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Sony MDR-Z7 Hi-res

Over-the-ear headphones

14 Reviews | 4 questions - 6 answers

Overview

Our take on the Sony MDR-Z7 Hi-res

I had a good feeling about the Sony MDR-Z7 headphones from the moment I unboxed a sample pair at my desk. They're impeccably built with the all-metal design interrupted only by soft leather on the earpads and headband. Listening to these headphones confirmed my suspicions. They offer an extraordinary amount of detail, excellent instrument separation, and an appealingly smooth finish in the high frequencies. They also go plenty low enough to cover the depths of the bass register. Music sounds big and punchy with the 'Z7 headphones, especially with a good source like Sony's Hi-Res Walkman. That's a killer combo for outstanding sound on the go.

Living up to high expectations

I had a good feeling about the Sony MDR-Z7 headphones from the moment I unboxed a sample pair at my desk. They're impeccably built with the all-metal design interrupted only by soft leather on the earpads and headband. Listening to these headphones confirmed my suspicions. They offer an extraordinary amount of detail, excellent instrument separation, and an appealingly smooth finish in the high frequencies. They also go plenty low enough to cover the depths of the bass register. Music sounds big and punchy with the 'Z7 headphones, especially with a good source like Sony's Hi-Res Walkman. That's a killer combo for outstanding sound on the go.

Sony MDR-Z7 hi-res headphones

The MDR-Z7 headphones offer up lots of detail — great for enjoying high-resolution music with your computer.

Exquisite detail, accuracy, and smoothness

The design of the MDR-Z7 headphones is all about high-performance sound. The key to their level of detail and spaciousness is the 70mm drivers — they're 40 percent larger than the drivers found in most over-the-ear headphones. The 'Z7's large drivers help reduce reflections and uneven dispersion that can occur within the earcups. The result is sound that's tighter and more accurate when it hits your ears. And the earcups are made of aluminum to limit resonance within the chamber, to keep your music sounding clean and natural. Each earcup features a small acoustic port near the bottom. This helps control airflow for more accuracy in the lowest frequencies. The bass is consistently bold and tight without ever being boomy.

Like a glove

I expected great sound from the MDR-Z7 headphones. What I didn't expect was for them to be so incredibly comfortable. They're rather lightweight for an over-the-ear design, and the leather on the earpads and headband is flat-out luxurious. That's important because you're going to want to listen to these headphones for a long time once you get a taste of their sweet sound.

Balanced and unbalanced cables

There are two detachable cables included with the Sony MDR-Z7s. There's one with a single miniplug connector for portable devices (a 1/4" adapter is included for home stereos). The second is a balanced cable with separate miniplug connectors for the left and right channels — it's tailor-made for Sony's PHA-3 DAC/amplifier. Both cables attach to the left and right earcups with clever screw-on connectors to ensure they only disconnect if you want them to.

Product Highlights:

  • over-the-ear, closed design
  • extra-large 70mm drivers offer exquisite detail and accuracy
  • acoustic ports on each earcup control airflow for deep, accurate bass response
  • includes two detachable cables:
    • 118-inch miniplug cable
    • 79-inch balanced dual-miniplug cable for connection to a compatible source or headphone amp
  • includes 1/4" plug adapter for home stereos
  • soft, thick leather earpads offer supreme comfort
  • aluminum earcups offer clear, accurate sound
  • all-metal frame and hinges offer durability
  • frequency response: 5-100,000 Hz
  • sensitivity: 102 dB
  • impedance: 70 ohms
  • weight: 11.8 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • MDR-Z7 over-the-ear headphones
  • 10' Stereo cable (3.5mm plug)
  • 81" Balanced audio cable (dual 3.5mm plugs)
  • 3.5mm-to-1/4" Adapter
  • Operating Instructions
  • Warranty sheet (US)

Money well invested, clear powerful sound

Armando, Homestead, FL

Reviews

Sony MDR-Z7 Hi-res Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(14 Reviews)

