Sony MDR-1R

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.


Headphoneus Supremus
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


100+ Head-Fier
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.
I'm intrigued by these.  I already own the ZX700's and wanted to grab the NC versions of the 1R's for use on flights.  After reading your review I wouldn't necessarily want another pair of ZX700 sounding headphones as I prefer the more exciting sound of my MDR-V6's over those.  Anybody know of what I should look at next?
I've a/b them myself for the past week or so and yeah there's notably more bass presence on the 1R. It's easily discernible especially when using a bass test. The ZX is pretty anemic down in the 20-40 range but the 1R has a slight rumble. Same goes for the teble energy, ZX drops off dramatically while the 1R retains more sparkle because the peak at 10k isn't as big. Cymbals have more energy to them testing various tracks. Soundstage is also not close, although the pads and housing have more to do with this. ZX is more congested while the sense of space on 1R is impressive for a closed can. All in all, I think the ZX is good for the $120 or so it was released at and spectacular for what they go for now. The 1R is an improvement in sound although you're right it is a similar albeit not exact replica of the sound. I think the slight improvements in sound (mids not as dominating for example) and the huge improvements in comfort are nice, although unsure if it's worth $300. I paid $199 for mine and I think it's a fair price. I like both of these better than the Momentums for example.
@jwong77 Consider the MDR-ZX750BN, but replace the earpads with the V6 earpads.  Otherwise, it's a terrible bloody bass mess.  Competent ANC (similar to 10RNC), Bluetooth, and somewhat less refined sound signature, but for what it is and what it comes with, it's not bad at all.


New Head-Fier
Pros: warm, soundstage, balanced, mids.
Cons: nothing
these deliver a warm sound, which i prefer. still, sound is quite balanced. clear sound, open soundstage, crisp mids, looks nice, !comfortabe! sounds like what i like. didn't use these outside, so can't comment on isolation. as for the midbass hump, that just makes it sound warmer, which i love (personal preference).
some saying isolation isn't good. if isolation was good, i would give 5 stars.
Great review. I find isolation not bad, I use them while on-the-go. I would like to say however that the mids are not that "crisp". To me, they seem a bit forward and have a boosted presence but are not very detailed. Otherwise, your review was very concise and I agree with most of it.
i only listened to it once.


