Thursday, October 20, 2011

We're still waiting on that Verichron clock, but here's another retro-modern gadget review to hold you over.

Need some retro-modern audio equipment to go along with your mid-century decor?

Well, then Sony has you covered.

The Sony MDR-V6 has been the music industry standard since it was introduced in the 1980's, in part due to it's wide frequency response.  While your average set of headphones reproduce frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, these cans reach all the way down to 5 Hz and as high as 30 kHz.  Unlike most, they also have a very neutral sound curve that doesn't over-emphasize either the treble or the bass.  If you enjoy a bit of extra thump and brightness, you might look elsewhere, but these treat you to music as it was originally intended to be heard and don't fatigue the ears.

They're also solidly constructed with quality materials (leather pads, solid metal enclosures, thick cables, and minimal plastic) and extraordinarily comfortable while sound-leakage and the intrusion of environmental noise is kept to a minimum due to the circumaural design.  It doesn't hurt that the MDR-V6's are, in my opinion, very attractive as well.

While I'm no audiophile, I've owned a wide range of low and mid-level headphones and can attest that the MDR-V6's are, by far, the best of the bunch.  They really do add something special to the listening experience, as you can hear background instruments and extras that would never come through with a lesser model.  If you've never listened to music with anything other than bargain bin headphones, there really is an easily perceptible difference.

As you all know, I'm always on the lookout for a bargain, so you can bet that the price is right.  While they list for $120, a set of MDR-V6's can be had for $50-70 from a number of online retailers (Amazon).  This is right at the inflection point on the value-per-dollar curve. There are, obviously, better higher-end models, but investing additional money beyond this point would net less and less return.

Overall, they're a well-built, aesthetically pleasing, and solidly performing set of headphones at a bargain price.

Sony MDR-V6 Monitor Series Headphones

*Attractive retro-modern design
*Long cord (10ft)
*Solid build and materials
*Wide frequency response
*Neutral, distortion-free sound
*Fold for travel and include leather carrying pouch
*Listen-all-day comfortable
*Don't require a headphone amp for portable devices

*Neutral sound - If you enjoy gobs of treble and bass, these are not the phones for you.  Check out the Grado Prestige Series SR60's, which also come highly recommended
*Pads tend to wear out after a few years (but are user-replaceable)
*Not as portable as your average set of earbuds

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