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Sony MDR-M1ST - Sony's 2019 Studio Monitor Headphone

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by XERO1, Jun 27, 2019.
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  1. bizkid
    But Amazon Japan only allows credit card payment as far I know. So that's out. I'm still kinda hoping for a world wide release.
  2. ArchDragoon
    MDR-M1ST vs MDR-7520. Which one would be better ?
  3. Asahi Templar
    Well got a chance to try these at the Sony store and here are my impressions based off listening with my Xperia phone:

    First off the Positives

    The build quality of the M1ST is indeed very nice, good looks and nice feel to them. No creaking or groaning of the joints. The earpads are nicely made and very comfy. It is slightly heavier than the MDR-1AM2 but still very light weight and comfortable. You could wear these for a long time and not get ear pain. Heat build up is an issue though as they are leather pads and they retain heat, not the best for summer!

    The soundstage was pretty wide for a closed back headphone it sounded like it went a bit past the edge of the earcups which is about as good as one can expect from a closed back unless they are doing something crazy like the Argon modded T50s apprently do. It was about as wide as my Yaxi Pad Porta Pro which is plenty.

    The imaging was outstanding, really impressed by it. I used Yosi Horikawa's Letter to test it and the sound of him writing the letter went all the way from the edge of its soundstange traveled through my head and came out the other side. Very impressive. It sounded about as good as a T60RP which to date is the best imaging I have heard. Not sure it can get much better than that on a closed back.

    Now on to the mixed part, the frequency response has some issues ( though some intentional I am sure as I will elaborate later)

    The subbass extension is rather poor on the M1ST. It goes down to around 34hzish (though not as loud as it should be) and then falls off really rapidly becoming almost inaudible around 28hz. This is the biggest technical negative for me, as it really should be able to go all the way down to 20 at a reasonable loudness and it didnt do that. Obviously if you crank the volume the subbass becomes loud enough to be plenty audible but the rest of the frequency range will be destroying your hearing at that volume! I didnt have a chance to mess with EQing up the subbass but I would guess it would take EQ well.

    The bass above 34hz is very much more impressive, from around 50hz on up its very flat sounding. It doesnt have much of the dynamic midbass hump at all which is really impressive for a closed back dynamic if you are looking for a neutral sound. The bass sounds clean and is very well controlled, there is zero bleed into the mids or rest of the frequency response. It sounded excellent other than the subbass issue.

    The lower-mid midrange was very neutral sounding. It was neither warm nor cold sounding to me, though I guess many people may find it cold if you are used to Hd 650 or Porta Pro style mids. It reminded me of the DT1990s mids which is a very good place to be.

    The upper mids are a very different story and are the worst part of the headphone for me personally. They are very dipped from past 1k to around 4.3k. Substantially. I just returned a Brainwavz alara for having this same issue, and while they arent as dipped as the Alara overall its very noticeable. The 3.5-4.1k range in particular was really dipped, and I am someone who is quite sensitive to that range. This really softened the attack of most instruments and female vocals in particular which sounded a bit muted because of this dip. It gave the headphones a somewhat dull character.

    The treble however is really well done. The dipped upper mids smoothly transition back into the treble being quite neutral sounding. There was a little extra energy in the 8k and the 10k region which gives a little more clarity to its sound but for the most part everything sounded at the proper level. I would guess people who are used to darker treble will think it bright, but to me it again reminded me of the DT1990 but without the harsh peaks.

    The dip in the upper mids combined with the rest of the frequency range being pretty neutral overall gave it a quite unique sound. Everything sounded clear and clean with kind of an airy sheen around it but very soft in attack. Male vocals sounded really good and there was very little of the cupped hands effect you find on closed backs. Female vocals were a bit lacking for my taste as they just sounded overly soft, but still quite pleasant.

    The vocals are also pushed a bit back compared to things like the HD 650 which give you that nice vocal intimacy. The vocals kind of sit in the middle of everything with instruments jumping out a bit at you and coming close to your ear. Everything is just kind of left and right of the vocals if that makes sense. A vocal sandwich..if you will!

    The MDr-m1ST did improve the longer I listened to it as my ears got used to the dipped upper mids and compensated but it was still not really to my taste. I like a good amount of energy in the upper mids to make guitars exciting and female vocals pop. Maybe if I had more time with them I might end up really enjoying the softer sound. I am kind of tempted to get them as late night headphones as they would be very nice for chilling out before bed.

    It may seem I am being negative with these but I actually think Sony has made some of the finest monitor headphones to date with the MDr-M1St. While I dont know if I would buy them for personal listening as its not to my taste, I think this frequency response is absolutely perfect for someone doing audio work all day.

    Our ears are most sensitive to the upper mid range and that is the area that is mostly likely to cause fatigue over time. The way these are tuned you could easily use these all day at a reasonable volume, be able to hear everything you need to hear and take them off at the end of the day with no ringing or discomfort of any kind.

    I think these would also be perfect for someone who listens to music all day in the background while doing work or not really focusing on the music and its neutral enough to not fully rob music of its joy but it wont fatigue you.
  4. Moon moon
    You can consolidate thru' From Japan to save cost for multiple items. It takes Paypal and got discount from Rakuten from time to time
  5. XERO1
    Thanks for the early review!

    By the way you describe their SQ, it looks like these are pretty good all-around headphones, which is really all you can ask for at their price.
    I'll be getting a pair, and I'll post my thoughts when I do.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
    Asahi Templar likes this.
  6. Snekismyfriend
    Nice impressions! Any idea how it fares compared to the cd900st?
  7. Moon moon
    Yes i suppose this is everyone's question?
  8. Asahi Templar
    I have not heard that unfortunately.
  9. artpiggo
    Sub'ed. I am very interested in this. need to wait next month though..
  10. artpiggo
    By the way, this is not limited in production right? still can buy later at any time?
  11. ervin192
    From Asahi's impressions the tuning is very much alike the cd900st with stock pads I own, exaggerated mid-sub-bass and dipped upper-mids. But the earpads've already changed on these M1STs so I'm worried whether replacements pads like the yaxi stPads would still moderate the tuning "favor" of these cans (the yaxis are successful for the cd900sts).
    But there should be replacements pads exclusively for the m1sts in the future.
  12. benchan2
    The biggest issue I had with MDR 1R wasthe noise made by the connection between the 3.5mm jack and the headphone. it happens whenever i move my head slightly. I hope they have fixed this issue such that it won't happen again on either stock or aftermarket cables.
  13. generick
    Interesting can, wish Sony would make open backs again though.
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