New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

[Review] Sony MDR-EX1000

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Banner.jpg

 

Sony MDR-EX1000

 

Useful Links

 

james444’s review with comparisons to the FX700, e-Q7, and GR10 (also in that link is various links to videos of unboxing the EX1000 and other reviews):

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/539500/review-impressions-of-the-sony-ex1000-versus-the-fx700-gr10-and-e-q5

 

My previously written impressions in regards to the EX1000 and the EX600 (specs are included in there):

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/524925/sony-mdr-ex1000-and-ex600-first-impressions

 

Introduction

 

Back in November, when the EX1000 first came out, I wrote an impression on it based on a demo. This was due to the lack of information provided about the EX1000 and I was hoping to provide an insight to these earphones that everyone was afraid to try due to the price tag. A few months down the line, I now own them and could fully write a proper review for these earphones.

 

To be consistent with my impression, I listened to these earphones through a collection of 320kbps mp3 and FLAC quality files from varying genres. However, this time, I also managed to listen to these earphones amped and unamped. So, hopefully, this will extend to whether the EX1000 will make a wonderful portable earphone or a proper sit-at-home investment. However, whether this competes with other similarly priced full-sized cans is not something I am willing to compare though – mainly due to my lack of experience in that field.

 

Just for a small disclaimer, I have read the various reviews of the EX1000 and thus am quite aware of the reputation they have gained in the short amount of time since their release. However, I will most definitely try my best to not refer to those reviews. This is to ensure that what is written is solely based on what I heard and how I compared them to the other earphones I owned. As the usual saying goes, your mileage may vary.

 

Accessories

 

First thing, Sony most definitely did not hold their hands back when it came to boxing their new flagship or accessorizing it. The box’s design was simple yet eloquent – it didn’t even have a picture of the earphones on the box, just silver typography indicating that the box houses the EX1000. The additional black and slightly glossed with a gunmetal-like finish on the box made it screamed class.

 

Inside of the box, with the luxurious earphones is a hard leather case with a fancy interior to hold the earphones. The interior was designed in the manner that I wonder if Sony perceived its flagship earphones to be showcased like diamond rings are. Not necessarily a wrong thing to perceive considering its price.

 

Along with the leather case is numerous sets of tips that are almost generously given to you. Almost because you’ll probably only find usage for only one set… but hey! If you feel like showing off your $500-worth earphones, you don’t have to ever worry about the earphones not fitting into someone’s ears properly due to ear canal sizes! Of course, they are all the same tips in varying sizes only. People with a preference for other tips will have to, unfortunately, look elsewhere or think up some clever alternatives.

 

Design

 

When I first wrote my impression, the first thing I noted was the solid casing these earphones have. Now that I own it, my opinion still hasn’t changed. These guys feel durable and solid. The joint where the cable can be disconnected from the main bodies is held by something similar to a bolt. This is a rather smart design from Sony; allowing for detachable wires yet avoiding the seemingly loose snap-on design from Shure. Shure users of the XX5 models will understand a frustrating aspect of their new cable design is the rotating cable joints. In the EX1000’s case, the cables are thus held tightly and snugly, easily removable yet won’t budge a single centimeter unless required by the user.

 

Aside from the memory wires, the cable feels a little weak and fragile since it is actually ‘squishier’ than most wires I have dealt with. In this case, it probably is a good thing that Sony decided to make the cable detachable. At least if the wires do fall apart, I won’t lose my entire investment.

 

Unfortunately, the design of the IEM causes the main bodies of the IEM to remain mostly outside of your ear. You might be getting a few odd looks when people noticed these little metallic flaps that are extending out of your ears. However, that is barely a minor flaw compared to astonishing effect that the comfort of the design offers.

 

Comfort

 

First time wearing a fresh EX1000, the memory wires were a pain. They refused to loop my ears until I forcefully over-bent them to adjust them to my ears’ shape. Too good of a memory wire, I suppose.

