SONY Stereo headphones black MDR-1RMK2/B

  1. TripBitShooter
    Pretty good, but could be better
    Written by TripBitShooter
    Published Oct 17, 2014
    Pros - Nice looks, luxuriously padded earpads, decent sound quality
    Cons - Rather expensive for sound it offers, as competitors offer better, especially for neutral-sound-seeking audiophiles
         The Sony MDR-1RMK2 has been widely lauded for its looks, and is now about to be replaced by the new MDR-1A which comes in a version that includes a built in DAC. With the 1A coming out, the 1R has potential to be of a great value as prices drop to make way for the new 1A.
    Pros: Nice looks, luxuriously padded earpads, decent sound quality
    Cons: Rather expensive for sound it offers, as competitors offer better, especially for neutral-sound-seeking audiophiles


         Cnet seems to like the sound of this pair of cans, but I definitely think otherwise. However, let's touch on the other aspects of these headphones first.
         Looking at the pics of these pair of cans, the thick earpads are almost immediately noticed. When I got the opportunity to see these pair of cans for the first time and to try them on, I was impressed with their dedication to providing the best comfort to the listener. However, the baffle plate protecting the driver may irritate people whose ears stick out more by touching their ears as the earcups are rather shallow. However, for most, it should be a very comfortable experience.
         The silver portions of the headphones can be easily mistaken for metal, but in actual fact they are plastic painted a really shiny silver. The matte black back of the earcups are also plastic, much to my surprise. this took away a little from the overall premium of these headphones, but its nothing really, though a few people may be irked by the lack of truely premium touches/finishes. The sliders for the headband have a solid clicking and is useful for people with serious OCD and want both sides of the headband extended equally (Just like me).
         The accessories are pretty sparse. A soft carrying case (a hard one would have been appreciated for the price) and two cables, one with an inline mic/remote for smartphones and the other is just a plain audio cable.
         Now lets move on to the sound. I found the sound easily likeable, though not the most accurate. It did well being driven out of a mobile device, as is their primary purpose, to be a premium mobile headset. The warmth in the sound was immediately noticeable. This warmth was not overly infused with a blown up low end, so audiophiles should still find the sound tolerable, but for the average listener, the added emotion to their daily playlists will serve them well. Also, vocals had a very rich, warm, involving and textured feel to them. Subtle inflections in low to high female and male voices were all brought out with an ease not all headphones can achieve. Vibrato in the voices was also very easy to listen to. Adele, Christina Perri and William Pharrell all had their vocals pretty well reproduced.
         However, the vocals (and generally the higher mid range) was emphasised quite a bit, and the treble, which was quite articulate and detailed but not very much present (rolls off quite early), receded into the background even more. The result was an intimate sort of sound, not a bright and airy one. This can be good for mordern music, which does not require a large soundstage to sound good, but orchestral and instrumental pieces definitely suffered. Bass also was not well done, having a mid-bass hump and a rolled off sub-bass, leaving the bass sounding flabby, slow and without any real punch or weight down low. Overall, I would say the sound is decent, but lacks the overall quality to compete with top contenders at the exact same price, such as the PSB M4U1 and the Nad Viso HP50.
         The MDR-1RMK2 brings to the table great comfort, decent sound, and great looks, which should please most average listeners, but audiophiles packing serious gear like USB DACs or DAPs will want something better for their everyday commute, and will probably turn to the previously mentioned two headphones. All in all, nice job by Sony, but more could certainly be done. 
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  2. wigglepuff
    one of the most comfortable portable headphone out there, sound detail is good and stylish
    Written by wigglepuff
    Published Aug 26, 2014
    Pros - Style, Comfort, Sound
    Cons - I dont really find anything major, as for sound is really subjective and dependent on gear paired with these headphones.
    I will try to keep it short... I guess...
    Tracks I tested on these were 320 vbit mp3s and flac, random genres with some of my favorites in Electronic, Dance Pop, Rock, Alternative and Enka (yes I'm weird). Source units - Sony Xperia, Iphone 5S, Fiio E07k as amp and dac/amp.
    Style and Comfort - It's a major win in this department no questions there. Looks good feels really good unlike those super clamps of death.
    Build Quality - Although it looks fragile, the unit is acutally very sturdy/robbust. As for the pleather parts of the unit (headband and ear pads) its a given that these will naturally degrade from wear and tear over the years (there are some that worry so much about these which is not a big deal really), but you can order replacements from sony if its available or amazon if you are in the US. As for the jack rattle issue well it really isn't an issue and I mean it only rattles if you vibrate the cord manually not to say you may look like you have some kind of mastur.. fetish... in public... I even hop and dance around with these when no one is watching and it doesn't rattle. If its really an issue for you buy a superthin bolt washer ring and plug it along, problem permantly solved with a less than .005 cent ultrathin rubber? lol
    Sound Quality - Ok the mk2's are a bit of an upgrade from the orginal 1r's in this department, I had the chance to test the units side by side on the Sony shop I bought this from.
          The bass on the mk2's are better compared to the original which was near dead weight as the mk2's have more punch and clearly more audible but it doesn't have the extention nor the super detail like some openback headphones do (note these are meant to be portable, if you buy this for house use then you bought the wrong pair and also these are not boomy headphones like the XB910).
          The mids are clean,clear and very detailed as this phone is more focused in this part and somewhat comparable to the original 1r's since I can't hear any major difference between the two.
          The High's are also more audible compared to the original 1r's which is a little bit recessed and detail is also clean and clear but again not comparable to open back headphones on the $1k range. But for a portable and given its price range, this is very good.
          Soundstage on this actually decent for a closed back portable and not that packed in like other closed type portables, the instruments have clear spacing between them and not sounding like a wierd disco jungle and the detail is also present unlike other portables where you can merely hear a slight sound of the instruments.
    As for amps this is very subjective, so I suggest try it around with portable amps and pair it with what you like. There are good affordable amps out there and if you like to go hi-end its also there, so try around and hear which fits your wants.
    If you are looking for portable with style, comfort and good quality sound then the mdr 1rmk2 wont fail you. (again the jack rattle issue isn't an issue, I dont even know how it became an issue to begin with? maybe the those sample that some reviewers were testing were to so worn out from wear and tear? the brandnew one I bough from Sony had no issues in regards to build quality) and if that really bothers you causes a wierd sensation of whatever fetish rattle of an issue for you then get a freakin washer and plug it in along the jack, no mods needed.
    1. grizzlybeast
      Thanks for the info and for sharing.

