Sony MDR-1R

  1. Leonarfd
    Enjoyable and relaxing portables
    Written by Leonarfd
    Published Jan 16, 2013
    Pros - Small and light. Good looking in both versions. Laid back signature with good midbass and forward mids.
    Cons - Cable controlls is not the best, also the plastic would be better in metal.
    I have always known that sony had some good headphones for studios.
    But as for the lower models I have heard before, they has not been much above some cheap Koss Porta Pro in the sound.
    So yeah I always stayed away from the Sony brand, until recently when I heard some z1000. I did like them quite alot for all the detail and the over all look(abit boring but simple).
    But they lacked some bass so I did put the thought off buying them, also very expensive in Norway.

    Then a picture popped up when surfing the net, some black Sony's. Loved the look on em, as for an over ear headphone Im going to wear in public, I want em to look nice.
    Read around and there seemed to be alot of different opinions, but the overall feedback was positive and it did not look like some fotm thread.
    People called them warm with pronounced mids, something I never have had before.

    So I ordered them to give Sony an opertunity to impress.

    And yes they did, package was nice. They did not feel cheap even if they are plastic and lightweigth, and the black and red color scheeme is nice.Will not feel so stupid walking in town with theese compared to some other big headphones.

    As for the sound: They are warm sounding for sure when compared to my AKG k550 and beyers. I was expecting more highs, as I had listened to the z1000 before. But it was no big problem as this laid back highs is a good in another way. They are really relaxing, probably because they dont have that extra in the highs. Ive used them now while working at the office and at the library. That is where I think they fit aswell, since they are really relaxing in sound compared to the Beyerdynamic dt880 and dt990. And also not as analyctical at the sound as the akgk550.
    The bass goes about as low as the DT880 but more in the midbass, this makes them good for so to say every genre. Classical aswell since the bass aint overpowering, and it does not bleed into the mids.
    As for an studio work or something that require the neutral picture theese are not the one you should get. But theese has been made for the people, trying to aim for what people want in the music. Laid back highs, good bass and mids. This makes you enjoy the music without getting fatigued by the highs.
    Comfort for me is a hard one, as my ears look normal but as im almost 2m and got a quite above average body size my head is also bigger than a average human 170cm. They fit well and my head could have been even better, but the problem is that my right ear is touching the plastic covering the driver. It makes me itch and I need to take it off after an hour for 2-5mins. No big problem as it can be fixed by pushing in some cloth rolls under the pleather to makes them not go so far in.
    Summary: I think the headphones are a bargain at the price range, for me they costed 200$ less than Sennheiser momentum and AKG K550(prices in Norway is horrible). The got looks and are solid build and very portable. Engaging, fun and relaxing sound. Perfect for studys or the office.
    Some more pics




  2. Threeek
    Nice cans for relaxing with or listening to at work.
    Written by Threeek
    Published Jan 11, 2013
    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.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      Pros: Enjoyable, easy going, comfortable................................rofl :))
      XxDobermanxX, Jan 12, 2013
  3. portafi
    smart looking under achiever
    Written by portafi
    Published Dec 24, 2012
    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............
      zsolt and VladGuardian like this.
  4. AnakChan
    MDR-1R Initial Impressions
    Written by AnakChan
    Published Oct 23, 2012
    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
      VladGuardian and Dead-Pon3 like this.
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    2. DarkAyla
      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?!!!
      DarkAyla, Dec 5, 2012
    3. Reticuli2
      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?
      Reticuli2, Jan 3, 2013
    4. bananus
      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)?
      bananus, Jul 3, 2016