 

Aside from that one time displeasure of agonizing over the wire, the IEM then became very comfortable to wear – and to listen to. The EX1000 sits in my ear almost like if they are non-existent, while providing an amazing flow of music. I have to constantly remind myself that I am hearing through them and not from my environment. That’s how comfortable they are.

 

In addition to comfort, the EX1000, among my tiny list of IEMs, has the best microphonic. In fact, I can’t really imagine how any IEM will top this kind of microphonic. They are practically non-existent to me unless I rub the wires after the Y-section of the cable.

 

Combining that kind of comfort and the non-existent microphonic creates the only IEM that I have ever tried that I can’t ‘hear’ my footsteps when I am wearing my IEM. A thrilling display of design from Sony.

 

Of course, I have not checked if this effect is limited only to me. However, one way or another the fact that they are able to produce this effect on a population that has my kind of ears is most definitely a bonus.

 

Isolation

 

Unfortunately, the non-existent feel of the IEM goes both ways -- isolation is one of the failing points of the EX1000. Due to the main bodies sitting outside of the ear for most part, insertion isn’t very deep. Thus, isolation suffers.

 

Among my tiny list of IEMs, the EX1000 has the worst isolation. Period. I sometime found myself wondering which IEM has the worst isolation; the CX300-II, EX1000 or the long forgotten ADDIEM that I used to have. Unfortunately, I no longer own any of EX1000’s competitors for that category.

 

A nudging part of me believes that the EX1000 would probably win hands down even if I can compare them however. Fond memories of the CX300 did include people entering my room or talking to me without my knowledge. The ADDIEM was a little less isolating, because I remember being vaguely annoyed at the people in the train and then turning up my volume down the line to drown them out.

 

The EX1000 however has memories of me keeping them on, with music playing, and still managing to hold a slightly coherent conversation (though it featured a lot of “mind repeating that again?”). There was also the irritated look to the side -- at the arguing couple beside me. Am I spoiled by the Ety’s? Who knows. But for one thing is for certain, among my current owned IEMs, the EX1000 has the worst isolation and I won’t sugar coat that.

 

The fun part is to decide whether this fault is worth the sound signature of the EX1000 -- something I agonized over and over and over again.

 

Sound Signature

 

The EX1000 was exposed through a 100 hours burn-in by using a playlist composed of brown, white, and pink noises.

 

When I first listened to them, the first thing that popped into my mind is, “oh whoa, the bass!”

 

As I have noted in my impressions, the bass is easily EX1000’s selling point. It is well-controlled, tight, powerful, and precise. From my time with them (listening to only them for a month – at home or on the go), I can easily tell you that with the EX1000, you’ll never miss a single beat in music again.

 

That’s not to say the EX1000 is a bass monster like the MTPC though. It isn’t despite of all its qualities. Yes, it is powerful, but it is definitely not overwhelmingly powerful (skull-thumpingly powerful).  The presence of its ‘power’ actually comes into its extremely well exhibited sub-bass. In my opinion, the sub-bass have the right amount of ‘feel’ to it. It isn’t weak where you are left questioning whether if it really is there or not, but it isn’t powerful where it will overwhelm everything else in its sound spectrum. It is just right in the sense that the bass has its proper texture to it. The resounding of the bass drum being kicked; you’ll not only hear it, you’ll have the imagination of the moment of it being hit as well.

 

On the note of texture and imaging, this is another of EX1000’s selling point; the clarity. The entire sound spectrum of the EX1000 has this clarity that reveals all sorts of details from a music track. It is also very accurate and fast at the same time; contributing to the entire belief that I doubt you’ll miss a single beat with these IEMs.

 

Additionally, the timbre is, in my opinion, very realistic. Not only is the bass textured, the mids and treble are also well-textured in the sense that I feel like I am there in a concert, listening to the music being played in real life. The string instruments’ presence is exactly how I remember it to be realistically and I was able to pick the distinct, yet subtle bass guitar from my tracks – something I haven’t been able to do unless I was listening to a performance in live. Along with, in my opinion, a slightly above soundstage, the presentation of the EX1000 is almost nothing short of being entirely deliciously sounding.

