Hi Michael, thanks for reading and for stopping by.

Every headphone on the market has a different sound signature, in part because they all have different goals in the design phase. Some headphones are made primarily for production and critical listening. Others are more for home/consumer listening.

The latter tend to have a little more warmth, AKA more emphasis in the bass and lower midrange, and gentler treble.

The 1A, with its extreme comfort, detachable cable, and stylish design, had its sound designed around comfortable long-session consumer listening. Its sound signature is also the original basis for Sony’s popular noise-canceling headphone lineup.

So, you’ve essentially guessed right about the sonic differences you’re witnessing.

Outside of doing direct listening comparisons, many folks find measurement graphs useful for seeing sound signature differences at a glance. Rtings.com is a popular website for headphone measurements right now and they have a large database available.

They’ve measured both the 1A and the 7506/V6 and as you can see here they aren’t extremely different but they do each have their own unique signature. The shapes of the signatures aren’t dramatically different, but even small variations like this can have a readily audible impact.

The slightly increased upper bass and reduced lower treble of the 1A compared to the V6/7506 give it the warmer character that you’ve heard as muddy. The V6/7506 is “famous” for its sharp treble energy, and in fact that’s what makes it popular for certain production and monitoring tasks. It’s easy to use them to pick out unwanted hiss or noise.

Many users find the higher-end energy of the V6’s too intense for long listening sessions.

It seems like you’ll definitely enjoy headphones that skew more towards the bright end of neutral. The current popular “flat response” headphones that you might enjoy are the AKG K371's, which I recently named one of my favorite wired headphone releases of last year. I also highlight their cheaper little brother, the K361, which I’ve come to prefer for daily use thanks to its lighter weight.

Both are shockingly accurate to the source audio for their price, and they’re my new gold standards for “flat/accurate” headphones. Their tuning is based on the Harman target, which to my knowledge is the most diligently-researched headphone sound signature target ever devised. The K361 and 371 don’t suffer from the giant spike in the treble that the Sony model does, and are generally more accurate across the whole sound range.

The Harman target aims to replicate the sound of perfectly-balanced monitor speakers inside a headphone, and takes both objective measurements and thousands of different subjective listening tests from listeners of all sorts into account. Due to the way our ears perceive sound at such close distances, headphones have to be specially tuned in order to create a balanced and accurate sound.

A headphone that objectively played back every sound at the same level with no sculpting would sound bizarre, because our ears actually boost and reduce certain frequencies naturally due to their anatomical shape. So that’s where the science of headphone sound signatures and target curves first emerged from.

Neither of the AKG models will be quite as intense in the treble as your V6’s, but I’ve been in audio production for 15 years and I will personally attest that they’re some of the most accurate headphones I’ve heard at any price.

If you want to lean further into a sound that’s like the V6’s with their big treble spike, you should also perhaps consider the DT880 and the DT990 from Beyerdynamic.

Hope that helps you out! Thanks again for reading.

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I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

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