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Sony MDR-Z1000 and Sony MDR-7520 - Essentially Identical?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Starting this new thread because this subject/question keeps arising about

these two top headphones. 

 

Are the MDR-Z1000 and MDR-7520 identical other than the color, supplied cable, and support offered by Sony?

 

("Support offered by Sony" = since the 7520's are part of Sony's "Professional Division",

Sony offers immediate telephone support and faster repair turnaround if there's an issue with them).

 

Both headphones are described by Sony as "Studio Monitors"

The 7520's marketing efforts are geared towards the professional market,

while the Z1000's are focused on the home audiophile market.

 

In the USA, both were announced and released at the same time.

Both are available in the USA and Europe, but evidently only the 7520'a

of the two are available in the UK.

 

 

The MDR Z1000 headphones are made in Thailand, where Sony has been making their headphones

for years.  The stock cable, however, is made in China.  And, while I've not yet seen manufacturing information

on the 7520's, I would have to assume it's the same once again.

 

 

The technical data i.e. specifications provided by Sony for the two headphones are identical.

 

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/product-MDR7520/
http://store.sony.com/p/headphones,-headphone,-Professional-headphones,-studio-headphones,-studio,-premium-audio/en/p/MDRZ1000#specifications

 

 

 

[Edited for increased accuracy]


Edited by zazex - 12/23/13 at 4:16pm
post #2 of 20

From the Head-Fi Holiday Gift Guide:

 

"Let's get one thing straight before I continue: The MDR-7520 is not the same headphone as the now-discontinued (in the U.S.) MDR-Z1000. That was something I always assumed, but a belief I had banished for me in a head-to-head comparison of the two with Sony's Naotaka "Nao" Tsunoda (Nao was the lead engineer for these products). They do look similar, but they definitely sound different, with the MDR-7520's signature the one I preferred, its bass more impactful, and its image more spacious." -  Jude

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/2012-head-fi-holiday-gift-guide-over-ear

 

 

and the Jude's side-by-side pic & comments from CanJam:

At CanJam @ RMAF 2012, Sony's Naotaka Tsunoda brought both the Sony MDR-7520 (left) and the MDR-Z1000, so that I could compare them both, as I'd initially thought both were the exact same headphone, just in slightly different liveries--they're not. They do sound different, my preference being for the MDR-7520, with its more impactful bass and better imaging. You can see in the photo that there's one outside obvious difference (other than color) in the cloth coverings of the drivers (the MDR-7520's being much more sheer). There are also differences inside that result in each having its own character.

 

 

"At CanJam @ RMAF 2012, Sony's Naotaka Tsunoda brought both the Sony MDR-7520 (left) and the MDR-Z1000, so that I could compare them both, as I'd initially thought both were the exact same headphone, just in slightly different liveries--they're not. They do sound different, my preference being for the MDR-7520, with its more impactful bass and better imaging. You can see in the photo that there's one outside obvious difference (other than color) in the cloth coverings of the drivers (the MDR-7520's being much more sheer). There are also differences inside that result in each having its own character." -  Jude

post #3 of 20

I've spent more time comparing them now, in the quiet of my own office. With both hooked up (at the same time) to the Benchmark DAC2 HGC, Fostex HP-A8C, and Luxman P-1 (all of which have at least two headphone outputs), the results are the same.

 

700 700

 

At CanJam @ RMAF 2012, we used Nao's MDR-Z1000 and MDR-7520 for the comparison. Nao's MDR-7520 looked brand new (the protective clear plastic still over the left-right indicators), and his MDR-Z1000 looked to me like it might have seen more use. At home, my MDR-7520 has seen more use, and the MDR-Z1000 is the newer of the two, and, again, the results are the same as I stated in the guide. And, again, I personally prefer the MDR-7520.

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info.

 

The headphones that were actually released into the marketplace

have clearly undergone changes.

 

For example, initially the Z1000's had red stickers on the outside

of the earcups, whereas now the red stickers are gone in favor

of a simple black and silver Sony logo.

 

The Z1000's initially shipped with two cables, and eventually

shipped with just one.

 

Perhaps Sony had intended the headphones as shown to Jude

to be the final versions for release.  Perhaps they were in fact

released like that but were changed.  (Often, of course,

engineers bump up against marketing/sales departments

as well as accounting departments.) 

 

Some reviewers state the two headphones sound "identical".

See, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K87LjaLNORo

 

 

Moreover, Sony is unfortunately struggling at present and

not providing a unified presentation to either the public or

to investors.  As a fan of the company for many years, I

certainly hope they can "right the ship" sooner rather than later.

post #5 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by zazex View Post

 

...The headphones that were actually released into the marketplace

have clearly undergone changes.

 

For example, initially the Z1000's had red stickers on the outside

of the earcups, whereas now the red stickers are gone in favor

of a simple black and silver Sony logo...

 

I think the red sticker (as seen in this photo) is just a simple decal.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post
...The Z1000's initially shipped with two cables, and eventually

shipped with just one...

 

I ordered my MDR-Z1000 quite recently (new, not used), and it came with two cables.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

....Some reviewers state the two headphones sound "identical".

See, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K87LjaLNORo

 

If you watch the video, beginning around the four-minute mark (4:00), you'll see the MDR-Z1000 and MDR-7520 in the video have the different fabrics over the pads (as shown in my photo that jpelg posted above). You'll see in the video that the MDR-Z1000's driver is never visible, but the MDR-7520's does show through.

 

I would encourage hifiguy528 to compare them more closely. I've now listened to two entirely different pairs, and the results were the same. To my ears, the differences are not subtle. For a quick take on the differences, I think a good way to compare them would be to use something with two headphone outputs, and simply swapping the two headphones on your head while music is playing.

