Sony MDR-Z1R Measurements Based Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here's a foam coupler CSD measurement. The foam coupler measurement attempts to isolate the behavior of the driver by taking away some of the influence of internal cavity reflections. There is some belief on my part that our brains might be filter away some of these early reflections - that the behavior of the driver can take precedence over secondary contributions from the pads, internal materials inside the sealed volume (between driver and ear), etc.

    What I find very interest here is that the foam plate measurement is strikingly similar to the regular solid plate CSD measurement. It would appear that Sony has done a great job of addressing sonic contributions from the pads, etc.

    Sony MDR-Z1R CSD foam coupler.png

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    It's pretty impressive. Like you said, it seems that internal reflections are very well controlled, at least for midrange to treble. Considering its closed-back design, that must be a good thing (I believe such things are far less problematic in open cans).

    By the way, how about z1r's resolving power or scaling? Many owners commonly mentioned easiness to drive, but I am wondering whether it could resolve the difference among amps and/or da converters.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Scaling seems moderate going from Jotunheim to my custom 45 amp. As I mentioned, I did much prefer the Z1R from the 45 / TT setup. However, the the HD650 scales better. I'd say the Z1R scales on the level of the TH-X00. Not bad, not but spectacular like the Sennheiser headphones, which slam and resolve like crazy with TOTL amp and sources.
     
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  4. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    @Marvey, I forget, do you have a ZDS in your fleet too? And did you try the pairing? I don't know why but I always thought the Sonys wouldn't get the same benefit as other cans. Glad that was all in my head...
     
  5. TheFijianGuy

    TheFijianGuy Rando

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    Would you say that the elear is better then the z1r? Any comparisons?
     
  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I heard the Z1R briefly at a meet yesterday. I haven't read any impressions or looked at any graphs, so my opinions are fairly untainted. Listening done from a Prism Callia dac/amp.

    On build quality: Much like the Z7 that I used to have, the build quality is fantastic. Everything feels solid and premium. It's an interesting aesthetic departure from previous models, but it works. I did think the Z7 was more comfortable however, particularly at the top of the headband; the Z1R felt like it had a pressure spot right at the top of my head.

    On sound quality: Much like the Z7 that I used to have... rather disappointed. I heard the price before listening, so my expectations were somewhat high. What I heard immediately was a lot of bass bloom. Not horribad, but much more than there should have been and veering into one-note territory. I'm not sure if this is a port controlled bass resonance; I'm veering towards no (or at least not entirely so), because it feels like the thwuuump distortion extends lower than what a typical port causes and it didn't feel quite as humped. No glaring issues in the treble that immediately came to mind, but that could just be due to the seemingly large scoop out in the midrange that throws the rest of the balance off. Again far from the worst I've heard, but unexpected. There's a slight V-shape aspect to the sound as I could hear some of the top end desperately trying to escape, but for the most part it was overwhelmed by the thumps.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2017
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here is a 10kHz burst, 100 cycles. Take these results with a grain of salt. I'd like to re-run them at a later date to see if I can replicate them. I don't feel totally comfortable with these measurements yet.

    Sony MDR-Z1R 10kHz Burst Measurement vs. HD650

    z1r burst.png

    We are seeing some compression here with the Z1R on the burst. It takes up to 10-15 cycles for the Z1R to ramp up to full volume! Does this explain the restrained dynamics?
     
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  8. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Interesting results. Looking at burst results of hd800/sr207/sr007 (all somewhat different from hd650), z1r looks quite opposite.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    HD650: Very neutral
    HD800: A bit over-reacting (= overshoot)
    SR207: Overshoot then dramatic dips, needs some time to stabilize
    SR007: Less dramatic than sr207
    Z1R: No hint of overshoot, but restrained movements

    How about z1r's 100hz result? Is that similar with 10k ones?
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'll check 100Hz burst later. Until I get a workflow, these are kind of a pain to do.
     
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  10. GelockS

    GelockS Friend

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    Thanks for the measurements Marv.
    Still the best closed-back headphones I've had the pleasure to listen to. (haven't tried ZMF releases, nor new Denons and Nightowls, but I don't think they will compare...)
     
