Sony MDRV55 review: Sony MDRV55

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The Good Generally very good sound. Excellent value for money. Excellent comfort.

The Bad Some vocal sibilance. No in-line iPod remote control. No pouch.

The Bottom Line The Sony MDRV55 headphones provide generally good quality sound and comfortable wear at a relatively low price, but miss out with no iPod inline remote.

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8.1 Overall

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Look up Sony's website, and all its portable or iPod-related earphones seem to be in-ear types. Nonetheless, its MDRV55 headphones do a decent job of being get-about on-ear models.

At 225 grams, these are fairly heavy headphones. Yet, they didn't feel it. The shape of the padded headband, its reasonable breadth and the soft padding around the ear-pieces seemed to make the headphones feel lighter. They are "on-ear" in design — that is, they rest on the surface of your ears rather, than surround them with the padding against your head — but the pressure is fairly gentle. Consequently, they were comfortable, but didn't seal against external sounds very well, despite their "closed" design.

They felt secure, and even when we shook our heads fairly violently, they remained properly in place.

The headphone cable is tangle-resistant flat-type, 5mm wide and only 1mm thick. On the review headphones we received, they were a slightly sickening aquamarine colour, with a small amount of matching trim against the black of the bulk of the unit, but you can get this trim in red instead, or white (the ear pads are also white with this model), or the entire headphones in white.

The headphones fold up to into a reasonably compact bundle, but you don't get a carry pouch with them. You don't get a 3.5mm to 6.5mm plug adaptor, either. The cable is fixed, attaching to the left earpiece only and it uses a 90-degree plug for a snug attachment to a portable music player. There is no in-line remote option, which is a drawback for portable use. We found ourselves having to poke around in pockets for the iPod more than we liked. Likewise, without a microphone, they also cannot serve as a chunky hands-free option for a phone.


Sony permits itself to boast a little about their high power handling capacity: 1,000mW (ie, 1 watt) it says. By way of comparison, the output of a 4G iPod Touch into a 40 ohm load is about 20 milliwatts. We're not so sure that boast is such a good idea if the other specifications are correct. It says that their sensitivity is 105dB for a milliwatt of input. Even an iPod Touch should therefore hit up to 118dB with these headphones. As for a thousand, that'd be 145dB, and airport runway levels. Which, it almost goes without saying, is not to be recommended if you want to retain your hearing.

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