Sony PFR-V1 review
I was curious at the rather innovative technology behind these now discontinued headphones, so I decided to buy a barely used pair on eBay for a very attractive price.
The soundstage is incredibly open and airy thanks to the innovative speaker system. These are excellent for acoustic recordings such as symphonies and piano concertos. I can imagine only the AKG K1000 and Jecklin Float coming close to how convincing these sound, as if actually being there in the concert hall. To simply put it – amazing!
The comfort is both stunning and problematic. They are incredibly light and do not clamp or press around the ears; in fact the drivers are external, projecting the sound into the ears. No heat or sweat during long listening intervals. With such a concept it should be a clear winner. However, the bass reflex hollow ducts need to be put inside each ear canal. I’m not a fan of in-ear headphones and simply do not like putting anything into, or onto, my ears but without these ducts there will hardly be any bass at all. I will check if I can find a way to lock the ear speaker arms so that the ducts barely touch the ears. The bass will be a bit reduced but still present with the advantage of vastly improved comfort.
I have compared these with my Ultrasone Edition 8 which are known for excellent bass reproduction. After some analysis I came to the conclusion that the bass is lacking body. If listening to certain acoustic recordings, a fat bass is not that important, but for other types of music you will realize how much you miss it. When I gently pressed my finger onto the duct, the bass increased dramatically. However, at the same time, the sound projected from the ear speaker was partially prevented from reaching the ear and thus caused reduced treble and soundstage. I decided to adjust the bass using an equalizer. It is not a beautiful solution but it works.
There is a small battery driven portable amp (booster) included. However, I found that I do not need it since I connect the headphones directly to my DAC with inbuilt amp (Audioengine D1).
I can understand why Sony decided to discontinue this model. The design is not appealing to most people who are trying them out in the shops, I’m mainly referring to the bass ducts, anybody can hear what you are listening to and the price was a bit high as well. Today, however, the market price has dropped considerably and you can still find these brand new. For headphone nerds like us, they are a steal.