  11. Jiko

    Jiko Rando

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  12. Jiko

    Jiko Rando

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    Sorry.my Bad .Accidental void message.I just was reading this ......Drunk now as a child,who's just listening music....
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    100Hz burst as requested.
    Sony MDR-1 burst 100Hz.png

    The results are closer. One thing to keep in mind that that impacts from real life instruments, even bass drum, does include high frequency components.
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sony MDR-Z1R Frequency Response compared to Focal Elear and Sony Z7

    MDR-Z1R = Green

    Elear = Purple
    MDR-Z7 = Grey

    Sony MDR-Z1R FR compared.png

    Very similar to each other.
     
  15. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    IMHO the Z1R has too big issues for the price:
    - bass is less transparent than expected, sounds a bit overdamped and muddy in comparison with the TH900 and 007
    - there is a slight metallic (not bright, just related to harmonic content) character in the upper mids, where it also sounds a bit underdamped (ringing)
    - sound stage is smaller than expected.

    Other than that it's well balanced for a closed headphone, certainly has less issues than the TH900.
    I blame mostly the pads for the issues above: memory foam is only good for comfort, but it's detrimental to clean bass. Since memory foam is soft and shaped on thermal contact, the pads are unnecessarily high at the back. I'd use the more rigid and looser structure carbon foam for pads filling.
    Maybe one day I will buy a second-hand unit for modding, but I am not sure the Z7 wouldn't be a better+much cheaper candidate for mods.
    For now I am staying with the modded TH900 for a closed headphone.
     
  16. The Life

    The Life Almost "Made"

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    I have been a long-time lover of Foster's woodies since the Denon D5000, but the Z1R is a clear cut above even the TH900 both in terms of tonal balance and resolution.
     
  17. zolkis

    zolkis Acquaintance

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    Strong words. Technically I agree on the tonal balance, measurements are arguably better on the Z1R: better FR, worse CSD, e.g. look at the horrible 3 kHz ridge on the Z1R CSD, but I agree it doesn't disturb much, apart from some metallic coloration. But the TH900 W-shaped FR is worse, it's just sounds more colored indeed. However, it's not a clear cut better, because the Z1R issues. It's just differently flawed. That masked, muddy bass (compared to the TH900 and 007) kills the Z1R for me. I am not even sure the Z7 isn't a better choice - probably not, but for the price difference even the chance of comparison is ridiculous.

    When it comes to the perceived sound quality, I have clearly preferred my modded TH900 over the stock Z1R. They sounded more alive, cleaner, clearer, especially in the bass, and with bigger sound stage. But colored, yes, and brighter, yes (less compatible sources). However, resolution (in bass, mids and highs) was at least on par. I think at best this is a personal judgement call.

    However, I think I could make the Z1R sound better than my modded TH900, but it's a question whether will it be a clear cut better. Since my modded 007 Mk1 is a clear cut better than both (by a big margin, both in measurements and perceived sound), I have hard time justifying that, except that the TH900 is brighter and tolerates less sources. Since I use the TH900 only in the office, with a not-so-bright DAC, it's good enough.

    I have indeed hoped the Z1R was a clear cut better, and if so, I'd buy it, but it did not convince me. Eventually when second-hand price would be just over the TH900 second-hand price.

    So you are right, but IMHO in contextual, rather than absolute terms.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yeah, the Z1R is an oddball. I would agree that the Z1R is more resolving and has better frequency response than TH900. The TH900 never seemed to scale as much with uber gear - the plankton never increased correspondingly. The Z1R seemed to scale a bit more on my custom 45 amp - better micro-stuff. On the other hand, the TH900 has better clarity, bass quality, speed, and macrodynamics than the Z1R.

    LOL, I should do one of my satanic heptagon charts comparing attributes of the Z1R with TH900, Elear, Z7.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Comparison of sonic attributes of Sony MDR-Z1R against Elear (open), TH900, Z7, and TH-X00,
    Sony MDR-Z1R Sonic Attribute Comparison.png
    For entertainment purposes only.
     
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  20. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    Z7 confirmed most well rounded headphone with least amount of strengths/weaknesses.
     

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