SONY MDR V150 STUDIO MONITOR HEADPHONES
Recommend this product?
Choosing the right set of headphones to meet ones specific needs is not as simple as it used to be. Years ago, before the popularization of portable audio devices, and computer gaming, all one had to choose from was a set of headphones that was suitable for their home stereo receiver. Now, things are way more complicated. There are so many different types of audio devices, and such a wide variety of headsets to choose from, that narrowing down the field of options to the most likely candidates is a much more difficult task. I hope that my review today will make this task a bit easier for the reader. Today I shall be reviewing the Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones. Read on and see if these headphones sound like they have some of the audio qualities and features that you might be looking for in a set of headphones.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones are part of the Sony "Studio Monitor Series" of headphones. These headphones are advertised as providing studio monitor quality sound, and yet they have a list price tag of $19.99. I also recently saw them being advertised on a special sale on the Internet for as low as $7.51. Yes, you read those figures correctly. Could it be possible for a set of headphones to really achieve studio monitor quality sound, and yet have a list price tag of just $19.99? If you believe that this is possible, I have a bridge that I would like to sell you. It seems that many different companies, even ones with a wonderful reputation and great name brand like Sony has, seem to throw around terms like "studio quality" and "professional" very liberally in their advertising. For those of you who novices, please keep in mind that just because a product has the words "professional" or "studio" in their name does not always mean that a professional would be using these headphones, or some other the product for studio reference purposes. That being said, I should also state that for the price, these headphones offer a very unusually good sound and a real value for the money.
Because the Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones are priced so inexpensively, I am going to assume, whether correctly or incorrectly, that the most likely users or consumers of these headphones are going to be novice users or relatively entry level users. Bearing this in mind, I will try to avoid any technical jargon when I describe these headphones, and if and when necessary, I will explain what I am discussing in plain and simple to understand language.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones are "dynamic" headphones. O.K., so what does the term "dynamic" mean? There are basically two types of headphones, dynamic and electrostatic. Dynamic headphones use the same type of technology as conventional home stereo speakers do. This same type of technology can also be found in the musical instrument speakers that one would typically find in an electric guitar combo amp. Dynamic headphones use a very small speaker, with a cone and a voice coil. Electrostatic headphones do not use a cone, but rather employ a thin sheet of Mylar as a diaphragm. Ultimately, be they dynamic or electrostatic headphones, it is the vibrations of the diaphragm which serves to move air, and thus create an acoustic sound. Electrostatic headphones tend to yield the best sound, but they are also significantly more expensive than dynamic headphones.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones are "sealed" headphones. Sealed headphones are great if you need sonic isolation. A sealed headphone is good for use in an environment where you do not want to let the sound that you are hearing leak out of the earpieces and be picked up by either another person or by some type of recording device, such as a microphone, if for example you happen to be using these headphones for monitoring purposes in a live studio recording situation. For example, let's say you are overdubbing an acoustic guitar track into a live microphone, as you are simultaneously listening to a track of the rest of the band through your headphones. Leakage out of the headset into the microphone could potentially be a serious problem. Sealed headphones are supposed to keep the sounds that you are listening to isolated, and they also do a fairly good job at blocking out the perception of the sounds that are taking place in the acoustic environment you are in. Unfortunately, the Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones do not form a very tight seal around the ears, and they do let some sound leak in as well as out. However, they do a better job at sonic isolation than do open headphones.
Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones are "supra-aural" headphones. Headphones with a supra-aural design rest on the ear of the listener, and do not encircle the ear. Supra-aural headphones tend to be lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time than circumaural headphones which cover or form a seal over the listener's ears. However, supra-aural headphones do not form as tight a seal as do circumaural headphones, and as such they are not as sonically isolating. The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones have reversible ear cups, and they are nicely padded. This means that they can swivel and can provide single sided monitoring. This can be an advantage in certain situations, such as for DJ use.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones have a Sensitivity of 98 dB/mW. O.K., so what does that mean? Headphone sensitivity is measured using 1/1000 of a Watt of power (1mW), and then measuring the sound pressure level (SPL) in dB at the earpiece of the headphones. The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones have an average degree or level of sensitivity for headphones in this category.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones have an Impedance of 24 Ohms. This means that they would be considered to be low impedance headphones. There are both positives and negatives to having low impedance headphones. The positives are that, if all things are kept equal, low impedance headphones will sound louder than high impedance headphones. That is because low impedance headphones are in general more efficient at converting electrical energy into sound. Thus, they may use less energy when plugged into a portable listening device, which can potentially mean longer battery life. On the other hand, low impedance headphones are more susceptible to damage and to burning out because their voice coils have a lower level of resistance. In most cases however, this does not really present much of an issue for the average user.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones have a "Frequency Response" of 18 Hz. to 22,000 Hz. This is an unusually good frequency range for a set of headphones in this price range. A Frequency Response of 18 Hz. to 22,000 Hz. indicates the frequency range of sounds that can be reproduced by a set of headphones without distorting. This is a very good thing, as having a set of headphones with a wide frequency response means that the sounds the listener is being exposed to, should not be generating any distortion, due to the fact that the sounds are well within the range that the headphones can handle. Of course, any set of headphones can distort when they are subjected to very high power or volume.
The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones come with a cable that is 6 feet, 6 inches in length and is double sided. The cord comes with a straight stereo UniMatch stereo mini-plug and an adapter which converts the input jack to a quarter inch stereo plug. Personally, I have always preferred headphones that are single sided instead of double sided, as they are less prone to tangling. These headphones are also light in weight, and weigh in at a mere 4.2 ounces without the cord. Of course one can not really do much listening without the cord can they. They also have a wide headband that distributes the weight and pressure of the headphones relatively well, and the soft cushion ear pads are also relatively comfortable as well.
O.K, so how do the Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones sound? Well, for one thing, they did not really do a good job at isolating the sound. When I was listening to music through these at a low volume level, I was easily able to hear outside noises. One could also hear sound leaking out when the person I was with (my son) was wearing them. In my opinion these features make these headphones unsuitable for use in a recording or broadcast situation, as one does not want to have sound leaking out of the phones and being picked up by a live microphone. However, obviously this should not present a problem for the average user, but it is an important factor to consider if the user is going to be employing these headphones in their home recording studio. On the other hand, if one is going to be using these headphones for general home listening purposes, these same issues should not present any meaningful problem.
These headphones had a relatively very tight, and pronounced bass. This is a feature that is often associated with closed headphones. Depending on the situation, this can be a good thing or a bad one. If you are looking for a set of headphones with a pronounced bass, and relatively good highs for casual listening purposes, or for gaming, headphones with these traits are acceptable. However, in a home studio recording setup, or in a serious recording situation, one would prefer to have headphones that are completely flat, or that have a very accurate reproduction of sound for monitoring or reference purposes. One does not want headphones that are "sweetened," which means that certain sonic frequencies are accentuated in order to make the music sound better. I found the higher frequencies to be underplayed, and the lows to be a bit accentuated. Once again the average user might not be concerned with this, but someone who may be considering using these headphones for monitoring sound levels and the like in their home studio recordings might have a problem with this. On the positive side, the Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones appeared to be far less "sweetened" than most headphones might be expected to be in this price range, and they did not distort or sound fuzzy at reasonable sound levels.
O.K., so who are these headphones best suited for? The Sony MDR V150 Studio Monitor Headphones are best suited to a value conscious person on a budget, who is looking for a set of headphones to use for casual music listening, or for gaming on one's computer. They certainly beat just about any other pair of headphones for under $20 Dollars, and they certainly sound better than the typical set of ear buds. These headphones are a real bargain for the purposes of casual music listening or for gaming, and for such purposes, I would feel comfortable in recommending them. However, more serious or discriminating music listeners or home recording enthusiasts might want to pass these up for some of the reasons that I outlined earlier in this review.
Well I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will please excuse me, I must get back to practicing my guitar. Good luck, and good listening.