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The Sony MDR F1 mini review.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I had these for a week. I wanted these for their heralded sound stage. The hoopla around them made me bite.. Overall they are midfi cans with some hi end traits.. Vast 3d sound stage, and great spatial ability being the two. Being total open has benefits to it. Theres a ease and natural-ness to them. Non fatiguing at all. Nothing holds them back so to speak. Never harsh or forced.. This also goes for the bass.. It can breath due to the openess of the headphones. Bass is good.. Impactful without being over bearing. Pretty nice depth, and decent extension. Might be considered bass light to 650 and 770 fans, but doesn't bother me one bit.. The bass is a little out of control and rebellious at times, with a bit of unsteadness. Like it doesn't know if it wants to be tight and snappy or bloated and muddy.
It has more of the tight and snappy which is a good thing.

Clarity is a weak point. There seems to be 'sludge' covering the vocals. Can sound chalky a bit.. Like a minor cold. This isn't just with vocals but with the entire spectrum. This can be annoying to people who own the 880/701/SA5000/48's. You can easily tell it's short comming by comparisons. Midrange is on the warm and wet side. And the voices are good with nice tone and weight.

Detail is better then I expected. I heard the design of the headphone would inhibit the detail in some way. From my experience it doesn't. It gives you all the detail you need to hear. Just don't expect it to go out of it's way Like the SA5000. For a 200.00 headphone their detail is on par with similarly priced headphones.

The sound stage is the F1's bread and butter. It's full and expansive. Has a good stereo like imaging and a natural presentation. Holographic and 3 dimensional. But the sound stage varies. It doesn't give you the overall spacious feeling of the 701's nor the depth from behind and front.. But the F1's trump the 701's when it comes to left and right extension, depth, and width.. And clearly better then any headphone I tried or owned. Minus the K1000. And directional audio is excellent with in a certain range in the sound field. Anything near the left and right gets picked up instantly and accurately. With front and back it's harder to tell. But is still good, not just as apparent. In a nut shell, their sound stage is vast, inviting, warm and accurate, with varying degrees of success.
post #2 of 12
Thanks for the review. Been curious about these old phones lately.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessingx View Post
Thanks for the review. Been curious about these old phones lately.
Sure.. They are good headphones..
post #4 of 12
I own a pair and they are absolutely brilliant for movies. Very comfortable as well.
post #5 of 12
Well done for the review!Well written and good examples.

I own a pair of F1 since 2 weeks and they are the kind of "midfi" that pleases me alot!

My only bug is with the long lenght of the cable. Is there any guide on how to open the "earpad" if I wanted to shorten the cable?

regards,
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribou679 View Post
Well done for the review!Well written and good examples.

I own a pair of F1 since 2 weeks and they are the kind of "midfi" that pleases me alot!

My only bug is with the long lenght of the cable. Is there any guide on how to open the "earpad" if I wanted to shorten the cable?

regards,
They are midfi sound wise, but have some hi end qualities.. Spactial abilities, Sound stage..
post #7 of 12
thanks for the review! Not my cup of tea, but I did like some of the qualities in them
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice View Post
They are midfi sound wise, but have some hi end qualities.. Spactial abilities, Sound stage..
Yes I have noticed that! What hi end qualities are they really missing or lacking? Would the SA5000 or CD3000 fill the gap?

regards,
post #9 of 12
kool bubba ice, for a 3D soundstage, is F1 still the model you recommend?

How does it compares with Ad700?

Is there better a can than F1 when it comes to this type of soundstage?
post #10 of 12

i've had these for over a month a half but havent been able to properly listen since the pads were pretty much pulvarized into non existance. 