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Good overall sound. Clear mids and clean treble with the Blu Tack mod
Cons: Bass has a little upper bass bump and lacks some extension, Mids are a bit forward, Hinge and wind noise issues are present on the go.
So here is my review of the MDR-1R.
Its a good looking headphone. nothing to complain about. It is by far my best looking headphone, but that is easy to do :)
The build is good, solid feeling and not a flimsy feeling piece of plastic. There are a few issues though:
First the jack on the headphone to accept the cable has no means of locking the cable in or preventing it from getting slack, So make sure that you don't change the cable constantly, or you will have a loose jack and the plug can rattle. For me so far, this is a minor issue, rarely hearing the rattle if ever at all.
Second is the hinge creaking. This is more annoying as simple things like clenching your jaw causes the creaking and it is very audible. I will have to find a way to lubricate it. remember reading in a thread what to do but will have to find it again.
Besides these issues, I do wish it could fold into something smaller, but then that leaves more areas for it to fail I guess.
Another issue that I guess goes down to build is the port. It is very susceptible to wind noise, I don't know if there may have been a way to counteract it, but it is there and can decrease your enjoyment of on the go listening if you are in a windy environment.
Well seeing that this is my first circum-aural can, it is also the most comfortable. I have had the HD497, DT235, K81DJ JBL Reference 410, and the Sony are easily the most comfortable. I must say that the pads are nice and soft,but I live on a little island in the Caribbean with an average temperature of 29 degrees Celsius and high humidity so my ears sweat with these.
It comes with two cables, one with Iphone/Ipod controls and a plane one. My one complaint here is that the plain cable is too short. I would prefer I have one long cable that I can use at home and move about a bit more freely without worrying about the short cable. Because the cable is replaceable and basically generic, its easy to work around this by just buying a longer cable.
There is a cloth carrying case as well that is nice, but would have been better with a little padding and maybe a better closing mechanism than the draw string. This is nit picking though. The bag is sturdy feeling and looks like it can take abuse.
Test gear and music:
For testing, my gear is rather simple: I am using a 64gb Ipod Touch 3rd gen loaded with 320 Kbps mp3 songs converted with lame using foobar, a Sendstation LOD, A Fiio L8 cable connecting to a PA2v2 amp. Driving them is easy and the ipod easily drives them loud enough, but the sound is improved by the LOD and the amp and is subtle, but definitely noticeable in clarity and control. A better amp may do an even better job......
Before I forget, I have modded mine with Blu Tack and a small bit of cotton wool in each chamber. 
For Music I used Giorgio Moroder from Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, Nat Kings Cole's  Straighten up and Fly Right  and Mona Lisa from The Nat King Cole Story Disc 1, Simpy Reds Wave the Old World Goodbye from Love and the Russian Winter.
Well I wont split this into bass mids and treble. I'll just roll all into one. The sound signature is more mid centric than I am accustomed to. The mids are more forward, detailed and open than on any other headphone that I have, but it also more natural in most cases. Instruments dont sound as veiled as the do on the DT235 and hence the overall effect is that you have a cleaner sound. The treble is also a bit more extended.
The area where it comes up a bit short is in the bass. At first there was a lack of bass but that has passed. Now the bass is present and is nice and full, BUT, it lacks extension. The DT235 and by extension the K81dj extend deeper than the MDR-1R. The Sony has better definition and more detail in the bass, hits a bit harder than the DT235 because of what appears to be a little upper bass bump, but does not go as deep. I do enjoy the sound though and it handles different genres well.
Music like Skrillex though can be a painful experience to me because of the synths they use in the upper mids and lower treble which are very dominant and can overpower the rest of the mix. So because of the forward mids, this can be an issue with the Sony. also I think the Sony reveals the compression of the mix and the over driving of certain recordings more than my other two head phones. On the same Skrillex songs that I have listened to, they have been recorded into distortion as far as the bass is concerned and you hear it easier than on the DT235. Same for Daft punk, when the mix starts to get complex and full, like close to the end of Giorgio Moroder or Contact where when the recording is pushed dynamically you here the distortion as the limits of the recording is pushed to accommodate everything.
Anyway, all in all, a nice headphone with te mod I did. Clear mids, clean treble, and a full bass if only lacking a bit in extension. I have not heard much else because of my location, but I think it is a nice headphone and is for sure the best that I have overall.
Added these pics
would you recommend this product over for example the m50x, bearing in mind that the sony's go for 140 euro's and the m50x for 165 in my country (the Netherlands)


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: imaging, soundstage, mids
Cons: mid centric (personal sound preference)


Just as a disclaimer, everything mentioned in this review pertains strictly to the headphone POST dynamat mod- this is not a comparison nor a review of the original headphones. 
If curious about the dynamat mod, refer to this thread:
So, having owned these headphones for a while (200+ hours approximately) I felt it was time for a review. I performed the dynamat mod within 10 hours of use so I really don't have much to say about the original headphone except for slight impressions.



So starting off with the accessories: 2 cables (one control talk, one regular) and a carrying pouch. Nothing too radical but not too bad either. A couple small nitpicks though:  (1) for a headphone retailing at $300, it would have been better if they included a hard case- I want to use these portably but I'm always concerned about damaging the headphone and/or smashing the ear pads and (2) the control talk cable has a plastic piece that connects to the headphones while the regular cable has a metal covered head- really a small nitpick but the metal looks a lot nicer and you would expect more attention to detail for a headphone priced in the premium segment of the market.


As many have noted, these headphones are extremely comfortable- probably one of the most comfortable around the ear, portable headphones I've personally tried. They are also fairly light so they shouldn't cause discomfort for most people. Both the earpad and headband are made of a synthetic (protein?) leather I believe and are very soft  but well padded.
In terms of aesthetics the headphone is beautifully designed with a design reminiescent of sony's traditional monitor headphones with a more modern take. The dark chrome looks very nice and compliments the other parts of the headphone nicely. The yoke extending into the cable is also a nice touch. The build is mostly plastic with the exception of parts of the ear cups and the headband. However, despite the less *premium* materials utilized when compared to competing headphones like the momentum, the sonys do not feel flimsy in anyways.
Other complaints about the headphone include the squeaking and cable rattle issue. The squeaking from the joints is non existent in my pair, but the cable rattle does exist. However, I do not feel that the headphone is worth skipping if the cable rattle is your primary concern- it has a very minor effect and I do not feel truly affects the listening experience. 


