Sony MDR-Z7M2 Headphone Thread
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monini13

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Hey everyone! Joseph over here and to be succinct, I've been working with @thatonenoob to provide tech/audio reviews and updates for the last year and a half. I'm an audio enthusiast myself, and about a month back, I received an invitation by the Sony Singapore Team to join a Sony Experience event alongside the Hong Kong High End Audio Visual Show. I'll be posting more updates on this thread as the event moves along, so feel free to ask me any questions.

Those who would like to know more about Sony's other releases during this event can take a look at the following threads that I have created:
- Sony DMP-Z1 portable high end digital music player
- Sony's Three New Earphones

I'm also on the SEAudio discord channel and will regularly be posting updates there as well. If you'd like to hear from me, you can join our server using this link

For those of you who would like to watch a video overview of what to expect from the Z7Mk2 as well as some of the underlying technology, please check out the video below.

We have as well recorded technical interview with the engineers that you guys can watch over here:

Otherwise, lets dive in to what we're able to find out so far.

Specifications

upload_2018-8-9_17-28-35.png



______________________________________________________________________________________

Layout:

1. Design / Philosophy
2. Engineer Technical Video Interview
3. General Impressions

____________________________________________________________________________________________
1. Design / Philosophy
A closed back headphone typically presents engineers with a lot of challenges as compared with an open back headphone, so in this regard, I'm appreciative of Sony constantly trying to push forward with their closed back designs. Their original Z7 was one of the more premium closed back options on the market that may had a few flaws.
Z7M2_main-Large.jpg
Here, the Z7MK2 aims to improve the original Z7 by incorporating new technologies that exists in the current flagship, the MDR-Z1R. The driver here in the Z7 is a huge 70mm driver along with aluminium coated liquid crystal polymer diaphragm. The advantage of the liquid crystal polymer, as discussed in the IER-Z1R thread, is that it creates less vibrations and adds minimal colour to the sound, especially in the upper frequencies. The fibonacci patterned grill was also used to reduce resonance, in addition to a new "Beat Response Control", which is a special acoustic port that supposedly controls the air flow behind the driver. These vents are adopted from the design of the MDR-Z1R, and fixes some of the issue faced by the original Z7. During the Audio Visual show, I had a chance to talk to Shunsuke Shiomi, an engineer who is part of the team that designed the Z7s. He said in the MK1, the Z7's venting port was only on one small area on each of the earcups, and resulted in uneven venting within the headphone itself. In the MK2, the ports are surrounding the rim of each earcup (see pic below) and alleviates the initial issue. These are all measures taken to reduce the resonance as a result of it being a closed back headphone. A much bigger magnet (double the volume of the original Z7) was also utilised in the production of the new Z7, hoping to gain better control and detail out of the headphone.

Z7M2_ResponseCtrl-Large.jpg

Compared to sound, the comfort of this headphone just as important for the engineers here at Sony. The earpads were very plush and of great quality as well. Sony product detail handout is incessant about the quality of the sewing done on the various part of the headphones. They also mentioned the use of urethane foam cushion for the earpads, that have moisture absorbing/releasing characteristics that can aid in the discomfort when using leather earpads for long periods. The height adjustments and earcup swivelling are reminiscent of the Z1R; very well built and confidence inspiring, with proper contributions to the user's comfort. According to the marketing team, a common feedback from customers who owned the MK1 is that the headphones creak when you swivel the earcups but rest assured this problem did not exist in all the MK2s that i played with today.

IMG_9269.JPG
In order to maintain all these new technologies while trying to keep prices low, these headphones actually made in Thailand, but fret not, because Sony still employs very strict quality control. These headphones are made in the very same factory that produces the widely known MDR7506!

Z7M2_180723.jpg
 

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monini13

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3. General Impressions

I'm glad to say I've managed to try on all of these newly releases for the past two days and listened to hotel california the way i listen to all stars: 50 times back to back. I dont know if the showrooms prevented the DAP's from reading sd cards cause it refused to read mine, hence i was stuck with hotel california cause i didnt know the other songs in the provided DAP :p ANYWAYS, here are my impressions of the Z7Mk2 but do read it with a grain of salt because these are all in showroom conditions where there is quite a bit of external noise.

Z7Mk2:
The most immediate thing that hit me was the treble energy. There is a bit of an unevenness in the treble with a peak that can produce slight sibilance. However, there is decent perceived clarity and air to the sound that it provides and it is something that i like. The mids are a little thin and the bass is well controlled. I would not consider this headphone bassy and i can see a lot of the technologies of the MDR-Z1R aiding in the control and tightness of the bass. Bass is well balanced though like i said, not pronounced, with good impact. The soundstage is, in my opinion, small, but there is decent separation. The amount of engineering that must be put in to solve the problems cause by a closed back headphone is no small feat and after hearing it, I do like this headphone. I wish to test this headphone out of a warmer source to see if the treble could be soften.
 
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pietcux

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Sony MDR-Z7M2 HKD 5490 (Around USD 700)
 
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Roll

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Looks like the same "screwing into" cups cable connectors?
 
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pietcux

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100k Hz is not audible, that is correct. But it is said to improve the audible capabilities too.
 
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pietcux

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XERO1

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Nice!! Hopefully these have a more neutrally balanced signature than the originals. :L3000:
 
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Noir7

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seeing those extra hole in the housing make me think this will be semi open headphone, hope it will decrease the resonance problem in the previous model.
 
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pietcux

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seeing those extra hole in the housing make me think this will be semi open headphone, hope it will decrease the resonance problem in the previous model.
The previous model has a big port near the cable jack and one hole covered by the hangers. So I don't see more venting, only a different port placement. And a more elegant, but more complex, cable routing. The biggest difference is the new driver including the beautiful Fibunacci grille. I am sure I cannot avoid buying it, that's for sure.
 
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chimney189

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I'll definitely be following this.
 
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