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Sony has new headphones, MDR-1R - Page 25

post #361 of 2704

OK, I have an "almost complete" impressions of the MDR-1R. If you guys are ok with something that's almost, but not completely done, here you go. Naturally I'll be padding this post and updating it as I complete it and will inform readers of the update :-

 

Notes: No unboxing pix. Go see Jude's Gallery for it's unboxing.

 

Comfort And Design

These are extremely comfortable headphones. Probably the most comfortable headphone I've ever worn. They are a true circumaural that encompasses my ear however, they're not excessively large (i.e. they're not like the Denons D2/5/7000, nor Fostex TH-900) and the pleather is really soft on the earcups as well as the headband.

 

 

 

 

 

Sony was extremely nice enough to give us a presentation about the design of the MDR-1R and they spent a lot of time thinking about comfort during the design.
 

 

As you can see from the pictures, despite a thick frame earpad, where it's coupled to the actual earcup itself is only a thinner frame. Sony explained that the logic behind this is to allow the inner portion of the earpad (the part closes to surround one's ears) to be the softest part of the earpad and they were bang on the money on that - at least to my sized ears.

 

 

 

Note also the angle of the driver. This was done on purpose for prominent ears and the driver angle actually is parallel to mine.

 

 

 

Another detail Sony highlighted to us was the way the cups swivel, it was designed to swivel at an angle. This was to ensure a decent seal.

 

 

 

Whilst walking around though I did some microphonics from the squeak of either the headband or one of the swivels creaking. It was a little distracting but I've not determined the source of the squeaks.

 

Overall comfort and design though, it's an extremely comfortable headphone to wear around the head and hang around the neck. I've not actually tried another headphone that's that comfortable (and I've tried quite a few). The 235g weight contributes to the comfort quite a bit.

 

Having said that, at least to my experience, I do feel that it's a delicate headphone. The materials used does make me wonder about the durability of the product. Let's just say that I probably wouldn't cramp it into my bag of hefty Nikon camera body and lenses, nor would I simply throw it around.

 

Accessories

The MDR-1R comes with a rather simple ballistic material softcase with two pockets (one for the headphone and the other for cables), and with 2xcables for straight audio and for smartphones (3xbutton). For both cables, the amp/source end is a right-angle plug. Sony mentioned one of the issues with cables in general is getting tangled up. So they have designed the cables to have mini parallel grooves all laterally back to front which prevents sticking. I'm not certain if this actually works or if the groves help, but I've not had tangles with these cables so far.

 

 

 

 

I have had a problem with the plug loosening out of my player quite a few times especially when I'm walking. This doesn't happen to my other headphone cables and I've not measure the diameter of the plugs to see if they're they same or smaller than other 3.5mm plugs. Another possibility is the right angle plug may not be a natural position especially when I have the DAP in my pocket or pouch.

 

Sound Quality

In my honest opinion, Sony is going to have extremely stiff competition releasing these headphones out now with their current pricing (approx $300?). There's a wave of headphones released all around now - V-Moda M-100, Sennheiser Momentums, Ultimate Ears UE6000/9000 - some priced less, some the same, and some more than the MDR-1Rs but all around the same category. Each of them have their unique SQ targeting to the similar audience. I myself have the M-100s and Momentums which I can compare directly against the 1Rs.

 

To my ears (after spending a few weeks with the M-100 and Momentums), the MDR-1Rs have a somewhat more flattish signature. Whilst in my opinion former two were more U-shaped (one more than the other), the MDR-1Rs seem to have more mids - typical of a Sony signature. Although from memory not as much as the Z1000. I'll need to head to the shops to do a direct comparison so please take that comparison with the Z1000 with a large grain of salt.

 

Sony mentioned that the MDR-1Rs were designed for the current style of music. They had a slide presentation which showed how over the past 3 decades, bass in popular music had shifted lower into the spectrum (primarily due to digitally produced music) and the MDR-1Rs were to designed to accomodate this trend. They consulted experts in the industry in UK during the defining of the MDR-1R signatures.

 

So with that said, the MDR-1Rs do seem to have more bass than the past Sony headphones I've heard (as such my remark about taking the comparison with the Z1000 with a large grain of salt 'cos I'm not certain if the Z1000 has more mids, or if the MDR-1R's bass/treble forwardness has given the apparent illusion that the MDR-1Rs has less mids than the Z1000 - if you follow my meaning).

 

Here's where I start comparing the MDR-1Rs with the other new headphones I have on my shelf. Despite the MDR-1Rs having more bass and still some forward extensions to the trebles, I find that they're conservative. As mentioned in the 2nd paragraph, to my ears and my interpretation it feels flattish because of this conservative signature. From Sony's presentation, I have a feeling this was meant to be their more bassy headphone.

 

 

 

 

 

Comparatively the Sennhesier Momentums have a more forward bass and treble. And the V-Moda M-100 have an extremely engaging lush bass. As such by comparison the MDR-1Rs to my ears don't feel as exciting as those other headphones. Having said that, I'd probably describe the MDR-1Rs to be more accurate in presenting acoustic instruments. Again this is probably contrary to Sony's expectation as from their presentation, I get the sense that electronic music was what they had in mind.

