SONY IER-Z1R
Jan 25, 2023 at 9:46 AM Post #13,096 of 13,113

rlw6534

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That is a somewhat surprising statement, I have both the IER-M9 and the IER-Z1R and they really sound very different to me, despite having almost identical frequency response.
Z1R is clear and powerful with a clear midrange that takes a step back on the stage, flanked by energetic bass and treble, all very clearly defined and energetic.
M9 is focused on that warm, relaxed and slightly veiled midrange, supported and complemented by excellent treble detail and extension and a decent bass, even good bass for BA. Overall a darker and relaxed listening experience.
Both are ver good at what they are doing, but sound really different to me.

To come back to @Hinomotocho 's original question - the XBA-N3 might be a nice complement, and it's cheap, if you manage to find one. Guilty pleasure type of bass (quite a lot with warmth, rumble and extension) paired with a smooth yet detailed midrange-treble area. Overall a really nice cheap option, Crinacle put it well "a little smoothed over"

EX1000 is also interesting, the bass quality is great, but it's not very practical for everyday use and the midrange is a bit strange.

Personally I am using the DUNU SA6 Ultra in rotation with the Z1R and IER-M9.
Great fit and comfort, bass is surprisingly extended, textured and rumbly (better than M9 IMO), neutral-forward midrange and well extended treble.
Somewhat limited in detail, layering, separation and soundstage, but a very balanced and versatile IEM

I agree that the XBA-N3 is probably the "closest cousin" to the Z1R. They use similar technology and were designed by the same individual (N3 first, then Z1R).
 
Jan 25, 2023 at 10:23 AM Post #13,097 of 13,113

dennarwhal

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Z1R is clear and powerful with a clear midrange that takes a step back on the stage, flanked by energetic bass and treble, all very clearly defined and energetic.
M9 is focused on that warm, relaxed and slightly veiled midrange, supported and complemented by excellent treble detail and extension and a decent bass, even good bass for BA. Overall a darker and relaxed listening experience.
Your description of the M9 matches my thoughts! I understand why Sony sees the M9 as a reference series IEM. It tones down the energy to ensure that as a whole all parts of the track can shine with the usual Sony boost to mid bass. The IER-M9 reminds me very much of the MDR-M1ST.
I was very happy with them and was heartbroken to have to give up on them. I did briefly own them again with an M9 cable which was a big improvement but I sold them to aim for the Z1R. The thing that puts me off owning them again is that they stick out so they aren't ideal for use in bed or lying on the couch. Also, I'd feel a bit self-conscious being seen in public too as everyone is using their little wireless buds and I'd have these large things sticking out, although the Z1R might get the same looks.
Honestly, I wear the Z1R out and barely anyone looks at me. Everyone is too glued to looking at their phones. Besides, just enjoy your music. However, to answer that query on a "budget Z1R", perhaps an XBA-Z5 or an XBA-N3BP might scratch that itch of yours. I kind of forgot how an IER-M7 sounds like already but I just remember it being a less extended and more boomy M9 so perhaps that is something you could consider?

Edit: The Sennheiser IE900 (at a good 2nd hand price) is worth the purchase as well. They are like mini Z1Rs that don't force my ear open.
 
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Jan 25, 2023 at 10:26 AM Post #13,098 of 13,113

dennarwhal

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Question: I like the Z1R so much, I'm wondering if there's a comparable headphone in terms of tuning, for variety's sake. I've owned the MDR, which I loved, as well as many other contenders like the Stellia, LCD-X, Cascade, etc.

Any recos? Thanks.
For me, I had the honour of trying a friend's Focal Celestee. Very reminiscent of the IER-Z1R sound. Tight sub bass, sweet vocals and extended treble. Although I listened to them for a few minutes only, they left quite the impression. Perhaps you could give them a shot. :)
 
Jan 25, 2023 at 10:41 AM Post #13,099 of 13,113

Ohmboy

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Meanwhile, for me, I am trying to find something that sounds similar so that I don't have to carry all that heft on the go.
7Hertz Timeless gets my vote, If you’ve got a hybrid-tube source then even better still..

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Jan 25, 2023 at 10:49 AM Post #13,100 of 13,113

dennarwhal

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7Hertz Timeless gets my vote, If you’ve got a hybrid-tube source then even better still..
Sweet portable setup you have! Z1R with ROHM DACs and KORG tubes must be amazing to listen to. Perhaps I should try them out at an audio shop.

