Sony’s first open‑backed headphones offer an intriguing alternative to the established classics in the field.
Although their products sometimes fly below the radar in the UK, Sony Professional have an enviable track record when it comes to making headphones. My own MDR‑7509s were the first good‑quality pair of cans I ever bought, nearly 25 years ago, and they’re still going strong today. However, whereas some manufacturers have a sonic signature that is common to all or most of their models, Sony designs tend to do their own thing. The two closed‑back models in the current catalogue are the MDR‑7506 and the MDR‑7510, and to my ears, they sound quite different from one another. As far as I know, moreover, Sony have never before made a pair of open‑backed headphones — so what should we expect from the new MDR‑MV1?
The Master Plan
Sony’s promotional material claims an enormous frequency range, but as usual, no tolerances are given, so this information is of limited value. More intriguing are the suggested applications. Sony say of the MDR‑MV1 that: “Their open‑back design enables accurate reproduction of a wide sound field, making them a suitable option for mixing and mastering immersive spatial sound.”
Given that Sony’s 360 Reality is embroiled in a hard‑fought struggle for market supremacy against Dolby Atmos, it makes sense that they would want the tools for creating it to be as widely available as possible. One would imagine that any given pair of phones would be equally good or bad for both formats, of course, but the idea of headphones optimised for immersive mixing is an interesting one.
The marketing blurb also places great emphasis on the MDR‑MV1s’ light weight and comfort. At just 223 grams (about 8 ounces) they’re certainly in the featherweight category; in fact, I don’t think I can...
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