“Best under $300 cans I have ever owned or heard!”

[This review is from:
Sony MDR V6 Studio Monitor Headphones with CCAW Voice Coil]

The whole purpose of any quality audio reproduction system is to accurately reproduce sound–speakers or headphones should sound like music, not like hardware. They should not color the sound, or over / under emphasize or de-emphasize any part of the audio spectrum that human beings can hear. And when it comes to headphones, not only should they not color the sound, but they should be comfortable, so you can wear them for hours without developing sweaty ears or a headache.

Sony MDR V6 headphonesThey should correctly fit your head, and the best headphones are a “circumaural” design like this which surround your ears and mask most external, ambient noise without so much pressure that it feels like your head is in a vise.

There are more brands and models of headphones out there than I can count but…I’ve owned a pair of Sony MDR-V6 headphones for probably twenty years. After buying and not being happy with various models of headphones made by Sennheiser, Stanton, Superex, Koss, and others…someone turned me on to the Sony MDR-V6 I bought a pair at an audio store for about eighty bucks in the early 1980s. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

Not only are they the best sounding cans I’ve ever heard for triple the price, but since I’ve owned them I’ve never heard any better headphones, any brand, any model. Perhaps someday I’ll hit the lottery and blow $4000.00 on a pair of Sony’s MDR-R10 (fat chance). Do NOT confuse the MDR-V6 with the slightly newer, slightly more expensive MDR-V600 headphones which sound highly inferior and cost more.

Now think about it–can you name another model of anything that Sony has made continuously, basically unchanged, for over twenty years? There must be a reason.

I’ve worn out two or three sets of the “pleather” ear pads on my V6s and happily, even though Sony’s parts and accessories Web site no longer exists. Replacement parts can be purchased from other sources; Beyer Dynamic makes an ear pad that fits the Sonys.

These are simply the most bang for the buck I’ve ever spent on headphones and believe me, I’ve owned (and auditioned)…many brands, many models and nothing I’ve ever owned or heard reproduced sound with such accuracy, transparency, crystalline sweet highs, beautiful mid-range and prodigious bass as these. I’ve used them with my laptop, HiFi rig, portable players, you name it. On my laptop I plug them into an SRS WoW Thing box (no longer available from SRS Labs), crank up the box’s “TruBass” knob and it’s like listening to $10,000 speakers. (SRS WoW thing is implemented in quite a few software-based music players as a plug-in, such as WMP and WinAmp. Why they decided to stop making the WoW Thing box, I can’t fathom, but it’s a stupendous accessory if you can find one grab it!)

SONY company logoBut even without the spatial and bass enhancement the WoW Thing implements, I’ve lost count of how many friends I’ve had over on whose heads I’ve slapped the MDR-V6 headphones, played some wide-dynamic music for them and watched their jaws hit the floor.

The first reaction is usually “Holy ____!” and then they ask, what are these, how much do they cost, where can I get them?

I decided since mine were twenty years old, it might be a good idea to grab a new pair, as a back-up, since Sony still makes them, just in case they ever dropped them from their product line. Here’s a true story. last year, an eBay seller, you know, one of those liquidator types who has a bajillion auctions running at once, put up an auction for three pairs of MDR-V6s and mis-priced them at $14.95 a pair. I sat there staring at the screen thinking “this can’t be right, NO ONE sells these $100 cans that cheaply. Are they used? Refurbs? Defective?” I checked his feedback, which was very positive, and said well, no guts no glory.

By the time I smacked the “Buy it Now” button to buy all three pairs, someone else had already snatched one, so I snagged two of them and sure enough, I got the right headphones–brand new, sealed in their gold and red satin lined boxes, the same packaging my original pair came in twenty years ago. The seller told me he had a bunch of high school kids entering auctions for him and someone had mis-priced them, and entered $14.95 instead of $74.95 but he would honor the much lower, wrong price.

So if my original twenty year old pair ever fail, I have brand new ones on hand.

Audiophiles get religious about headphones. They’ll argue all day about which sound the best, which are the most comfy, which produce colored sound or accurate sound, which ones you can wear for hours, which ones hurt your head.. I’ve read hundreds of headphone reviews over the years and sure, some guys don’t like the MDR-V6s for one reason or another, but I think that’s usually a case of “Well, I spent $xxx.xx for my Grados / AKGs / Sennheisers. $100 Sonys can’t possibly sound as good..” and they’re just trying to justify having spent that kind of money.

You don’t have to trust me, but if you’re shopping for the best sounding headphones under $300.00, the Sony MDR-V6 are the headphones you want. Even at Amazon’s price, even at their full retail of $100.00 in my opinion you simply will not find better sounding headphones of any kind. I run out of superlatives describing them. And for you guys who own an old pair and need new ear pads, as I said above, you can get them from various sources.

Once you slap these cans on your head and immerse yourself in their magnificent sound, you’ll understand 🙂