We owned the Sony dynamic stereo headphones MDR-V700 for a few years in around 2004, and used them with varied CD players, iPod Nanos, headphone amps, and mixers. Here, we review them.
We were very disappointed with them over all, particularly in how they sounded. But we thought them a reasonable choice for the novice listener; a well-constructed and durable starter pair.
They worked well for listening to speech and other telephone quality audio. But they’re sub-state-of-the-art for serious high fidelity music listening in our opinion. Besides, they were not very comfortable. Either the ear cups pressed too hard against the ear lobes, or the headband flattened the hair too much, leaving a depression in it that lasted the rest of the day after removing these heavy cans. Adjusting the headband size did little to resolve these issues.
Further, the MDR-V700 offers mediocre sound as compared to other headphones in their price class. We paid approximately $120 for the set from the now-defunct Circuit City electronics retailer. They reproduce the high frequencies timidly, and seem way too bassy. While you can trim the low end response with an equalizer, no such adjusting completely balances out the raspy harshness we heard from them.
The excessive bass happens particularly when listening to iPods. We found them to be among the worst-sounding for the cost that we’ve ever evaluated. Given this high expense, there was lots to grumble about.
Sony sells replacement cushions for their most popular models of dynamic headphones, and you can obtain pads, headbands, drivers, and cords for them on eBay. Check out the eBay listing for the Sony MDR-V700 dynamic headphones for deals on parts as well as a complete headset.
Benefits, Advantages, and Pros of Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones MDR-V700
Quieted Outside Noises
They reduced surrounding noise adequately. This is a feature their closed-air design. Plus, they have a metal-looking plate that encloses the driver speaker in each earpiece. This helps keep the program sound in, and outside noises out.
They Won’t Bother the Neighbors
Little audio escapes these Sony Dynamic stereo headphones MDR-V700 while wearing. So they’re good to listen to, in order to avoid disturbing close-by other people.
They Look Techy
The black ear cushions sport circular-shaped openings, that give these headphones a decidedly high-tech, space-age look.
The headband includes resilient, soft padding that helps mitigate the rather limited overall comfort level.
A Hefty Feel to Them
The Sony dynamic stereo headphones MDR-V700 look nice and feel substantial. This is likely what enticed (misled) us into buying them. Well, that, plus the good Sony name too. These earphones appeared mostly dull silver / gray, with the headband and ear cushions done up in black.
These headphones offer “retractable” ear pieces. These can fold up inside the headband. Then that shrinks the size of the overall unit. When folded in, they are not much smaller than when fully extended. This is a hold-over feature from the MDR-V500s, that are smaller in size to begin with. Those older phones retracted more completely than these, these Sony dynamic stereo headphones mdr-v700.
Can Play Quite Loud
The MDR-V700 plays plenty loud, with fairly wide dynamic range over most of the audio frequency band. This suits them well for widely varying volume levels like in classical music. But these Sony headphones lack the fidelity needed for audiophile listening. Much better for mobile DJ applications. For pop music, they play loud enough to irritate the ears, without noticeable gain in distortion, or loss in faithfulness.
Wear them Either Way
You can wear this headset with equal comfort either way (left earphone on left ear, or left earphone on right ear). The ease, with which the correct angle adjustment on each earpiece is made, no matter which way we wore them, allows for simple “reversing” of the stereo channels. No need to switch audio cables around. Just swap these headphones on your head.
The Sony dynamic stereo headphones MDR-V700 are rugged. They can survive much abuse. We’ve often dropped them on hard tables or floors. Yet they held up quite well. They endure rough listening environments such as at DJ gigs and mobile recording sessions.
Durable Ear Pads
Unlike the MDR-V500s, the MDR-V700 ear pads did not wear out quickly for us. In fact, at fourteen years of age, our set shows no signs of ear cushion wear, flaking, or other deterioration.
Work Well with iPhone
An iPhone drives them adequately. But a headphone amplifier made them sound much fuller.
No longer made. Normally, this would be a bad thing for most products. But the fact that the MDR-V700s are headed into oblivion is a good thing in our view. Thus, we list this item in the Benefits section. 🙂
Problems, Cons, Disadvantages, and Limitations of the Sony MDR-V700 Dynamic Stereo Headphones
Perhaps too Weighty
The Sony dynamic stereo headphones MDR-V700 are rather heavy; certainly heavier than the Sennheiser HD-650 phones.
Grow Uncomfortable in Long Listening Sessions
Thus, we could not wear them for hours at a stretch without excessive discomfort developing. Perhaps thirty minutes of listening was all we could bear.
The rigid ear pads are round and medium-sized in circumference, but not deep enough to completely clear our ears, not as completely as they should in this over-the-ear design. Thus, the front of the driver speaker touched our ears, and pressed into them excessively, leaving the outer ear aching after prolonged listening sessions.
Ear Pieces Not Soft Enough
They sport foamy, but hard and rough-to-the-touch ear cushions. Rather than expensive and soft leather, the coatings on these ear cushions felt like hard, cheap plastic. But then again, this build helps make the V700s so durable.
Need Equalization for Best Sound
An equalizer to roll back the bass response is essential, we feel. These phones sound too boomy and muffled with “flat” music sources like portable CD players and radios.
Non Detachable Cord
The cables are not easily replaced as they would have been, if detachable via connectors, such as those found on some Sennheiser headphones.
Too Much Bass
These Sony earphones favor the bass and low treble frequencies, and this often made our ears hurt and ring after extended listening.
They have a harsh, piercing sound that grated on the nerves after too many minutes of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells piece.
Too Big for Some Adult Heads
Their head adjustments are inadequate. Even at the smallest setting, with each ear cup fully retracted, these phones fit too loosely, and would often fall off if we rocked or walked around while listening to them.
They press too hard against eyeglasses as well. Thus, we had to remove the specs while jamming. If we did not, the eyeglasses would become bent and distorted, requiring straightening after each listening session; not good to repeat very often with today’s thin-framed eye ware.
Poor Sound Quality Overall
In our opinion, these phones looked way better than they sounded, with lots of brawn, but little “brains”, so to speak.
Our Rating on Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones MDR-V700
We found the Sony MDR-V700 dynamic stereo headphones quite lacking for our listening purposes. Indeed, they’re missing many of the high-quality features that we desire in a perfect audio headset, including above-average sound and comfort. So we would NOT purchase them again, and would thus rate them at 50 out of 100.
Where to Buy the Sony MDR-V700 Headphones
You can still find this Sony product on eBay and Amazon. Have not seen them in the brick-and-mortar retail audio shops for a few years now. However, there is a DJ version of this model that’s still available.
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- 2012-08-25: Originally published this post.