Total black. The unmistakable Sony logo on the back of both pavilions and the word “professional” that stands out on the headband. This is how they look Sony MDR-MV1, the new open back headphones designed specifically for mixing and mastering (but actually not only). Having to go to the recording studio for a series of summer recording sessions, we thought it best to bring them with us, to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. So here it is our Sony MDR-MV1 review.
Let’s start with un-packaging. Although the product is a top of the range (with a price of around €470), the packaging is decidedly sparse. Headphones arrive without transport houses (after all, they are designed to be placed in the studio), accompanied only by a cable Balanced TRS (removable that screws into the headphones) and a stereo mini jack adaptor. In this way it is also possible to use them in domestic environments.
Despite this not exactly optimal first presentation (a carrying case would have been very welcome), the Sony MDR-MV1 headphones didn’t take too long to make up for it. In fact it was enough for us to try them for a first listen to convince us.
First home listen: detailed bass and excellent balance
We first wanted to evaluate its bass. To do this we relied on the evergreen Angel of Massive Attack. The result is amazing: the bass is extremely detailed (characteristic not obvious for open-backs) e without ever a real frequency imbalance.
The same goes for the medium frequencies, with a slight tendency to enhance the medium-bass. In this case we tested it with a piece on the piano (hello Chopin, how are you?) and once again the result is a neutral listeningwith a mix that does not favor particular range emphasis.
On the other hand, the high frequencies, which result, are less good slightly more unbalanced. Piercing sounds (above all cymbals) are much more emphasized than lower frequencies (e.g. voices). A feature that minimally affects domestic listening but which, as we will see shortly, will prove useful in the studio.
Summing up, the entire first listening experience is fairly balanced, with an enveloping sound full of details. But it’s a home listening, how will they behave in the mixing phase? It is soon said.
The Sony MDR-MV1 review: how the headphones perform in the studio
The test of 9, as anticipated in the incipit of our review of the Sony MDR-MV1 headphones, we did it in the studio. After all, we are talking about a product designed for the mixing and mastering phases, and in fact it is here that the headphones reveal their top-of-the-range characteristics.
Let’s start again from the problem of high frequencies mentioned above. If in common listening the emphasis on high frequencies can be a deficit, in the mixing phase it is instead vital, above all if one has to deal with particularly “impromptu” hi-hats.
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In this perspective theand Sony MDR-MV1 ensure easy identification of frequencies that annoy the mix, especially on those high frequencies that risk affecting the lead parts. In short: what can be a defect in home listening can turn out to be a great ally in the production phase.
Spatial audio and noise isolation
Another feature that we appreciated in the Sony MDR-MV1, and that we would like to underline in this review, is the rendering ofspatial audio thanks to its dynamic drivers. The placement of individual instruments in space is indeed very effective, ensuring a great sound imaging experience.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of thesoundproofingwhich in open-back headphones is always one of the major deficits. The over-ear cups keep many of the high frequencies out, but let the lower sounds in. For example, if you’re mixing with the window open, you can hear car engines (and no, it’s not Pink Floyd’s Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast). Once again, however, this is a deficiency that is only felt in domestic environments, in a recording studio the problem is extremely relative.
Are they comfortable to wear?
Characterized by a light but ductile design, the headphones are extremely comfortable, without ever annoying even during long mixing sessions. The top of the headband is padded, while the lower ends leave room for adjustment (with cleats numbered from 1 to 10). In short, it is very rare that there are problems with fit, as the headphones adhere without problems to the head. Even the two pavilions are fairly large, ensuring comfort for any type of ear.
Sony MDR-MV1 headphones review: let’s sum up
Wanting to sum up our review, the headphones Sony MDR-MV1 return a decidedly balanced and neutral listeningpreferring accuracy over showmanship, with a minimal emphasis on low frequencies and sharper treble spectrum. This discrete neutrality makes them particularly suitable for the mixing and mastering phases, processes for which they have been specifically created.
Despite that they can be safely used for the most diverse usesas the Live DJing (with the ability to rotate the earcups outward) and even the gaming (although they are wired and obviously do not have a microphone). Also excellent fordomestic usethanks to the stereo mini-jack adapter included in the package.
Speaking of the packaging: it’s sparse, too, with theabsence of a transport case as a major negative point. Among the strengths we point out instead the yield of low frequencies and theincredible spatial accuracya feature that, once again, makes them incredibly functional in the mixing phase.