Senal SMH-1000 - Budget Studio Headphones

Very simillar to the Sony MDR-V6      13/11/13

Senal SMH-1000 - Budget Studio Headphones

Sony MDR-V6 headphones have been my choice for many years, I've been through several pairs.They are a long established industry standard for studio and location sound. Indeed, my current set are beginning to feel the effects of half a dozen trade shows  - a brutal environment. To be honest, almost all other headphones I've tried have seemed inferior  - so when I saw the Senal SMH-1000, which bear more than a passing resemblance to the Sonys - I thought hello, these look promising.

The things that make the Sonys a great choice are also true of the Senals on paper - enhanced low end for checking wind noise or bottom end depending on application, smooth midrange to allow extended usage without fatigue. The closed back design also gives you some isolation from the outside world so you can hear the details, without the seashell or cupped hand effect that many other closed headphones seem to have - DT-100 yuck, is all I'm saying...


First up, they do look very similar, same size and profile, foldable ear pieces for compact storage. Extendable headphone sliders on each side.

Even Studio Monitor is printed on the top of the headband. There's no way that is just a coincidence.

However, there are differences  - firstly there's a pair of detachable cables. These insert and lock into the  left headphone socket and means you get the choice of a short straight 3 foot lead for short runs - nice inclusion, I keep tangling my curly lead when on location - and a standard curly extending to 10 ft. Also, there's a little less cabling from the headband where it emerges to the actual earpieces, but thats not a bad thing, I am often trapping the excess  when folding the Sonys. You definitely don't get the feeling that these are cheap knock offs. The quality is comparable, but what about the sound?

Senal locking plugInitially, I found it actually quite hard to tell the difference - the smooth, extended bass and stereo imaging was on the money, no noticeable difference in volume either. I felt at home wearing these and didn't get the "something's not right" feeling I often get from other pairs. Where there is a difference is in the upper mids, there's a tad more clarity and smooth response in the Sonys but it's a pretty close run thing.

Sony MDR-V6

Senal SMH-1000

Driver Units

40mm dynamic

40 mm


63 ohms at 1kHz

58 ohms @ 1kHz



102dB 1kHz/mW

Power Handling

0.5 W

1000 mW


But Why?

Thats a reasonable question, the Senals do have a better cable set and the ability to change them out means replacement is something you can do yourself if you damage your lead, aside from that, there's very little in it. This is what I found rather puzzling, if you love the Sony sound, then the Senal SMH-1000s will appeal. But they are priced at the exact same amount - $89.95 as listed on BHPhoto. Given that,  I'm not entirely sure why you wouldn't buy the Sonys. Unless of course you need the swappable cable - that would make sense.

Certainly a good alternative, and if you want the detachable cable, then I couldn't fault them. But the bottom line is both sets of headphones are excellent value for money, I've tried ones costing many times more and still keep returning to these.

Available from BHPhoto Video at $89.99 (same price as the Sony MDR-V6)



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