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Sony Z1R....listening impressions only

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Kcharng, Nov 4, 2016.
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  1. Redcarmoose
    I’ve heard they are good from the 430HA before. Me......my equipment is still too new to me. You know how that goes.lol
  2. Slim1970
    These are two of my favorite closed headphones. The other being the TH-900's. The Z1R's sound more spacious with a lot more air. The bass is deeper on the Z1R's while the XC's have more thump while being deep at the same time. The XC's seem faster with better transient response. But the Z1R's have no problem keeping pace with the music. It's just silky smooth in comparison.

    Even though the Z1R's bass is deep it doesn't bleed into the mids and it has the better transition into the midrange to my ears. They both has great mids. The Z1R's mids are on par with the rest of its frequency response. Buttery smooth not leaving you wanting anything. The XC's are no slouch and continue the great Audeze tradition of having a lush midrange. I can't find a fault here either. It's just something about the transition into the treble that seems the slightest bit wonky to me. The Z1R's has the better, smoother transition into the treble regions.

    Now on to the treble and this is where I hear the most difference. The Z1R's seem to extend forever with no lost of detail or clarity. The XC's also has nice treble extension but has more bite. It's clear but it's not as forgiving as the Z1R's.

    They both let you enjoy your music. But the Z1R's is the more musically enjoyable headphone. It just has it's own sonic character unlike anything on the market today.
  3. itzflashgordon
    I much prefer the Z1R's to the LCD-XC. Firstly I should mention that they are very different headphones. The Z1R is like a smooth whiskey, everything and anything you play through it just sounds amazing. Its much like listening though a fantastic tube amp.... but without spending several thousand on a giant tube amp. The XC's were not stellar IMO, and this is coming from someone who has owned the LCD X's for years and uses them everyday. I just dont think audeze does closed back well. When you get to the top and are looking at closed back there is pretty much just the Fostex th900's and the Z1R. The th900's have the best sub bass I have ever heard but are for sure colored with a very deep V shape. The Z1R's are just well rounded with a slightly rounded top, never sharp or sibilant even when cranked up all the way. Just a fantastic all around headphone that honestly sounds good off of everthing unlike some audiophile headphones that need a super high end system to make them good. Would highly recommend getting a pair if you can swing it.
    tipsyboo likes this.
  4. itzflashgordon

    I agree with this so much that I had to send in a comment

    I have not quite as many phones but I have LCD-X's, TH900 mkII's, 600's and a bunch of other stuff but these are just the best with everything. Forget that 800 clinical precision and fatiguing sound, everyone needs a pair of these. I also found so many bad reviews but as soon as I heard them I went out and bought a pair the same day, NO REGRETS

    I love when someone who has heard so much stuff can see through the negative press and just listen for enjoyment and these are the best
  5. Redcarmoose
    I did what’s called my Brandy Test. It’s where you drink some brandy and try to focus. A couple times this has helped my review process with ADD. It can make the music more intense and emotional but does it in equal amounts (for both headphones) in the end. After an evening comparing the two (Z7 and Z1R) I have to say there is definitely a difference between the two. The discrepancy is really from where you place your listening value. Thus if someone was only concentrating on bass a different opinion may come about. The two headphones are going to get different reviews due to genre matching too. In my system (which will be listed below) the Z1R is simply way smoother. Smoother on all accounts. It has a wider soundstage but above that you can tell the Sony engineers focused on smoothing out the middle tone harshness of the Z7. This harshness is a peak where the tone is not only compressed but unnatural. The Z1R took this small but crucial tone-area and smoothed it over and expanded the headstage out in the midrange. With the Z1R expansion came a palette for increased detail. This could very well be an area where if focused on, may be crucial?

    The whole headstage is wider with the Z1R and it contains more detail and overall finesse.

    That said it really depends on your genre of choice. With EDM the Z7 has almost none of this midrange harshness as the V curve of the music goes around the issue. With other genres and even with the best of front end equipment it’s easy to understand the Z7 reviews about.