High-Quality Headphones

Steve from Birmingham, AL on 1/20/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm very impressed and happy with the MDR-Z7 headphones. I hear a lot of detail in the music; I listen to jazz (Corea, Metheny, e.s.t., Weather Report, etc.) as well as the classic rock of my youth (Yes, Pink Floyd, Clapton, etc.). The MDR-Z7s do well with my A & K player and even my iPad Pro, but they really shine when plugged into an amplifier. If I had a complaint, it would be that, as a closed-back headphone, I would hope for more isolation. I didn't expect noise cancellation as you would with Sony's headphone made specifically for that purpose. I can still hear some external noise during quieter passages of music, so the MDR-Z7s do not isolate you from the world. So, if you were planning on carrying these with you on an airplane, be aware that noises will seep through. The stock cable is too long for my purposes; I just don't need 10 feet of cable, so it would have been nice if Sony had included a shorter one. I'll probably end up buying an aftermarket cable such as the one Sony offers. That's not unique to Sony, I've had to purchase shorter cables for other headphones I own. To sum up, these are great headphones, and overall, I'm very pleased with them.

Pros:

Cons:

Sony MDR-Z7 Hi-res

Anonymous from Haines City, FL on 12/21/2017

Bought these to go with my Peachtree Nova 300. When giving these headphones the full Nova treatment these headphones hang with it and never seem to distort. I gave it 4 stars, would be 4.5, because the bass that I want does not show up until I have blast mode on the volume and I'm not a big bass guy. At that point the bass is very good and you can actually feel the headphones bumping against your ears. The highs are very good at all volumes... clear and pristine. They are definitely audiophile headphones because you can hear every sound in that recording session.

Pros:

Cons:

Amazing realism

jimifreak69 from Tamaqua, PA on 8/6/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My mdr-v6 studio monitor phones that I got for a $100 in the mid 80s finally started to reveal the abuse that they had been taken from 30 years of tough love. Dropped, stepped on, sat on, cord yanked you name it they endured it and still kept soundin great. I decided to upgrade and stuck with Sony and am glad I did cause even though I think these z7s are still being burned in and seem to be opening up as they get more hours they are very transparent, spacious and detailed and expose sounds my old cans couldn't. Youtube or Spotify and a good DAC and your skull is in heaven. I'm finding that playing Diga Rhythm Band through them seems to open them up faster for some reason could be the tight popping of the different frequencies.

Pros: Evenly balanced and true sounding with greater depth. Very comfortable.

Cons: Pricey but you get over it relatively fast

Sony MDR-Z7 Hi-res

Mark from Alexandria Bay, NY on 4/27/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

These work well with my PHA-3 and a phone or hi res walkman. They have separate right and left inputs to connect to the balanced right/left outputs on my headphone amp. The sound is clear and natural with lots of deep bass that is not overpowering, smooth clear mids and crisp natural highs. They seem slightly clearer than my PSB M4-U2 headphones which I was very happy with and I hear some things that I haven't before particularly in the midrange.. They have a rounder ear cup and very comfortable head band for extended listening sessions. They don't have a built in amp or noise cancellation which you don't need with the headphone amp.

Pros: powerful natural sounding drivers with wide frequency response. Separate right and left inputs. Large ear cups and comfortable headband. Light weight.

Cons: None

Besides amazing sound, a clever and confortable design

Armando from Homestead, FL on 2/20/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Money well invested, clear powerful sound

Pros: Everything you expect from Sony, when you pay the first thing in your mind is am I spending to much in a headphone, but when you are listening your music, movies or just tv, you will think, why I did not buy them earlier

Cons: I have found nothing ,

The Industry needs to catch up

Josh from Pocatello, ID on 2/3/2017

Combined with the Sony PHA-3 DAC these headphones sound amazing. The only drawback I've found was that there just isn't enough Hi-Res content yet. It's like owning a 4K TV with only a set of bunny ears to watch TV with....

Pros: Lots of range in frequency Very responsive Clean and crisp sound Can accommodate higher Bitrate music

Cons: Bulky Not enough content out yet to really get full use of their ability to respond to DSD format music

Sony MDR-Z7 Hi-res

Anonymous from Michigan on 2/2/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I really liked the sound of these headphones. As closed, around the ear headphones, they were too warm for me. Compared to the Grado Rs2e headphones, the sound seemed more closed in and less bright. However, I like brighter headphones.