 

Also, the lead engineer for both of these headphones--Naotaka "Nao" Tsunoda--paid a visit to my office, and we discussed this very topic (as well as in subsequent emails). It seems clear to me from our discussions that these headphones were intended to sound different from the start. In other words, I don't think they ever sounded identical.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

...Moreover, Sony is unfortunately struggling at present and

not providing a unified presentation to either the public or

to investors.  As a fan of the company for many years, I

certainly hope they can "right the ship" sooner rather than later.

 

Again, I think both of these headphones were intended to sound different from the start, and that hasn't changed. There have been Sony pro audio headphones with consumer market counterparts that sounded the same--these two headphones, however, do not fit that description.

 

I don't think these two headphones are in any way representative of any problems at Sony. They're just two different models of headphones, and, in this case anyway, I don't think there's anything more to it than that.

post #6 of 20

Jude! This"differences are not subtle" twist is killing me man, Now i've got to hear them myself but i've no Z1000 left to compare with. Someone (we all lnow who that is) should measure these real quick...

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Jude and jpelg,

 

Many thanks for providing such detailed information into this thread.

 

Certainly it should go a long way towards clarifying the situation

with these two headphones, especially if it makes its way into a

reasonably prominent location on google and other search engines.

post #8 of 20

I'm very interested in these hp's as an addition to my 7509HD's. Currently they're both available from amazon.uk, but the 7520's are around £100 ($160) more than the Z1000's. If they're the same then the Z1000's look like a bargin, but if they're not the same, and not as good, then the price difference would make some sense.


Edited by Mike F - 1/6/13 at 4:52am
post #9 of 20

Hey Jude I love my Z1000 but I'm curious about the 7520. I'm thinking about making the switch, but I'm afraid of losing the sweet full mids of the Z1000. How do the mids compare? Do I get everything I get in the Z1000 + more bass + better imaging? How is the resolution of the 7520? Exactly the same as the Z1000? Even better?

 

Thanks Jude.

 

Edit: Also Jude, do you think they're different enought so that owning both is conceivable or are they too similar for that?


Edited by M-13 - 2/13/13 at 9:20pm
post #10 of 20

I wanted to confirm that the 7520s are indeed different from the Z1000. Very different. LIke Jude says: the differences are not subtle. I echo Jude.

 

In my humble opinion

 

-Healthier bass response (still neutral, not overly bassy, closer to reference than Z1000)

-Better imaging and instrument seperation, more spacious

-Better up and down coherence

-Even more resolving than the Z1000

-Leather pads are even more comfortable and there is just little bit more room for my ears

 

It's like Sony perfected what they were trying to do with the Z1000. It does everything the Z1000 does but just a little better.

 

If you love the Z1000 like me. You'll love the 7520 even more. :)

 

Surprised these are not recommended more. As a former LCD-2 R2/HE-500 (Lyr/Bifrost) owner, these are amazing for the money and very near that level of quality at about 1/3 the weight and price.

 

The all black magnesium build is sexy as hell, plus the driver covers are even more transparent and even nicer in person than in the photos.

post #11 of 20

Apologies for bumping this old thread, but I want to thank you for your follow up, M-13.

 

Thought I had made up my mind on some ES10's, but now I find myself seriously contemplating the 7520's.

 

One thing I am curious about are the blue/red sections on the cups.  A few pictures show the cans without them, but in most they are still there.  Are they stickers that can be removed?  If so, has anyone here done this and is it relatively safe/easy?

post #12 of 20

If you're talking about the blue sticker that says "Professional" then yes it can be removed. In fact I removed mine the first second I opened the box. If you know anything about Sony, they love to put a lot of stickers on their products. You should see their DSLRs. LOL.

 

Although there was one member who wanted to order red stickers from Japan for his Z1000 because he liked them so much. rolleyes.gif  (People are so weird...)

post #13 of 20

Okay I did not need to read this thread. -___-

 

I've always loved my Z1000 for the build quality but I just found their bass performance quite flabby. I always wished they could make an MDR-1R with the build quality level of the Z1000. I'm assuming from descriptions that the 7520 is somewhere between the two in terms of bass?

post #14 of 20

Received my 7520's from Hong Kong a few days ago, they have completed a little over 60 hours of burn in (log sin sweeps, white/pink noise, and various music genres), and I am now loving them very much.  Stickers came off immediately, had rubbing alcohol ready which was entirely not needed.

 

A small side complaint, not sound related, is that my headband came out of the box slightly crooked/warped.  When they are being held or are at rest the right ear cup is about 2cm forward of the left.  When worn it does not seem to affect the sound and is not uncomfortable, but I don't know if it is visibly uneven or not.  Not going to exchange them as there is nothing wrong with the sound, but let me know if someone has a suggestion to get them straightened out.  Perhaps I'll start letting them rest similar to the photo in this thread, perhaps over time twisting in the opposite direction will correct the memory.

 

@ a_recording:

I've not heard the Z1000 or the 1R, but based on most other Sony cans I have heard I would say your guess is correct, though I assume they are probably closer to the Z1000 than the 1R in terms of bass.  Many Sony cans I have heard (usually low to mid level models though), were quite bass heavy.  These 7520's are much closer to reference grade, which I appreciate.  They almost even seem bass light after listening to other phones like my amped IE80's, but that is certainly not a complaint as I sometimes tire of the sound signature of the IE80's, and I will be surprised if I ever experience fatigue at the 7520's.  They are very well placed in the "professional" category as I find their studio monitor signature very accurate and not too bass or treble heavy.

post #15 of 20

All

 

Just a quick question. If you're saying they both are different, is it just down to the fabric in the ear cups? Is that only difference that's causing the subtle changes that you're all experiencing. Jude, could you swap the earpads if you haven't done so and give us your opinion.

 

Many Thanks

Ven

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