    Again though, if EDM was the only genre listened to at 1/4 of the Z1R price the Z7 could be the better choice; depending on front equipment choices. The Z7 almost has a rougher display which could at times enhance the music getting a closer to life sound than the lush ethereal tone of the Z1R.

    Equipment used:
    Sony TA ZH1ES amplifier-DAC
    Sony Z1R late model
    Sony Z7 late model
    MUC-B20SB1 5 pole TRRRS Pentaconn 4.4mm

    It should be noted the MUC-B20SB1 cable does a lot to bring the Z7 along closer to the Z1R. Even the included 3.5mm X2 3.5mm balanced connection for the Z7 pales in comparison to what the MUC-B20SB1 does to improve the inherent midrange on the Z7.

    It’s easy to figure out that the Z1R is the Z7 Mk11. The headband is identical except finish polish. The magnesium alloy cups differ and it’s easy to see how the paper/wire Z1R cups are changing the soundstage. Both headphones have the new Sony house sound, with the Z1R a refinement. Sony could have never arrived at the Z1R without the stepping stone the Z7 represents. IMO.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
    akãjerovia and larzy like this.
  6. itzflashgordon
    I totally agree, if you listen to edm as your primary music genre then do you really need to be on head fi? When ever I give recommendations I never really cater to edm and rap, sure the bass is good for that but if thats all you care about there are much cheaper phones that will do the trick. Don't get me wrong, the bass in the Z7's is really good, almost as good as my th900's but I agree with your assessment that the rest of the range isnt as clean or satisfying.

    The sound stage with the Z1R's is so much better and it just has that quality that makes you wanna listen to more music. Everyone who listens to some jazz or maybe a little Tom Petty full moon fever through the Z1R's just love them, thats not even to mention they look awesome. They might even be able to understand why I spent $1000 on them lol

    If you concentrate on the feel that the Z1R's have its just so different than anything else I've heard. The audio engineers at sony were for sure looking for a particular sound that's not for everyone but I love it an don't really understand why everyone hates on it. People read too much into graphs and stuff like that and go in biased

    Schiit modi multibit
    Aune X7s
    Sony Z1R
    Tidal HiFi
  7. Maelob
    I disagree with the statement that people that listen to EDM and Rap only care about bass and probably should not be in head fi. I think there are a lot of EDM and Rap lovers that love sound quality and are looking for the best headphone possible. Its not all about the bass! just my two cents
    kman1211 likes this.
  8. Redcarmoose
    Paying only 1K is a great deal for the Z1Rs. I payed close to double that, but they still feel like a bargain to me.

    Really the view of EDM as not needing audiophile equipment is standard audiophile behavior and It’s never going to change. Though if you were to list the genre as UK top 100.......then those same audiophiles may realize that they are right in their own minds.......still not realizing reality because truthfully.............music has moved on. Music has moved on despite audiophiles temperament for listening to Steely Dan’s Aja for the last 30 years or more. And we can go on and on about brickwall mastering and modern day music quality. But in essence audiophile sound is a nitch market. A perfect example would be the continued repressing of 1970s and 1980s records.

    The fact is audiophile can be many things. But that the Z7 seems to excel at EDM due to it’s heavy V shape signature. EDM may in a way be an easy genre to get right due to it’s requirements? Electronic sounds have no real baseline in life so they can be replicated and heard as flawless.

    Systems which require replication of known acoustic instruments have more work to do, and need to be more sophisticated to get the job done. Especially if the listener is a concert instrumentalist who hears real instruments played in a concert hall everyday.

    But if you were to walk outside......Top Forty and EDM would be mainly what most of the world listens to. Only a very small........maybe 10% makes up your typical audiophile running around their living room in their underwear looking for audio correctness and sonic truth.

    So due to this stark future reality, you can only guess why the Sony house sound has left the R-10 tone and moved on with the world. If you don’t make equipment for what the world listens to, you will not own a customer base. It just so happens the Z1R smoothness and articulation spands over to both jazz and classical.

