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Sony MDR-MV1 Studio Monitor Headphones — A Mix Real-World Review…in the USVI

To test a pair of Sony MDR-MV1 Studio Monitor Headphones, we took them far, far afield...and then started recording.

Sony MDR-MV1 Studio Monitor Headphones

Every year, Mix contributors Rich Tozzoli, Mike Dwyer and Bruce MacPherson decamp to St. John, USVI, and temporarily turn a house into a studio where they record TV cues while also testing new equipment and software, resulting in a bevy of Mix Real-World Reviews written in a unique part of the real world.

Sony MDR-MV1 Studio Monitor Headphones
Sony MDR-MV1 Studio Monitor Headphones.

With full disclosure here, I’ve known the gang at Sony for many years now, and am a fan of both their mics and more advanced headphones. Andy Munitz, Sr. product manager at Sony, had told me about all the design work going into Sony’s latest release, and I assumed they would be solid. However, when they arrived a few days after we began tracking, they took not only me by complete surprise, but every person on this trip who put them on their head. The initial reaction was, “Wow, I want these,” and yes, that’s genuine.

The MDR-MV1 is designed for accurate reproduction of spatial sound for mixing and mastering, with an open-back structure that was carefully tuned by the Sony engineering team. Ultra-lightweight (coming in at less than 8 ounces) and remarkably comfortable, the inclusion of Aluminum Alloy in the design allows them to kind of “float” on your ears. The listed frequency response is 5 Hz to 80 kHz, and, yes, you read that right.

Sony Immersive Open Back Monitor Headphones Launch

Upon first use and a quick comparison, my longtime previous favorite headphones were relegated to the travel bag and these MV1s became the go-to’s. It was quite a shock to me, but they are that instantly good, both physically and sonically. When tracking with them, I was able to hear the smallest changes in my guitar tones, and they also allowed engineer Mike Dwyer to add fine details to EQs, reverbs and compression when mixing. Yes, the open-back design does let some bleed out when tracking, but for us, the end results were well worth it.

The MDR-MV1s are so relaxing and comfortable that I would wake up each morning and start composing in them because they were so sonically inspiring to work in. It’s like being in a sonic atmosphere that you don’t want to leave. I have since used them at my home studio every day since coming back and I have no doubt that I’m not alone in my feeling about how good these are. But I’ll let you be the judge when you try them yourself.