Sony MDR-V6: Review
I bought the Sony MDR-V6's a couple of months back and I have tolerated them up until now. This is a review of my worst headphone purchase choice I have ever made.
BEFORE YOU READ
This is an extremely biased review. My ears are VERY sensitive to high frequencies (dog whistles hurt my ears) and the MDR-V6's are the brightest cans that I have ever listened to. So I will state my final opinion on the MDR-V6's first: the MDR-V6's are so bright and shrill that I will never, EVER, want to put these on my ears again.
When I bought the MDR-V6's, I also ordered the velour pads to go with them. I didn't really mind the pleather on the V6's, but the velour pads basically turned them into really comfortable earmuffs. I'm not going to lie, these are most possibly the most comfortable headphones I've put over my ears when they are coupled with the velour pads. I have actually used the V6's as earmuffs during the winter and my ears were never cold when I put them on.
I can wear these headphones for extended periods of time in all scenarios other than two.
1. Hot environment
The V6's coupled with velour pads are great earmuff replacements, so wearing these when it's hot out will result in really, really, REALLY sweaty ears. I don't know about everyone else, but soaking velour pads in sweat is somewhat gross to me.
2. Trying to sleep upright in a car/plane/bus
I like to listen to music when I'm traveling. The only other thing that I actually enjoy doing when I'm in a moving car/plane/bus is sleeping. Naturally, falling asleep while listening to music should be expected of me, but not with these headphones. The problem with the V6's in this scenario is that they're headphones; leaning my head on a pillow or a window put uncomfortable pressure either on my ear or the headband put pressure on the top of my head. Either way, IEMs are waaaay more suitable for this scenario, so I can't really put it against the V6's for not being "sleep-friendly" due to it's headphone nature. Sleeping with the V6's on a bed is fine, however, as long as you sleep face up.
The isolation on the V6's are pretty good. Compared to the on-ear ES7's and the over-ear M50's, I would place the V6's somewhere in between if not closer to the M50's. In both noisy and quiet environments, the M50's were best at keeping noise out and preventing noise from seeping out, but the V6's just don't do as well.
In noisy environments (eg. in a car, plane, train), the V6's just don't excel at keeping noise out. I could clearly hear the rumble of the train or the whistle of a plane's air-conditioning pretty clearly though they were slightly muffled. Most of the noise is drowned out when you listen to music, but I could still hear slight traces of outside noise. Bottom-line, the V6's are adequate.
In the library, the V6's are pretty good at keeping noise from seeping out as long as you're not at a table sitting with other people. I was at the library last week with some friends, one of which was screwing around with Garage Band on his Macbook. He was using the iPod earbuds, which leaked a lot of sound, so I lent him my V6's. He set the volume to a medium level, but I could still hear faint traces of the music he was playing. I would say the V6's have a pretty good seal on your ears to keep sound from leaking out, but not THAT great.
These headphones literally made me hate listening to music. Despite all of the V6's merits, I couldn't get over the fact that the shrill treble made me want to shove a dick into my ear so that I wouldn't have to hear it anymore. I would have rather enjoyed shoving needles into my eardrums instead of watching a movie with the V6's on too. Every time I listened to music with my V6's, I would cringe in pain (literally) because of the sibilance; music should be enjoyable, not a torture session. Sure, the "crystal clear" highs make some songs more enjoyable (Empire Ants by Gorillaz being one), but most songs in my music library will make me flinch in pain.
Compared to the ATH-M50's, the V6's just don't have the amount of bass that the M50's can produce. I would say that the V6's are capable of producing 1/2 to 3/4 the amount of bass that the M50's can produce. The V6's have, in my opinion, better quality bass than the M50's, which can sometimes get slightly flabby if the song has a shit-ton amount of bass. The V6's, on the other hand, consistently produces great bass that isn't facemelting by any means, but isn't weak either.
Messing with the EQ helps tone down the treble, but the problem is that I listen to a wide variety of music and doing that for some songs muffles the mids and lows. On the other hand, some songs sound better with the natural treble of the V6's, but this is rare.
Okay, now story-time to wrap up the sound quality section. My friend has a pair of Grado SR60i's that I borrowed for a comparison with my V6's. The first thing I noticed when I put the SR60's on was how tinny it sounded; it reminded me of the first time I put on a pair of Sennheiser PX-200's. The SR60's didn't have the bass impact nor the detailed mids of the V6's, but I still enjoyed the SR60's more. Why? Because they didn't ear-rape my poor head with a foot-long dick of sibilance.
Sure, the V6's are really comfortable, have great bass, are really good for electronic music, and have pretty good isolation, but to me, those were only the cherry and whipped cream topping for a cake made out of shit. To be able to even bear listening to my music, I have to be constantly tweaking the EQ so that the song doesn't either sound dead or shoot bullets of treble into my unsuspecting brain. Games and movies are worse with the V6's; the sound of glass shattering or guns firing makes me feel like I should take a sledgehammer to my V6's... good thing I got rid of them...
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