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Sony MH1 R&D Story ...and discussion.

post #1 of 233
Thread Starter 
Okay, I promised some of you that I will post the R&D Story behind MH1 so here it is - well, part of it anyway. For the full article, you can either download the PDF version here or visit my blog. The author of this article is Sead Smailagic. He is working for Sony Mobile, in the department of Companion Products as an acoustic designer.


I’m glad to be able to share part of our story behind the MH1 research and development. Hopefully you will find it interesting to find out more on our research and development work, what we do, how we do it and why we do it, as well as also find it useful to learn more about IEMs in general!


The idea behind the MH1 was to create an outstanding audio experience with a great dynamic impression that will simply turn the listener on, while still delivering that sweet balance and clarity so that even smallest details shine thru. Basically “the sound” balanced in that way to fit as many people and music genres as possible!

Defining subjective target is one thing, however designing IEMs to reach that goal is a bumpy road full of challenges! The most fundamental issue is that we all experience IEMs differently, especially in the high frequency range due differently sized and shaped heads, ears, and ear canals. At the same time, the frequency response of an IEM has large effect on perceived sound quality and is therefore an essential component of high quality IEM design! So, measuring IEMs and understand how these curves correlates with your perception doesn’t seem to be simple task.


So below we have a short summery and a few comments on our target frequency curves!



Before we start analyzing IEM’s frequency response I would recommend taking a look at the graph below. In this graph audible range is presented and sliced into octave bands. Each of these bands is categorized according to its acoustical and musical qualities and can be a very helpful tool when trying to describe what you hear in terms of frequency range.
(a much bigger copy of this is in the PDF version)




If you have any question regarding the article, please ask it here. Sead (and that's his account name here) has already signed up the forum and he will answer your questions as much as he can, or allowed to, I guess (*don't think he will be telling us trade secret or anything like that wink.gif )

[UPDATE Nov, 6th 2012]
Here is a measurement made by someone to counter this article, calling this an 'commercially oriented excuses to sell a product'. Well, read it and decide for yourself.

Here is what I have said a few weeks ago on the original MH1 review:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

Oh, forget to mention that I'll have the R&D story behind the MH1 up by the end of the month. I have been talking to the chief engineer in the Sony Europe team that develops the MH1 for a while now and he will be contributing an article to my blog on MH1's behind-the-scene tuning and development. We get a lot of marketing all the time, but this is the first time I get to skip the PR and discuss some of the R&D story with an engineer who develops the product itself. I know some of you might think this could be a PR stunt, well it really isn't. His action to communicate directly to the user isn't exactly welcomed by Sony's own PR team either. Anyway, it will be something interesting for you all to read about and make up your own judgement about it.

[UPDATE Nov, 7th 2012]
Originally Posted by Sead View Post

Hi guys,

as there have been some ongoing discussions related to MH1 mods, here comes some suggestion what can be done to shape and customize the sound according to your own preference.

mod1. If you experience bass being muddy/exaggerated, try to block the vent, this is suppose to reduce the bass ~2-3dB

mod2. if you would like to improve some "airiness" try to remove foam from the tube. However without foam, overall smoothness of the treble will be affected.

mod3 If you would like to get some more presence in the mids, make a small hole (~0.2mm diameter) in the center of the filter mesh. This one require some delicate work, so be careful to not oversize the hole.

Anyhow, these are just some of suggestions what can be done relatively easily to influence certain ranges, however i don't take any responsibilities for your actions, so do it on your own risk!L3000.gif

Edited by ClieOS - 11/7/12 at 6:31am
post #2 of 233

Wow the FR cure looks a lot like the H-100 with the dip in the upper lows and lower mids and 3 (well 4 but thats close to 20 kHz) spikes.  I don't expect them to even come close to sounding like the H-100 though which in my case is a good thing.

post #3 of 233

Hey thanks for a fantastic product first of all. I think I can speak for the many that got quite a surprise from these earphones and of course ClieOS was right in bringing these to the attention of us headfiers.


