Sony MDR-MV1: For engineers who want to focus on spatial audio

With the MDR-MV1, Sony wants to give music creators a better tool for working with 360 audio. But the open-back headphones should also work great for stereo, and we hope they're also excellent for pure entertainment use.

written by / 2023-04-25 - 8:00 am
Sony MDR-MV1: For engineers who want to focus on spatial audio

The Sony MDR-MV1 is a pair of reference headphones for professional music creators, with an emphasis on those working with spatial audio. Sony calls its format 360 Reality Audio, but Dolby Atmos and other formats are also available for headphones, and we assume the MDR-MV1 is format-agnostic.

Sony MDR-MV1 beauty
Photo: Sony

There’s nothing magical about the MDR-MV1, which are, after all, a pretty ordinary pair of stereo headphones. The fact that they are designed to mix 360 sound is because they fulfil a good number of criteria.

Why these particular headphones work better than others for this purpose has to do with their ability to reproduce a wide soundstage. This is again thanks to their open construction. Which is the rule rather than the exception for higher-end headphones.

“With the evolution of spatial audio and high-quality music streaming services, we see a need for headphones that can adapt to, and enrich, all these needs for immersive sound,” says James Leach, Head of Connected Content Acquisition at Sony Europe. “Sony’s deep heritage in audio is showcased with the MDR-MV1, a flexible and stylish new option for home or studio use. The headphones prioritise comfort, demonstrate Sony’s craftsmanship, and provide long-lasting durability, while offering users the ability to accurately reproduce sounds the way the artist intended them to sound.” The press release states.

Sony MDR-MV1 lifestyle
Spatial audio engineers can now fulfil their dreams with the Sony MDR-MV1. Photo: Sony

Sound characteristics

The MDR-MV1 is said to be particularly well suited to accurately reproduce the location of sound objects in a 360-degree space, and the sound reproduction itself is promised to be high-resolution, with nuances intact. The specified frequency range is very wide, from 5 Hz to 80 kHz. This should make it easier for professionals to capture location and spatiality in the soundstage, and even the slightest change in the sound should be audible. Important when a professional has to place devices in a 360-degree soundstage, but also when adjusting the EQ of the whole thing.

Of course, these features should also benefit music lovers, so we believe that regular hi-fi enthusiasts will also be able to get their solid dose with these headphones.

The open construction will minimise reflected sounds inside the earcups, and largely eliminate acoustic resonances compared to closed headphones. Like, for example, Sony’s insane MDR-Z1R.

Sony-MDR-MV1-cable-2-989x557 Sony-MDR-MV1-cable-989x556 Sony-MDR-MV1-cable-adaptor-989x556
An adapter for small 3.5mm sockets is included. Photo: Sony


We’re also promised top-class comfort, with breathable ear cushions and a low weight of just 223 grams without cable. The 24 ohm impedance, combined with a sensitivity of 100 dB (1 mW), should be a perfectly average load for a headphone amplifier. They can also withstand being pummelled with as much as 1500 mW from the amplifier.

The cable is detachable and replaceable, so it lasts longer, but also in case you want to swap it for a different length – or a balanced type, for example. The plug at the end is the big 6.3mm kind, but a short adapter cable for 3.5mm is also included.

Sony MDR-MV1 turned
Photo: Sony

Sony MDR-MV1: Price and availability

The open Sony MDR-MV1 headphones will be available before the end of the month, and we expect a price in the region of €400, maybe a little more. In any case, it’s very much below the price of Sony’s closed flagship headphones.

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