a quiet library without bothering anybody.


However, to be fair I will have to point out some cons in these cans. And they exist. First, if you are going to use these headphones outside, do yourself a favor and spare yourself the hassle. The card is super long, coiled, and somewhat heavy. You won't find a place to put it unless you have really large pockets. The way these are built, even though you can fold them, there really isn't a very neat way of storing them. They come with a pouch, but to be honest it's not very useful as I find it isn't big enough to contain the entire set. These are indoor headphones, plain and simple. Second, the ear pads may tend to hurt after some time of listening as the drivers are pretty close. But hear me out here. If you do go ahead and get these, do yourself a huge favor and get the Beyerdynamic Velour Padded Earcushions. Not only do these improve comfort as well as appearance (the headphones really do look like they would cost at least $30-50 more), but they also add some EQ to the sound for those who don't like a flat monitor sound. The only thing is they reduce the bass a little bit, but I didn't find this to be a huge letdown. Otherwise, sibilance is improved, mids are tighter, cleaner sound as the velour considerably dampens any lingering sound. This is a good thing. When the music calls for an abrupt stop, there is actually silence. When there is too much going on in the music, it helps to differentiate between tonality and timbre. Installation of the velour pads was somewhat aggravating, but with a bit of patience, you can get them on.


Ah, one more thing. I've mentioned I had a pair of these for about 2 weeks before getting a replacement to get a better price. I have found through testing both that the sound was only somewhat different. Now, I can't be too sure whether it was burn-in or just differentiation between the two, and I've read other reviews that mention that each V6 sounds different. The burned-in pair had more sibilance, the new one has more bass. Could be that the bass went away - however, my impression is that burn-in improves rather than removes bass. But your mileage may vary. Between the two though, after installing the velour pads, they sound equally amazing.


I can safely say that these headphones redefined my listening experience. I am enjoying music I've heard before so many times, but now in a new and different light. If you are going into quality headphones, I highly, highly recommend these. They will not break your wallet, and have been around for 2 decades - there's a reason for that. (There's also a reason for when you go to Wikipedia and search for the term "headphones", the first picture are the 7506 - the V6's twin.)




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