The Official Sony MDR-Z1R Flagship Headphone Thread (Live From IFA 2016)
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rnros

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I am not sure saying if you like the Z1R you won't like any of his Wall of Fame is really accurate; I love my Z1Rs and my Ether Flows (open). Although I do have to say I personally don't find the bass ridiculously more on the Z1Rs compared to the Ether Flows I mean it IS more but not overwhelmingly so...
I also do not find the Z1R bass excessive. Sounds completely natural to me, there when required with incredible definition, but not excessive or detrimental to the FR.
However, I have had the experience of very strange bass response with a few recordings. I think those recordings were boosting bass levels for some reason.
 
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Kramer01

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All of these reviews you have are from people who don't really review headphones seriously. Just because they have a fancy banner on their website, don't mean they know what they're talking about.
I have owned a number of headphones and all the reviews done by whathifi for the same headphone were on point. What Hifi has improved their headphone reviews greatly over the years. If you look at their older reviews and the newer ones you'll see the difference.
Guttenberg is heavily into headphones and he did the sound and vision review and gave the Z1R a positive review, Currawong likes the Z1R so do many people on head-fi so to say that "Just because they have a fancy banner on their website, don't mean they know what they're talking about." is wrong.
I get it everyone has their taste but to say its comparable to the m50x is....outrageous egregious, preposterous.
 

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beowulf

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As they say, the truth is always somewhere in between, heh. I tried a friend's Z1R over a few days and I do think that it is among the best closed headphone on the market now, even if it is a little too bassy and a touch too dark for my taste.
My thoughts exactly. Both the dark and the bassy parts can be noticed immediately and are more emphasized with certain tracks. In one of the first posts about mine I recall writing on how Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" Live had the bass guitar feeling so bloated and overwhelming. That still happens with certain tracks, but I learned to spot which ones excel on the Z1R, and when they do, they REALLY do. The darkness fortunately didn't mean lack of resolution or treble detail and with some source tweaking can be solved too.

Competing models have weaknesses that have to be compensated too. I call BS on reports that model X or Y is a flawless closed performer with everything you throw at it, with any source.

I can't say I really understand where Tyll is coming from when he mentioned the M50x in the same review as the Z1R
It was used to emphasize dislike and also value-for-money. They're in such different leagues that the Z1R could come with a M50x as a gift. Still, no doubt that comparison will become a meme for people who don't like the Z1R. Can't say I don't value the comic potential.

. Also, I agree they are extremely comfortable and has an impeccable build quality.
After owning mine for... almost 8 months now, I think the comfort aspect isn't praised enough. These are not just really comfortable headphones, they are the most comfortable I have ever tried. Granted, I haven't tried everything out there, but I don't recall anything this nice. The clamp, the shape of the pads, feeling of weight, etc. It's such a relief when I take off the HD800 for instance, and many people think the 800/800S are super comfortable. Well, they are indeed, just not as comfy.

I like Z1R, and I still like Utopia and SR009. Hell, if Z1R could fit my head when laying down on the bed I would still have it.
I no longer own Z1R, but for whatever Tyll is saying about it, it is too far off from the truth. It look like no more than an attempt to attack and defame Sony latest headphones, period.
I do understand that the direction Sony is heading and the market they are aiming is different than the past where the R10 was their flagship, but non the less, the Z1R is very successful in what it was designed for.
We should start being able to let go of the R10, IMHO. It was a fine model back then, a true cutting edge product, but today it's no longer comparable to modern offerings. The same probably applies to the Qualia. It certainly applies to the CD3000 (which interestingly also received some flak at launch, was mostly ignored and ended up being respected only many years after its death, reaching 3 or 4x the original price).

The Z1R would have been better with a brighter signature and a bit less energy on the low frequencies - at least to my taste - but it's still way better than any of the old classics, IMHO. Not to mention that the surviving bio-cellulose drivers are probably not in really good shape these days, so I wonder if anyone can still listen to them with a fidelity close to the original ~1990 days.

I pre ordered the hd800S and wrote a positive review for what it is, but the forum was hanging on for tyll review, which initially was positive. I remarked to the accolades from Tyll confirming hd800S, that phew I can rest easy now knowing i liked it. He subsequently kinda panned it and the outrage was felt on the forum. I like my la900 as well, so there, tyll is great, I always look forward to his impressions but don't let it influence what your preferences are, or bring self doubt, or irrational exuberance.
I'm OK with bad reviews as I'm fine with the concept of liking a product despite being disliked by authorities in the field. A bit like liking a movie that everyone seems to hate according to metareviews. Some people are a bit more pissed by that, as if it is an attack on their good taste.

