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SONY Stereo headphones black MDR-1RMK2/B

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #237 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Nice looks, luxuriously padded earpads, decent sound quality

Cons: Rather expensive for sound it offers, as competitors offer better, especially for neutral-sound-seeking audiophiles

     The Sony MDR-1RMK2 has been widely lauded for its looks, and is now about to be replaced by the new MDR-1A which comes in a version that includes a built in DAC. With the 1A coming out, the 1R has potential to be of a great value as prices drop to make way for the new 1A.
 
Pros: Nice looks, luxuriously padded earpads, decent sound quality
 
Cons: Rather expensive for sound it offers, as competitors offer better, especially for neutral-sound-seeking audiophiles
 
SonyMDR1r.jpg380754-sony-mdr-1r.jpg?thumb=y
 
     Cnet seems to like the sound of this pair of cans, but I definitely think otherwise. However, let's touch on the other aspects of these headphones first.
 
     Looking at the pics of these pair of cans, the thick earpads are almost immediately noticed. When I got the opportunity to see these pair of cans for the first time and to try them on, I was impressed with their dedication to providing the best comfort to the listener. However, the baffle plate protecting the driver may irritate people whose ears stick out more by touching their ears as the earcups are rather shallow. However, for most, it should be a very comfortable experience.
 
     The silver portions of the headphones can be easily mistaken for metal, but in actual fact they are plastic painted a really shiny silver. The matte black back of the earcups are also plastic, much to my surprise. this took away a little from the overall premium of these headphones, but its nothing really, though a few people may be irked by the lack of truely premium touches/finishes. The sliders for the headband have a solid clicking and is useful for people with serious OCD and want both sides of the headband extended equally (Just like me).
 
     The accessories are pretty sparse. A soft carrying case (a hard one would have been appreciated for the price) and two cables, one with an inline mic/remote for smartphones and the other is just a plain audio cable.
 
     Now lets move on to the sound. I found the sound easily likeable, though not the most accurate. It did well being driven out of a mobile device, as is their primary purpose, to be a premium mobile headset. The warmth in the sound was immediately noticeable. This warmth was not overly infused with a blown up low end, so audiophiles should still find the sound tolerable, but for the average listener, the added emotion to their daily playlists will serve them well. Also, vocals had a very rich, warm, involving and textured feel to them. Subtle inflections in low to high female and male voices were all brought out with an ease not all headphones can achieve. Vibrato in the voices was also very easy to listen to. Adele, Christina Perri and William Pharrell all had their vocals pretty well reproduced.
 
     However, the vocals (and generally the higher mid range) was emphasised quite a bit, and the treble, which was quite articulate and detailed but not very much present (rolls off quite early), receded into the background even more. The result was an intimate sort of sound, not a bright and airy one. This can be good for mordern music, which does not require a large soundstage to sound good, but orchestral and instrumental pieces definitely suffered. Bass also was not well done, having a mid-bass hump and a rolled off sub-bass, leaving the bass sounding flabby, slow and without any real punch or weight down low. Overall, I would say the sound is decent, but lacks the overall quality to compete with top contenders at the exact same price, such as the PSB M4U1 and the Nad Viso HP50.
 
     The MDR-1RMK2 brings to the table great comfort, decent sound, and great looks, which should please most average listeners, but audiophiles packing serious gear like USB DACs or DAPs will want something better for their everyday commute, and will probably turn to the previously mentioned two headphones. All in all, nice job by Sony, but more could certainly be done. 
 

Posted

Pros: Style, Comfort, Sound

Cons: I dont really find anything major, as for sound is really subjective and dependent on gear paired with these headphones.

I will try to keep it short... I guess...

 

Tracks I tested on these were 320 vbit mp3s and flac, random genres with some of my favorites in Electronic, Dance Pop, Rock, Alternative and Enka (yes I'm weird). Source units - Sony Xperia, Iphone 5S, Fiio E07k as amp and dac/amp.

 

Style and Comfort - It's a major win in this department no questions there. Looks good feels really good unlike those super clamps of death.

 

Build Quality - Although it looks fragile, the unit is acutally very sturdy/robbust. As for the pleather parts of the unit (headband and ear pads) its a given that these will naturally degrade from wear and tear over the years (there are some that worry so much about these which is not a big deal really), but you can order replacements from sony if its available or amazon if you are in the US. As for the jack rattle issue well it really isn't an issue and I mean it only rattles if you vibrate the cord manually not to say you may look like you have some kind of mastur.. fetish... in public... I even hop and dance around with these when no one is watching and it doesn't rattle. If its really an issue for you buy a superthin bolt washer ring and plug it along, problem permantly solved with a less than .005 cent ultrathin rubber? lol

 

Sound Quality - Ok the mk2's are a bit of an upgrade from the orginal 1r's in this department, I had the chance to test the units side by side on the Sony shop I bought this from.

 

      The bass on the mk2's are better compared to the original which was near dead weight as the mk2's have more punch and clearly more audible but it doesn't have the extention nor the super detail like some openback headphones do (note these are meant to be portable, if you buy this for house use then you bought the wrong pair and also these are not boomy headphones like the XB910).

 

      The mids are clean,clear and very detailed as this phone is more focused in this part and somewhat comparable to the original 1r's since I can't hear any major difference between the two.

 

      The High's are also more audible compared to the original 1r's which is a little bit recessed and detail is also clean and clear but again not comparable to open back headphones on the $1k range. But for a portable and given its price range, this is very good.

