Sony tends to take your breath away with their high-end headphones. And believe you us, MDR1R headphones are clearly premium. As usual, Sony has shrouded eye-popping music into a minimalistic attire. There’s no lack of comfort or intricate details in these headphones. Audiophiles can wallow in the luxury of rich music that is mature like fine wine. Sony MDR1R headphones have beaten competition even from their famed cousins like MDR10R which were market leaders to begin with. MDR1R shows a wider frequency response and much lower impedance making it blend powerfully even with portable playback devices.
Sony MDR1R is an audiophile-grade headphone. They need a burn-in period to perform at their true potential. These beasts produce tons of details in each category of their 4Hz-80,000Hz spectrum. The low 4Hz figure means that MDR1R will reach deep into the sub-bass region and rumble with practiced ease. The high limit of 80,000 Hz is four times of what human ears can perceive. But it adds nuances to the treble and brings it to par with the bass capability and then some. Bass is full and populated but tightly controlled against bleeding into mids. Unlike Beats Executive which pinch on details and consider that bass will set every wrong right, the MDR1R does not ruthlessly exploit the talents of bass. Mids are luxuriant to the extent of being a little forward. Highs spring off before being sibilant.
Some people may not find the bass adequate. They need to burn-in the headphones. Once that’s done, you’ll find the bass evolve into its oomphy self. Most hi-fidelity headphones are extremely harsh on lossy files and formats like MP3, because they bring out those faults for all to see. However MDR1R is mature enough to bring out the best of the music and glaze over the disturbing details with a bit of bass. This is not acceptable to hard-core audiophiles but MDR1R is meant for the average music listener who is looking to acquire a more select taste.
Design and Build
Sony MDR1R headphones weigh 8.5 ounces which is just about the average mark for full-sized cans. The Beyerdynamic premium Tesla T70s in a similar price range chalk up a 11 ounce weight that can almost be too much to bear. The MDR1Rs are made of sturdy plastic with a smattering of metal. Earcups are of racetrack oval shape which is better than doughnut shape as the former engulfs the ears without causing any pressure points. MDRXB950 have round earcups and they won’t sit well with everyone’s ears with the constant stress on cartilage. MDR1R look chunkier than the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 which has a trimmer design although it carries more weight than MDR1R.
The replaceable earpads are the absolute winners here. They are so soft and yielding that wielding the MDR1R headphones on your head feels like home. You can snuggle in the warm comfort of these plush cushions. The headband is also opulently padded. If you don’t like the feeling of faux leather, you can always turn to Velour to sheath the earcups. Because of their size, the earcups do get warm and if you live in temperate regions, beware of ear sweating. The Beyerdynamic T70s have the advantage of being manufactured with Velour earpads and headband which would be every buyer’s dream. They do not offset its weight though.
MDR1R headphones have a port on the left earcup for a detachable cable. They are shipped with two kinds of cables: a plain cable and an Apple-friendly cable with inline remote. They end in an L-shaped 3.5mm jack. There’s no locking mechanism for the cables as seen with other brands. Noise leakage is minimal out of these headphones and they block ambient noise moderately well through passive noise isolation.
Apart from the regular model, Sony MDR1R is also available with Bluetooth and Noise Cancelling functions.
Low impedance: Sony MDR1R headphones show a 24Ohm impedance. They can be easily driven by smart phones or tiny MP3 players to achieve significant volume levels at lower power input. They don’t need an amp to enforce their full artillery with these devices.
2D folding: The earcups swivel 90 degree so that the entire structure of MDR1R can be folded flat for storage. MDR10R trumps it with a collapsible design that’s more portable.
Pouch: MDR1R is hipped with a pouch, although at its price we would expect a hard case to store.
- Flat response with punchy bass
- Highly comfortable on head
- Comes with detachable cables: with and without inline remote
- Low impedance
- High upper limit of frequency spectrum
- 2D folding design
- Austere looks
- Does not collapse
- No hard carry case provided
Sony MDR1R headphones are close to being high resolution headphones. They will get any music-lover excited. But if they are too particular about having super-human hearing kind of details on headphones, then Sony has an entire HD line. MDR1R headphones are best for everyday listeners who have gotten over the fad of ‘pumped-up bass’ and are on their way to being educated about the traditional idea of pure music. They will start to appreciate the beauty of music as it was intended to be rather than artificially sculpted notes. At their price MDR1R could have done a better job of sprucing up their appearance and adding minute details like articulating arms, but once you hear them play, you will be willing to let that go. Their audio is worth a dollar on 50 cents.