So, this is obviously the most important piece of a headphone review so lets get to it. I used to try to split up the sound spectrum in reviews but in this review I'll give it my best effort to create a cohesive image of the sound as a whole even though I may still have certain parts of the sound singled out. Please note that the audio gear used in this review goes like this: laptop -> aune t1 -> mdr 1r or htc one (poweramp-unrooted) -> mdr 1r. I will specficially state when switching between the 2 sources, since this is a portable headphone, more weight will be given to how they sound directly out of the htc one.


(with beats eq thing turned off of course)
While, I listen to a lot of edm, I also have a fair collection of orchestrated music. I'm just going to start out saying that if you like classical or anything orchestrated or really most non - electronic music, these headphones are some of the best portables I have heard for these genres. The soundstage is fairly large for a closed headphone and the imaging and instrument separation is among the best I've heard out of the portables I've tried (m100, momentum, hd 25, not sure what else is considered portable really but I haven't tried the dt1350 unfortunately). For classical specifically, I would like a little bit more sparkle in the highs but the overall presentation of the music, to my ears, give the sony mdr-1r the edge over other portables regardless of technical capabilities.
With what I have been saying, it may be fairly easy to assume that the mdr -1r is somewhat lacking in technical capabilities. In a way, say compared to a sennheiser momentum, this may be true. However, standalone, the mdr 1r is fairly transparent and colored, to me though the transparency doesn't necessarily match say an akg q701. The high extension and bass extension are both good but not great. The highs are a bit laid back for my tastes but is definitely present - this may be a good trait if you know specifically that you are treble sensitive. Despite my complaints about the treble, I stil find it generally adequate - I am really just nitpicking, but a little more sparkle in the treble would have helped with a little bit more air. The bass, after the dynamat mod, is not bloated as many regular mdr 1r owners have noted. It is has good impact (though not super punchy) with decent extension which makes it good for non-bass focused music. However, the sub bass rumble and extension leaves room for improvement. Again despite my edm preferences, I do not find this a particularly large issue but if you are a basshead the bass may be leaving you unsatisfied.
The mids are definitely the most well executed portion of this headphone as many have touted the mdr 1r as a "mid centric" headphone. Vocals are generally pleasing to listen to Anyways, since my phone doesn't have many vocal tracks on it, what I can say is that directly the vocals and mids in general are fairly clean though the male vocals pertaining to the lower mids are a bit more prominent. This next part will be focused on the aune t1 (however this may not be a good reference because of the colorations the amperex orange globe adds). Listening to some Celine Dion, you can really tell the prominence of the vocals. The vocals are really smooth and definitely stand above the rest of the spectrum.
An analysis of the sony mdr 1r's on edm:
Being an EDM fan, leaving a lot of electronic opinions out of the review due to the sound signature has been a bit odd, but that's why I have this section. I'm not going to lie here, but the sony mdr 1r's simply are not the best (not even close really) headphone for edm- for that purpose I would recommend looking into the ultrasones or v moda m100 based off personal experience. These headphones work for for edm, they have good enough impact for it, but personally I would prefer a bit more sub-bass rumble and bass extension- the quantity, suprisingly, is not an issue here. The thing about these headphones is that they still do edm decently meaning that if your library consists fully of edm then I would skip these, but if you have a variety of music, these headphone do edm well enough that its capabilities on other types of music will be well worth the compromise. 
A nice thing about the sound is that the non-aggressive highs make these headphones a lot more comfortable to listen to without any ear fatigue.


