The Official Sony MDR-Z1R Flagship Headphone Thread (Live From IFA 2016)
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Jun 6, 2017 at 2:18 PM Post #9,946 of 11,341

beowulf

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I'll have to agree. Having heard the Z1R(at length and multiple times) and M50X, they aren't even comparable, the fidelity of the Z1R is far far greater, the M50X is so unpleasant and fatiguing to listen to, I threw them off with disgust, like you said the treble is unpleasant and the mids are grainy, the M40X(which I own) has the same problem but it's somewhat tolerable as it tones down the treble..

The M50x comment was certainly a joke in the sense "given the price, I prefer the fun with the M50X". But it's quite out of proportion. I mean... the M50x is a toy compared to the Z1R, so I think Tyll used it to say he really hates the Z1R and even some cheap s#@t would be better.

More realistic comparisons would be perhaps an Eikon. I know people who love the Eikon over the Z1R, but I also know someone who has both (And IMHO has a good ear, plus an Utopia and a few other interesting beasts) and considers the Z1R superior in pretty much every area.

Respect for Tyll's opinion going against the grain (except in certain other forums, perhaps) but given MANY reviews by credible users (and some semi-credible pro reviewers) in this case I think his disliking is a bit too extreme. A clear case of personal taste, more than technical criticism (going beyond measurements here).
Or maybe he needs a few more pairs to compare. You never know, after the episode with the beryllium star. :p
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:21 PM Post #9,947 of 11,341

rnros

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Well, in the not-too-distant past, Tyll was trampling on LCD4s to extol Utopias... then Bob Katz and his cadre of recording engineers unanimously favored LCD4 over Utopias. Then the measuring neuroses kicked in, with Tyll ultimately declaring his Utopia unit was an anomaly. Madcap fun! Proclamations, justifications and retractions, and audiophile sleuthing on the fly!

Two lessons from above (and Z1R review), at least for me: 1. listening (especially audiophiliac preferences) is subjective, which means: 2. type of "analysis" that Tyll or others indulge in isn't - or just cannot be - correlative to how we enjoy our gear and music in life.

True. And I would add:
I do appreciate the objective value of the measurements, honest. However, these are tone-sweep measurements, one, tone, at, a, time.
How does the diaphragm behave with an orchestral recording? Or small ensemble, even a solo performer has more than one tone coming from an acoustic instrument, not to mention the acoustic feedback of the performance/recording venue.
Assuming that a tone-sweep response can predict diaphragm performance with an actual musical recording is similar to saying that if someone can pronounce the numbers, they can do differential calculus.
(Consider not only the countless number of simultaneous frequencies but also the full range of simultaneous amplitude variations.)
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:21 PM Post #9,948 of 11,341

beowulf

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Hertsen's mini lecture on the physics of diaphragm break-up was somewhat odd, even insulting.

I thought the comment about the headband possibly not being real natural leather was more surprising. Makes me think Tyll was not in touch with Sony people while testing them (he did say they were taking forever to send samples, months ago) and didn't get to clear out even such simple questions like "PU or leather"?
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:29 PM Post #9,950 of 11,341

latestyle

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I'll have to agree. Having heard the Z1R(at length and multiple times) and M50X, they aren't even comparable, the fidelity of the Z1R is far far greater, the M50X is so unpleasant and fatiguing to listen to, I threw them off with disgust, like you said the treble is unpleasant and the mids are grainy, the M40X(which I own) has the same problem but it's somewhat tolerable as it tones down the treble. Agree about the K812, he really damaged that headphones reputation with his review.

Funny you should mention K812, kman. Herb Reichert, who is actually a staff reviewer for Stereophile, not an online offshoot like innerfidelity, has said K812s are some of his favorite cans.

