DJ headphones are a funny breed. What they are meant to be is headphones used by DJs to monitor tunes while performing. What that frequently translates to these days, however, is a street-style set with way too much bass and poor sonic balance. But are the Sony MDR-V55 worthy of what the DJ headphone title should mean? For the most part, they are.
Sony MDR-V55 Design and Comfort
There are three main physical criteria for a DJ headphone set like the Sony MDR-V55. They need to be fairly robust, should offer at least some isolation and have to be pretty portable.
These headphones come up trumps on most counts, but do end up alienating some "normal" buyers in the process. Point one - they use fairly large, hard plastic arms that join the cups to the headband. They feel robust enough, but the Sony MDR-V55 are some of the creakiest non-budget headphones we've used in quite some time. They may survive the bumps and scrapes expected, but they don't leave a great first impression. They even creak noisily if you move your head, and it can sound like you're in the hull of a creaky old galleon at times.
The headband tells a similar story. It's coated in rubber to help the headphones stay in place on your head, and the inner structure is minimal at the top arch, letting them flex much, much more than the average pair. The problem? It's not comfortable. Bafflingly, there's more padding on the top of the headband than the bit that rests on your head, leaving just a thin layer of rubber between you and the metal skeleton of the band.
The Sony MDR-V55 earpads don't help out much either. Mid-softness foam topped with a thin layer of basic - and again thin - plastic-leather, they don't offer any of the bouncy comfort of the XB-series models, such as the Sony MDR-XB500.
Give them time to bed in and they don't feel too bad, as the hinged designed makes them fit to your head easily. It's two minutes of "these don't feel too great", followed by a relatively easy wear, but these are far from the most comfortable headphones at the price. There are some practical benefits to the design, though. The cups fold up right into the headband and the ultra-flexible headband lets you scrunch them up into quite a tight bundle. Sadly, though, there's no bag included with the cans.
Despite their fairly large size, the Sony MDR-V55 are on-ear headphones. The pads rest directly on your ears rather than around them, which will cause your ears to heat up on a warm day - or during a hot gig. Again, this doesn't help the comfort factor.
The Sony MDR-V55 cable is non-removable and has a flat design, which we assume is more for the look than anything else. Flat cables can reduce tangling, which isn't too much of an issue here, but they are also quite trendy at the moment, along with fabric-braided cabling.