These headphones really are really interesting in a way. The individual aspects of the headphones aren't necessarily super spectacular but the aspects combined creates a versatile headphone which really is only weak, to me, for EDM or other bass driven music. While these headphones don't compete with the major open backed headphones (like my q701), the overall sound is a lot more engaging especially with more organic music but the headphones really do suffer from bass in electronic music. These headphones kind of lack the finesse and refinement of higher end or open backed headphones when playing something like classical but as an all rounder these work extremely well. 
These headphones, being a nice all rounder (good but not perfect) for me ( though others may disagree), do have its weaknesses due.  The momentum, to me, improves on a lot of the technical flaws of the sony mdr 1r. However, where the senns fail to match the sony is the overall presentation of the music where the imaging and presentation isn't as 3 dimensional, so to speak, and the smaller sound stage. Overall, I feel that these headphones have been vastly overshadowed by the other major headphones. I would highly recommend these for "organic" music (non-electronic though it does do pop ok). The presentation of that type of music is truly where the sony's excel when faced with the stark competition of the many other great closed back headphones.
Just as a side note, the aune t1 I reviwed this with I really don't feel is ideal in terms of synergy. The sony mdr 1r even post dynamat modded still has a slightly warm tint to the sound and I feel something purely solid state would fit better. 


Member of the Trade: Lachlanlikesathing
Pros: Attractive and comfortable design, enjoyable tuning, natural soundstage. Cheaper and better than the Z1000.
Cons: Bass still a little loose, pleather isn't the most breathable, non-locking jack mechanism, jack rattle issue
Along with the summary below, I have made a review thread comparing the Sony MDR-1R with the Sennhesier Momentum, MDR-Z1000, Logitech UE 6000, Audio Technica ATH-M50 and AIAIAI TMA-1 here:
I also made a Youtube review if you would like to get a better look and brief review of the MDR-1R's. Please check out my channel for more reviews!

A Short Summary
The MDR-1R has a sensible and attractive build but there are a few issues. Firstly my pair has the jack rattle issue as reported by other users. The headphone jack does not have a locking mechanism like many other headphones with detachable cables at this price. The synthetic pads aren't the most breathable in hot weather. Overall the build quality is nice but not anything super special, unlike the premium feeling Z1000 and certainly nothing like older Sony flagships. The MDR-1R folds flat but is still relatively bulky on account of the large earcups, thick headband and thick earpads.
The MDR-1R has a clear and pleasant tuning, with a particular focus on mids that makes female vocals sound very nice. Overall the sound is slightly thick but still with a liquid clarity to most notes. Bass is still a little flabby despite Sony's efforts to improve the performance; on the very lowest notes (less than 100hz) it still lacks authority and rumble. They have a relaxed and natural soundstage thanks to the large cups and angled drivers. They are flexible with genres but sound best with indie / acoustic music in my experience.
At the revised retail price of $199 USD the MDR-1R's are pretty good. They have a few flaws that don't illicit the same kind of flagship magic as previous Sony cans, but the sonic performance is definitely an improvement on the Z1000. I would look forward to a MDR-1R successor with better build quality.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Strong Bass that doesn't muddle the clarity of music
Cons: steep price tag

Coming from balanced armature earbuds, I found this headphone a rather enjoyable transition. 


I own the PIIQ2, Beats Solo HD, and this definitely fits into another category. The overall impression of the MDR-1R is it is very comfortable piece of hardware with a very warm sound signature, you can listen to this thing for hours and it won't hurt you unlike the XBA-30. However I believe this thing is driven by a dynamic driver, so the clarity is definitely not as good as balanced armature headphones.


The bass of this is definitely present, and I'm not a huge fan of bass headphones and I own a pair of Beats Solo HD. However compare to the Beats by Dr.Dre garbage I can tell you the bass is very well controlled and it does not muddle the clarity of the music. Sony claims that this headphone can produce frequencies 3 times higher than its competition so these headphones should have no trouble handling higher frequencies. I did find the mids and the highs enjoyable on these even with strong bass performance.


