Sony MDR-1A Headphone Review

What are a Sony MDR-1A?

The Sony MDR-1A are a updated chronicle of a MDR-1R we reviewed a integrate of years ago. They’re over-ear, full-size headphones with some-more than a spirit of worldly Sony design.

While claims they’re done for Hi-Res Audio are potentially dubious – these are fun, rather than totally accurate, headphones – they offer top-notch comfort and rarely beguiling sound. And given they’re accessible for a identical cost as a Beats Solo 2 during £160-170, they’re good value too.

However, if we don’t caring too many a Sony character or a super-soft fit, a Audio-Technica ATH-50X still trump them in some respects for reduction money.

SEE ALSO: Best Headphones Round-up

Sony MDR-1A – Design and Comfort

Sony produces bucketfuls of headphones, and a Sony MDR-1A are among a many stylish. Full-size headphones can mostly come opposite as too large, comically so in some cases, yet a comparatively slimline form of this span and a really counsel styling meant it pulls off a design.

They are also age-agnostic. Style headphones mostly askance towards a younger crowd, yet a Sony MDR-1A are low-key adequate to equivocate such associations, generally in their china and brownish-red version, that we’re looking during here.

While a outdoor pattern hasn’t altered many in a dual years given we reviewed a Sony MDR-1R, there was no reason for it to. For those after a rather some-more assertive look, a black chronicle with red trim is stylistically a bit closer to a demeanour we get with sets like a Beats Studio.

The worldly demeanour has a lot to do with convincing we a Sony MDR-1A are high-end too, given a materials used are mostly endangered with gripping a headset light. The outdoor tools of a cups are lonesome with expel aluminium, as a tools you’re expected to hold many often, yet a rest of a set’s clearly lead outdoor tools are plastic.

In a examination set there was a little bit of creakiness when stretching and rambling a arms, yet a span had already been put by a wringer by a prior wearer. You don’t get a all-out oppulance feel of, say, a Bowers Wilkins P7 here, yet it usually becomes apparent when we get your hands concerned — they are positively eye-pleasers.

The light construction also helps make a Sony MDR-1A among a really many gentle headphones in this class: they are intensely comfortable.

Very soothing protein (ie synthetic) leather pads vast adequate to ring many ears and a sincerely low-tension wipe make a Sony MDR-1A fit utterly sumptuous. These are headphones we can wear for an 8-hour widen yet feeling any discomfort. In a trade-off, they are not ideal for exercise.

While they should stay in place for joggers, we usually don’t consider the
headband has utterly adequate tragedy to keep them in place during vigorous

The Sony MDR-1A are not a many unstable set in their class, though. While a ear cups pivot by 90 degrees to make a headphones ‘flat’, a cups do not overlay central (into a headband) to save space. There’s also no box supplied.

The wire is removable, however. It snakes out of a left ear crater and uses a common 3.5mm jack rather than something proprietary. The bundled wire is a classical 1.2m unstable length, and doesn’t offer any kind of remote or handsfree housing.

These are pure, plain headphones – no wireless, no sound cancelling, no extras. However, there are some some-more advanced, and expensive, models in a array too. The MDR-1ADAC have an inbuilt DAC to let we get a digital feed from a mechanism or USB audio-enabled phone (like an iPhone 6), and a MDR-1ABT offer Bluetooth.

No adorned facilities here, then, yet a Sony MDR-1A wire is flattering thick – some-more so than smaller unstable headphones. Sony also says a lead is balanced, giving any channel a possess ‘sub’ wire and belligerent cable.

Sony MDR-1A – Sound Quality

Sony talks flattering quietly about a MDR-1A sound, positioning it as a good element for Hi-Res Audio – digital audio rendered during a peculiarity aloft than that supposing by good aged CDs.

However, we consider that’s rather off a mark. These are great-sounding headphones, yet not indispensably ideally matched to a kind of anal listening that Hi-Res Audio would benefit. Of course, Hi-Res Audio is fast devolving into a selling exercise, yet that’s an emanate for another time.

The Sony MDR-1A are headphones that marry an overemphasised drum with differently polished sound. There is some inflection to a bottom-end that stops it from sounding wholly balanced. It is utterly apparently ‘larger’ than intended, generally when doling out dance beats.

This kind of drum importance is of march a normal among character headphones, yet is a pointer that a ‘Hi-Res’ tab is there for a many partial given these are presumably ‘high-end’ headphones and that Hi-Res Audio is a stream buzzword in hi-fi. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x offer larger drum control and a ‘higher-resolution’ sound for rather reduction money, for example.

However, Sony has clearly done some improvements in a dual years given a aged MDR-1R.

Two years ago we complained of too-easy-going treble, yet a MDR-1A yield minute yet well-spoken three-way that offers copiousness of higher-frequency information while adhering within a harshness-fee signature. Once again, though, if we like your three-way with a bit of punch a Audio-Technica ATH-M50X offer some-more of it, as good as rather higher three-way detail.

Are we perplexing to indicate we towards a ATH-M50X instead of this pair? To an extent, yes. They offer a rather higher-fidelity sound during a reduce price.

The Sony MDR-1A have one critical win, though. They offer a far-reaching and expanded soundstage that is not usually involving and, well, big-sounding, it also helps to stop a corpulent drum from sounding like it’s drowning all else.

The tinge of a mid-range is good too. They are pretty-sounding headphones that are means to make voices – both a oral and sung aristocrat – sound natural.

As prolonged as you’re not after lean, accurate drum we consider many people will penetrate into a Sony MDR-1A really happily. In balancing a warm, sincerely easy sound with a good mid-range tinge and sophisticated-sounding treble, it offers sound that reflects a characteristics of a set’s demeanour and ear-hugging comfort.

Should we buy a Sony MDR-1A?The Sony MDR-1A are really beguiling headphones from a series of perspectives. Good-looking, intensely gentle and a cost that’s a good £100 reduction than a over-ear foe from names like Beats and Bowers Wilkins, they are easy to recommend.

If you’re lured-in by a guarantee of high-resolution sound, we suggest deliberation a Audio Technica ATH-M50X instead. They offer improved drum control and larger three-way definition.

The ear candy cause is a possess lure, though, and a smooth, expansive-sounding Sony MDR-1A are a good choice if delight is a larger regard than pristine accuracy.

SEE ALSO: Best USB Headphone Amps Round-up


Sony’s magnificently gentle headphones offer improved value than many conform pairs.

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