More interestingly, he's written the main review of Z1Rs on 'phile as many of you know, and his findings are diametrically opposite of Tyll's "analysis". He says, in stark contrast to Tyll, that Z1Rs actually have a studio sound: "What I heard at home accurately reflected the spectral balance of the live acoustic and the natural, easy-flowing detail of the studio mike feed," saying that they had more natural-sounding bass and present-sounding midrange than LCD4s, and sounded more relaxed and easy-going than 1000V2s. He concludes: "Z1Rs are the most open-sounding closed-back headphones I have experienced. Their sound has a unique purity (as in uncolored), naturalness (as in relaxed and nonmechanical), and beauty (as in vivid and transparent). In these important areas, the MDR-Z1Rs rival their open-back competition from Audeze, Focal, and HiFiMan. That makes them already one of the greats."

https://www.stereophile.com/content/gramophone-dreams-16-sony-audioquest-headphones-page-2

Horses for courses, of course. Not saying Tyll is shoveling complete horse manure, but I know my experience corresponds with Herb's more than Tyll's. Given Herb's NYC triode underground/Sound Practices history and cred, I'm liable to trust his views more than Tyll, who, to me, sounds like he has a weird personal axe to grind re: Z1Rs.
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:29 PM Post #9,951 of 11,341

kman1211

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The M50x comment was certainly a joke in the sense "given the price, I prefer the fun with the M50X". But it's quite out of proportion. I mean... the M50x is a toy compared to the Z1R, so I think Tyll used it to say he really hates the Z1R and even some cheap s#@t would be better.

More realistic comparisons would be perhaps an Eikon. I know people who love the Eikon over the Z1R, but I also know someone who has both (And IMHO has a good ear, plus an Utopia and a few other interesting beasts) and considers the Z1R superior in pretty much every area.

Respect for Tyll's opinion going against the grain (except in certain other forums, perhaps) but given MANY reviews by credible users (and some semi-credible pro reviewers) in this case I think his disliking is a bit too extreme. A clear case of personal taste, more than technical criticism (going beyond measurements here).
Or maybe he needs a few more pairs to compare. You never know, after the episode with the beryllium star. :p

It could be a joke. Yes the M50X is a toy compared to it, the M50X is not even good for it's price. That's how my friend feels about the Z1R compared to the Eikon.

He is going against the grain but I have noticed mixed impressions and reviews. The Z1R's sound signature really seems to bother some people. Who knows it may be the Utopia all over again.
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:30 PM Post #9,952 of 11,341

jirams

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I agree that his diagrams in this review seemed a bit odd. These headphones are different in design and in their voicing and he criticized them because of it.
He's def off of Sony's Christmas card list now.
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:52 PM Post #9,953 of 11,341

BunnyNamedCraig

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I don't know about you all but to me Z1R has serious meat on the bone.... I get a lot of body to the music due to its great bass. Not to mention that the ability to hear micro detail at lower volumes than a lot of top headphones is under rated.

Untitled to his opinion like anyone else, I just disagree with it. It's just sad that this will stop a lot of people from trying it for them self and forming their own opinion of the sound, and not the graphs. I have Utopia, Elear, LCD 3, Ether Flow C, HD800s in house and I reach for the Z1R more then anything else. Is it my favorite? Probably... is it the "best"? No, that's the Utopia ha. But in the setting I am in it's not always feasible to use the Utopia, and mostly I just enjoy the Z1R that much....
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 2:53 PM Post #9,954 of 11,341

JohnnyCakes

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I just unboxed these and slipped them on.

plugged into a Moon Neo 430.

my overall impression is: "is this thing on? WAKE UP!!!"

now, granted i'm coming from a Focal Utopia, but still, at $2200, these headphones should be in the same ballpark, if not quite as glorious as the Utopia. um, no. not even close. in fact, i'd say my old pair of Denon D5000's in my basement sound better than this headphone.

it is absolutely asleep at the wheel. not a veil so much as a down-comforter over the sound. flat, uninspired, lifeless. everything i always thought most Sony products to be. for Sony to sell this at $2200 is a joke. I wouldn't pay more than $600.

love the start of DMB's studio cut of "Best of What's Around". has a very attacking snare drum that starts the song, with the rest of the band rushing in afterwards. a very dynamic track with prominent bass guitar. good lord. what an abomination on these things. as one reviewer said, you keep wanting to turn the volume up and up, hoping these things will finally come to life. they never do. worse, they start distorting badly when tasked with complex reproduction of multiple instruments. it muddles and distorts. just like the Audeze EL-8 did when i tested that out. at least the EL-8 wasn't highway robbery.

as i said, even if these were $600, i'd still prefer the $400 Denon MM400. that headphone is polite and proper like these, but far more capable. i've never tried the Mr Speakers Ether C Flow, but at half the price of these Z1R's they HAVE to be better. they just have to.

they can't be worse.

the one positive is it reminded me again how simply amazing the Utopia is. so there's that.

printing the return slip right now....


you know, i took a lot of sarcastic and snarky crap comments from a few of you regarding my very UNDERwhelming impressions of the Z1R i had a month ago (above).

so it cracks me up to read Tyll's review on Innerfidelity today that basically mirrors my thoughts.

careful, Z1R guys..... don't get so emotionally invested in purchases that you lose objectivity. that fact is that if YOU enjoy it and YOU think it's worth $2grand, great. but the objective fact is that this headphone sorely underperforms at this price level.


my favorite quotes from Tyll's review:

"it's an okay sounding headphone, but 'okay' just doesn't cut it at $2299."

"the Sony in comparison was disjointed and incoherent. Not once did it make me tap my feet."
 
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Jun 6, 2017 at 3:01 PM Post #9,955 of 11,341

JohnnyCakes

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Tyll, who, to me, sounds like he has a weird personal axe to grind re: Z1Rs.



a dictionary-perfect example of cognitive dissonance in action.

Tyll BENT OVER BACKWARDS complimenting Sony for a good part of the review. he openly WANTED to love these things as a statement piece from Sony
establishing themselves as a permanent part of the headphone community.

but unlike some here, he's not
going to let his emotions cloud his objectivity. lesson to be learned, certainly.
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 4:19 PM Post #9,956 of 11,341

beowulf

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you know, i took a lot of sarcastic and snarky crap comments from a few of you regarding my very UNDERwhelming impressions of the Z1R i had a month ago (above).

You always get some flak while posting negatives in the main product threads, but as far as I'm concerned you're perfectly welcome to share your opinion and have every right to dislike it. Swaying to extremes always makes one's opinion seem less logical tho.

so it cracks me up to read Tyll's review on Innerfidelity today that basically mirrors my thoughts.

Certainly. But quite a few other reviewers had a very opposite impression. Steve Guttenberg for example, worded "a spectacular headphone. It matches or exceeds the performance standards of the upper-echelon planar magnetic headphones I’ve heard, and I’ve heard them all. Bravo!". Is the man an ultimate Headphone reference? Certainly not. Is he a totally deaf shill? I highly doubt it.

careful, Z1R guys..... don't get so emotionally invested in purchases that you lose objectivity. that fact is that if YOU enjoy it and YOU think it's worth $2grand, great. but the objective fact is that this headphone sorely underperforms at this price level.

Choice-supportive bias is very common in this hobby, well, in many hobbies and product analyses. It might certainly apply in some cases, but it can swing both ways.
I like to think I'm not very vulnerable to it, perhaps since my job requires being as logical as possible evaluating quality, regardless of who/how the product was chosen and I certainly bashed bigtime some of my expensive decisions that turned out to be a mix of poor taste and poor luck.

If I thought the Z1R sucked in too many areas, I'd have no problem admitting it. Had almost two months to return the thing and I have to admit the first impression in the first days was mixed.
Mine was one of the first posted in this thread and I had some interesting private chats with other members who decided to return theirs. I agreed with many of their criticisms. It's not a perfect model. It's not cheap. It's not for everyone. Is it as bad as some comical posts make it sound? Definitely not. To be honest, talking about pricing these at $600 in the current market just shows one isn't fully aware of what the competition is offering, at many levels.

"the Sony in comparison was disjointed and incoherent. Not once did it make me tap my feet."

This was one of the most interesting lines of the review, because it's exactly the opposite of what I got for the past 7+ months. Made me wonder how Tyll had been using it, given the gap.

The Z1R is a flawed tool (except in build, design, yadayada) but if there is something it has always achieved well in its imperfect implementation is a pure sense of fun with some tracks, which aren't perfectly rendered but end up being perfect ear candy nonetheless.