My question to you is. I noticed these share a very similar tuning to my XBA-3s. You guys responsible for tuning the XBA line as well?

post #4 of 233

For now, I just want to congratule Sead for this great product, the lastest big hit here at Head-Fi! I'm going to read the full article and then post my eventual questions later... beerchug.gif

post #5 of 233

I don't have any questions, per se, just want to say thanks.

These are good, like really really good. Aside from some qualms about the ergonomics, the sound is just fantastic. 

post #6 of 233

Wow! Great contribution. Looks like the target was smoothish treble and midway on their accepted bass level scale and that they met it extremely well. The dip at 5-6k is probably what has them a bit smooth for some. It also will allow more people to enjoy them due to the variability of in ear reinforcements. I still prefer it to etched and can't wait for mine.bigsmile_face.gif Love how he defines the frequency ranges as well. Members should find it very helpful.


ClieOS, any idea on whether these are vented? I know manufacturers find ways to hide a vent sometimes.

Edited by goodvibes - 10/31/12 at 12:42pm
post #7 of 233
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

ClieOS, any idea on whether these are vented? I know manufacturers find ways to hide a vent sometimes.

There is a hole (or should I say half a hole) on the top side where the plastic and metal met, so I'll call it vented.
Edited by ClieOS - 10/31/12 at 1:09pm
post #8 of 233

Very nice. A MH1 analysis is planned by Rin Choi, likely affirming what's been said. 

Edited by Inks - 10/31/12 at 1:23pm
post #9 of 233
This IEM really gives a fun sound at a cheap price. I'm used to analytic earphones but these are just plain fun to listen to. At $20 you can't go wrong.
post #10 of 233


Hi guys,
As this is my first post i would like to start by saying, thanks ClieOS for giving MH1 a chance to be discovered. Also I'm happy to see that quite many HF members already gave it a try, followed by some positive feedback. Thank you!  
Regarding your questions, I would suggest to keep these related to the MH1 project only, sorry Dsnuts.



Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post

There is a hole (or should I say half a hole) on the top side where the plastic and metal met, so I'll call it vented.


As ClieOS have mentioned, there is a hole on the back- chamber, but no venting on the front chamber. Micro drivers, due their physical nature are very sensitive to the leakage/ front vents, so in order to achieve good bass quality and extension, I would say sealing is a must. 

post #11 of 233
Originally Posted by Sead View Post


 Also I'm happy to see that quite many HF members already gave it a try, followed by some positive feedback. Thank you!  


No, sir. Thank you

post #12 of 233

i just want to know is,  why are they so cheap?  biggrin.gif      a mistake or what?

post #13 of 233

Just wonder which journal would you submit the article to? Nice reading.

post #14 of 233

looking at the graphs it seems MH1C was built with flat frequency in mind, but they sound much bassier than other so called 'flat' sounding iems, or I missunderstood something? 

post #15 of 233

First of all, Sead, the MH1C are amazing. Many thanks for designing them, also, ClieOS, thanks for sheding some light on those, light they really deserve. I've been following your blog for a while, posting occasionaly as annonymous, 

So, there is this thing I always wondered about, and I'm glad that there's a possibility to ask actual engineer about it, I even created an account here because of it ;)
Is an IEM burn-in really a thing? Most users here tend to think so, and generally there is this opinion in IEM-concerned disscusions, that this is an actuall thing. 
And let's assume this really is an issue, so the quesion I have is why manufacturers don't do IEM burn-in before putting the product in the package and delivering it to sellers? It shouldn't be a problem to play pink noise or music or anything else on IEMs in production line?

Second thing, are there any other perks to micro drivers aside their size? Recently (generally I follow IEM market only when I have to buy a pair, so I might be wrong here) there appeared many interesting products based on such drivers, and as far as I know, such drivers were not popular f.e. 3 years ago, so I wonder about that. Also, manufacturers tended to brag about the size - the bigger driver the better.


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