 

Now, does that mean the EX1000 has a winning recipe? Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks that make the EX1000 a subpar IEM (in terms of a top-tier IEM) to certain musical genres that I have tried.

 

The EX1000 has a bit of a grainy treble – sad, but true. This becomes prominent in tracks that require great treble energy; the EX1000 will lose control over it.

 

The mids and trebles are also not very forward, making certain genres (in my case, metal and a very small selection of rock tracks) seemingly ‘soulless’ despite of the pros it is still offering. All the details and texture from all the other instruments were drowning out the voice, making it seemingly flat.

 

Now, that sounds like a deal breaker, but I am saying that all in terms of a top-tier IEM. The EX1000, in the end, is a very capable IEM. Most music tracks I have ran through has caused me falling in love with the EX1000 over and over again.

 

Portability

 

I feel like I must create a separate section for portability in regards of the EX1000 because it is such a conflicting IEM in that regards.

 

Unamped, the EX1000 is easily driven and I found myself not extremely fussed to walk out of my house without an amp. However, considering my setup (which can be found in my signature), the treble and the mid sound even more recessed than when amped. That is pretty much the only difference I could see and it is only when I am listening to very certain tracks.

 

So, it is not necessarily a deal breaker. However, the isolation is really poor, and for an IEM that’s so focused on making all the instruments come to life, it is a rather bad hit. The EX1000 loses some of its charm when you are in an unfortunately loud train (one of those cases when you are sitting beside a person loudly talking into his cellphone).

 

If the EX1000 is being used solely as a portable/traveling setup, then I feel like the EX1000 is losing a lot of its value. You won’t be getting your money’s worth as a strictly portable IEM. I found the EX1000 the best when I am sitting in my home or in my lab, just quietly listening to music. In this situation, the pro is obviously you can hear someone calling your name then (like your boss).  

 

Of course, just to let my readers know though, I have often found myself choosing the musical qualities of the EX1000 over the isolation comfort of my ER4B or the DBA-02. This is even when I found myself irritated that I was wishing the bus or train is a little bit more quiet during my travels.

 

Value

 

I remember when I first wrote my impression, I was a skeptic. I questioned the logic behind the pricing and whether if it is worth it from the demo.

 

Now that I owned it (and yes, I bought it at that price), I think most of my skepticism has just melted into musical bliss. I am still a bit of wary and I think this IEM isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For such a hefty price, I believe you should be getting an IEM that you are almost certain that you’ll enjoy.

 

The EX1000 actually slightly reminds me of the ER4, if the ER4 was more bass-centric. They both share roughly the same accuracy level, though the EX1000 is warmer being bass-centric and the ER4 is brighter for focusing on its upper sound spectrum.

 

If you are in for an IEM that is accurate in all levels while providing you one of the best musically textured IEMs, the EX1000 is definitely worth every coin.

 

Pictures

 

Photo1.jpgPhoto3.jpgPhoto2.jpg


Edited by MaxwellDemon - 4/10/11 at 1:58am
post #2 of 28

good review. Let us know if things change with a bit of burn-in.

post #3 of 28

Nice reviewsmile.gif

 

I picked up its little brother the MDR-EX800ST and it holds its own against my SM3. It has a more neutral sound signature with good treble extension, bass and mids, there is no real weakness other than the treble not being as smooth as the SM3 but I heard it gets better after about 300hours of burn-in.

Sound stage is not as intimate as the SM3 but it is also wide and deep, much more than the CK90Pro's I had earlier.

 

 

Imagine a pair of JVC HA-FX700 with a little less treble and bass and a more forward midrange and you got the MDR-EX800ST, I prefer it over the JVC. It compares well with the SM3 in quiet environments but noise reduction is important to me and the Sony doesn't isolate much at all and therefore I may end up selling it.

