About the Sony MDR-Z1R
Sony makes a statement
Exploded view of the MDR-Z1R's extra-large, intricately designed 70mm drivers.
Sony makes a statement
Sony's MDR-Z1R Signature Series headphones are the brainchild of their master acoustic engineer Shunsuke Shiomi. And the company has taken great care in fulfilling his vision. Just look at the video of the creation process in the carousel above — such precision and attention to detail.
The result? A pristine, powerful-sounding set of headphones that have won over the most discerning personal audio critics.
Need proof? Read our former writer's reaction
Now-retired Crutchfield writer (and my mentor) Dave Bar is a headphone aficionado — and a hard man to please. Trust me, I've seen him make a "meh" face while listening to some really top-notch audio gear. Here's are his unfiltered thoughts on these headphones after a recent listening session at our HQ:
"Listening to a high-res version of Bob Marley's hauntingly beautiful Redemption Song through the MDR-Z1R headphones and Sony's TA-ZH1ES headphone amp gave me chills. You could positively feel the anguish in Bob's voice as it carried over the spare, woody resonance of his acoustic guitar. I've never heard this track reproduced with such depth and emotion. Simply stunning. One of the best and most revealing headphone listening experiences I have ever had.
"One of the things I like most about these cans is their ability to unravel even the densest recordings, laying bare each element and placing it into its own respective space. They sound deep, detailed, and transparent without ever becoming harsh or overly analytical — much like the best vacuum tube electronics.
"I'm usually an “open back” headphone kind of guy — preferring their generally more airy and spacious presentation — but the closed-back MDR-Z1R not only provided much of that spaciousness I love, they also delivered the extra visceral punch and power that sealed cans do so well. It's like having the best of both worlds."
Several ways to connect
These headphones are one of the first to use a 4.4mm balanced headphone plug. Sony developed this new industry standard connection for balanced headphone operation, and it promises to cut down on signal noise and distortion. You'll also find this connection on the TA-ZH1ES amp that Dave used here to audition these heaphones, and Sony's NW-WM1A Premium Walkman® portable high-resolution music player.
There are also more traditional headphone connections. Sony includes another silver-coated oxygen-free cable with an unbalanced 3.5mm mini plug. Plus they include a 1/4" adapter.
- over-the-ear, closed-back design
- extra-large 70mm dynamic drivers offer clarity and detail
- high-grade parts include large magnet, aluminum-coated liquid crystal polymer edge, and ultra-thin magnesium dome
- delivers wide-range frequency response
- designed and crafted in Sony's Japanese headquarters
- Sony also designed the TA-ZH1ES headphone amplifier to properly power these headphones for optimum sound quality
Design and build:
- Fibonacci patterned grille for natural, efficient airflow
- inspired by the spiral pattern of a sunflower
- sturdy acoustic filter helps eliminate resonance
- baffle created using paper-making technique found in traditional Japanese architecture
- enfolding earcup design helps isolate noise
- thick ergonomic sheepskin earpads offer supreme comfort
- titanium and leather headband
Accessories and Specs:
- 9.84 ft silver-coated oxygen-free cable with gold-plated miniplug
- 79-inch silver-coated oxygen-free cable with balanced 4.4mm headphone plug
- Connects to Sony TA-ZH1ES headphone amp or Sony NW-WM1A Premium Walkman®
- padded display case and tote included
- frequency response: 4-120,000 Hz
- sensitivity: 100 dB
- impedance: 64 ohms
- weight: 14 oz. (without cable)
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # MDRZ1R
What's in the box:
- Over-ear headphones
- 10' Audio cable (straight 3.5mm plug)
- 53" Audio cable (balanced right angled 4.4mm plug)
- 3.5mm-to-1/4" Adapter
- Hard storage case
- Product Information booklet
- Operating Instructions
- Warranty sheet
- Registration reminder
- Environmental statement
Sony MDR-Z1R reviews
Recommended for mastered music only!!. High end headphones have a tendency of driving people away because of exaggerated panning and spikes in songs.. Songs that were not made with proper technique or modern style would hate this headphone as well. Anyway, Sounds great plugged into a Mp3 radio, no need for an amplifier so much. However, plugged into a amplifier......The sound is beautiful. Its a soft "stereo" sound signature. That means there is a slight bass boost and or coloration. Kind of a tall sound stage. Not that precise like the HD800S, for instrument placement and panning. But it does deliver the song somewhat close to the original. I would consider these headphones for professionals to listen to there final mix with bass and color. Way too expensive if not used properly. Same for all high end headphones. Plus most people don't even care about headphones. They listen to stereos and radios. Very quality built. Extremely lightweight compared to LCD's, Focal's, and ZMF headphones. The leather is soft on the headband and earmuffs. The stock cables sound well and are durable. Not bad for silver plated copper. The MDR-Z1R sound is optimal with different cable metals as well. A tough investment. I emailed Sony about burn in and they said no burn in required. I still gave them a 2 day burn. This tells me if they were built well and not crap. I don't think headphones need that much of a burn in. The most would be 2 days, maybe just 24hrs. Anyway, great headphone.
Pros: light, comfortable, good cables, leather type display case
Cons: expensive, for great mixes only, no micro fiber cloth included
12 of 16 found this helpful
More details on the Sony MDR-Z1R
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||4.334" x 4.334"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||No|
|Frequency Response||4-120k Hz|
|Cord Length||10' + 53"|
|1/4-inch Adapter Included||Yes|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Overview: The Sony MDR-Z1R Signature Series premium headphones feature exceptional sound and quality craftsmanship. These ultra-comfortable headphones have soft genuine sheepskin ear pads that provide an acoustic seal around your ears. The headphones come with two cables, a 4-conductor balanced cable, and a longer 10' cable. The MDR-Z1Rs can be stored in the included hard case.
70mm Drivers: The MDR-Z1R is equipped with massive 70mm dynamic HD magnesium dome drivers with ALCP (Aluminum-coated Liquid Crystal Polymer) diaphragms that deliver a wide frequency response, ranging from sub-harmonic lows (4 Hz) to ultra-sonic highs (up to 120kHz) for natural, soothing sound reproduction. The drivers are mounted in a resonance-free housing with a special acoustic filter that controls the air resistance and eliminates reverberations. All you get is pure sound, with no distortion.
Headband: The MDR-Z1R features a sturdy, but flexible, titanium and leather headband. Beta titanium has a high degree of elasticity, and will return to its original shape when bent. The headband's leather covering adds a touch of elegance, as well as comfort and strength. Each ear cup can be adjusted for height, with ten numbered position stops to keep them balanced.
Supplied Cables: The headphones come with two 0.17" diameter detachable audio cables with silver-coated OFC (oxygen-free copper) conductors. OFC cable ensures maximum signal transfer with minimal degradation. The new balanced-connection cable features 4 conductors to separate left and right sound signals to give you enhanced separation, expanded sound, and tight bass. The balanced cable is 53" in length with a right-angled 4.4mm plug. (The 4.4mm balanced plug fits the balanced output of the Sony NW-WM1Z and NW-WM1A hi-res music players.) The other cable (unbalanced connections) is 10' in length with a straight 3.5mm plug. A 3.5mm-to-1/4" plug adapter is included in the box for using the headphones with pro audio or home components with the standard 1/4" jack.
- Frequency Response: 4Hz - 120kHz
- Impedance: 64 ohms at 1 kHz
- Power Handling Capacity: 2500mW
- Sensitivity: 100dB / mW
- Dimensions: Earcup Diameter: 4.334" Depth 2.81"
- Weight: 14 ounces (w/o cable)
Q Crutchfield asked: Why did you buy this?