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We've recently released our Test Bench 1.7 update for Headphones! Read the Noise isolation R&D Article to learn more.

Sony MDR-MV1 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 24, 2023 at 10:17 am
Sony MDR-MV1 Picture
8.1
Neutral Sound
4.0
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
4.8
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.6
Wired Gaming
1.6
Phone Calls

The Sony MDR-MV1 are reference-grade open-backs with dynamic drivers. Designed for mixing and mastering audio, these cans stand out from Sony's closed-back audiophile offerings, like the Sony MDR-Z7M2 and Sony MDR-7506. Thanks to their perforated ear cup enclosure, audio can escape from the cup and interact with your environment, creating a more spacious and natural soundstage.

Our Verdict

8.1 Neutral Sound

The Sony MDR-MV1 are great for neutral sound. They have a somewhat neutral sound and can reproduce a surprising amount of bass for open-backs. Although sibilants like cymbals are piercing and can be fatiguing, some people may prefer this sound to help spot imperfections in mixes. They can also create a decent passive soundstage, which feels natural, spacious, and wide. However, their soundstage doesn't feel quite as out-of-head as other open-backs, and they're prone to inconsistencies in bass delivery if you're wearing glasses or earrings, as these can disrupt the cups' seal on your head.

Pros
  • Well-built and very comfortable.
  • Decent passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Prone to a drop in bass delivery if you wear glasses or earrings.
4.0 Commute/Travel

The Sony MDR-MV1 are poor for commuting. They're audiophile headphones, so they have a bulky design that's not meant to be constantly moved around, and they lack a carrying case to help protect them from accidental impacts. They also have an open-back design, so they can't block out any of the low rumbles of bus engines or chatty passengers. They leak audio, even at moderate volumes, disturbing others around you.

Pros
  • Well-built and very comfortable.
Cons
  • Won't block out background noise.
  • High leakage.
5.5 Sports/Fitness

The Sony MDR-MV1 aren't designed for sports and fitness. These audiophile headphones have a somewhat bulky design, which can fall off your head with intense head movements, and their audio cable, while detachable, can snag on something. They also lack an IP rating for water resistance, which isn't surprising.

Pros
  • Well-built and very comfortable.
Cons
  • No controls.
4.8 Office

The Sony MDR-MV1 are poor for office use. They're audiophile headphones that purposefully lack a mic, so you can't take calls. They also have an open-back design, which means that they're designed to leak audio, even at moderate volumes, which means that you can bother people around you with your audio and won't block out any sound around you. However, if you're working in a private room, then it's not an issue. After all, these over-ears have a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions.

Pros
  • Well-built and very comfortable.
Cons
  • Won't block out background noise.
  • High leakage.
  • No mic.
4.5 Wireless Gaming

The Sony MDR-MV1 are wired-only headphones; you can't use them wirelessly.

6.6 Wired Gaming

The Sony MDR-MV1 are okay for wired gaming if you don't need mic support. They have a comfortable fit, so you won't feel fatigued during long gaming sessions, and their added bass can help emphasize sound effects in gameplay. They also have a decent soundstage to help immerse you in your audio.

Pros
  • Well-built and very comfortable.
  • Decent passive soundstage.
Cons
  • No controls.
  • No mic.
1.6 Phone Calls

The Sony MDR-MV1 are audiophile headphones that don't come with a mic. If you already have a standalone mic, these headphones can be a solid choice since they have a very comfortable fit and can reproduce dialogue clearly.

  • 8.1 Neutral Sound
  • 4.0 Commute/Travel
  • 5.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.8 Office
  • 4.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.6 Wired Gaming
  • 1.6 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jul 24, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Jul 19, 2023: Early access published.
  3. Updated Jul 14, 2023: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated Jun 12, 2023: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated Jun 07, 2023: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony MDR-MV1 come in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see our model's label here. If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sony MDR-MV1 are reference-grade open-back headphones, which stand out from the mostly-closed-back headphones that this manufacturer has produced. These cans have a somewhat neutral sound and can deliver more bass than other open-backs, like the HiFiMan Sundara 2020. However, like the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO, sibilants are also pretty bright and piercing, which can tire your ears. However, you may prefer this because extra treble can make it easier to spot imperfections when mixing audio.