 

Overall for its money the EX1000's little brother is of great valuesmile_phones.gif

post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kunlun View Post

good review. Let us know if things change with a bit of burn-in.



 

Thank you! A slightly better treble control and that's really it from what I can tell. Even with burn-in though, the treble is still slightly grainy.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnyhifi View Post

Nice reviewsmile.gif

 

I picked up its little brother the MDR-EX800ST and it holds its own against my SM3. It has a more neutral sound signature with good treble extension, bass and mids, there is no real weakness other than the treble not being as smooth as the SM3 but I heard it gets better after about 300hours of burn-in.

Sound stage is not as intimate as the SM3 but it is also wide and deep, much more than the CK90Pro's I had earlier.

 

 

Imagine a pair of JVC HA-FX700 with a little less treble and bass and a more forward midrange and you got the MDR-EX800ST, I prefer it over the JVC. It compares well with the SM3 in quiet environments but noise reduction is important to me and the Sony doesn't isolate much at all and therefore I may end up selling it.

 

Overall for its money the EX1000's little brother is of great valuesmile_phones.gif



I was very interested in picking up the EX800ST... until I realized I am going to have to take great pains to importing it from Japan. I'll still probably get them some day, so I can make comparisons between its bigger (EX1000) and smaller (EX600) brothers. It is nice to see that Sony managed to hit an awesome combination of IEMs!

post #5 of 28

Great review MD, I was waiting for you to post this. It just reconfirms my faith in my fx700, it certainly doesn't sound like it is $200+ better (or better at all for my tastes). If they ever make their way to Canada I will definitely give them a listen. 

post #6 of 28

Seems like Sony done a great job with the EX1000! Can't wait to try it.

post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daanish View Post

Great review MD, I was waiting for you to post this. It just reconfirms my faith in my fx700, it certainly doesn't sound like it is $200+ better (or better at all for my tastes). If they ever make their way to Canada I will definitely give them a listen. 



Unfortunately, I have never heard the FX700 (an IEM that I swore I'll listen to one day). Considering diminishing returns and all that, it probably isn't $200 better -- especially if you enjoy the FX700 already.

 

Then again, it is hard to calculate the worth and value like that. The EX1000 is the clear winner against the DBA-02 (an IEM that I love, like many others) for me -- but this is $150 vs. $500. If I think of it like that, especially in regards of isolation, then the EX1000 probably isn't worth the upgrade either.

 

... but then, I have always said EX1000 is overpriced from the start, so despite of all the good saying about this IEM... it is an overpriced, but musically delicious, IEM. tongue.gif

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

Unfortunately, I have never heard the FX700 (an IEM that I swore I'll listen to one day). Considering diminishing returns and all that, it probably isn't $200 better -- especially if you enjoy the FX700 already.

 

Then again, it is hard to calculate the worth and value like that. The EX1000 is the clear winner against the DBA-02 (an IEM that I love, like many others) for me -- but this is $150 vs. $500. If I think of it like that, especially in regards of isolation, then the EX1000 probably isn't worth the upgrade either.

 

... but then, I have always said EX1000 is overpriced from the start, so despite of all the good saying about this IEM... it is an overpriced, but musically delicious, IEM. tongue.gif


Good point about the worth and value. My rationale is that if I am going to spend that much on a universal, it's better if I just save a little more and spring for a custom. 

 

post #9 of 28

I got mine yesterday.  It is not the most comfortable or designed for the fit in mind as I had trouble getting a good fit.  It gave me flashback of TF10 fit.  From my experience, Hybrid tips seal really well, but how with these headphones, its the way its structure, fit gets awkward.  At least for the DDMs I can orient it any way I wish, but not with these.  So far, it sounds way too forward and sparkly to the point it hurts my ears.  That also mean sibilance.  I would forgo this if sibilance is your worst enemy.


