I listened to the Sony MDR-V6 Studio Monitor Headphones for several months in 2006, and played them over many evenings with several CD players, iPods, headphone amps, mixing boards, radios, and computer sound cards.
I thought them exceptional audio listening devices in lots of ways. I’ve owned more Sony headsets than any other brand.
They look and perform very much like the Sony MDR-V500 and MDR-7506 units I’ve also owned and discussed at the indicated links. They’re similar in sound, weight, comfort level, style of ear cushions, ease of ear cushion replacement, headband composition, size adjustment, and cabling.
The only real difference I found between the MDR-7506 headphones and these, is that the MDR-7506s come with gold-plated 3.5mm connectors. The MDR-V6s and MDR V500s appear to have either nickel or silver-plated connectors. However, I found no difference in performance due to the gold connectors. Otherwise, just about everything I said about these other headphones, also applies to the MDR-V6 headphones. Thus, the following:
These Sony headphones replicate the high frequencies with crystal clarity, and spare the heavy bass. The reduced bass output makes these phones quite nice for iPod listening, since iPods are heavy on the bass anyhow. I’ve used these stereo headphones with iPods on lots of train trips, and found them comfortable enough to sleep by.
Given how little the MDR-V6 costs (less than $100 on eBay currently), I found little to gripe about except that the ear cushions quickly wear out (after less than two years). I had to replace them on my used set because they begin shedding bits and pieces of the fake leather coating. But replacement ear cushions can be had for roughly $10 a pair on eBay and directly from Sony. So this drawback is but a minor irritant.
So if $50 to $100 is all you care to spend on a quite-adequate pair of earphones, then I’d highly suggest these. For that money, you get a decently flat and hard-wearing pair of quality earphones, that work well in the studio, in transit, and just about any casual listening environment you’d care to establish.
Pros, Benefits, Features, and Advantages of the Sony MDR-V6 Studio Monitor Headphones
They are quite light. In fact, they’re light enough, and offer a wide enough range of headband adjustment, that they do not press too hard against my eyeglasses.
Thus, I could wear them for hours at an occasion without any irritation whatsoever.
The headband features spongy padding as well that enhances overall comfort. It matches the sheen and texture of the ear cushions. These phones feel as comfortable, as they sound good.
They feel as good as they sound, and look as good as they sound too. They’re black with silver trim with a red and gold “For Digital” sticker on the back of each driver case. So they have a simple yet elegant, sleek, and modern hi-tech veneer.
The MDR-V6 headphones offer fold-able ear pieces, which withdraw up into the headband. This shrinks the bulk of the unit to a small enough size, that it fits in the included black pouch for protection from dust and liquid spills.
They play loud enough, with the wide dynamic range over most audio frequencies. This suits them particularly for widely varying musical volume levels, such as found in classical music.
For listing to the more “always-loud” pop style music, these earphones can play sufficiently loud to sting my ears without any noticeable gain in distortion or fidelity loss.
While the connecting audio cable cannot be disconnected from the unit, replacement is easy with a screwdriver, cutters, and a soldering iron. I’ve done several.
New cables for the MDR-V6 can easily be found from numerous Internet vendors including eBay.
They can be worn comfortably either way (left earphone on left ear, or left earphone on right ear). So they’re great for single-ear monitoring, especially when you get tired of the one earpiece. You can switch to the other without much change in the fit.
They reduce surrounding noise well for somewhat quiet environments; a hallmark of their closed-air design. A metal back plate boxes in each speaker in each earpiece. This helps keep sound both in and out.
Thus, there’s little audio leakage. So, these are a good choice to listen to when other people are near, and wish to be uninterrupted.
Despite their lightness, these phones appear very forgiving of abuse. I’ve often dropped them on hard floors with no resulting problems. They’re not easily broken, and thus, hold up well in rough listening locations such as studios, DJ gigs, and overnight bus rides.
An iPod drives them sufficiently.
They sound pretty nice with “flat” music sources. While a trifle strong on the high mid-range audio, they’re not so bad that they require an equalizer; though an equalizer does make them sound spectacular when you lower the mid-range just a bit. Be careful of how much bass you apply, as this can make the Sony drivers rattle, and potentially blow them.
These headphones sport foamy, soft ear cushions, coated with a thin, resilient black film that gives them a soft, shiny, leathery texture.
The ear cushions have oval-shaped openings that allow them to work nicely as an ear-surrounding design. However, these openings are rather small, such that my ears just barely fit inside. Therefore, the inner edges of the cushion rims always touch my ears when wearing. This might be a problem with other phones, whose ear cushions are not as soft as those here. But this causes little discomfort with this studio monitor pro grade headset.
These silky soft ear pads are medium-sized in circumference, but not terribly deep. Thus, the speaker grill inside and at the back of the ear cup touches my ear. But again with the overall softness and the cloth that covers the driver, this does not detract from long periods of comfortable listening.
They come equipped with a 10-foot oxygen free copper cord that terminates in a 3.5mm plug; A 1/4-inch adapter is also included.
The frequency response is exceptional, at 5 Hz to 30 kHz, and the neodymium driver magnets make these phones highly responsive and efficient.
A low-mass aluminum voice coil enhances audio reproductive accuracy.
Cons, Disadvantages, Problems, and Limitations of the Sony MDR-V6 Studio Monitor Headphones
Given how cheaply priced these Sony headphones are, I found none too much to lawfully complain about in them. Sony generally offers a top-notch earphone product. But here are several gripes that did occur:
These phones are not equipped with gold connectors; which provide the most reliable connection to the audio source. But I never had problems with corrosion or other forces to which a gold connector is immune.
The cables are not as easy to replace as they would have been if made detachable.
Surprising of this Sony product, the ear cushions begin flaking and pealing less than a year after purchase. But this affects neither the comfort, nor the sound.
As mentioned, these headphones favor the mid-range frequencies, which can leave me with ringing ears after prolonged listening. This is a characteristic trait of many mid-level Sony headsets.
The drivers can rattle at surprisingly low volume levels with bassy audio content. However I did not observe this in evey pair I tested.
I thought these Sony studio monitor grade headphones a fine and fairly priced purchase. They served me well for my particular listening preferences and applications. The MDR-V6 unit lacks but a small number of the features that I seek in a truly great pair of headphones. But this does not disqualify them from the truly great stature they’ve earned. So I would eagerly buy them again if needed. Thus, I’d rate them at 95 out of 100.
Where to Buy the Sony MDR-V6 Studio Monitor Headphones
You can buy Sony products at Amazon and eBay, and you may occasionally see these headphones at the high-tech audio shops.
- Sony MDR-V6 (MDRV6) Studio Monitor Pro Headphones review on CNET
- Where to buy the Sony MDR-V6 Earphones
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- Sony Make Believe Headphones DR-EX12iP Review
- Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones Review
- Sony MDR-V500DJ Professional DJ Headphones Review
- 2017-02-23: Revised the tags list.
- 2015-09-30: Added appropriate tags.
- 2014-11-25: Extended the References section, updated internal links, repositioned ads, added whitespace, and tweaked the content.
- 2012-08-23: Published originally.