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Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

Over-the-ear headphones

17 Reviews | 2 questions - 4 answers

Item # 158MDR1A

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Overview

Our take on the Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

If you're looking to get a little more out of your music, upgrading your headphones is a smart first step. The excellent-sounding Sony MDR-1A headphones will put you on the right track. Their aluminum-coated 40mm drivers are engineered for incredibly wide frequency response. That means these headphones offer glittering detail, from the deepest bass frequencies all the way through the crisp, extended highs. You'll hear more of the subtle nuances in your music — especially if you use these headphones with a high-resolution player like the Sony NWZ-A17 Walkman. Just like the MDR-1A headphones, high-resolution music can take you even deeper inside your favorite tunes.

Next-level listening

If you're looking to get a little more out of your music, upgrading your headphones is a smart first step. The excellent-sounding Sony MDR-1A headphones will put you on the right track. Their aluminum-coated 40mm drivers are engineered for incredibly wide frequency response. That means these headphones offer glittering detail, from the deepest bass frequencies all the way through the crisp, extended highs. You'll hear more of the subtle nuances in your music — especially if you use these headphones with a high-resolution player like the Sony NWZ-A17 Walkman. Just like the MDR-1A headphones, high-resolution music can take you even deeper inside your favorite tunes.

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-Res headphones

Get more from your music with the Sony MDR-1A's spacious, detailed sound.

What's in a cable?

Your music, that's what. So Sony designed their cable to treat the audio signal with particular care. The four-conductor, silver-coated oxygen-free copper cable ensures your music is delivered accurately. That means you get the full benefit of the large soundstage and tight bass the MDR-1A headphones offer. There's also a remote cable included for use with Android™ devices. Download the free Sony Smart Key app, and you can set up the remote's multi-function button to your liking. That makes it easy to take a call or control music playback and volume with commands of your choosing.

Comfort comes standard

Sony makes some of the most comfortable headphones you can find. The MDR-1As are no exception, with a fit that practically begs for long listening sessions. The softly padded earcups are just what you'd want in an over-the-ear headphone. They're also not too bulky or heavy, so you can enjoy them on the go.

Product Highlights:

  • over-the-ear, closed design
  • 40mm dynamic drivers
  • includes two detachable cables:
    • 47-inch cable with in-line remote and microphone for taking calls and controlling music with an Android device
    • 47-inch miniplug cable (no remote)
  • Sony's free Smart Key app for Android lets you customize the functionality of the remote
  • earcups are softly padded for long-lasting comfort and fold flat for easy storage
  • carry pouch included
  • frequency response: 3-100,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 105 dB
  • impedance: 24 ohms
  • weight: 7.9 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Over-the-ear stereo headphones
  • 49" Audio connecting cable (right angled 3.5mm plug)
  • 49" Audio connecting cable with in-line 1-button remote/microphone (right angled 3.5mm plug)
  • Storage pouch
  • Operating Instructions
  • Warranty sheet (US)

The Sony MDR-1A sound awesome with my sont PHA-1a and my sony NW-ZX100HN walkman. The sound is crisp and clear and the headphones are comfortable. The price is ok and won't break your wallet.

Raymond, Lawton, OK

Reviews

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(17 Reviews)

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

Raymond from Lawton, OK on 1/23/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sony MDR-1A sound awesome with my sont PHA-1a and my sony NW-ZX100HN walkman. The sound is crisp and clear and the headphones are comfortable. The price is ok and won't break your wallet.

Pros:

Cons:

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

Patrick from Tucson, AZ on 10/31/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Paired with a high end phono player, this set of headphones is on par with its competitors.

Pros:

Cons:

Super Comfortable

Brian from Lemoore, CA on 8/11/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These headphones are some of the most comfortable headphones I have owned for long term use. I used to daily my Audeze El-8 headphones but they are constructed of metal and are tiring to wear. I usually stray away from plastic products but these headphones do not feel cheap at all. I enjoy the low key aesthetic witht he subtle red accent.

Pros: Lightweight High Quality Audio

Cons: Premium Kimber cable not included

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

Anonymous from Military APO, AP on 5/12/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Amazing sound. A bit costly but you get what you pay for. Great quality and sleek design.

