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Sony MDR-Z1R

Signature series over-ear headphones

1 Review

Item # 158MDRZ1R

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$2,299.99

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Overview

Our take on the Sony MDR-Z1R

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.

Exploded view of the driver

Exploded view of the MDR-Z1R's (double) 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.  

Product Highlights:

  • 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
  • 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

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
Reviews

Sony MDR-Z1R Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(1 Review)
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Details

Hands-on research

Features and Specs

General
Earcup Type Closed
Earcup Width x Height 4.334" x 4.334"
Noise-canceling No
Bluetooth No
Mic For Taking Calls No
iPhone Control No
Lightning Connector No
Android Control No
Frequency Response 4-120k Hz
Sensitivity 100 dB
Impedance 64 Ohms
Weight 14 ounces
Cord Length 10' + 53"
1/4-inch Adapter Included Yes
Volume Control No
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year

Product Research

Features

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.

Specifications:

  • 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)

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?

I have demoed these headphones and checked the reviews and decided they would be perfect for my private music and movie enjoyment. [ Robert  Jan 04, 2018 ]
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