The Sony MDR V6 has been around for a long time in tech years, or just normal time for that matter. Just to put it in perspective, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” was no.2 on the Billboard Year-end hot singles in the year of its inception, 1985.
The look of the MDR V6 is that of the old school cool. Classy, sleek, black, not exactly mysterious but something else entirely. Minimalism at its best, steady reliability and old school audio quality.
However, due to the age of this design, some aspects, which were unthought-of then or not relevant, are not considered, such as detachable cables, shorter cable length and in line microphone and volume/playback control.
The Sony MDR V6 looks like a simple product. As lots of modern headphones go, the MDR V6 looks like part of the classy looking old guard that heralded in the golden age of on ear circum-aural headphones.
The wide earcups look comfortable enough, and the leatherette pads, although they don’t look very thick, have a premium look to them, crinkled and soft, like a pair of old velvet leather gloves. The hinges look fairly solid and smooth, connecting the wide driver housing to the headband.
Two hinges join the headband to the head cups, and can be extended out to make the MDR V6 sit better on different sized heads via metal bands from the headband. The earcups can be folded in to make the entire set more compact for mobility.
The cable is sheathed in a protective nylon or silicone, and made from high quality 99.99% oxygen free copper; while the joining sections to the headphones and the 3.5mm are also protected from wear.
The 3.5mm audio jack is gold plated for better signal transmission and has a metal plug cord sleeve joining to the cable, which lengthens its lifetime as protection from wear and tear from plugging in and unplugging it constantly. It also has a screw on 1/4 “ stereo adaptor, also gold plated.
All these small details point towards attention to the details and a design geared towards performance, so let’s see how that pans out.
Old school goodness
The V6 weighs a light 8 ounces, compared to other more modern headphones, which really add to the comfort of this model for long hours of sweet high quality audio. The outer earcups are made out of metal, however, like most other Sony models, the majority of the product body is high grade plastic polymer to save on weight.
While the weight of the Sony MDR V6 is light, it is definitely no lightweight when it comes to what’s under the hood. Keep in mind that this is a model released in 1985, and it is’nt just relevant, it’s actually still a very strong competitor to other serious headphone models from other brands.
The dynamic drivers are 40mm in size with a 1.6 inch diaphragm. While that’s not as large as some modern headsets, we feel that it’s just the right size. The frequency response ranges from 5Hz-30kHz.
Now, to put the power of the frequency range into perspective – modern bass heavy or bass boosted rated headphones have a frequency range of on average 3/5kHz-20/25kHz. While that gives a lower or more ‘powerful’ bass per se, the higher frequency ranges are often missing or not very balanced, making them better at certain kinds of music only.
The MDR v6 however, can and does excel at almost all genres up to this day. For this very reason they were extremely popular with people in the audio industry from DJs to sound engineers for their near flat response audio quality. Flat response meaning as accurate audio reproduction as possible from the recording.
The impedance stands at 63 ohms, and the sensitivity at 106dB/mW. This is where we see one of the older technology limitations. For Sony to power up their really good drivers, they need power, and lots of it.
And impedance is very high, amongst the highest of all headphones currently available but for that trade off you get excellent audio quality at a reasonable volume per miliwatt. Beware however, if you want to use it modern portable players and such as the power may drain much faster due to the higher impedance than usual.
Modern times, Modern needs.
The one thing that many modern headphones still cannot beat that the Sony MDR V6 has is the comfort, quality and durability resulting from the excellent materials and product design it has.
However, the MDR V6 could do with an update. To clarify, there are variants of the MDR V6 such as the MDR 7506 with some of the improvements that are needed.
An inline microphone and volume control, because portable players and other manufacturers have implemented such measures already for some time.
A detachable cable – while the cable that Sony provides with the Sony MDR V6 is already top notch, an accidental snag, twist or cut can make the entire headphone redundant so this feature would be good so that reparability is as easy as purchasing a new cable.
A better carrying case. The MDR V6 is really tough – but a better carrying case is still needed. The case is a simple bag, not a hard case as we would like to protect this old dame from the hard knocks of the modern world.