Sony MDR-1R Review

Stylish Design And Superior Sound

Sony MDR-1R review

There´s nothing wrong with the design. Not the price either. For less than $300 you get a pair of very elegant and relatively small closed headphones that thrives equally at home or on the go or with your mobile. MDR-1R is pretty light as well, the weight is only 1lbs, and can be folded so that they become flat if you want to fit them in a bag.

The closed cups attenuate external noise, though not as good as headphones with active noise cancellation - where tiny microphones pick up sound from the outside and adds signals of opposite phase to smooth the noise, thus unleashing more of the music's finer details. Finer is also a fitting description of Sony's headphones. The workmanship is extremely well made, with fine detail and high quality construction. One can choose between matte black with black ear pads and white with brown pads and brown headband.

Sony MDR-1R is designed for smart phones and people on the move, they have buttons and microphone on the cord that control music and phone calls. I did however get even more out of the sound when I plugged them into a headphone amplifier. Then it sounded very good. The sound quality has few weaknesses and many attractive features. Which is good, because this is a headphone that is damn comfortable to wear on your head.

Sony MDR1R Premium Over-the-Head Style Headphones

​Weightless Tone

​You hardly notice that they are on your head, even after a long time. Sony has done an outstanding job of balancing the pressure to prevent the cups from slipping off your ears.

​The sound is perceived immediately as light, almost floating, but after a period of listening, you notice that the music has plenty of substance. And the sound is well balanced, with open and pleasant mids - which, however, can be a little thin with some voices, especially male voices.

​Female voices and piano concertos sounds excellent on these headphones. The sound from strings are vibrating and present, and it is only in the lowest octave I'm missing something. Deep bass is not Sony's strongest appeal.

​The resolution and detail is very good, good recordings thrive as a kid in a candy store. The bass of the important register 40 to 120 Hz, where the rhythm of the music often is, is tight and extremely well controlled. And although you may notice that it vibrates in the earlobes, it's nowhere near the exaggerated rumbling you´d get in a couple of Beats headphones.

​Among closed headphones the Sennheiser Momentum comes closest. They have a more refined sound and fuller bass, but costs $80 more. But even they are not as comfortable as the Sony MDR-1R, which I do not hesitate to proclaim to the best headphones to date for $300. If you do not want bass that split your skull, that is.

Sony MDR1A Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones (Black)
List Price: $299.99
Price: $298.00
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  • IN ThE bOX
  • High-Resolution Audio compatible

  • Responsive Liquid Crystal Polymer driver for clarity

  • Smartphone-compatible with in-line remote mic

  • Beat Response Control reduces heavy bass distortion

  • Swivel ear cups for easy portability

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Old Price: $299.99
Current Price: $298.00