      Which would you say has a more clear sound. This or your x1?

      What other hp's would you compare them to in that dept that you have heard?
      grizzlybeast, Aug 27, 2014
    2. wigglepuff
      both have the same level of clarity but the X1 has better soundstage so in effect better instrumental layering, but note also that the X1 is big, has 50mm drivers, full open back and you would be nuts to call it a portable. lol
      X1 bass really goes deeper in detail (soundeffects I heard in certain movies) but not boomy or overwhenlming while the 1rmk2's have punch and speed and good detail but can't go that deep probably due to driver limitations and closed back (I love rock personally so these are lovely for me lol).
      The 1rmk2 excell in the mid and in occasion the highs sound really good (I'm not referring to highs like the sony 7506 where your ears will hurt after a while, I mean details when listening to soft rock or acoustics) the 1rmk2 just sound better on acoustic music. I did try the 1rmk2 on movies, its pretty good but it lacks the boom when watching those heavy action movies given the limitations of the 1mk2, but in every other aspect it wont fall behind the X1 (those big drivers and the fact that philips is really good on the bass department, even my shl3300 can go deep like the X1 but falls behind overall).
      note: I only have the fiioe07k as dac/map, better dac/amps would probably make these sound a lot better and reproduce better detail, again it is subjective when it comes to amps so pick what you like. Also female vocals sound really good in the 1rmk2, better than the X1's actually since the 1rmk2 mids and bit smaller soundstage compared to the X1 is probably the factor.
      I heard all the Sony XB series, they are all boomy but the xb910 has very good detail on mids and highs but still boombox and your eardrums will go numb after 30mins on any of those models. mdr m10 sounds meh.. its like a chopped downed version of the 1rs, not recommended.
      Had the chance to try the AKG K550 from a friend(phased out model) now the K551 and I hate the bass, it goes really deep but the detail is weird and lacking for me (subjective, no offence to AGK or owners), mids and highs area really good though, very detailed and wont hurt your ears.
      Also had the chance to test audiotechnica's m50x, ws55x, sj55, sj33 as advertised the bass is solid, but detail... what detail? the thing just wacks and done, theres your bass. =.=  again this is all just from personal experience and partly subjective, not meant to insult or degrade anyone or brands.
      Bose all the latest noise cancelling ones (not familiar with models) sounded boomy for me, I dunno? even when I plugged them directly into an unamped phone its still boomy with the fiio then nevermind everthing else, the bass just muddled up everything in most units.
      Senns (I dont see these here in my area T_T)
      wigglepuff, Aug 29, 2014
  3. Nec3
    A headphone designed for luxury
    Written by Nec3
    Published Mar 7, 2014
    Pros - Extremely efficient, comfortable, aesthetics, forgiving to recordings.
    Cons - Expensive MSRP, jack rattle

