Pros: Strong Bass that doesn't muddle the clarity of music
Cons: steep price tag
Coming from balanced armature earbuds, I found this headphone a rather enjoyable transition.
I own the PIIQ2, Beats Solo HD, and this definitely fits into another category. The overall impression of the MDR-1R is it is very comfortable piece of hardware with a very warm sound signature, you can listen to this thing for hours and it won't hurt you unlike the XBA-30. However I believe this thing is driven by a dynamic driver, so the clarity is definitely not as good as balanced armature headphones.
The bass of this is definitely present, and I'm not a huge fan of bass headphones and I own a pair of Beats Solo HD. However compare to the Beats by Dr.Dre garbage I can tell you the bass is very well controlled and it does not muddle the clarity of the music. Sony claims that this headphone can produce frequencies 3 times higher than its competition so these headphones should have no trouble handling higher frequencies. I did find the mids and the highs enjoyable on these even with strong bass performance.
In terms of comfort and design, I don't think there isn't anything remotely comparable to the MDR-1R in this price range. I would suggest the alternative for this headphone is the sennheiser momentum, however the sennheiser doesn't look as classy or refined as the sony, and the sound signature of the momentum is a bit more jumpy, intense and not as smooth.