In terms of comfort and design, I don't think there isn't anything remotely comparable to the MDR-1R in this price range. I would suggest the alternative for this headphone is the sennheiser momentum, however the sennheiser doesn't look as classy or refined as the sony, and the sound signature of the momentum is a bit more jumpy, intense and not as smooth.
"Sony claims that this headphone can produce frequencies 3 times higher than its competition so I suppose this is why the mids and the highs sound so good on these"
Human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz so any good sound you get from the drivers are from reproducing these frequencies. Don't swallow the marketing jizz.
I don't mean to be rude but, I don't think that a review the day your purchased a product is a good thing. It's like choosing to divorce on a first date. Burn it in, or burn you ears to it, an then come back and tell us about it.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Some nice deep bass notes. Big soundstage
Cons: Audio Technica M50s
No need to elaborate on what has already been said about these but I summarise my time with the Sony MDR 1Rs:
-Nice build quality
-Removable cable
-Deep bass (not too deep)
-Big soundstage
-Can be great for some electronic music
-Recessed mids
-Lack the resolution you would expect for the price
-Bass can feel out of control at times
-Not enough *POW*
-Can feel sluggish
-At the price (and way below) there are much better all round and bass-centric alternatives
Good attempt but Sony must try harder. Not only are there great alternatives, like the Audio Technica M50s, there are many new players on the market and at this price point there is no room for 'average' sounding headphones.


CanJam London 2016 Karting Champion
Pros: Great vocal performance, especially female vocal. Relaxed, smooth presentation with good speed. Open sounding
Cons: Isolation, Not sheep skin leather, Cable jack problem
Source: iPod Touch 3G ALAC filled
Amp: iBasso D12

Overall sound impression:
As somewhat a treble head and one that crave for mid-range, I have always found getting suitable portable headphones rather difficult. Most are either flat out studio headphones unsuitable for portable use or simply more that I am willing to pay for a pair of portable. Aside from the ES series from Audio Technica and Ed8 from Ultrasone, the portable line up for audiophile has always been rather thin and sparse. Sennheisser bought me hope when they announced the Amperior but the price difference from HD25 left me wanting for more.
I got to try out the Momentum a few days after launch and was convinced that I was what I had waited for years, something with sound quality and (socially acceptable) style, I think DT150 is stylish after all.
It was until the MDR-1R show up, it really did strike me in a way that the Momentum never did, in both the stunning looks and the comfort.  If I say the sound quality is as good as great home headphones, I will be just lying. It isn’t, and neither is the Momentum. However the sweet mids did strike me, as not many portable headphones tend to have this quality. 1R has this electrostatic like smoothness all across the frequency range that some thought it is not detailed due to that.
Momentum on the other hand impressed me with its deep and rich bass, it wasn’t over the top. In fact, the bass emphasis makes it the ideal choice for usage out in the streets. It has good isolation and comes with a very flexible (very thin) cable. I believe this headphone will be the ideal one for more audience than the 1R, with its well textured bass and non-offensive sound signature.
Build and comfort:
MDR-1R is one of the most comfortable headphones I have ever wore, including various giants like SR-009, TH900. Just that factor alone have made me love the headphones even more. MDR-1R is mostly a plastic build with the centre section made from metal. If only it used natural sheep skin leather, it will be full marks on comfort for sure.
Momentum is equally well built with even better material. It does subtract from the comfort by using a more “stylish” steel headband with thinly padded leather, lack of clicker extender and small earcups. The sheepskin leather is one of the best done leather pad however, very supple indeed.
Both headphones fits well enough to not move around on the move, even with long hair.
However both headphones have concerns somewhat related to the cables
MDR-1R users, including me have reported loose cable connective at the headphone end, it is only secured by the 3.5mm jack’s friction and grip. Cable can rattle against the outer casing on the headband or spin. Causes noise when moving.
Crude fix:
Momentum have extremely thin cable that doesn’t feel well built at all, there is some springiness when stretched, which is never a good sign.

