Sony MDR V55: good sound, great price

Photo credit: KillswitchX

This may have busted my budget by a good $7. But it is worth the buy, at least for a pair of budget cans.

The first huge benefit any audiophile would appreciate is the impressive,  well-rounded sound quality which is just a notch below the perfection that quality brands like Klipsch offer. For some with a 40mm driver, the music clarity hits the spot — if you are not too particular about wearing a portable headset that covers most of your head.

Music listeners with smaller budgets gain an additional benefit: Sony claims that these cans deliver improved bass. They do! However, the overall balance of the sound could turn up the bass punch a tad better. A simple fix is to increase the balance on the basses from your music player’s EQ, assuming it has one.

Another striking feature is the impressive clarity of the treble and bass mixture. Neither overpowers the other. The highs are not too sharp while the basses provide satisfactory oomph. Mid-range sounds good too,  with sufficiently spaced out sounds giving listeners enough room to differentiate between every instrument in a test track.

Aesthetically, the V55 is quite a catch for its amazing price at just over SGD100. Appealingly designed, it comes in 3 different colors varying from a clean white with silver linings or black, with a choice between red or blue trimmings.

What stands out the most for me is the comfort factor. For years, Sony has been the peak provider of comfy, low price headphones. As such, with the V55’s rugged cushions placed over the ears, the average listener is able to enjoy a few hours straight of  music without readjusting the pads. However, these tight fitting headsets do not provide ample space for spectacles. Thus, for the four-eyed demographic there could be aches behind the earlobes after prolonged usage.

For those looking for noise-cancellation headsets, keep looking. While these cans sufficiently muffle external noises, ambient sounds can still penetrate. But, the biggest issue lies with some sound leakage. Thus, do be mindful of your music volume — you don’t want to be a public nuisance in a crowded MRT carriage.

Some may find the cable of 1.2m too short, but for portable users, the length is sufficient not to get entangled easily, thus making storage on the go simple. I especially like Sony’s upgrade to non-tangle cables.

The MDR V55 is a holistic set to invest in. With a design comparable to the expensive BEATS Monster and an overall well-balanced sound, this could very well be the best pair of cans for its price range. For a user whose previous pair was the Audio Technica ATH-SJ11, listening to music with the V55 is a whole new experience.

Quick Overview:
PROS: Comfy, stylish designs; sound clarity; emphatic, yet balanced mixes.
CONS: A bit heavy at 220g; may creak at the hinges; little noise-cancellation
Conclusion: A holistic headset at a decent price

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