Pros:

Cons:

Perfect bass and mids

Jerzy from Wanaque, NJ on 11/18/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have Sen. HD650, they sound just good not enough bass. I try Focal Elear- too much bass. Sony MDR Z7 finally right amount of bass. Mids are perfect. May be just a little (not much) too much treble, but for rock music is what you want. You do not need headphone amp they sound amazing plugged directly to receiver.

Pros: Bass and mids - perfect Treble - very good for rock music

Cons:

Frequency Issue

Smoothwater from Mission, Ks on 5/3/2016

These are supposed to be 3-100,000 hz. The MDR-1's are half the price yet 3-100,000 hz

Pros:

Cons:

1

willjr from Catonsville, MD on 4/27/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

fantastic

Pros: sounds great

Cons: none

AWESOME AND NEAR PERFECT

Daryl from monsey, NY on 2/2/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Spectacular set of Sonys here I absolutely adore them. Bass and highs and midrange just perfect for my taste. I own a pair of Sennheisers hd 800s and these are really close in sound quality. I cant say a negative thing about them. They are superb in build and light weight enough for easy listening for hours. The Sennheisers have a better overall COMPLETE sound yet these are truly a close second in my humble ear enclosed book. I now own 6 pairs of headphones and I seem to be reaching for these more often than not. BRILLIANT and crystal clear. I dont find the bass or treble to be in any kind of competition which is generally the case with so many brands of cans these days but try these...you WILL like them. I LOVE THEM. Case closed.

Pros: THE SOUND!! LIGHTWEIGHT and all enclosing. LOVED THEM right out of the box brand new.

Cons: If I must....build quality could be a notch higher. But then the price would go up...a lot. As Billy Joel once said....I love you just the way you are....

Fantastic. Buy if You're a Critical Listener

Ajtrek from Missouri on 1/13/2016

The Sony MDR-Z7's are fantastic. However, at over $500 they aren't for the casual listener. Any over -the-ear CAN will make your music appear to sound better because the sound is more immediate versus a loudspeaker. The MDR Z7's deliver an improved sound stage where more of the sonic information is heard versus run-of-the-mill CANs. They're also Hi-Resolution (Hi-Res) - frequency response of 5Hz to 100,000Hz. Hi-Res files are those beyond CD quality. It's argued if humans can hear below 20Hz or above 20,000Hz. Studies show we can detect sounds below 20HZ, if only as a vibration. Sonic information above 20,000Hz is believed to provide more openness to the sound stage. To enjoy the MDR-Z7's it takes about 100hrs of play for the drivers to settle-in. Sound a bit harsh straight out of the box. Some audiophiles have purchased Mod-Kits to improve the sonic resonance. IMO a Mod-Kit isn't necessary. You don't have to listen to the MDR Z7's for 100hrs. In between sessions connect them to a player, set the volume slightly below your listening level (to compensate for tracks with extremely loud passages), set the playback mode to random and walk away. Don't set the volume-limiter as you want the ups and downs to ensure an optimum workout for the drivers. The MDR Z7's work best with a headphone DAC. Most sources can't drive these CANs to full potential. Setup: Source to DAC, DAC to MDR-Z7's. As a critical listener the Sony MDR-Z7's should be on your short list.

Pros: Well Built. Very comfortable. Great sound stage. Two cables: Standard single line input and a second balanced line input with separate left & right connections. Makes well mastered recordings and Hi-Res material sound great and average recordings sound better. Coolness is subjective, so 5 Stars. 5 stars for Noise Reduction because IMO they are no worse than any other "Closed Back" headphone that I've auditioned. They're not meant to be Noise Cancelling like a Bose Quiet Comfort Series.

Cons: Really not a "Con" but as they are very revealing poorly mastered material may sound worse than with average CAN's so be forewarned. Expensive but no more than any other set of CANs in the same category.

