Sound Decision

July 13, 2013

tony-headphonesA while ago I borrowed a friend’s Beats Audio headphones to listen to the vinyl transfer of Sign o’ The Times another friend of mine made for me. The CD of the album is horribly mastered for some reason, and I had a dream about finding a vinyl copy at a flea market. Trusting my dream, I drove down the road to the local flea market (fortunately it was Sunday morning so it was open) and within five minutes found the record for $10 (a bargain, but I negotiated it down to $6 for the fun of it).

Anyway, while listening to that and all the other music I’ve been into lately I became spoiled by the quality of the sound coming out of those Beats. The clarity of the sound was way beyond what I experience from my trusty white Apple earbuds. With the seed planted I knew I had to start my research into that state of over-the-ear headphones. I didn’t want to buy a pair of Beats because they are far too trendy for me and way more than I wanted to pay ($250 for the model I sampled). After spending a few hours reading reviews (both professional and Amazon user) I decided on the Sony MDR-V6, which list for $100. Amazon had them a bit cheaper but I wanted an even better bargain so I added them to my wish list and waited. A few weeks later they came down briefly to $60 and I ordered straight away.

I couldn’t be happier with them. They sound a bit different than the Beats. Not better or worse, just different. The Beats boost the bass (naturally, considering their hip-hop origins), and I prefer a more neutral sound for my broad musical tastes. The sound field is a bit more “airy” on the Sony phones, almost as if it was on a wider stage or something, and the Sony matches the sound clarity that allows each note to be heard distinctly. The Beats are a bit louder, but that’s not a problem since I don’t turn the sound up all the way on the V6s anyway.

So why are Sony headphones such a bargain? After all, they’re not exactly known for undercutting the competition. Well, it turns out that Sony has been making these headphones for decades. They are used widely in professional audio and video circles (where the neutral sound is appreciated) and haven’t changed much in all this time. I remember over-the-ear headphones being popular during my childhood, but they went out of favor with the advent of Sony’s Walkman (ironically) and then the iPod craze.

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2 Responses to “Sound Decision”

  1. Clair said

    Can you get notifications when wish list items drop in price or did you just keep an eye on it? Because that would be amazing.

    As much as I love music, I’ve never had much taste for the quality of the sound…I wonder if I’d get hooked if I tried some good headphones…

  2. tonykulla said

    I just kept an eye on it. I doubt they would have an auto alert function, though you’re right that such a thing would be awesome.

    Let’s get together soon. My Charlie Card is loaded up! I’ll bring my headphones.

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