Edited by High_Q - 4/22/11 at 10:53am
post #10 of 28

Sorry, I seem to have somehow overlooked your review, MaxwellDemon. Anyway, great work - I've added it to the link section of my own review. Don't agree on the grainy treble though, actually my EX1000 have extremely smooth and refined treble to these ears. Maybe that's due to different material we're listening to, mind posting some of your test tracks?

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

Sorry, I seem to have somehow overlooked your review, MaxwellDemon. Anyway, great work - I've added it to the link section of my own review. Don't agree on the grainy treble though, actually my EX1000 have extremely smooth and refined treble to these ears. Maybe that's due to different material we're listening to, mind posting some of your test tracks?

 

No problem and thank you. I hope it contributed to how the EX1000 could be represented in the community. smily_headphones1.gif

 

EX1000 exhibited grainy treble in Hana from Orange Range (a Japanese band). The EX1000 didn't do as well as I'd have expected with the violin that is present in the track.

 

I am sure there are other tracks that the EX1000 didn't do overly impressive in... but I'll have to re-listen to the EX1000. Hana was the worst out of all the tracks that the EX1000 didn't particularly shine on. tongue.gif


Edited by MaxwellDemon - 4/23/11 at 8:24pm
post #12 of 28

NICE REVIEW

 

how do they compare musically to the se535?? good dynamic drivers tend to pride themselves on being less complicated and cheaper than multi armature phones yet still competing so id expect these to destroy multiple armature phones for the price or are they priced well... like all sony products? a little too high?

post #13 of 28

A good fellow gave me a chance to audition it yesterday - quite a nice sounding IEM, definitely the best Sony IEM I even heard and much better than previous EX700. But it isn't something I will buy at MSRP (SQ wise).


Edited by ClieOS - 4/24/11 at 9:20am
post #14 of 28

great review @maxwelldemon, unfortunately it's not my cup of tea so I resold it to my friend with the same price. But last time I was very fascinated by the quality of bass and timbre...though I had to decide to choose either the JVC FX700 or this because of funding my other audio project.

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx20001 View Post

NICE REVIEW

 

how do they compare musically to the se535?? good dynamic drivers tend to pride themselves on being less complicated and cheaper than multi armature phones yet still competing so id expect these to destroy multiple armature phones for the price or are they priced well... like all sony products? a little too high?


I have a comparison coming up between the EX1000, SE535 and W4. So, I hope I'll be able to answer these questions a bit more thoroughly in the near future.

 

However, for now, I think the EX1000 compared very well to both SE535 and W4. I personally am favoring the EX1000 over the both of them, but that is because my preferences is exactly what the EX1000 offers; punchy and precise bass with a touch of airiness and clarity. However, technically, I think they are all around at the same level. It really depends on what sound signature you are looking for and what genres you generally listen to.

 

In regards of value, the EX1000 is currently the most expensive among the three (in fact, I can't think of any IEMs that is more expensive other than the IEMs from Final Audio Design). So, it is a little difficult to defend the pricing of the EX1000. It IS a little too high... but truth to be told, now that I own it, I don't think I regret my purchase at all. And this is coming from a skeptic that have demo'd it and wrote a subpar impression for it. smily_headphones1.gif

 

Of course, I might just be too bloody optimistic and would much rather think that I made the right choice than crying over money that is already spent. tongue.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

A good fellow gave me a chance to audition it yesterday - quite a nice sounding IEM, definitely the best Sony IEM I even heard and much better than previous EX700. But it isn't something I will buy at MSRP (SQ wise).



Don't blame you. I didn't think it was worth the MSRP at my first listen either.



Quote:
Originally Posted by kingice10 View Post

great review @maxwelldemon, unfortunately it's not my cup of tea so I resold it to my friend with the same price. But last time I was very fascinated by the quality of bass and timbre...though I had to decide to choose either the JVC FX700 or this because of funding my other audio project.


May I ask why you decided to choose the FX700? From James's review, it sounded like the EX1000 is superior. Of course, different ears everywhere, so, I'd like to hear it from someone that chose the FX700 over the EX1000.

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: