Most helpful positive review
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
The best balance for your buck
on July 8, 2004
When I started shopping for headphones, I had some very specific criteria in mind: first, they must have good noise reduction, as their primary use would be in my dorm room where I wanted to decrease background noise as much as possible when studying.
Second, the sound must be of high quality because I'm picky in general and also because I intend to use them to analyze and learn music (both classical and popular) by ear.
Thiry, they must be large and comfortable. I have slightly big ears, and I wear my headphones for long periods of time, so they have to be of the highest comfort rating.
Finally, and equally significantly, they must have a low impedance. This refers to the electrical resistance of the headphones (their Ohm rating, or the omega symbol). The higher the impedance, the more power you need to run them properly. As you ascend through the price range of headphones, you will find that the impedance increases as well. High-quality headphones have higher impedance because the manufacturer assumes you will be plugging them into a home stereo or studio amplifier, which are typically set up to power headphones of 150-300ohm.
However, if you're like me, you may want to use these headphones elsewhere. Most portable devices like CD players are best suited to run 32ohm headphones at the most, and if you tried to run a pair of 150-300ohm headphones on something with this power rating, it would sound like a dying cow. More importantly to me, however, was the fact that my computer's sound card was rated at 32ohm. Since I do not have a home stereo in my dorm room, and most of my headphone use occurs on the computer, I had to pass up many great sets of headphones because of their high impedance ratings.
Every pair of headphones I looked at or listened to fell short in one of these areas - every pair except the Sony MDR-V900. I listened to them on a whim in a local music store while looking at Sennheisers, and they really impressed me. I thought they sounded great, and they sealed out background noise exquisitely. I thought they would be great if only I had a stereo at school, but then I looked at the back of the box: 32 OHMS IMPEDANCE! WOOHOO!!!
The bottom line is, these headphones sound amazing, have good sealing, are amazingly comfortable, and you can run them from practically anything with no loss in quality. I have not experienced the tinny highs or excess bass that others complain of. They perform great with classical music (orchestra, solo, quartet, etc), jazz, folk/bluegrass, and rock. Bowed instruments and woodwinds sound sweet and warm, guitar is clean and clear, drums are crisp and defined, bass is smooth and well-articulated, brass is clear as a bell, piano resonates like you're in the room with it, and vocals will feel like they're being sung directly to you.
The sound-proofing is good enough that I can really rock out in my fairly quiet office with no noise leakage except when I take them off and they aren't sealed around my ears. It's not so thick that I can't hear my phone ring, but my co-workers have trouble getting my attention vocally.
On a typical day, I wear these headphones almost continuously for 4 hours before and 4 hours after lunch, and have never needed to take a break because of discomfort. They do not get heavy, and the cups are so large that even my big ears barely touch them. They also look pretty sharp. The MDR-V900's are the best piece of musical reproduction equipment I have ever owned, and I would recommend them to anyone.
P.S. If you're shopping for headphones and plan on listening to a few, burn a CD to take with you to the store. They won't mind if you pop it in when you're spending these kind of bucks.