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Sony PFR-V1 review

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

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.

post #2 of 10

I've been sitting on the wall about getting these for like 2 years, I love the fact that they are airy and has a wide soundstage, and have some sort of bass to show some body of the music. I have a couple questions though,

 

How transparent is the sound and how detailed is it?

How does it sound? (e.g analytical, cold, warm, musical, etc)
 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rinoue View Post

I've been sitting on the wall about getting these for like 2 years, I love the fact that they are airy and has a wide soundstage, and have some sort of bass to show some body of the music. I have a couple questions though,

 

How transparent is the sound and how detailed is it?

How does it sound? (e.g analytical, cold, warm, musical, etc)
 

 

They are not as warm, forgiving, detailed and powerful as my Ultrasone Edition 8. For studio productions, pop/rock/country/techno/whatever, I find them rather mediocre. The Ed8's are of course high-end headphones with a much higher price tag, so this comparison may be a bit unfair. When listening to recordings of acoustic instruments, taking place in a church or concert hall, the PFR-V1's are, however, clear winners, hands down, thanks to the improved 3-dimensional reproduction.

 

Here is an example: Wiener Akademi's recording of Mozart's Kirchensonaten. With the PFR-V1's you want to pick one of those violins and participate right there in the orchestra, it really is that joyful and inviting to listen to. With the Ed8's the instruments are heard in clear detail but that immediate feeling of musical joy and participation is lacking. It is like comparing a photo in 2D vs. 3D, the latter bringing more depth and beauty.

 

Here is another: Israel PO's recording of Saint-Saën's Le Carnaval des Animaux - L'Éléphant. You can really imagine the contours of that double-bass, as if you could lean forward and touch the instrument. The Ed8' are accurate and detailed but rather uninspiring and 2-dimensional in comparison. To make sure these are not just Ed8 specific issues, I also compared with my semi-open AKG K240S's. About the same results there.


Edited by fogwall - 12/22/12 at 5:55am
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by fogwall View Post

 

They are not as warm, forgiving, detailed and powerful as my Ultrasone Edition 8. For studio productions, pop/rock/country/techno/whatever, I find them rather mediocre. The Ed8's are of course high-end headphones with a much higher price tag, so this comparison may be a bit unfair. When listening to recordings of acoustic instruments, taking place in a church or concert hall, the PFR-V1's are, however, clear winners, hands down, thanks to the improved 3-dimensional reproduction.

 

Here is an example: Wiener Akademi's recording of Mozart's Kirchensonaten. With the PFR-V1's you want to pick one of those violins and participate right there in the orchestra, it really is that joyful and inviting to listen to. With the Ed8's the instruments are heard in clear detail but that immediate feeling of musical joy and participation is lacking. It is like comparing a photo in 2D vs. 3D, the latter bringing more depth and beauty.

 

Here is another: Israel PO's recording of Saint-Saën's Le Carnaval des Animaux - L'Éléphant. You can really imagine the contours of that double-bass, as if you could lean forward and touch the instrument. The Ed8' are accurate and detailed but rather uninspiring and 2-dimensional in comparison. To make sure these are not just Ed8 specific issues, I also compared with my semi-open AKG K240S's. About the same results there.


Thanks for the indepth description, that's what I wanted, a 3D sound.

Since it does Holographic sound so well and it's engaging, I decided to pull the trigger and get a pair for myself.

post #5 of 10

I just got my set re-cabled and that really improved the bass.  DX100 also drives them very well.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgino View Post

I just got my set re-cabled and that really improved the bass.  DX100 also drives them very well.

 

Thanks for the information.

 

How/where did you get them re-cabled? How much did it cost?

post #7 of 10

I would also agree that the Sony is quite underrated and not known by many.

 

But the soundstage and imaging is beyond those at the same price range, say 300 to 500 USD.

 

I love the non contact comfort and the only time I complain is that I need them with my glasses on, without glasses I would just pull down a click and adjust the bottom adjuster that controls how far the speakers go, then I am set to sit down/lie on my bed and the rest is history.

 

They are not detail by comparing to Beyerdynamic T1, but they are enough to keep your enjoyment going and feel the realism of the projected music.

 

The cable will go in a few years, thin and prove the give way in many ways.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lincm View Post

 

The cable will go in a few years, thin and prove the give way in many ways.

 

Yes, I'm afraid the ultra-budget cable and connector will need to be replaced sooner or later.

Do you have any advice on how to change to a more decent cable? Is it expensive?

post #9 of 10

I have a pair. Don't use them often, but every time I consider selling 'em I fall in love again.

 

Here's a trick to get more bass. Pick up a couple small rubber grommets (sorry, can't remember size) and remove the foam covering on the bass ports. Slide the grommets into the middle of the yoke. If you bought the right size the metal tube should sit in the groove of the grommet. Replace the foam cover.

 

To get an idea of how this works put your index fingers in your ears just over the top of the bass tube. Of course, your fingers will block the outer speakers which the grommets don't do. You can experiment with different size grommets or materials.

 

Another trick is to go to Radio Shack pick a pack of "Lapel microphone" covers. They're thicker foam than the originals and I think helps the bass some. They are tighter and you'll have to work to get them over the bass tubes. On the plus side the thicker foam is more comfortable.

 

 

I'm glad to read that someone re-cabled and thought it was an improvement.

 

-Dogwan

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogwan View Post

I have a pair. Don't use them often, but every time I consider selling 'em I fall in love again.

 

Here's a trick to get more bass. Pick up a couple small rubber grommets (sorry, can't remember size) and remove the foam covering on the bass ports. Slide the grommets into the middle of the yoke. If you bought the right size the metal tube should sit in the groove of the grommet. Replace the foam cover.

 

To get an idea of how this works put your index fingers in your ears just over the top of the bass tube. Of course, your fingers will block the outer speakers which the grommets don't do. You can experiment with different size grommets or materials.

 

Another trick is to go to Radio Shack pick a pack of "Lapel microphone" covers. They're thicker foam than the originals and I think helps the bass some. They are tighter and you'll have to work to get them over the bass tubes. On the plus side the thicker foam is more comfortable.

 

 

I'm glad to read that someone re-cabled and thought it was an improvement.

 

-Dogwan

 

I read about that rubber grommet trick in a previous thread but haven't tried it yet. I tried putting on mic wind covers once but didn't find them more comfortable.

 

I have now used my V1 quite excessively the past couple of weeks and love them so much that I decided to sell my MA900 (now sold) since I don't use them anymore. The comfort issue is not as annoying anymore, maybe I'm finally getting used to those bass hollow ducts (with the original foam covers) and I only need to adjust them every 15-20 minutes. Other than that, it is amazing how comfortable these are. The V1's are my #1 choice when listening to acoustic recordings and I keep adding some EQ in the bass to compensate for the weak bass. Nothing can beat that amazing soundstage. For pop/rock/electronica or other pure studio productions, where soundstage is less important, I have my Ultrasone Ed8's handy.

 

Now, I will share with you my rubber band mod. I wanted the ear speaker arms to press onto my ears more gently. I simply put a rubber band on the upper part of each arm and voilà! It works nicely and I can wear them for longer periods now.

 

 

 

 

 

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