One aspect we all have to admit, negative reviews from reference sources have the potential to impact demand, especially in the used market. The resale value sure won't be affected positively. Then again... it's a S&D market, so who knows, maybe people stop buying them so the surviving units will be worth a bit more in a distant future. :D

I'm keeping mine so I don't really care, but I'd be a bit bummed if I was just planning to put it on the For Sale forum.

To be sure, IMO, the Z1R is superior for soundstage projection, bass, small measure of resolution, and perhaps, tonal balance. The AEON immediately showed a little more energy in the upper mids than the norm would support, something like a performance space that is a little too bright, not awful, just a small amount. Additionally, early in the burn, there was a small amount of glare in the same region, again, just a small amount. At 120 hrs, that small touch of glare is gone, and the upper mid emphasis is reduced.
Another interesting point, are we entering a time when open/closed design means very little to the quality of the aural image projected? Started on a smaller scale with the PM3, then Z1R fully challenged the preconception, now AEON enters the arena.
The sense of space is one of the Z1R strong points that close competitors aren't matching. I really like that aspect. And it's probably not even more obvious because the tonality is a bit on the dark side.

Yes, very interesting how closed cans are starting to sound less confined, but then again, it's still a big distance between these and a HEK or HD800 or similar soundstage beast.

On the other hand, some open cans *cof*Utopia*cof**cof* can still sound pretty tight in-your-head, despite the open design...
 
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beowulf

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I have owned a number of headphones and all the reviews done by whathifi for the same headphone were on point. What Hifi has improved their headphone reviews greatly over the years. If you look at their older reviews and the newer ones you'll see the difference.
Guttenberg is heavily into headphones and he did the sound and vision review and gave the Z1R a positive review, Currawong likes the Z1R so do many people on head-fi so to say that "Just because they have a fancy banner on their website, don't mean they know what they're talking about." is wrong.
I get it everyone has their taste but to say its comparable to the m50x is....outrageous egregious, preposterous.
I think it is time to page The Dude into this review party.
@thatonenoob, any fresh thoughts on the rise and fall of the Z1R?
 
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@beowulf

I agree the R10 needs to be let go, simply because of it's age, expensive, discontinued, not aging well, and rare. But it's not outdone by modern flagships fidelity-wise. Have you heard the R10? The CD3000 and R10 are notably different in terms of fidelity and sound signature.
 
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Mm..scathing review of the z1r. Rather unexpected. I love the z1r so I have to disagree with the review. I do follow his WOF reco. But at the end of the day, it is still my ears that is the final arbiter when decision time comes, good review or bad.
 
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Agree - it was a dismissive review. In fact the review part (the comments on sound) seemed very short and just a set up for the put down. Oh well. I'm not one of the many who seem to treat Tyll's word as gospel.
 
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One of the things that confused me when I first got the Z1R was how separation/layering/positioning was so good, considering the darker, smoother signature. Despite that buttery feeling with some albuns, the thing seems to render all the detail and without mushing it all together like some closed alternatives.

Right now my favorite source is the little iFi Black Label, which I carry around often. I started by using it as a portable amp, especially at work, but started liking it so much that it is now spending a lot of time doing the job of a desktop amp at home. It's a great example on how you don't always need to spend a bucket of $ to get a decent DAC/amp pair.

Anyway, I digress... so I've been using the Black Label a lot and it made me start using the HD800 and the Z1R more than before. With the HD800, the XBass+ is a must, transforming it into what the HD800 S never was. And with the Z1R, in certain tracks the 3D really helps by giving it an airier, brighter sound, with a bit more grain and with tamed bass and lower mids. Sometimes I have the circuit on, most times it is off, but having that option makes the Z1R very versatile and probably reduces the need of having even more closed pairs for different types of music/masterings.

The black label is dope I have the ifi nano and i would recommend you trying it out its a bit more portable with its smaller size for $200 bones cant go wrong. I remember trying out the label and liking it but im gonna wait for that $500 tag to drop (black friday anyone)....i noticed amazons buywise seller dropped the price from $1,899 to $1,799 lol
 
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I was listening to Giogrio by moroder from daft punks random access memories at 2:26 you can hear what tyll was talking about the softness in drums, but again like any headphone not all tracks are gonna be mind blowing lol.
 