Using both standard, non phone cable as comparison. The Momentum's cable is noticeable thinner and lack of good strain relieve.
In very short...
MDR-1R: Great vocal performance, especially female vocal. Relaxed, smooth presentation with good speed.  More open sounding of the two.
Momentum: Typical slightly U shaped sound, deep and well textured bass. Somewhat narrow and focused sound stage.
Who should give MDR-1R a try:
Female vocal lovers, who is into slower more mellow music, listening in quiet locations
Who should give Momentum a try:
Who wanted good bass performance, wanting a more exciting experience, listening out in the streets
I can’t recommend both headphones more myself, just that my personal choice favour the MDR-1R, the Momentum is great as well if you prefer that type of sound.
Well priced, good sound, good looks, it is what I have been looking for in portable for years, good job Sony and Senny.
Can you please measure the inside size of the earpads and take some comparison pictures? The Momentums were a little too small for me, but I'm considering getting some MDR1Rs if they're big enough. They look pretty close though.
Funny (or not) is fact that my Momentums fit well my left ear, but my right ear suffers...

Are you sure their sound is more U-shaped? Because I'd rather say it's \-shaped. Also the bass doesn't seem to go much below 100Hz.
I'm thinking of getting these but I am a little unsure about the laid-back sound. I listened to them at the airport and was otherwise very impressed. I was especially impressed with the smoothness you describe. The detail was far superior to my current Skullcandy Aviators.
I have decided after a few months of using my Aviators that the emphatic soundstage means I'm losing a lot of imagery. They are very smooth, which I like. As I said, the detail could be much better.
I listen to mostly hip-hop but am not a bass-head. I liked how the Skullcandy mostly ignored the bass but like the amount of bass on the MDR-1Rs. 
I don't like Sennheiser's because I feel their dynamics are too flat and boring sounding. 
Would these be the headphones for me? 
Thank you for your help. :)


New Head-Fier
Pros: Enjoyable, easy going, comfortable
Cons: Build is a bit plasticy
I've listened to these for ~30 hours now, and despite them being a little warmer than I expected I've come to really appreciate their easy going sound signature. The mid-bass is a little pronounced, but it's enjoyable rather than overwhelming - I certainly wouldn't describe them as a bass-head 'phone.
Despite the warm sound signature, there's still a very good level of detail that adds to the enjoyment of well recorded music. When listening to recordings that are a little rougher around the edges, the MDR1r still conveys the musicality and enjoyment, rather than throwing all the flaws in your face. Whilst I wouldn't recommend it for listeners who place accuracy above everything else, at no point does it ever seem that any detail is missing from a recording; They really are to be enjoyed.
The MDR1r is a very comfortable and stylish looking piece of kit. Only on very close inspection does it become apparent that the build is in line with its price - there is evidence of plastic beneath the initial metallic shiny impression that it gives off, but to be fair this is perfectly reasonable at the price, and it is solidly built. I paid $268 for these including the cost of shipping from Hong Kong to the UK.
Overall, I'd strongly recommend giving these headphones an audition to see if they're right for you. They're a very capable all rounder that's perfect for long enjoyable listening sessions.
Pros: Enjoyable, easy going, comfortable................................rofl :))


New Head-Fier
Pros: great style
Cons: lacks authority, timid baseline
a good solid headphone that lacks any defining characteristics. nice midrange, clean, clear presentation. however, without a deeper more "gutzy" well rounded bottom end i don't expect these cans to be more than just great decoration for my wall............
Pros: One of the most comfortable circumaural headphones
Cons: Feels fragile for its price, SQ is decent but strong competition for the same price
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. sNaturally 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.


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.



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 :-
  1. Nicki Parrott's Sakura Sakura
  2. Lana Del Rey's Born To Die (Video Games good rendering of the voice but harpsicord lacks detail)
  3. Billy Joel (most of his albums actually)
  4. 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
Hi, please help me in selecting the best headphones that matches my needs. I listen to a wide range of music starting with trance and rap and ending with classical. I already got the AKG K550 which is great but not good for trance and has portability issues as I could't find a case for it. I need a headphones that can operate different types of music and portable. I am between V Moda 100, UE6000, Momentums and Sony MDR 1R. I tried the Momentums, I didn't like it!! I don't know why?!!!
Sony consulted industry experts to compensate for their total crap for sound taste. I love it. Anyone have any proof they've physically measured any of their headphone designs during or after development like other companies do?
would you recommend this product over for example the m50x, bearing in mind that the sony's go for 140 euro's and the m50x for 165 in my country (the Netherlands)?