Pros:

Cons:

Sony MDR-1A/B premium hi-res

Nick from Victor, NY on 5/10/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Purchased from Crutchfield. Was initially disappointed,but read about a cable upgrade that was available. This cable (Sony MUC-S12SM1 Headphone Cable) is on the Sony US website (but not available yet). Purchased from a different online retailer. Arrived in pristine condition. It's an upgrade to the standard cable for Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res over the ear Headphones. The cable uses Kimber Kable (premium US cable company) wiring and Kimber technology. The sound improved dramatically. Detail now there. Sound stage has completely opened up. What was dull is now a wonderful, warm sound that you can listen to for hours on end. It is worth every penny and I can't stress enough on the improvement to these Cans. They are now one of my favorites.

Pros: Top Quality build Very comfortable can listen to them for hours Great potential With Cable upgrade the phones go from 2 stars to 5 stars

Cons: Sony Standard cables don't do the phones Justice. Sound with standard cables is average at best

A True Loudspeaker Alternative

Steve from Akron, NY on 3/7/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These are by far the best headphones I have ever heard. They are truly high definition with rich, deep, bass, crystal clear highs. I still prefer loud speakers but, when circumstances dictate otherwise, they're quite the consolation! Additionally, they are beefy, unbelievably comfortable to wear (even for extended intervals), and totally isolate external noise. They are a must buy for any serious audiophile that is forced to use headphones situationally.

Pros: Awesome sound, astounding comfort, total external noise isolation, unsurpassed quality

Cons: I'm tempted to quip about the price but the old axiom, "You get what you pay for" definitely applies here.

Good step into hi-res.

Steve from New Cumberland, PA on 2/16/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Attractive, elegant design. Comfortable, soft earpads can get a little warm when in extended use, but not overly hot. Well made; sturdy, quality materials, yet still relatively lightweight. Good sound isolation despite not being noise-cancelling. Nice sonic performance; smooth, silky, detailed; a nice 1st step for those who want to delve into hi-resolution listening. These were not quite what I expected as I thought they would have sharp-edged high's and heavy lows; instead they give a more nuanced-neutral sound, well balanced and satisfying. I bought these to compliment my open-backed Grado SR-325's (my wife HATES to hear my music and the Grado's can broadcast to the whole room-lol). The Grado's have that sharp sound with the big soundstage feel, while the Sony's seem more more refined to quiet listening. I love 'em both.

Pros: Comfy, elegant, smooth neutral sound.

Cons: Not much to complain about

Excellent Headphones

Curt from East Wenatchee, WA on 1/11/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Good Headphones. Very comfortable and well made with excellent sound. I am not an audiophile but I know great sound when I hear it. I own several pairs of headphones and these are the best by far.

Pros: Comfortable with excellent sound

Cons: None

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

Michael from Oakland, CA on 11/21/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Sony MDR-1A: Here is the low down. Sound great, light and sooo comfortable, solid build. I bought into the V Moda M 100 Crossfade hype and actually ordered those first. They do look cool and are well built but I really disliked the sound which I found very compressed and lacking clarity. Before returning the V Moda's, I had the MDR-1As delivered and compared side by side through a Audioengine D1 DAC. For me, no comparison. Maybe some folks like their headphones to alter the music they are listening to, but if you want to hear the full music experience as it was recorded, buy the Sony MDR-1As. And Crutchfield rocks as usual.

Pros: amazing sound, light but solid build, cushy comfort.

Cons: would have liked a longer cable

Exceptional Headphones

Anonymous from FL on 9/7/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These are hands down one of the best sounding headphones, both in their price range and higher. Although a closed-back design, there is a very wide and detailed sound space. I listen to a fairly wide variety of music, including rock, jazz, classical, and acoustic, these headphones handle them all with aplomb. Well recorded sources sound astounding, with a lushness and level of detail that is incredible; you probably will hear elements you had not heard before in some pieces. These cans are also incredibly comfortable, I can wear them for several hours without fatigue or pressure. Seems a little break in time can help, as they sound better now than when I first received them.

Pros: Very accurate cans with a large soundscape that will cause you to want to listen to your music with them frequently.