Awesome

Matt W from Massachusetts on 5/30/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I'm love these. The sound is really spectacular. I paired them with Sony's headphone amp, which is pretty much the only thing I use to power them, but I tried with just the amp in my MacBook, and they still sounded pretty solid. Spacious, smooth, and detailed sounding. If you're expecting to have your ears rattled off from bass because of the large drivers, you will be disappointed. It's all very well balanced. I can listen for hours, even and fairly high volumes, and never get fatigued. The most comfortable headphones I've ever owned, by far. Build quality is top notch. Replaceable cables, and they include balanced (with the Sony amp at least) and unbalanced cables. For the price, a great option.

Pros: Pretty much everything.

Cons: Price isn't unreasonable, but still, not free either.

Superb!

Paul from Lawton, OK on 3/13/2015

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After my daughter was born, I couldn't play my home stereo as loud as I preferred. The MDR-Z7 is proved a stunning solution. The headphones imaging is amazing, with instruments locations being perceived in space above and beyond the confines of the phones. I play all my music through the PHA-3 with balanced cables, and I'm hearing the subtle aspects of my songs. With high res track, the timbre of the cymbal and the rustle of the snare drum are heard. It's just awesome. I sit for an hr or more each night just listening. I'm loving Tidal's streaming CD-quality audio. Just got my Kimber Cable balanced wires last night - living the dream. Highly recommend.

Pros: Detail. Bass is solid. Highs clear. Mids are slightly subtle, but the PHA-3 provides for great stereo separation.

Cons: A tad heavy, but they are built rock-solid, so feels lighter that you'd expect from this quality.

Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

General
Earcup Type Closed
Earcup Width x Height 3.938" x 3.938"
Noise-canceling No
Bluetooth No
Mic For Taking Calls No
iPhone Control No
Lightning Connector No
Android Control No
Frequency Response 5-100k Hz
Sensitivity 102 dB
Impedance 70 Ohms
Weight 11.8 ounces
Cord Length 120" + 81"
1/4-inch Adapter Included Yes
Volume Control No
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

Overview: The Sony MDR-Z7 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. With silicon rings around every moving axis, you'll get smooth and silent earcup movement in all directions. Two cables are included with the headphones, along with a padded storage box.

Drivers: The MDR-Z7 is equipped with 70mm ALCP (Aluminum-coated Liquid Polymer) dome-type drivers that deliver a wide frequency response, ranging from sub-harmonic lows (4 Hz) to ultra-sonic highs (up to 100kHz) for natural, soothing sound reproduction.

Detachable Cables: The headphones come with two detachable cables with OFC (oxygen-free copper) conductors. At the headphones, the cables have 3.5mm plugs with screw-on collars to ensure they stay plugged in. The 10-foot stereo cable has a single 3.5mm plug with a narrow collar that works with most smartphone cases. A 3.5mm-to-1/4" adapter is provided for those times when you want to listen to your home audio components or use a headphone amplifier. For the ultimate headphone experience, the included 6.5-foot balanced audio cable with dual 3.5mm plugs is compatible with amplifiers that have balanced audio outputs, such as the Sony PHA-3.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 4Hz - 100kHz
  • Impedance: 70 ohms at 1 kHz
  • Power Handling Capacity: 2000mW
  • Sensitivity: 102dB / mW
  • Weight: 11.8 ounces (w/o cable)

Our Product Research Team

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

70mm drivers and amazing freq response range. [ PAUL  Jun 25, 2016 ]
reserch [ William  Apr 01, 2016 ]

4 questions already asked

They are, yes. [ Ryan  Aug 28, 2017 ]  Staff
They would go well with metal and hard rock. For the money good cans. But if you want to really rattle your skull and don't have to have closed cans look at the Hifiman HE 560. [ michael  Mar 01, 2016 ]
the highs are pretty good and clean but not a lot of bass when put it on a headphone amp and up the gain [ Roger  Mar 01, 2016 ]
Peter. I love them. I have 6 hi end pairs and these are excellent phones. I use these constantly. They blew me away. Cant go wrong here. [ DARYL K  Mar 01, 2016 ]
Unfortunately, the best I can do is what I have assumed to be the case, that like speakers the rating is per channel. The headphones work fine with the headphone amp in my Rotel pre-amplifier. [ Paul  Aug 05, 2015 ]
I am very sure it's per channel. You can download the manual and get the official specs there. [ PAUL  Aug 05, 2015 ]
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