My current top 3 contenders for my new "on the go" are
1) UM Mest MKII: More aggressive with more mids and subbass
2) Sennheiser IE900: Mini Z1Rs with punchier subbass but difficult fit for me
3) Final A8000: Analytical without sounding boring

Currently, I am mainly seeking a lighter replacement to my WM1Z but my ears are telling me I will never find one. Hopefully the 707 will be it.
 
Jan 25, 2023 at 3:51 PM Post #13,101 of 13,113

Hinomotocho

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That is a somewhat surprising statement, I have both the IER-M9 and the IER-Z1R and they really sound very different to me, despite having almost identical frequency response.
Z1R is clear and powerful with a clear midrange that takes a step back on the stage, flanked by energetic bass and treble, all very clearly defined and energetic.
M9 is focused on that warm, relaxed and slightly veiled midrange, supported and complemented by excellent treble detail and extension and a decent bass, even good bass for BA. Overall a darker and relaxed listening experience.
Both are ver good at what they are doing, but sound really different to me.

To come back to @Hinomotocho 's original question - the XBA-N3 might be a nice complement, and it's cheap, if you manage to find one. Guilty pleasure type of bass (quite a lot with warmth, rumble and extension) paired with a smooth yet detailed midrange-treble area. Overall a really nice cheap option, Crinacle put it well "a little smoothed over"

EX1000 is also interesting, the bass quality is great, but it's not very practical for everyday use and the midrange is a bit strange.

Personally I am using the DUNU SA6 Ultra in rotation with the Z1R and IER-M9.
Great fit and comfort, bass is surprisingly extended, textured and rumbly (better than M9 IMO), neutral-forward midrange and well extended treble.
Somewhat limited in detail, layering, separation and soundstage, but a very balanced and versatile IEM
Having followed the M9 thread and seen many descriptions/comparisons I was also surprised, then again I guess there are various aspects that some might be considered to put them in a similar territory. When looking to replace the Z5 I demoed the M9 just after their release, but at the time the secondhand price was still high and I knew I would miss a dynamic bass.

I've just re-purchased the MDR-Z1R so my budget is a little thin, so for now I might look into the N3, e earphone usually has a few I can source from, some of my early 80's recordings can do with a bit of smoothing over. I owned them before using for movies from my tablet and didn't really use for music, but the XBA series were good times for me: A3/Z5/N3.

I never tried the EX1000, but purchased a sale secondhand EX800ST from e earphone to make a few bucks when I returned home. I also enjoyed a demo of the EX600, but the fit was something I knew would be an issue with the EX series so ended up with the XBA-A3. Also, it wasn't easy to go balanced at that time with the EX range.

I'll keep an eye out for the Dunu but unless I can get back to Japan I doubt I would get a chance to demo.

Thanks for your input.

Honestly, I wear the Z1R out and barely anyone looks at me. Everyone is too glued to looking at their phones. Besides, just enjoy your music. However, to answer that query on a "budget Z1R", perhaps an XBA-Z5 or an XBA-N3BP might scratch that itch of yours. I kind of forgot how an IER-M7 sounds like already but I just remember it being a less extended and more boomy M9 so perhaps that is something you could consider?

Edit: The Sennheiser IE900 (at a good 2nd hand price) is worth the purchase as well. They are like mini Z1Rs that don't force my ear open.
I'd probably wear the Z1R with pride, the Z5 not, but I think the boom of wireless with its small wireless profile would have people looking at you like you're behind the times.

I also tried the M7 and liked them, but I know myself, and I know I would talk myself into selling them for a dynamic/hybrid. I'm not a basshead, but it tends to be a lot of my focus when listening to music and having come from a history of dynamic (and hybrids) my ears are tuned for that. Then again, the M7/M9 fit are a win over the XBA, if the convenience of a local listing came up I might jump on it.

Having experienced the IE600 coming from the IE300, I'd like to hear the IE900. It sounds like the signature might be more suited to me too. Realistically my budget for now will probably be the N3.
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 9:08 AM Post #13,102 of 13,113

dennarwhal

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I also tried the M7 and liked them, but I know myself, and I know I would talk myself into selling them for a dynamic/hybrid. I'm not a basshead, but it tends to be a lot of my focus when listening to music and having come from a history of dynamic (and hybrids) my ears are tuned for that. Then again, the M7/M9 fit are a win over the XBA, if the convenience of a local listing came up I might jump on it.