 

Aside from the frequency response, the soundstage and separation is quite decent. It's not as wide as the V-Moda M-100 (which to be honest, is unusually wide for a closed headphone in this price category) and leans more towards the Sennheiser Momentum's more intimate presentation, but somehow doesn't feel as congested as the Momentums. Instrument separation is still quite distinct.

 

Imaging: [Yet to be filled]

 

I find these headphones to benefit from amping. At least for my iDevices, I find the bass to feel somewhat thin but after having something like the V-Moda VAmp or VentureCraft Go-DAP 4.0 drive the MDR-1Rs the bass fills in more nicely.

 

Summary

 

 

As per above, in summary from a physical comfort perspective, I feel these are one of the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. And it's isolation is also very decent, way above average and one of the better ones. In terms of balance of isolation and comfort, I'd have to say this is the best next to the Denon D7100/5100's. Sound quality-wise however, I'd categorise it to be more of a flattish accurate sound signature. It lacks the "fun" factor however to my ears, it represents the music accurately. Despite being designed for more modern music, I find myself liking older music with lots of vocal and natural acoustic instruments. Such examples include :-

 

  • Nicki Parrott's Sakura Sakura
  • Lana Del Rey's Born To Die (Video Games good rendering of the voice but harpsicord lacks detail)
  • Billy Joel (most of his albums actually)
  • And the only electronic music I like that goes well with the MDR-1R is Hideki Matsutake's Digital Moon Album (for those who don't know, Sony's very 1st Walkman came with a demo tape with Hideki Matsutake's version of "Diamonds Are Forever")

 

EDIT: Added macro pix of the grooved cable

post #362 of 2704

Thank you for abating my curiosity.  Comparatively thin bass= dealbreaker for me.  Although, the pads look more spacious and comfortable than M-100.
 

post #363 of 2704
Thanks AnakChan. This is the three-way-battle -comparison that I'm waiting for. Something that I find weird though. You said that form Sony's slideshow, they developed this with modern music, i.e. bass-abundant music, in mind. I find that somewhat perplexing since that's what their new XB series is supposed to be, in my mind. It (the XB series) is more portable than the previous XB series (foldable, less cushion-like earpads).

And while I'm all up for almost flat, midrange focused headphones, for portable use, IMO some bass and treble emphasis is needed to counteract stray noise coming in (on top of decent isolation). This doesn't bode too well in my mind, and if the use case is more at home, I would be sad to drop this from consideration since I already have more-than-decent "home-phones".
post #364 of 2704
If these have above average isolation I think you can go slightly more flat in response IMO. But I do worry a smidge about the bass but only just since I come from SRH-1440 which are not bass monsters. If these have close to the mids and treble of that headphone with more sub-bass and mid-bass I will be happy with my pre- order.
post #365 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

If these have above average isolation I think you can go slightly more flat in response IMO. But I do worry a smidge about the bass but only just since I come from SRH-1440 which are not bass monsters. If these have close to the mids and treble of that headphone with more sub-bass and mid-bass I will be happy with my pre- order.

 

Hopefully they WILL have the bass that the Shure lacks... If their signature is similar to Shures but with more bass (maybe ala Audio Technicas A900X but comfortable) I will be happy with my order too (and they look extremely good to boot!!!)

 

dweaver, have you tried the Mad Dogs from MrSpeakers?

I think you'd probably like them! (I actually do like them a lot).

So now I'm wondering about the Mad Dogs vs MDR-1Rs vs M100s...

 

Which brings me to...; I also managed to get a V-MODA m100 from someone on the boards! w00t!!!

So I guess I will have a chance to try them!!!

 

Anak, thanks for the lovely pictures and the impressions!!!!

I'm actually kind of shocked to see that these are not more "bass-oriented" as the ones from Logitech or V-Moda especially after Sony has touted their collaboration with artists whose genres are actually bass heavy/forward...

 

 

Thanks.

post #366 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

OK, I have an "almost complete" impressions of the MDR-1R. If you guys are ok with something that's almost, but not completely done, here you go.

 

-Wall of text-

Great review.

 

And now a classic question: (dunno if you can answer it, tho)

How is it compared to the ATH-M50?

post #367 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by gelocks View Post

 

Hopefully they WILL have the bass that the Shure lacks... If their signature is similar to Shures but with more bass (maybe ala Audio Technicas A900X but comfortable) I will be happy with my order too (and they look extremely good to boot!!!)

 

dweaver, have you tried the Mad Dogs from MrSpeakers?

I think you'd probably like them! (I actually do like them a lot).

So now I'm wondering about the Mad Dogs vs MDR-1Rs vs M100s...

 

Which brings me to...; I also managed to get a V-MODA m100 from someone on the boards! w00t!!!

So I guess I will have a chance to try them!!!

 

Anak, thanks for the lovely pictures and the impressions!!!!

