I first want to state that the picture Epinions.com is using for the MDR-V900HD is far from the correct product. The description of the actual appearance is in my review below.
Recommend this product?
I use headphones on a daily basis for many different applications and many different sources: music listening sessions (varying from symphonic to jazz to hard rock), music recording and performance, movies, computer games, console games, Guitar Hero, and portable devices.
REASON FOR GETTING NEW HEADPHONES
After six years my Sony MDR-V600s were finally starting to blow out. The plastic covering on the padding had fallen off years ago, but these headphones had been through a lot of torture (school trips, very heavy usage on a daily basis for computer games and music) and they sounded great to the end. I knew how amazing the jump from standard headphones to the MDR-V600s was, and I wanted to make that jump again.
Through intense research between Synnheisers' and Sony's vast headphone line with a bias to Sony's line, I finally settled on these. I refused to get open-back headphones since the primary purpose for my headphones is to keep the noise to myself, and Sony's MDR-V600 had great reputation with myself and many others whose reviews I had read.
As far as sound, the MDR-V900HD is quite different from the MDR-V600. By different, I mean that with the MDR-V600, everything that you heard sounded great. With the MDR-V900HD, you will hear EVERYTHING. When the flutist takes a breath between phrases, you will hear it. If someone in the orchestra is flipping pages, you will hear it. The first thing you notice when you hear an ensemble of violins is that you can almost count the number of violins playing by picking out their individual sounds. I had no idea digital sound could have this kind of fidelity. Listening to a sax or clarinet solo, you can literally hear the keys being pressed. Obviously, the experience of listening to these headphones is nothing short of amazing. The downside to this, however, is that if there's a buzz in the recording, you're going to hear it. If there's someone talking in the audience during a live recording, you're probably going to be able to make out their conversation. Whether or not the headphones sound great is determined primarily by the sound source, which makes it less attractive for use with low quality audio sources like home videos and cheap keyboard synthesizers. However, if you're dropping $200+ on a pair of headphones, I doubt you're going to be using it just to listen to MP3s on your cell phone.
One should also note that it is best to run these headphones through an amplifier of some sort. The V600s required a respectable source to get really good bass out of them. Since the V900HD has a 50mm driver rather than 40mm like the V600, the headphones are going to require that much more power to push the full range of sound. It doesn't have to be anything fancy (a stereo receiver or an amplified computer sound system will work fine), but plugging it straight into the sound card (I am using a Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty card) will not provide enough power to get the acoustic pressure that made the MDR-V600s so great. That being said, the 50mm driver makes a huge difference in getting the really deep bass that make explosions, roaring fires, creepy synthesized atmosphere effects, contra-bass instruments, and large drums really intimidating.
The MDR-V900HD has an almost exact design to the MDR-V600 except it is circum-aural, meaning the speaker surrounds the ear rather than the V600 that presses against the ear. A circum-aural design basically makes a box around your ears for sound to be generated in, and since it's closed-back, this means that most outside noise is going to get shut out, substantially more than the V600s. This is a good thing for me, since my computer's fans are annoyingly loud. While this box design may not be a problem for most, my ears are rather large, and the box creates pinch points on my ears that get uncomfortable after an hour or so of wear.
Like the rest of the MDR-V line, it has the fold-up compacting design with speakers that swivel a full 360° for one-eared listening capability, as well as the number-coded lengths so you can easily stretch the phones to your preferred length. And of course, the love-it or hate-it coiled cord.
Cosmetically, the MDR-V900HD has been modified to look as impressive as its price tag. The backs of the speakers have a glossy black finish with a silver outline, which contrasts with a matte black finish for the rest of the plastic. The plastic lining that covers the padding is a very dark brown (almost black, but not quite) and is MUCH sturdier than the flimsy plastic used on the V600s. It'll be years before this stuff starts to fall off. The cord is lot stiffer, showing that they used higher grade wiring for these headphones. The cord is coiled like the MDR-V600. I know many people dislike this design but I prefer it since it makes the 10-foot cord compact well and for Guitar Hero sessions the cord does not get in the way. True, the cord can be very heavy hanging off your head, but that can be fixed by simply looping it around something (like the guitar strap) and interlocking the coils for a nice and easy wire clip. Finally, the cord ends with a pretty silver and gold plated 1/8" plug, which can be converted to a 1/4" plug using the included screw-on adapter, also a common feature to the MDR-V line.
The Sony MDR-V900HD headphones are worthy of their price tag and are great headphones to buy for a truly extraordinary listening experience. An amplifier is not required, but highly recommended. Fans of the MDR-V600 will be astounded by the increase in sound fidelity, breathing new life into well-known songs, but may be annoyed that some of their cheaper audio products are going to have flaws painfully exposed. Also, the circum-aural design can be uncomfortable for those with unusually large ears. As far as comparison to the MDR-V900s, I have not had any experience with the MDR-V900s to make a comparison with.
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