Check out our picks for the best audiophile headphones, the best open-back headphones, and the best studio headphones.

Sony MDR-7506

Depending on your usage, you may prefer either the Sony MDR-7506 or Sony MDR-MV1. The MDR-7506 are closed-back headphones that you can use to monitor live recordings, thanks to their decently low leakage performance. While they don't block out much background noise, they can still cut down more ambient chatter than the MDR-MV1, which can be handy in a noisy venue. They also have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. If you're mixing and mastering audio, you'll want to try the MDR-MV1 instead. These cans have an open-back design, making their soundstage more spacious and immersive. They're also a lot more comfortable and well-built.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Sony MDR-MV1 are evenly matched open-backs, so you may enjoy either, depending on your preferences. The Beyerdynamic are better-built and have a more balanced treble range. Conversely, the Sony are more comfortable but have a wider soundstage.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are better audiophile headphones than the Sony MDR-MV1. The HiFiMan have more consistent audio delivery and a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their passive soundstage is better, making for an even more immersive audio experience. However, the Sony are more comfortable.

HiFiMan Edition XS

The HiFiMan Edition XS are better audiophile headphones than the Sony MDR-MV1. The HiFiMan deliver audio more consistently, have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their passive soundstage is significantly more immersive. However, the Sony are more comfortable.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sony MDR-MV1 have a somewhat non-descript look with the manufacturer's logo on each ear cup and a teal and gold embellishment on the yokes which says, 'Professional' to indicate their lineup. Like the Sony MDR-7506, a little red tab on the headband lets you know which side is which. While most open-back headphones tend to have mesh grilles, these cans have a perforated enclosure. They only come in this black colorway.

8.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.49 lbs
Clamping Force
0.7 lbs

These headphones have a very comfortable fit. They're lightweight and don't clamp too tightly, so you won't feel fatigued from long listening sessions. Their ear cup and headband padding feels plush too. That said, if you have large ears, the ear cup depth may be a little shallow as your ears can rub up against the inner driver covering. There isn't any cushioning at the end of the padded headband, which can put pressure on the side of wide heads. However, either limitation won't be an issue for most users.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

Like most audiophile headphones, they don't have any controls. However, the headband has numbered notches to help you adjust the headbands to fit your head and make remembering your settings easier.

6.0
Design
Portability
L 8.1" (20.5 cm)
W 7.2" (18.4 cm)
H 1.8" (4.6 cm)
Volume 105.88 in³ (1,735.12 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't the most portable, but that's normal for audiophile headphones. The ear cups can swivel to lay flat but can't fold inwards to help conserve space. However, their footprint won't be too much of an issue if you use them at your desk.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.5
Design
Build Quality

The build quality is good. They're made of aluminum and plastic with a metal frame to help reinforce their headband. Overall, this helps keep their design lightweight without cheapening their look and feel. The hinges and ear cups are sturdy and have a good range of motion, while the ear cup padding feels nice against the skin. However, the inner memory foam seems like it will flatten over time. The headband's faux leather padding is thin, too, and could be prone to degradation over time.

7.0
Design
Stability

These headphones have a decently stable fit. They'll stay in place if you're listening to audio at your desk or on the couch. However, if you tend to bop your head to the music, they can shift in place and even fall off your head if you get carried away by headbanging.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sony MDR-MV1 headphones
  • 1/4" TRS to 1/8" TRS cable
  • 1/4" to 1/8" TRS adapter
  • Documentation

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.85 dB
Treble Amount
-1.04 dB

These over-ears have a somewhat neutral sound suitable for a wide variety of audio content. For open-backs, they can reproduce a surprising amount of bass, so tracks have adequate thump and rumble, as well as extra warmth and boom. The added bass muddies vocals and instruments, yet they still sound detailed and present in tracks. However, sibilants like cymbals are very bright and piercing, which can be fatiguing to listen to over time. However, this extra brightness can be useful when mastering tracks as it can help make imperfections more noticeable.