But, as I once posted in another forum full of nice people (you can quote me there); time will show how the Z1R will be remembered. Another meh-ish Z7 or something better, perhaps much better. Hopefully we'll all be healthy and here in many years to revisit the thread. And if few sell and it turns out to be positive, well, more for me... :p
 
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Jun 6, 2017 at 4:22 PM Post #9,957 of 11,341

RoyT

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The M50x comment was certainly a joke in the sense "given the price, I prefer the fun with the M50X". But it's quite out of proportion. I mean... the M50x is a toy compared to the Z1R, so I think Tyll used it to say he really hates the Z1R and even some cheap s#@t would be better.

More realistic comparisons would be perhaps an Eikon. I know people who love the Eikon over the Z1R, but I also know someone who has both (And IMHO has a good ear, plus an Utopia and a few other interesting beasts) and considers the Z1R superior in pretty much every area.

Respect for Tyll's opinion going against the grain (except in certain other forums, perhaps) but given MANY reviews by credible users (and some semi-credible pro reviewers) in this case I think his disliking is a bit too extreme. A clear case of personal taste, more than technical criticism (going beyond measurements here).
Or maybe he needs a few more pairs to compare. You never know, after the episode with the beryllium star. :p

You can clearly see when someone is "joking" or trying to make a point, not in this case, he really meant it and it's obvious.
 
Jun 6, 2017 at 4:29 PM Post #9,958 of 11,341

greggf

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I was a newspaper columnist for ten years, and the saying was that controversy sells, no matter what you say. If people loved what you said, great, and if they hated what you said, great. As long as you GOT THEIR ATTENTION.

Look at this thread. Tyll succeeded. He got our attention. I assume he could care less about the Z1R one way or another. I also assume he could, basically, care less about headphones in general, although he may want to curry SBAF favor because they and The Other Place basically tell him what he hears ahead of time on any given headphone.

I read all the other internet reviews of the Z1R last night. They all love it. Tyll was last in line with his review. What's he gonna do? Write another (invisible, blends right in) review? Or be a s***head to get attention? The latter.

He isn't paid to help consumers. He's paid to be an entertainer.
 
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Jun 6, 2017 at 4:55 PM Post #9,959 of 11,341

beowulf

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I was a newspaper columnist for ten years, and the saying was that controversy sells, no matter what you say. If people loved what you said, great, and if they hated what you said, great. As long as you GOT THEIR ATTENTION.
Look at this thread. Tyll succeeded. He got our attention. I assume he could care less about the Z1R one way or another. I also assume he could, basically, care less about headphones in general, although he may want to curry SBAF favor because they and The Other Place basically tell him what he hears ahead of time on any given headphone.
I read all the other internet reviews of the Z1R last night. They all love it. Tyll was last in line with his review. What's he gonna do? Write another (invisible, blends right in) review? Or be a s***head to get attention? The latter.
He isn't paid to help consumers. He's paid to be an entertainer.

Interesting post. Can't say I agree, but it made me think since it's true that some controversy can generate curiosity. Tyll was a bit too late to the Z1R party tho, and to be honest, his review read a bit... well, rushed, somehow. It's as if he really didn't have the support and patience to get to know the product (the Z1R isn't a WOW-er on first listen) or didn't bother going further. But perhaps he simply thought he didn't like them enough to be worth more time writing. I know I prefer writing about stuff I like, rather than spending time bombing products I dislike.

I have them on. Amazing how one can forget these things are on. Comfort with these is just ridiculous. Even if they sounded bad, they'd be successful just because they're fu#@$ing velvet cloudy pillows for your ears. I doubt I'll use a more comfortable full-size headphone in the next couple of years, and I plan to listen to as many as I can.
 
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Jun 6, 2017 at 5:15 PM Post #9,960 of 11,341

rnros

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@greggf
Not sure that approach is true for IF/TH since his value appears to be grounded in the reliable information and guidance he provides.
Still don't understand it, you would think he is fully aware of the existing positive reviews. At least, show due diligence and acknowledge other reviews and then present solid information why your position is so different. But the review does seem rushed; some nice comments on design, some techno blather, dismissive comments on performance. Done. Really? That's it? Maybe Inner Fidelity was hacked. :)
 
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