A standard for video production
Dec 3, 2009 (Updated Feb 23, 2010)
Review by Al Powell
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Comfort, durability, accurate sound, acoustic isolation.
Cons:Reputation for ear cup material to flake after long use.
The Bottom Line: If you want a comfortable, professional quality headphone at a great price, these are the ones.
I have used these phones for years in field video production. Sony makes three closely related models of headphones: MDR-V600, MDR-V6, and MDR-7506. This review will spend time on all three, as I consider them closely equivalent other than the larger size of the V600 models. In my experience the V6 models provide the best value for professional field use based on their moderate price and size.
Recommend this product?
Here are specs these models have in common:
-10-foot coiled cable
-With carry pouch
-Removable 1/4" plug (gold plated on 7506), unscrews to reveal 1/8" plug
-Over-the-head, studio monitor-type phones
-Headband: Wide, Adjustable, Single, folding ear cups
-Magnet: Neodymium Driver Unit: 40mm (no info for V600)
-Frequency Response: 5-30,000Hz(10-20,000Hz for 7506)
-Impedance: 63 ohms
-Sensitivity (db): 106dB/mW
Curiously, the 600 and V6 models both have frequency response of 5Hz -30,000Hz, while the most expensive 7506 model has frequency response of 10Hz-20,000Hz. That probably doesn't matter since most of us can't hear the extremes of either range, but it's interesting.
The V6 models are a visual and fit match to the more expensive 7506 models, while the 600 models are larger and may fit comfortably over bigger ears. However, the V6 and 7506 models are more compact and easier to use in the field. All three models allow the user to fold the ear cups inward and up into the headband, making it easy to drop them back into their vinyl carry bag.
I have used all three models, and found the V6 headphones to offer a great combination of compact fit, reasonable price (under $70 street price) and accurate sound reproduction.
The ear cups are soft and fit around the ear, not on it, which is critical in two respects: first, it means the ear cups seal off the exterior acoustic environment, so the wearer hears whatever is being played very accurately without interference. Second, because the cups do not sit on the ear, they don't become uncomfortable by pressing on the ear. I have worn both the V6 and 7506 models for 8 hours or more at a time without them becoming uncomfortable. For some reason the vinyl covers on my pair of V6's tend to pull off the phones when yanked around roughly, but they're not hard to slide back into place.
My use is primarily in video and audio field production, so I am highly interested in hearing exactly what i'm recording, with minimal coloration of the sound. These headphones deliver! I can also say that all of them, including the 600 models I have at home, sound wonderful with music.
The V6 and 7506 models are both rated at about 8 ounces of weight, but they are big enough, and the size of the coiled cord at 10 feet stretched, is such that I would not wear them outside for recreational use. They're just too much to tote around and there are plenty of good ear buds available. The 600 models are heavier; I can't find a weight spec but they are about half again as heavy.
All these have a reputation for having the synthetic covering start to flake off the ear cups after some years of use, but I haven't had a problem with this. Replacement ear cups are available from Sony for around $15.
Although because of their size I wouldn't pick these for commuting or other recreational use, for a production environment connected to a camera, audio mixer or other devices, they are ideal. They're comfortable, are durable given reasonable care, and the coiled cord offers plenty of ability to move around and adjust equipment while remaining connected to the audio source.
The sound is definitely full range, and it is so accurate that I can easily pick up background noises such as air conditioning vents, electrical motors, traffic, footsteps and other extraneous noises. At the same time, I can hear every nuance of the human voice and of any kind of music, so I know exactly what I am capturing. This is extremely important, and it's the reason I bought the 600 models for home use.
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