7.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.55 dB

These over-ears have decent frequency response consistency. They're fairly consistent across reseats, but wearing glasses or earrings can break the ear cups' seal on your head and cause a drop in bass. However, once you take the time to ensure proper fit, positioning, and seal, you'll experience consistent audio delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.38 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
31.29 Hz
Low-Bass
-1.73 dB
Mid-Bass
1.64 dB
High-Bass
3.6 dB

The bass accuracy is great. They can deliver a lot of bass for open-backs, which is surprising. Although they don't reproduce quite as much low-bass as the closed-back Sony MDR-7506, mixes still have adequate thump and rumble. There's also a solid amount of punch, but the high-bass is overemphasized, which results in a boomy, muddy sound.

8.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.62 dB
Low-Mid
2.44 dB
Mid-Mid
0.17 dB
High-Mid
-0.62 dB

The Sony MDR-MV1 have excellent mid accuracy. The response is mostly flat, although it's slightly bass-tilted. Some overemphasis from the bass range seeps into the low-mid and clutters vocals and instruments. That said, the rest of the response is neutral, so instruments like the piano in songs like Arabesque No. 1 by Claude Debussy still sound present and detailed throughout your mix.

7.0
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.5 dB
Low-Treble
-1.45 dB
Mid-Treble
4.89 dB
High-Treble
-5.31 dB

They have decent treble accuracy. The low-treble is underemphasized, which veils vocals and instruments, while the mid-treble is overemphasized, making sibilants like S and T sounds piercing. This sound can be fatiguing over long listening sessions. However, it can also be advantageous as it helps make imperfections more noticeable when editing audio.

6.8
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.26 dB
Dips
1.16 dB

The peaks and dips performance is alright. Most of the response is fairly flat, except for the treble range. This indicates that the headphones can control their sound profile well in the bass and mid ranges but poorly in the treble range. A dip in the low-treble veils vocals and instruments while sibilants like hi-hats are very piercing.

9.3
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.15
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.21
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.19
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.12

Sony produces many headphones, most of which have solid imaging performances, ensuring that objects like voices are accurately placed in the stereo image. That said, imaging varies between units and indicates a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics. Our unit is well-matched in group delay, which ensures tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. Our unit's L/R drivers are also well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, so the stereo image is balanced, even, and accurate.

7.2
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.74 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.91 dB
PRTF Distance
3.29 dB
Openness
9.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
7.8

The passive soundstage is decent. The soundstage feels open, spacious, wide, and natural thanks to their open-back design. That said, the headphones still struggle to produce an out-of-head sensation, so audio seems to be coming from inside your head rather than from speakers in the room around you. If you're looking for open-backs with a more immersive soundstage, try the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.1
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.199
WHD @ 100
0.096

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. Both responses fall within good levels, producing clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this way.

Isolation
1.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-4.58 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.06 dB
Mid
-1.32 dB
Treble
-12.45 dB

The noise isolation performance is bad, but that's normal for open-back headphones. They're not designed to block out sound, so you'll hear all the low rumble of car engines from open windows and ambient chatter. They can reduce a bit of the high-pitched hum of AC units, but it's still quite poor altogether.

3.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
57.54 dB

The leakage performance is poor, but that's also on par for open-back headphones. Leakage is most prominent in the mid to treble range, which sounds somewhat thin. People around you can hear your audio if you're listening to audio in a moderately noisy environment.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 8.50 ft (2.59 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a sturdy and detachable 1/4" to 1/8" TRS cable and a 1/4" to 1/8" TRS cable. The cable screws into the headphones' port for a secure connection.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can only connect these headphones to your PC via analog. Since they don't have a mic, you can only receive audio.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

You can connect these headphones to your PlayStation console by plugging their audio cable into your controller's AUX port. However, you can only receive audio since they don't have a mic.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

You can connect these headphones via analog to your Xbox console. They can only receive audio, so if you want mic support, you'll need to use a standalone mic.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock