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 MDR-Z7M2 For those of you who would like to watch a video overview of what to expect from the new earphones 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: 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. Otherwise, lets dive in to what we're able to find out so far. Specifications __________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ Layout: 1. Design / Philosophy 2. Engineer Technical Video Interview 3. General Impressions ______________________________________________________________________________________ 1. Design / Philosophy So as far as the design goes, we can see that the IER-Z1R takes on the approach of a hybrid design with two dynamic drivers and a balanced armature. Contrastingly, the M9 and the M7 adopts the multi-BA designs. The philosophy of these earphones can be split in to the category of lineup they belong; the IER-Z1R belongs to the Signature Series and their aim is to attempt to render a true acoustic set up where space and imaging are paramount. Contrastingly, the M9 and M7 are meant for stage monitoring, thus the priority is for a stage artist to be able to accurately discern the instruments surrounding her, and also to monitor his/her own voice while performing. So the Z1R is meant to look fashionable(ish maybe), using Zirconium Alloy that is used for high-end watches on the faceplate. We can see from the picture above that the driver placements are crucial to creating the sound that the Z1R is supposed to produce. The overall layout is the first 5mm dynamic driver, followed by the balanced armature and then lastly, the big 12mm dynamic drive at the back. The 5mm dynamic driver is made of liquid crystal polymer that the engineers claimed have less vibrations and thus can provide clean un-colored highs range frequencies. The balanced armature can help provide good details in the upper mid frequencies and is meant to supplement the main 12mm dynamic driver. The engineers mentioned that there is no real crossover point, because all the drivers produce a wide range of frequencies, with the 5mm more towards the super high frequencies. All these drivers are placed in a Magnesium Alloy housing. This is because a large part of the focus for this earphone is to achieve high internal loss, reducing resonance that allows for a blacker background and clearer separation. Again, to re-emphasis, the purpose of the signature series is to try to replicate an acoustic room speaker set up and the engineers said the tuning for this earphone is tested with reference to the speakers in a studio in New York. Moving on the the M series earphones: The M9 carries a carbon fibre faceplate with 5BA's inside. As with many multi-BA type earphones, the crossover distribution is important and here Sony provided us with a graph of the crossover points for the M9. The M7 is the most inconspicuous looking earphone here and honestly its something I like. Below is also the crossover range for the M7: The primary difference between the M9 and M7 is that the M9 has an extra balanced armature driver. Judging from the crossover points and talking with the engineers, this extra BA is used as a super tweeter that works in conjunction with the tweeter, to provide more detail and extension. The engineers say that the tuning for both follow the same direction and that they have very similar sound signature that is meant for stage artists to monitor their own voices/instruments, as well as the other instruments around them. I asked that since these earphones are mean for monitoring, does this mean they should have a flat sound signature. The reply i received was that the engineers believe there are different ideas of what is flat; ie if you are an artist listening to your own voice and bandmates around you, the idea of a flat sound versus that of an audience listening to the artists from a distance will be different. Tuning for this headphone is done in conjunction with live artists so that they can be used effectively for stage monitoring purposes.