Introducing the perfect mix of breakthrough audio technology,...

Sony MDR-1R

Average User Rating:

    Introducing the perfect mix of breakthrough audio technology, maximum comfort and sophisticated design. The MDR-1R lets you experience sheer audio bliss with liquid crystal polymer film diaphragms, and impressive bass sounds with beat response control.

    Liquid crystal polymer film diaphragm
    HD driver unit
    Beat response control
    Enfolding structure
    Inward axis structure
    Silent joints

Recent User Reviews

  1. keanex
    "Overall Rating is indicative of the used market price - not new price"
    Pros - Gorgeous aesthetics; Lightweight & sturdy build; Removable cable; Midrange texture; Speed.
    Cons - Cost to price ratio; Fatiguing; Midrange recession; Odd sound signature.
    The review was written from a $300 MSRP, they can be had like-new for around $100, my ratings reflect the used market pricing.

    Pros: Gorgeous aesthetics; Lightweight & sturdy build; Removable cable; Midrange texture; Speed.
    Cons: Cost to price ratio; Fatiguing; Midrange recession; Odd sound signature.
    Tonal Balance: Forward upper-mids with odd unevenness throughout, slightly v-shaped
    Style: Closed circumaural
    Cost at Time of Review: $300

    Reviewing Process

    I’ve been using the 1R as my primary cans for the past three weeks, using them rather heavily during the time with a wide variety of music and games. While I feel confident that I have a good feel for the sound and construction of the 1R, this is still a subjective review and your personal experience may vary. Personal experience will always be the best way to form an opinion on a headphone, though I hope that my words may be of some help also.

    Build & Feel

    Build Quality
    Plastic construction abound, the MDR-1R feel anything but cheap. Not a creak when adjusted or handled, nor is there a loose feeling joint. The addition of a removable cable, albeit single sided, adds longevity due to the ease of replacement of one of the most fragile parts on a headphone. The cable is a simple 3.5mm male to male cable that’s easily found and replaced. No cause for concern despite the heavy use of plastic.
    Easily one of the more comfortable closed headphones I’ve used, trouncing the M50x and Focal line, seems to be a bit better than the PM-3 as well - though that is based on memory. The pads are comfortable with give to them, like a worn in leather chair, perhaps to a fault as my ears lightly touch the driver housing. Despite that I find the MDR-1R to be a headphone I can wear longer than most in my collection. Clamping force is just right for my noggin, light enough to avoid pressure headaches, but secure enough to not worry about them falling off. The plastic construction keeps the weight down as well, adding to the comfort factor.


    Bass Shaker Test: Satisfying purr from the get-go with a steady ramp up in volume as the frequencies reach their peaks in the bass. I call this a rainbow effect and shows lack of linerity through the low-end.
    Real World Listening: The bass sounds very nice, rather good control throughout with a satisfying rumbling texture from the sub-bass through the midbass. Midbass has somewhat of a bloated quality to it, though it’s not always noticeable. I found it most notable on Fleetwood Mac’s The Chainduring the chorus portion. The bass does punch rather well though, with defined beginning and endings of notes.
    Mids & Highs
    The midrange has an uneven response, lower midrange is somewhat recessed, but the upper-midrange has a very forward/bright peak that further pushes the lower midrange into the background. What this means is that many male vocalists, acoustic guitars, and acoustic pianos find themselves pushed back a bit, while upper register vocals, electric guitars, and synthesizers find themselves too forward. In addition to the overly forward qualities of the upper-midrange, I find it to show grain - best shown in vocals - while simultaneously sounding shouty at times.
    Despite that, the midrange sounds phenomenal in terms of texture, showing off distorted guitars very well, for instance. The midrange is also fantastic in terms of speed and clarity, very snappy with a clearly defined beginning and end of a note while doing so clearly.
    Treble has a bit of roll-off, though not completely gone. Quality is average, cymbals tend to sound a bit hazy, though discernible. The relaxed quality meshes rather well with the forward upper-midrange. If both were aggressive and forward I might as well be listening to a closed Grado, fatiguing despite being engaging.
    There’s no doubt that these are a closed headphone, though the soundstage is certainly a step up above the MSR7 in separation, though not quite as wide or deep as the HM5. Instrument separation is rather good, easily discerned spacing from one instrument to the next, while having rather accurate placement of instruments despite a rather narrow soundstage. Depth is the weakest quality of the MDR-1R when it comes to soundstage, sounding rather flat all things considered.


