MSRP: $99.99, Sony
For any self-respecting audiophile, finding a winning pair of headphones that suits each and every one of your needs to a tee feels next to impossible. You want high-quality, honest sound in the form of balanced drivers, a wide frequency range, and strong impedance to power your time spent both in the studio and on the street. Sony's new MDR-V55 DJ Headphones offer a variety of interesting takes on the traditional swivel earcup DJ model, bringing in features that cherry pick from both the worlds of the four-channel mixing maestro and the casual commuter looking for attractive design and solid sound.
While the color scheme of black and red (also available in a variety of colors), the brushed exterior, and the brightly hued cord mark the MDR-V55s as near-clones of a certain rapper's popular line of premium-priced cans (you know the one), it's the superb sound that Sony seems to have honed in on as a key factor in distancing themselves from other, more frivolous competitors. Boasting 40mm neodymium drivers and a frequency range that dips all the way down to 5Hz (can humans even hear subs that low?), these headphones were built for critical sound geeks who complain about the distortion caused from 45Hz of bass rubbing the mid-range the wrong way. In other words, these are some seriously balanced, extremely honest on-ear headphones that can serve for mixdowns, mixtapes, and everything else in between. Volume is not a problem either; the MDR-V55s feature a 1,000mw input capacity that's perfect for use with professional mixers, with no noticeable drop in loudness whenever you plug in to your smartphone.
In terms of comfort, the MDR-V55s fare well enough, but in the end, any pair of on-ear headphones has the tendency to make you pretty hot after a few hours, not to mention some slight pain on the outer ear. They're highly adjustable however, and rugged in a way many DJ-style headphones can only aspire to; these are not a flimsy set of plain ol' plastic-and-foam cans. The cord is also of a different mold, assuming a straight, flat shape (as opposed to a coil) with not very much length. This lack of cord length is ideal for everyday listening and being on the go, but leaves a little to be desired in terms of reaching for your stack of wax across the booth while trying to mix in the next record quickly.