Cons: Not cheap (however, they are worth it). Should come with a longer cord, but Crutchfield has a great extension cord at a reasonable price (problem solved).

headphones

cuz from hattiesburg, MS on 3/4/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I really enjoy theses headphones. They are more comfortable on my large head than my previous pair of Bose, but the noise reduction is not there the same. Sound quality is excellent

Pros: confort, make quality

Cons: no active noise reduction

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res

Anonymous from Dayton, OH on 2/29/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I am a big audiophile and have several pair of headphones. My main criteria in this set was for a very comfortable set that had above average sound. Many times i wear them for hours at a time when traveling and some of my other pairs are uncomfortable after hours. These are VERY comfortable and exceeded expectataions in both comfort and sound.

Pros: Very comfortable. Above average sound, good highs, above averaged mids, average lows.

Cons:

Sony MDR-1A Premium Hi-res Over ear headphones

Bill from Mission, TX on 1/26/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great sound, close to Studio quality. Using Alien R4 + Windows 10 64 bit. Realized that the VLC player equalizer modifies sound much more than previous headphones delivered. Took a while to figure out the best sound level and adjustments. Can use for hours in comfort. Often use glasses, and no discomfort around ears.

Pros: Precise sound, Beyond my hearing range.

Cons: Expensive but well worth it!

Buy these!

nismoman240sx from Topeka, KS on 11/17/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've never bought high end headphones before, but I needed a good set of headphones for listening to music at my PC. I have a set of Sony in ear buds that I use for exercising, but the sound quality wasn't there. I got to researching and these came up. I wasn't planning on spending this much on headphones, but I have NO regrets about it. I was hearing things in my music I had never noticed before. They're incredibly comfortable. The first night I easily wore them for 4 hours straight with no fatigue at all. They seal around my ears really well and cut out most of the outside noise. The entire range is crisp and clear and the sound is balanced. I was surprised with the amount of bass at first, but I think it was because I was coming from small in-ear headphones. The bass is NOT overwhelming or punchy. If you're wanting something to rattle your brains out, these may not be for you, though I don't listen to that type of music, so I can't say for sure how they would perform with it. The same goes for the treble, it's not over the top. If you're on the fence about these, don't be. Get them. You won't regret it.

Pros: Everything

Cons: None

Total Entertainment!!

J P from New York on 10/22/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Well, I went kinda nuts looking for a headphone that was A) Comfortable B) Warm bass, punchy but not over the top C) Had a nice top end and clear mid D) Fold-able so I can throw into my business brief and lastly good noise reduction, not perfect but good. Tall menu huh? Lets see, Bose.. cheap build fell apart. Bowers and Wilkins nice sound bass was not there. Another Sony pre generation of this model. Blah PSB Love them for home and serious listening. H & K , Voda etc etc Luck me I walk into the Sony flagship store and with my portable I auditioned everything they had and was blown away by these phones. Almost after a month of listening I almost did not make a meeting because I refused to stop listening to a tune that was rocking my brain. Get entertained the way music ought to be, buy this headset

Pros: Everthing

Cons: The phone cord kept rubbing against my jacket collar. Switched cords problem solved,

Clear Sound, Comfortable fit

Red Flyer from Minnesota on 6/23/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I paired this with the three hundred dollar Sony Hi Res portable player and the sound was terrific. The headphones are very comfortable to wear, and provide a high-level of clarity and sound dimension. For the money, it's a great combination I would recommend to anyone who seeks the best and sound.

Pros: Sound clarity and dimension. Comfortable to wear.

Cons: None

Pure crisp high definition sound

stepcurt from winchester, va on 5/10/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The best Sonys I've ever had. No muffled sound clear highs, mids, solid bass.

Pros: light weight, comfort, high quality sound!

Cons: none

Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

General
Earcup Type Closed
Earcup Width x Height 3.27" x 3.98"
Noise-canceling No
Bluetooth No
Mic For Taking Calls Yes
iPhone Control Yes
Lightning Connector No
Android Control Yes
Frequency Response 3-100k Hz
Sensitivity 105 dB
Impedance 24 Ohms
Weight 7.94 ounces
Cord Length 49" + 49"
1/4-inch Adapter Included No
Volume Control No
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Overview: The Sony MDR-1A high-resolution, over-ear headphones feature exceptional sound quality. These ultra-comfortable headphones have soft urethane cushions that provide an acoustic seal around your ears. Silicon rings around every moving axis provides smooth and silent earcup movement. Two cables are included with the headphones, including one with an in-line remote/microphone, along with a black storage pouch with a drawstring closure.

