Sony MDR 1A - RHA T10i - A newbie can't decide.
May 25, 2015 at 6:44 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


New Head-Fier
May 25, 2015
Hi. First of all, I'd like to say hello to the community. I signed up in order to get an opinion from someone with experience. 
As I mentioned in the topic line, I am quite the inexperienced user when it comes to headphones. So far I have exclusively been listening to sound from speakers; sure, there was the occasional need for headphones and I did own a few pairs, but none of which were what one could call superior. (If it's of any importance, I have a pair of over ears: Sony MDR-XB450BV and a pair of in-ears: Sennheiser EP630, so nothing worth mentioning here) 
I'd like to say one thing in advance: I love classical Music, I love Mahler, Beethoven, especially the piano sonatas, I love Wagner for his bombastic passages. I like acoustic music, Singer/Songwriter like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. I like some Metal/Progressive Metal like Iron Maiden (only the live recordings though) and Tool. I listen occasionally to rock music. I avoid pop/chart music. So that is what I listen to. I own some of my music collection in 24bit/96kHz quality, but not all. I listen through HD Audio output from my desktop PC (I use the onboard soundchip, Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec.
So some changes in my life made it necessary to switch off the big amp and put some headphones on. Since I had absolutely no idea what I was even looking for, I went to the local store, tried a couple of the ones put up for testing and eventually ended up buying the Sony MDR 1A for 180 EUR. I then wanted to try out some in ears and discovered on Amazon the RHA T10i - I bought them too. 
Let's jump back to the purchase of the Sony: I might have been a little naive when I thought, on my way home, that for that price I will be absolutely blown away by the sound. When I put them to the test on my computer... I found them... just OK. Well yeah they are good, but when I compared them via a Y-plug simultaneously to the Sony MDR-XB450BV I couldn't say they were four times better, because they are four times more expensive. I guess that's not how it works. After a while though I thought the sound quality became better. 
Since I was not 100% satisfied I went to Amazon and filtered the search results by customers' reviews. That's when I discovered the RHA T10i. I ordered them and compared them immediately to the Sony MDR-1A. This time, I didn’t have the same high expectations I had when I bought the MDR-1A. However, I liked the RHA better. I listened to high-quality recordings of Mahler's Symphony NO 1 Sinfonie in D-Dur. 24bit/96kHz. I then listened to another hi-res recording of Cohen's “Light As The Breeze”, which is a live recording and I thought that title must reveal to me the dimension of the sound stage (I came across that term and interpreted it literally). I find the RHAs really give a sense of being there, the instruments feel like they are around the listener - the Sony MDR-1A don't feel quite like that, they feel more compact, not by a lot though. 
I don't understand much about music, I'm the kind of guy who listens, likes, accepts – or not. I don't play an instrument myself and I also don't even know how many instruments there are in an orchestra, but what I found, especially with the RHA, is that I can direct my attention to one particular instrument, I never felt like I could do that with any other sound source I have listened to music with, so I found that rather impressive. I tried the same with the Sony, and it's also possible, albeit not that “easy” thus not that much fun.
I couldn't make up my mind and so I went online to read more about both of them - because I will have to return one of the two. I have read the reviews within this forum about the RHA and they don't seem too popular around here. The often criticized bass was not that noticeable to me, and I don't think the trebles of the Sony MDR-1A were that superior to the RHA
What am I even asking? I'll go ahead and number my questions for easier answering:
          1. After the information provided, what would be my better choice?
          2. Should return both units and wait for the T20 to come out?
          3. Do headphones change when used over a very long period of time, I mean do they of some sort adapt to the listener's music collection, because if that's the case I could make the wrong decision based on what I hear NOW.
          4. Would you steer me away from the headphones I mentioned altogether and recommend an entirely different set of in ears or over ears? 

Thank you so much for high quality input. (Pun intended).


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