Mini review: Sony PFR-V1 headphones - all bad, except for the sound

So, Sony sent me a pair of their new PFR-V1 headphones, which are supposed to sound like you're sitting in front of a pair of speakers. I'm not sure why, as they're not being sold as pro monitor headphones. Anyway...
The bad
So many reasons not to like these headphones: They look absurd - little inch-wide lacquered aluminium (I guess) balls containing tiny speakers, held in front of your ears by little metal tubes which stick into your ears.
Think that sounds uncomfortable? It is. You're sticking a curved metal tube into your ear. It's cold. My wife tried them on for a second and said 'euch, that tickles' and wouldn't go near them again. After a while, it heats up, and feels OK. They're very light, and you'll never suffer from 'hot ear'.
They come with a little inline booster which takes a 2xAAA batteries in a cheap plastic case with an on-off switch and an LED. It could use a clip and a volume control.
The cabling is all super-thin and rubber coated, so it takes a minute to untangle every time you get them out.
Because they're completely open, they're really noisy. Aside from looking like a tit, you couldn't use them in public, or in a room with anyone else.
If you wear glasses, you can't wear these.
They cost £249 from Amazon. That's £50 more than the Sennheiser HD650 at £199, which I suspect is a rather more sensible headphone choice, without doing a direct comparison.
The good
On my iPod, I have lots of snippets of music I've made, just loops and bits. When I started listening to these through the PFR-V1, it was, to use a terrible cliche, a revelation. I heard numerous details I'd never heard before. My normal headphones are Sony MDR7506's. They're comfortable, loud and bassy. They make music sound warm and nice. But the PFR-V1s are about accuracy: the bass isn't exaggerated, but it's there. The mids and highs are super crisp. The stereo image is huge and very precise. I kept hearing things I'd never noticed: clicks on loops, mistakes, sounds that clashed, subtle differences between guitar sounds, wonky mixes, things that sounded great, bass sounds that really worked.
This isn't news to those of you who work in real studios or have proper monitors in acoustically helpful rooms, but the question is - is there any way to get this kind of accuracy in a cheaper, more comfortable, less stupid-looking package? (This feature from Sound on Sound talks more about expensive headphones vs cheap monitors.)

Sony - is there anything they can do right? Personally I don't think so.
From my experience, the "accurate" sound you're talking about is what you get from open-backed headphones; the MDR7506s you're used to are closed-backed, and thus have better noise isolation but a "boomier" frequency response.

I've got a pair of Grado SR-60s at work, and Sennheiser HD650s at home, both open-backed. I don't think there's much to choose between them in terms of sound -- they're both worlds better than any closed-backed headphones I've tried. Neither provide much in the way of isolation, though; they aren't going to work well in a noisy environment.

The Grados are much cheaper, but have an unusual design; it's clever, but how well it works will depend on the shape of your head! The Sennheisers are more conventional, seem more solidly-built, and are (for me, anyway) more comfortable to wear for long periods.

If you're after more "precise"-sounding headphones, I'd happily recommend either; the Grados are really impressive for the price. I'd certainly recommend browsing around the reviews on; there are people there who've spent much more time and money on headphones than I have...
I'llsecond the recommendation for Grados, or for ultimate resolution try a pair of Stax electrostatic headphones. I used to own a pair of Stax SR Gammas and they had a simply breathtaking sound.
Go for the Grados.
They are superb.
If you have to work in a noisy enviroment or you prefer to listen music loudly without anyone hearing, then I would suggest Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. They are top notch and the price is ridiculous. I saw them for 90 $ in New York's Guitar Centre.
I have heard a lot of good comments on HD 25-1 II too.
Haven't tried S HD650s.
Grados rule ok. I used to have a pair of Sennheiser HD600's, and now i use Grado SR-80's, the Grado's are the only headphones I've been able to afford that I've been happy working with.
If you're after accuracy and don't have the budget for Stax, consider Etymotic ER4 ear-canal-phones. They are the most accurate monitors I've ever used. They don't have booty shaking bass but they are totally revealing. They are also highly isolating -- I *love* them on airplanes and public transit; my iPod is regularly at half volume or less even in loud environments... ear saving for sure.

The earphone thing is sadly for everyone, some people dont' find them comfortable; but you can custom molds made -- even with that investment, far cheaper than Stax.

(Sony also makes some excellent open-ear headphones that are very accurate, the current descendant of the MDR-F1s which are the most comfortable 'phone I've used...)
The point of those headphones really escapes me...

Maybe... if you can't afford monitors to start with? or.... you want to listen to your music really loud and annoy everyone? (but pretend you don't notice them because of your headphones?)

It's really an odd idea...

Anyway, over here I swear by the Shure E500 (used E4c [using them as in-ear monitor now] and ER6 before), when I don't need to annoy anyone or driving my moped (I know I'm insane). For studio and office I alternate between Beyerdynamics DT770 and DT990, great cans.
These are selling for 170pounds (34,000yen) in Japan
nice work ...lot of information
Thanks for the advice.
All of these comments sound feasable but where I work, I'm not allowed to have anything covering my ears. Those little bar tubes would keep the speakers away from the ears which would fulfill the criteria of the work space rules. If someone out there knows of any other setup that could fill this criteria, I'm all ears (lol).
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