    Upon unboxing, I knew what the Sony MDR-1R MK2's were intended for; luxury. It came with a box very similar to the Sennheiser HD800's packaging, very pleasing to open and everything felt of quality to handle. In the box was a japanese instruction manual, a cordura pouch, 3m cable, 1.2m cable, and finally, the headphones. Oh and the japanese company I bought it from included a cute paper hand fan :D

    Design and Comfort

    The headphones in my hands feel very light, with smooth swivel cups, and a somewhat solid plastic build.
    On my head, the clamp is fairly light, accompanied with a soft pleather headband, and pillow-like earpads.
    The aesthetics of these are just amazing, a very modern look with a simplistic design, glossed paint in the right areas, aluminum matte painted earcups and solid plastic frame.

    Unfortunately what these do exhibit is the common jack rattle found in the first MDR-1R headphones, a common fix for this is to slide a piece of paper on the sides of the jack that rattle against the tube holding this. For my fix, I took modelling clay, wrapped it around the base of the plug, and pushed the cable into a jack; forming a seal.
    Although the cable also exhibits its' own type of rattle. The strain relief is not a snug fit on the cable, and if the cable hangs straight down; rattling will occur. A fix for this would also be sliding something thin under. These flaws are a factor of why they may not be a suitable portable headphone if the issues are not addressed.
    Like most cables under cold weather, these will tense up and may rethink your decision on having these has earmuffs.

    Although looks do play a part as a portable headphone, the sound accompanies it well.
    I've given these headphones over 100 hours of playback, so they should be well burned into my brain and driver wise.
    Sadly to say, I do not have the original 1R's and won't be able to compare the updated version to them.
    The sound signature of these are warm and relaxing, due to this, poorly recorded tracks or lower bitrate files are forgiving. Although, these cans are midrange centric that benefits piano based recordings and some female vocals. The lower treble faces a dip, and for the better. My japanese poprock recordings are quite enjoyable and quite forgiving to the typical sibilance. I think the higher treble is very interesting, it actually sparkles above the warm mids, which benefits the already sweet and warm sounding mids.
    In my opinion though, I think the mids are too tinny with the 1-2khz presence that destroys some of my younger female vocalists due to their higher pitched voices.
    I think Sony could have done better with the bass, it doesn't feel it extends, it punches a bit, but overall it's just "there". This might be due to the warmth.
    In outdoor environments, the bass does get lost, and does not isolate very well. On the flip side, these don't leak too much sound at moderate volumes so it was usable in libraries.
    The soundstage of the Mk2's are typical of small headphones, it is small, but not congested. Despite the small soundstaging and warmth, instrument separation is quite impressive on these cans.


    Like all headphones, I need to wear them for at least 10 minutes with playback to get accustomed to the sound signature.
    The 1R Mk2's are not an exception, it's quite picky on some recordings. Working best with jazz, poprock, punkrock, rock, pop, and hip hop. Genres that sound full and warm already, will feel muddy.

    Would I recommend these to the regular consumer? No, because some tweaks would be needed for the jack rattle issue. However, get past this defect, and it's an interesting, and VERY comfortable portable headphone to own.
    This is my first review on a headphone higher than consumer grades, so please. I appreciate feedback on my review!