 

 

my replacements from audiocubes just came in (75 dollars for pads...yikes) and i have to agree with op on most accounts, but overall i would say these are some of the finest sony headphones i've ever heard

 

 

the closest direct comparison i can make in terms of sound from my own personal experience are the akg k601's, they have a very similar sound in alot of respects, the k601's are much much smoother overall and warmer, these are colder and just a slight bit leaner in the mids, bass surprisingly just barely edges out the k601's on first impressions, did not expect that

 

 

where the 2 differ are the way they present highs and soundstage. short and sweet of it is the sonys trump the 601's in soundstage which is to be expected being that they are basically open in the truest sense of the word. the highs on the other hand are a matter of preference, they're more detailed on the sonys and alot sharper. they're not sibilant or really strident, but they feel like they're rightttttt there, as if just one little nudge in the higher frequencies would push them over the edge. for my personal taste they'd probably really benefit from a tube amp or warm ss

 

 

these are just initial impressions and not meant to be a real comprehensive review or anything, but i can say that if you can still get yourself a pair you will not be dissapointed and should consider yourself very lucky

 

 

gear used, grant fidelity tubedac 11 >tube outs>o2 amp

songs i used for listening purposes

 

regina spektor - poor little rich boy

lauryn hill - that thing (doo wop)

trentemoller - moan (vocal mix)

lana del rey - cola

burial - truant/rough sleeper

 

 

all files 320 kbps mp3 or flac


Edited by Dutchi MerenGue - 1/2/13 at 9:18am
post #11 of 12

What you're hearing as 'sharp' higer range is the peak in the upper mids, The F1 actually have a pretty rolled-off treble, Even less than the Senn HD650:

http://sonove.angry.jp/MDR_MA900/FR_F1.gif

 

That peak addes a liveliness to insturments that compliments the opennes of the presentation, So they sound at their best with live acoustic music. They're still vrey warm sounding, even with the nearly non-existant lower bass. The newer MDR-MA900 are much better balanced (and detailed) across, except the lower mids are just slightly forward, So the F1 have a better organic timbre with vocals and most stringed instruments to my ears. I really do love the design of the F1 though, It's very novel and matched only by few in sheer rendering of space capability.

 

It's really a shame, but hardly surprising, that replacement pads are so expensive as i could really use a new pair myself. Though i wonder how significant thier role (the condition of the foam that is) in such an open design. Anyway, If any of you American residents could call up to Sony Parts and ask for a quote it'd be very helpful. :)


Edited by Amarphael - 1/2/13 at 1:03pm
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amarphael View Post

What you're hearing as 'sharp' higer range is the peak in the upper mids, The F1 actually have a pretty rolled-off treble, Even less than the Senn HD650:

http://sonove.angry.jp/MDR_MA900/FR_F1.gif

 

That peak addes a liveliness to insturments that compliments the opennes of the presentation, So they sound at their best with live acoustic music. They're still vrey warm sounding, even with the nearly non-existant lower bass. The newer MDR-MA900 are much better balanced (and detailed) across, except the lower mids are just slightly forward, So the F1 have a better organic timbre with vocals and most stringed instruments to my ears. I really do love the design of the F1 though, It's very novel and matched only by few in sheer rendering of space capability.

 

It's really a shame, but hardly surprising, that replacement pads are so expensive as i could really use a new pair myself. Though i wonder how significant thier role (the condition of the foam that is) in such an open design. Anyway, If any of you American residents could call up to Sony Parts and ask for a quote it'd be very helpful. :)

 

lol your "rolled off treble" usually tends to be my "ear splitting knives" in my ears

 

i've always gone the darker route in headphones, i have next to no tolerance for highs, but on these its like i mentioned earlier, RIGHTTTTT there, almost to the point where i might say too much but it never gets there, which i like. as far as acoustic music goes,i pretty much agree with everything you said, although i do think the bass is pretty decent considering they are completely open, i honestly expected zero bass, i guess thats why my original assessment sort of reflected my surprise in picking up a good decent, satisfying amount of low notes.

 

 

 

edit: oh and if you're really looking for replacement pads for the f1's, try audiocubes2, i think they ship to israel but not sure

 

double edit: menahan street band never sounded so good out of a pair of headphones, lol just throwing that out there for any fans

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