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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.
Tyll was serious until Bob Katz showed up at about the time of Tyll's illness. Around then, I assume he was unceremoniously told, in ways both subtle and direct, that headphones, in an inexact summary of something Nelson Pass once said, "aren't dialysis, they're entertainment."
InnerFidelity is a sister site of Stereophile, no? Would Stereophile itself publish a scathing product review like this? I don't know. I DO know that Herb Reichert (who has heard all the top flagships) gave the Z1R a glowing review in a latest issue of Stereophile, calling it "one of the greats". So I guess it boils down to taste and what one considers to be (or not to be) great sound.
 
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OMG, so sorry, and with all due respect, the M50 is a nice enough headphone, I was just listening to them at my brothers last night, but I personally would not on any metric find them at the level of the Z1R. As others have said, I also very much appreciate and respect the contributions Tyll makes, they are undeniable; however, he isn't (and nobody is) an oracle of all things headphone truth. Only your brain matters so use it first and foremost. Many very experienced people here and elsewhere like the z1R very much, others don't. I think the spread of opinions on the Z1R would not differ greatly from any headphone at this price point where scrutiny is bound to be intense, and rightfully so. I personally still feel the Z1R is simply fantastic and still gives me pure joy when I use it.

As for the Aeon suddenly sounding close to the Z1R for the user where previously it hadn't let me offer a few thoughts. First it is entirely possible that it is very, very close to the performance for less money, I can't discount that possibility. I can however point out what I think is an equally plausible explanation. After owning a headphone for 7 months the honeymoon period is well worn off and novelty and exploration phases have now turned into the inevitable familiarity. Our brains are hardwired to respond, actually to seek out novelty, we love the experience of the new. It is no surprise to me that after the initial time it takes your brain to acclimate to a new sound signature, in this case the Aeon, that now your brain is fully in the honeymoon phases of novelty and exploration. Put the Z1R away for a month or two and use the Aeon. Then put the Z1R back on and I can reasonably predict you will experience the highs of re-discovery which while never as intense as the initial discovery can nonetheless be pretty intense in their own right. Never downplay the effect that novelty has on perception and enjoyment, it is a very potent influencer of perception.
 
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As for the Aeon suddenly sounding close to the Z1R for the user where previously it hadn't let me offer a few thoughts. First it is entirely possible that it is very, very close to the performance for less money, I can't discount that possibility. I can however point out what I think is an equally plausible explanation. After owning a headphone for 7 months the honeymoon period is well worn off and novelty and exploration phases have now turned into the inevitable familiarity. Our brains are hardwired to respond, actually to seek out novelty, we love the experience of the new. It is no surprise to me that after the initial time it takes your brain to acclimate to a new sound signature, in this case the Aeon, that now your brain is fully in the honeymoon phases of novelty and exploration. Put the Z1R away for a month or two and use the Aeon. Then put the Z1R back on and I can reasonably predict you will experience the highs of re-discovery which while never as intense as the initial discovery can nonetheless be pretty intense in their own right. Never downplay the effect that novelty has on perception and enjoyment, it is a very potent influencer of perception.
Hi @Sonic Defender, Was this referencing my previous post?
 
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Hi @Sonic Defender, Was this referencing my previous post?
Yes and I hope you understand I'm just discussing an interesting post and not challenging you or attempting to put you on the defensive. I'm a psychology major and a bit of a perception nerd in terms of interest so I can't help but interpret things through that lens. And for the record, the aeon is most certainly a headphone if I was financially able to I would purchase as it sounds very intriguing. Cheers.
 
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Happy news, a very kind local head-fier who I exchange headphones with from time to time has just let me know that I will be able to borrow his Aeon to have a listen in the near future. In fact, I am loaning him my Z1R tomorrow and will be receiving a few gems from his collection so happy days! The only sad caveat is that I'm currently embroiled in a tough summer class and struggling to get some assignments in so at first my listening time will be a little curtailed. Pretty stoked to hear the Ether and the MPH1000 which if I understand correctly will be dropped off tomorrow! I feel guilty for this generosity as with my daughter being at home with me I don't get out easily so this extremely nice person even goes out of his way to bring the headphones to me. You have to love head-fi members I tell you, just makes this community the gem that it is in my experience and opinion.
 
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I see the bright side of Tyll's review in the discussion it generated. Really got people talking which is good.

While the comparison to M50s are somewhat outrageous, it could have been in reference to the low end fullness which I have also heard in the M50s. I've heard the Z1Rs at a Sony store recently (with the accompanying amp, I forgot the model) and I did recall it being detailed but with loads of low end. The sound signature is likeable but polarising as some may prefer a brighter tonality.

He also mentioned something about driver modes and how a large diaphragm can be tricky to control. I wonder if he's onto something, but then again I wouldn't think that Sony engineers could have missed that with the resources they have. :)
 
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