Having experienced the IE600 coming from the IE300, I'd like to hear the IE900. It sounds like the signature might be more suited to me too. Realistically my budget for now will probably be the N3.
Highly recommend you try the IE900 even if you are not buying them. I just went to listen to them today and it really sounded like a smaller, flatter IER-Z1R. Here's to you getting your N3 🍻

Do remember to get that 4.4 cable with it to use your Balanced out. For the rest of us, what are you aiming for after your IER-Z1R?
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 9:20 AM Post #13,103 of 13,113

ss2625

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The thing that puts me off owning them again is that they stick out so they aren't ideal for use in bed or lying on the couch. Also, I'd feel a bit self-conscious being seen in public too.
yes to both counts for me. as someone who gets a good fit, it's still impossible to use them lying down. and i also am a little too self-conscious to wear these in public, though i am pretty sure that few will care. a little too bling bling for me i guess.
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 10:58 AM Post #13,104 of 13,113

DynamicEars

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For the rest of us, what are you aiming for after your IER-Z1R?
Retire

Haha. But seriously chasing a perfect IEM is like chasing dragons, myth.
Like we already satisfied with Z1R bass, treble but want better midrange and layering, you'll find that on other IEM but maybe you'll lose that Z1R bass.
Somehow changing the tuning also change the characteristics, and change the best part of an IEM, no matter what price.

So for me, what i can have is my closest to my endgame, the Z1R and back up with mest (for detail and layering, but still have to have great bass since bass quality is within my priority concern)
And looking at the price, Z1R is holding much value too (price / performance ratio).

Maybe the next best thing from Sony, sooner or later.
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 3:45 PM Post #13,105 of 13,113

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Without any particular preference, I would say it is very hard to beat Z1R (with the caveat of fit) for slightly over $1,000 used. It is the cheapest TOTL IEM so far.

If you need more bass than Z1R with better fitting, you can go around $2,000 for either EE Legend X, or if you are lucky, slightly more for Legend EVO, both used of course.

However, if you really value mids with good bass, it will be very difficult to go for a cheap option. Multiverse Mentor, Mason FS, even used, will cost you over $3,000.
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 3:57 PM Post #13,106 of 13,113

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Without any particular preference, I would say it is very hard to beat Z1R (with the caveat of fit) for slightly over $1,000 used. It is the cheapest TOTL IEM so far.

If you need more bass than Z1R with better fitting, you can go around $2,000 for either EE Legend X, or if you are lucky, slightly more for Legend EVO, both used of course.

However, if you really value mids with good bass, it will be very difficult to go for a cheap option. Multiverse Mentor, Mason FS, even used, will cost you over $3,000.
I owned the EE Legend EVO and it was amazing. Turbocharged bass and everything else.
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 4:00 PM Post #13,107 of 13,113

wolfstar76

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Jan 26, 2023 at 4:17 PM Post #13,108 of 13,113

Shamburg

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Had overspent on a few things, so had to sell. I like Z1R just as much, maybe more. The Evo was sort of overwhelming.
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 4:23 PM Post #13,109 of 13,113

Hinomotocho

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Highly recommend you try the IE900 even if you are not buying them. I just went to listen to them today and it really sounded like a smaller, flatter IER-Z1R. Here's to you getting your N3 🍻

Do remember to get that 4.4 cable with it to use your Balanced out. For the rest of us, what are you aiming for after your IER-Z1R?
Cheers to that.
Yes, I'm 4.4 for all my cables and devices - thanks.
I typically avoid trying something that is beyond my budget as it may diminish my experience with the lower tier option I have (or intend to buy), but since the IER-Z1R seems to be King, I'll give those IE900 a go one day. Our Sony store that has shrunk over the years to the usual consumer products (ZX507 is the only Walkman :slight_frown:), for some reason has the DMP-Z1 for demo only, I have denied myself the experience as I don't want to take anything away from my TA-ZH1ES.

Having a long history with Sony and generally aligning with their iem signatures, I am happy the IER-Z1R is such an outstanding iem, and I can at least have some peace, not having to 'chase dragons'. Well, at least one less dragon
 
Jan 26, 2023 at 4:27 PM Post #13,110 of 13,113

gLer

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Without any particular preference, I would say it is very hard to beat Z1R (with the caveat of fit) for slightly over $1,000 used. It is the cheapest TOTL IEM so far.

If you need more bass than Z1R with better fitting, you can go around $2,000 for either EE Legend X, or if you are lucky, slightly more for Legend EVO, both used of course.

However, if you really value mids with good bass, it will be very difficult to go for a cheap option. Multiverse Mentor, Mason FS, even used, will cost you over $3,000.
I had LX and EVO. Z1R beat both for me. Mentor doesn't come close, unless you're not interested in bass. I'd buy Z1R for $3000-$4000 based on the IEMs that cost that much today. That you can buy it for $1000 used is laughable.
 

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