    The sound is odd, and not one I immediately liked - nor is it one I would recommend to someone without trying first. Fatiguing and uneven best describe the presentation of the sound, though it’s quite clean and responsive. The aesthetics are absolutely gorgeous though, and comfort beats many closed competitors. I don’t dislike the MDR-1R, not by any means, but they’re priced higher than I feel they’re worth at the $300 they are new on Amazon currently. I give these a hesitant recommendation - but one that only comes if you can demo them first.

  2. gerelmx1986
    "Too Mid-centric"
    Pros - Big stage
    Cons - Jack connection feels flimsy, overall they feel fragile, Mid-centric
    I Ventured to buy those headphones fater a massive discount in pre-christmas sales here in mexico, for $178 USD i consider them to be a great buy
    The construction of those cans seems to be aluminum and plastic mix, the band is alumnum as well as the ear cups, the joints are plastic, overall they feel fragile, so I try to take great care of those, the good is that they feel very light. One minor gripe i have on those is the "jack rattler" the connection seems not got as deep as it should do.
    They look pretty stylish, pretty conservative style, black with a red ring as accent and the sony logo on it, you are not promoting big brand names there, the cable seems to be well constructed, thicker and is serrated to supposedly avoid tangling.
    The package has not so many accesories, just two cables (one is for smartphones and the other is a normal 2 ringed 3.5mm cable), a pouch, I was expecting a sturdy case there as sony used to in the past. I was expecting a 6.35mm adaptor (fortunately i have one from an older Noise canceelin sony headphones).
    The sound quality is fairly flat, perhaps  mid accentuated , highs are nicely presented, signs of harshness, bass department can be a shocker for bass-heads, altought those have a struggle  deep punchy bass (Bach Organ works f.e.) they seem to lack some extension but i find this to be fine for me is the right amount of bass (only genre i listen to is Classical),  They lack power to get very deep bass and lack body.
    The worst headphones i've ever bought
    +conservative looks
    +Detacheable cable
    +well built
    +nice inmersive soundstage
    -feel fragile (due to lightness)
    -pads seem to be plastic-leather 'pleather'
    -they have some openings on top of the cups so they let in sounds
    -Not many accesories included in the 'lux box'
    -jack connection defect
    -Lack body
  3. Damage
    "A great set of phone, but where have I heard these before?"
    Pros - Comfortable beyond belief. Replaceable Cables. Sounds Just Like MDR-ZX700
    Cons - Weak Accessory Pack. Cable Rattle Issues. Sounds Just Like MDR-ZX700
    If I can describe these in one sentence, it would be this: "They are the very portable edition of MDR-ZX700 with replaceable input cables."
    There in lies the rub. They sound nigh incredibly close to the MDR-ZX700 in all regards.  The overall balanced approach that worked for MDR-ZX700, with all its plusses and minuses, are back in near perfect form in the MDR-1R.  In essence, the MDR-1R is the refined version of MDR-ZX700.  So much that I am tempted to leave my review on that.  For all intents and purposes, the 1R = ZX700 sonically.  If anything the ZX700 may have a tad more in isolation, if that.  Or vice versa.  
    The refinement comes in its design. For one, the earcups hinge out flat for easier transport.  Also, the cable can be replaced with simple 3.5mm <-> 3.5mm cable.  And unlike the 10R, you can damn well use any cable you want. There is a bit of cable rattling issue, but that's easily ignored for the most part, especially in portable environment where you'll be more immersed in listening to the music than the rattle.  It is quite comfortable and perhaps, a bit more sturdier thanks to its metal cups and bands, though bands are still plastic.  Sturdy as they may be, full metal build would've been better perhaps.  The carrying bag is nylon/pleather composite.  Hard carrying case would've been appreciated given its initial pricing.
    In the end, though, all looks and refinements aside, it is still MDR-ZX700.  And given that the ZX700 is 1/2 the price and sounds uncannily like MDR-1R, I'm not sure whether or not to recommend these or the ZX700.  Is the fact that they travel lot better than ZX700 and has replaceable cable worth the extra $100?  That question is ultimately left up to you.

User Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!