I'm actually kind of shocked to see that these are not more "bass-oriented" as the ones from Logitech or V-Moda especially after Sony has touted their collaboration with artists whose genres are actually bass heavy/forward...

 

 

Thanks.

 

Please do bear in mind that this is only one person's perspective and I'm sure as more and more owners get their hands on their MDR-1Rs they may have a completely different opinion from mine. I must say I'm particularly curious about the Mad Dogs too. There is a place for the the MDR-1Rs and there will be fans who will love the mids and want as what I'd describe to be an accurate headphone.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasmutte View Post

Great review.

 

And now a classic question: (dunno if you can answer it, tho)

How is it compared to the ATH-M50?

 

The last time I tried the ATH-M50 was more than 3 months ago and have to admit do not remember the signature. I'll have to go to the shops to do a comparison.

post #368 of 2704
great review. i like the cable from behind the ear on the frame design. my only fear as with every other pair of plastic hinged sony headphones i've had in the past is the micrphonics. they seem to increase over age and use.
post #369 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

 

Please do bear in mind that this is only one person's perspective and I'm sure as more and more owners get their hands on their MDR-1Rs they may have a completely different opinion from mine. I must say I'm particularly curious about the Mad Dogs too. There is a place for the the MDR-1Rs and there will be fans who will love the mids and want as what I'd describe to be an accurate headphone.

 

Oh definitely.

That's why I ordered them... I loved the looks but I also wanted to hear their sound reproduction with my own ears ;-). But still, at least you get an "initial idea" of what to probably expect. The Mad Dogs, to my ears, are truly special headphones for the price I initially bought them ($270 I think) and I plan on keeping them for a long time. I have to send them to Dan in order to get the Dog Pads installed...

 

Currently the Sig Pros and Mad Dogs are my favorites but right now I have the Signature DJs, MDR-1Rs on "pre-order" and the M100s on the way... I'm pretty sure this will be my "final" journey for a while. Unless one of these trump over the Sig Pros and Mad Dogs, these will stay with me and the rest are going to the Buy/Sell boards or eBay ;-)

 

 

Thanks.

post #370 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by gelocks View Post


Oh definitely.
That's why I ordered them... I loved the looks but I also wanted to hear their sound reproduction with my own ears ;-). But still, at least you get an "initial idea" of what to probably expect. The Mad Dogs, to my ears, are truly special headphones for the price I initially bought them ($270 I think) and I plan on keeping them for a long time. I have to send them to Dan in order to get the Dog Pads installed...

Currently the Sig Pros and Mad Dogs are my favorites but right now I have the Signature DJs, MDR-1Rs on "pre-order" and the M100s on the way... I'm pretty sure this will be my "final" journey for a while. Unless one of these trump over the Sig Pros and Mad Dogs, these will stay with me and the rest are going to the Buy/Sell boards or eBay ;-)


Thanks.

And I'll be in queue for one of them. ph34r.gif
post #371 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post


And I'll be in queue for one of them. ph34r.gif


wink.gif

 

You know, the only thing I "fear" is that I'll like a lot of them and then have "Craigster's Syndrome"... difficulty in picking which one I should go out with on certain days! LOL

post #372 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by gelocks View Post


wink.gif

 

You know, the only thing I "fear" is that I'll like a lot of them and then have "Craigster's Syndrome"... difficulty in picking which one I should go out with on certain days! LOL

It's official, it's now an actual psychological disease. To do with headphones. Yeah.

 

On another note, the last big release should be the AKG K267 in a week or two.

post #373 of 2704
@Gelocks - those Mad Dogs look very interesting but I suspect they won't be ideal from my iPhone so I am going to focus on just the MDR-1R for now. Looking forward to your M100 impressions too :-)

@AnakChan - excellent review :-) I look forward to you comparisons to some of the new headphones coming out.
post #374 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

@Gelocks - those Mad Dogs look very interesting but I suspect they won't be ideal from my iPhone so I am going to focus on just the MDR-1R for now. Looking forward to your M100 impressions too :-)
@AnakChan - excellent review :-) I look forward to you comparisons to some of the new headphones coming out.

 

Oh, got it.

Yeah, they are "nitpicky" when it comes to amplification. I use them with the HiSound Studio V and it is capable of driving them but definitely NOT the best. I had luck with the Leckerton UHA 6SMKII and JDSLabs c421. Both of these amps drive them very well actually. So if you use a similar amp for your phone, you will have no problem. If you only use the headphone-out (i.e. no other amp), then yep, you might not find them optimal. Will try to post something that makes "sense" when I get all of these ;-)

 

 

Thanks.

post #375 of 2704
Quote:
Originally Posted by BRSxIgnition View Post

It's official, it's now an actual psychological disease. To do with headphones. Yeah.

 

On another note, the last big release should be the AKG K267 in a week or two.


I am honored to have a disorder named after me and am comforted that it is relatively benign.  They say curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction brought it back.  Satisfaction for me is assessing the K267, Signature DJ, Pro 500, M4U1 and probably one or two more we don't know about yet that will be out before the end of the year.


Edited by Craigster75 - 10/16/12 at 11:26am
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