    The Z1R ends up being a correction, and an improvement being a much more rounded headphone in the end. And my take is that’s it’s also edgy and out of the box. It was not a headphone that was instantly loved by the audiophile community. It was so left field that it took time for the audiophile community to figure out what it was.

    But......if you were to play an old vinyl record......let’s say Boston number 1. Selftitled “Boston”..........on vinyl it’s a completely different animal. There is a thickness and magic that digital has never seemed to get right. Don’t get me wrong, I sold most of my records years ago and love digital. But let’s just say you had a Japan 1st pressing of Boston 1 on CD. Most people would think it sounded slighly thin in comparison to it’s vinyl counterpart. A headphone like the Z1R seems to add a correction, an added warmth that makes up for anything lacking in the CD. There has to be said that this warmth, which could come from tubes, or vinyl is brought as a sonic gift with use of the Z1R.

    Added bass could be the Sony way of getting digital to sound better. Adding DSD remaster upscaling and DSEE HX all along with Hi Definition tracks adds to Sony trying to get more harmonic richness in the end.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
    NoMythsAudio and akãjerovia like this.
  9. Frida309
    You said „Late model „ are they older models? And If yes, where is the difference?
  10. Redcarmoose
    There may be no differences, though I may have read folks that thought there was. You know it’s probably an “audiophilism” even for me to write it. Though on two occasions I have read about driver distortions from a person’s just received new Z7. Those would be simply manufacture defects.
  11. itzflashgordon
    I'm not intending to come across as saying that people should not listen to edm or any music that tickles their fancy but it is an undeniable fact music without instruments is much easier to reproduce and therefore there isn't really a benefit to buying a summit headphone. That can just as easily be considered a good thing, much less expensive to listen to music you love that way.

    It is a well known fact that many modern music creators listen to the final cut of their songs on car radios to see how they sound through them, there is only so much you can do through equipment to make a low quality recording better. If the recording was intended for radio or 320Kb spoitfy then "audiophile" gear doesnt change that fact

    I hope more recording artists do go hifi but it just isnt the case with most people at this point in time.
  12. Hanafuda
    Was that for new or used? If you got them new for just a grand, wowsers.
  13. Redcarmoose
    At https://www.head-fi.org/members/itzflashgordon.499596/

    I could be crazy or just have bad hearing but I primarily listen to 320 kbps MP3s of EDM. The DSEE HX and DSD upscale on the TA amp make the Z1Rs sound superb.

    If you look at my profile you will see I own cheap headphones.

    I have heard EDM on a 100K vinyl rig intended for jazz, and the EDM was way better, way more involving? Not to argue but that’s my thoughts.

    EDM and Top Forty really has the same needs. The Flagship Sony Line in general does a fantastic job getting the dynamics and punch needed for this style of music. As mentioned earlier it’s never going to have any respect in the audiophile forums, becoming the antithesis of some Steve Hoffman remaster.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
    Maelob likes this.
  14. Maelob
    Nothing wrong with that, Mr. Speakers himself is a big fan of EDM.
  15. raybies
    You're right to disagree.
    I listen to Electronic Trap and Trance w/ them, and I really like the Z1R bass but above all else I like their ability to render complicated sounds although not flawlessly in the highs... I'm in my mid 40's.

    Your not wrong, but your not right either. You've forgotten complication.
    Electronic music can be much more demanding than even a complex symphony played by a philharmonic orchestra... reason is that humans are playing it vs a computer adding n tracks/layers w/ n number of effects, and this is where even Z1R becomes unstuck, it has issues rendering high freq. fast sounds synth high hat. The amp stage has a considerable impact but regardless the Z1R struggles to get it right.
    With instrument music the composer has to consider the play-ability, this constraint does not exist w/ electronic music.

    Btw my uncle is a ~famous composer (also sings in the choir), and you'd be amazed at the crap he uses to listen to music... he seems very happy with it though... also has a piano room.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
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