Drivers: The MDR-1A is equipped with 40mm ALCP (Aluminum-coated Liquid Polymer) dome-type drivers that deliver a wide frequency response, ranging from sub-harmonic lows (3 Hz) to ultra-sonic highs (up to 100kHz) for natural, soothing sound reproduction.

Detachable Cables: The headphones come with two 49" detachable cables with silver-coated OFC (oxygen-free copper) conductors. OFC cable ensures maximum signal transfer with minimal degradation. These 4-conductor cables have separate ground and signal cables for each channel for enhanced separation, expanded sound, and tight bass. One cable comes with an in-line remote/microphone that is compatible with most smartphones, including iPhones, Android, and Blackberry. The other cable is strictly a stereo audio cable without a remote/microphone.

SmartKey: Designed for Sony Xperia Android smartphones, the SmartKey app, available for free download from Google Play, allows you to personalize the functions of the in-line one-button remote.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 3Hz - 100kHz
  • Impedance: 24 ohms at 1 kHz
  • Power Handling Capacity: 1500mW
  • Sensitivity: 105dB / mW
  • Weight: 7.94 ounces (w/o cable)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

past history with Sony headphones [ Marcelo  Nov 28, 2017 ]
I researched many headphones and the mdr 1a appeal to my needs, I also have the sony mdr v6 headphones that are over 25 years oil and still sound great. [ Glenn  Nov 24, 2017 ]
Great reviews and build quality. [ Brian  Aug 10, 2017 ]
the reviews [ Nick  Apr 04, 2017 ]
I have a pair which I received for a work anniversary award and they are the best headphones I have ever heard, and very comfortable. [ Timothy J.  Dec 27, 2016 ]
excellent previous experience with Sony headphones. great reviews [ Michael  Oct 31, 2016 ]
Liked the reviews I read on these headphones. [ Karl  Aug 30, 2016 ]
I enjoy Sony headphones, and these seemed like a great upgrade from what I already had. [ Andrew  Jul 08, 2016 ]
I needed a some good closed back headphones for recording in the studio. [ Mikal  May 07, 2016 ]
Sony brand name. Superior quality. [ STEVEN  Mar 22, 2016 ]
Cnet review. [ Frank  Feb 15, 2016 ]
Reviews. [ MILES  Jan 12, 2016 ]
I am a professional voice actor and cannot say enough great things about these headphones. Nothing else compares. Buying these for a gift for someone who will appreciate the outstanding quality. Also, the highest rated set of headphones by CNET in 2015. [ Laurie  Dec 17, 2015 ]
Comfort [ Randolph  Dec 12, 2015 ]

2 questions already asked

My pair came with a cable that included the microphone and one without. The one without should plug into a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. Depending on your stereo you may have the larger 1/4" headphone jack. You'll need a 3.5 to 1//4 adapter in that case, but should not cost you very much. [ Jed  Jan 03, 2018 ]
If your stereo has an aux female then a standard cable with or w/out the adapters will work fine. The smaller size, think phone, iPod, iPad etc is what the standard size is for these. Remember that most tv's do not have the proper aid built in. You need a different headphone set for that. They are a solid headphone purchase a our large family work horse. [ JOHN  Dec 31, 2017 ]
The MDR-1A comes with 2 cables, both will work on a receiver, however you may need a 3.5mm to 1/4" jack converter depending on your receiver. Consider that the cables in the box are only 1.2 meters long... just enough if you sit in front of the receiver. If you want a longer cable you may want An extension cord or to simply replace the whole cable. The plug on the headphone side is a standard mini-stereo 3.5mm, so if you have a 1/4" plug in your receiver a longer cable like this would do: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_979CMS110/Hosa-Stereo-Mini-to-1-4-Adapter-Cable-10-feet.html?tp=63670 [ Massimo  Dec 31, 2017 ]
Both cables should be compatible with any device, one of the two has a microphone that works fine with smartphones. I have tested them with 4 devices so far (iPhone6, laptop, desktop computer and a Samsung tv). Second difference is that one cable (the one with mic) has an L shape connector that I find more comfortable with portable devices that fits in the pocket. [ Massimo  Feb 11, 2017 ]
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