Extremely basic headphones, they are a no-frills unit.
While it is true that these headphones are nothing special to look at, there’s something to be said for the simple design of the Sony MDR-V6s. They aren’t too flashy, and they definitely don’t look too cheap: they look like no-nonsense headphones. For the most part, the Sony MDR-V6s should be able to handle most wear and tear associated with transport and casual use, but they aren’t invincible. If you do end up accidentally breaking the 10 foot long spiraled cable, there’s no replacing it, so be careful how you stow the cord.
With a long cord measuring in at 10 feet long, the Sony MDR-V6s are not well-suited for mobile use, nor do they have any in-line accessories. Capping off that behemoth of a cable is a standard 1/8th inch plug, which is threaded to lock in the 1/4th inch adapter if you choose to use it. DJs will like this: the Sony MDR-V6s come with a carrying pouch made out of the same faux leather as the band covering. It does a fairly good job of keeping junk away from the drivers, and is fairly easy to stuff into a bag or backpack without much trouble. Still, it doesn’t seal all the way, so be wary of the adapter falling out if you just let it bounce around in there.
You’ll notice immediately that while the Sony MDR-V6s don’t put a ton of pressure on your noggin, they do manage to stay in place. The band is adjustable, and overall the fit is fairly comfortable. Over time, however, the Sony MDR-V6s do tend to build up a bit of heat, and if you sweat at all, the padding can get a little itchy where it touches your pinna. It loses a tiny bit of score here for that, as this problem was reported in less than a third of test subjects.
Interestingly good performance for an entry-level set, these are are great for monitoring in a pinch.
For an entry-level set of headphones, these cans have a fantastic frequency response for monitoring, as the response stays relatively flat throughout the entire range of frequencies. This is exceptionally good for music and audio creation because there isn’t much that the headphones will do to mislead the listener: what you hear on these headphones is what people are likely to hear on their speakers (provided they’re monitors too).
The Sony MDR-V6s aren’t perfect, but the channel preference errors it has are very close to inaudible, and you’ll definitely not hear them if you don’t know what to look for. Similarly, there is a tiny bit of distortion as well, but far below the threshold of human hearing. While it may seem boring to note that these headphones are very well suited to the music producer, it's quite important, because it also means that if you use a program or piece of equipment to equalize your music, you'll be able to do so with fewer errors or coloration to your music, and that's a huge plus.
All things considered, the Sony MDR-V6s do block out a fair amount of outside noise, provided there isn’t much low-frequency noise in your general vicinity. You will hear air conditioners, motors, people banging around in the other room et cetera, but for the most part, high-end noise will be severely muffled. Unfortunately the Sony MDR-V6s do leak a bit of noise, though it’s nowhere near enough to be a gigantic concern if you keep your volume in check. Given that these headphones see their best use near the computer with their giant cord, chances are good that you’ll be far away from people to begin with.
Sony may not call the MDR-V6s "Old reliable," but they'd earn the moniker.
There’s a reason that the Sony MDR-V6s have been around so long, and it’s that they are fantastic headphones at an equally good price point. For anyone with a music-making hobby, they are probably the best headphones you can grab for under $100 for studio monitoring, and that’s invaluable. Because they also block out a fair amount of high-end noise, they can also be used in a somewhat noisy environment and still work better than even some more expensive monitors.
While it is true that most readers on our site look for headphones to listen to music on, there are a few of you out there looking for cans that will work for a more specialized purpose, and the Sony MDR-V6s fit this bill. They have a flat frequency response, extremely minor distortion, and are durable (and affordable) enough to not worry so much about treating them gingerly. They work, day in and day out. Even if you only want a set of headphones by the computer, the flat frequency response means that you can equalize them very easily.
If you’re looking to save some cash, and think the Sony MDR-V6s will suit your needs, the Sony MDR-V6s can be found online under $100, which is a very big bang for your buck. Sure, they’ve been around for years and years, but there’s a good reason, and that’s because they’re solid headphones.
Much like the ever-popular Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it, here comes the science to back up the great performance of the s.
A flat response is great for equalizing and mixing.
Because the frequency response of the MDR-V6s does not deviate more than 5dB away from the mean output level, these headphones are especially good for those of you sitting at your computer to listen to your music. Because the frequency response is flat, and doesn’t overemphasize or underemphasize any frequency to a large degree, you can virtually equalize your music without too much distortion. Very cool.
Not much to see here, which is good.
While there is a bit of distortion in the lowest end, it’s really not enough to ruin anybody’s day, as it is well below what most people can hear at 1% THD. Despite the Sony MDR-V6s’ ability to blast tunes at a level of 112.7dB before hitting a 3% level of distortion (higher than most iPods can output), we strongly advise you to reconsider listening to your audio at such a volume. In fact, it is very likely that you’ll damage your hearing if you do.
Meet the tester
Staff Writer, Imaging@cthomas8888
A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.See all of Chris Thomas's reviews
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