 

      Soundstage on this actually decent for a closed back portable and not that packed in like other closed type portables, the instruments have clear spacing between them and not sounding like a wierd disco jungle and the detail is also present unlike other portables where you can merely hear a slight sound of the instruments.

 

As for amps this is very subjective, so I suggest try it around with portable amps and pair it with what you like. There are good affordable amps out there and if you like to go hi-end its also there, so try around and hear which fits your wants.

 

If you are looking for portable with style, comfort and good quality sound then the mdr 1rmk2 wont fail you. (again the jack rattle issue isn't an issue, I dont even know how it became an issue to begin with? maybe the those sample that some reviewers were testing were to so worn out from wear and tear? the brandnew one I bough from Sony had no issues in regards to build quality) and if that really bothers you causes a wierd sensation of whatever fetish rattle of an issue for you then get a freakin washer and plug it in along the jack, no mods needed.

Posted

Pros: Extremely efficient, comfortable, aesthetics, forgiving to recordings.

Cons: Expensive MSRP, jack rattle

Unboxing

Upon unboxing, I knew what the Sony MDR-1R MK2's were intended for; luxury. It came with a box very similar to the Sennheiser HD800's packaging, very pleasing to open and everything felt of quality to handle. In the box was a japanese instruction manual, a cordura pouch, 3m cable, 1.2m cable, and finally, the headphones. Oh and the japanese company I bought it from included a cute paper hand fan :D

Design and Comfort

The headphones in my hands feel very light, with smooth swivel cups, and a somewhat solid plastic build.
On my head, the clamp is fairly light, accompanied with a soft pleather headband, and pillow-like earpads.
The aesthetics of these are just amazing, a very modern look with a simplistic design, glossed paint in the right areas, aluminum matte painted earcups and solid plastic frame.

Unfortunately what these do exhibit is the common jack rattle found in the first MDR-1R headphones, a common fix for this is to slide a piece of paper on the sides of the jack that rattle against the tube holding this. For my fix, I took modelling clay, wrapped it around the base of the plug, and pushed the cable into a jack; forming a seal.
Although the cable also exhibits its' own type of rattle. The strain relief is not a snug fit on the cable, and if the cable hangs straight down; rattling will occur. A fix for this would also be sliding something thin under. These flaws are a factor of why they may not be a suitable portable headphone if the issues are not addressed.

Like most cables under cold weather, these will tense up and may rethink your decision on having these has earmuffs.


Sound

 

Although looks do play a part as a portable headphone, the sound accompanies it well.
I've given these headphones over 100 hours of playback, so they should be well burned into my brain and driver wise.
Sadly to say, I do not have the original 1R's and won't be able to compare the updated version to them.

 

The sound signature of these are warm and relaxing, due to this, poorly recorded tracks or lower bitrate files are forgiving. Although, these cans are midrange centric that benefits piano based recordings and some female vocals. The lower treble faces a dip, and for the better. My japanese poprock recordings are quite enjoyable and quite forgiving to the typical sibilance. I think the higher treble is very interesting, it actually sparkles above the warm mids, which benefits the already sweet and warm sounding mids.
In my opinion though, I think the mids are too tinny with the 1-2khz presence that destroys some of my younger female vocalists due to their higher pitched voices.
I think Sony could have done better with the bass, it doesn't feel it extends, it punches a bit, but overall it's just "there". This might be due to the warmth.
In outdoor environments, the bass does get lost, and does not isolate very well. On the flip side, these don't leak too much sound at moderate volumes so it was usable in libraries.

 

The soundstage of the Mk2's are typical of small headphones, it is small, but not congested. Despite the small soundstaging and warmth, instrument separation is quite impressive on these cans.

Conclusion

Like all headphones, I need to wear them for at least 10 minutes with playback to get accustomed to the sound signature.
The 1R Mk2's are not an exception, it's quite picky on some recordings. Working best with jazz, poprock, punkrock, rock, pop, and hip hop. Genres that sound full and warm already, will feel muddy.

Would I recommend these to the regular consumer? No, because some tweaks would be needed for the jack rattle issue. However, get past this defect, and it's an interesting, and VERY comfortable portable headphone to own.
 

Review my review! (Click to show)
This is my first review on a headphone higher than consumer grades, so please. I appreciate feedback on my review!
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SONY Stereo headphones black MDR-1RMK2/B
By:
Description:

Introduce the perfect mix of breakthrough audio technology, maximum comfort and sophisticated design. MDR-1RMK2 lets you experience sheer audio bliss with liquid crystal polymer film diaphragm, impressive bass sounds with beat response control and maximizes the performance of high-resolution audio.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandSony
EAN4905524942903
FeatureLiquid crystal polymer film diaphragm HD driver unit Beat response control Enfolding structure Inward axis structure
LabelSony
ManufacturerSony
ModelMDR-1RMK2/B
MPNMDR-1RMK2/B
PublisherSony
StudioSony
TitleSONY Stereo headphones black MDR-1RMK2/B
CatalogNumberList - CatalogNumberListElement4905524942903
Package Height4.06 inches
Package Length9.53 inches
Package Weight1.99 pounds
Package Width8.54 inches
PackageQuantity1
PartNumberMDR-1RMK2/B
ProductGroupCE
ProductTypeNameHEADPHONES
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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