Sony MDR-Z1R

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by mrweirdude, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Ice-man

    Ice-man Friend

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    @brencho ...my reaction to the z1r mirrored yours exactly. Great build, great looks, but the sound was a fail for me. Once plugged in, they did just absolutely nothing to excite me, or connect me to the music. I'm sure that Bill-P can make them sound much better, but damn Sony WTF?
     
  2. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Exactly the same for me as well.
     
  3. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Hahaha, sorry, I'm just a madman. I'm not god. :p

    Being that this is a loaner pair, I won't do anything to it at all that would "compromise" the experience of the next person in the queue. It's a principle thing.

    But beyond that, I think... it'll be quite hard to "fix" Z1R without incurring something weird/bad to happen along the way, due to how it's tuned. Thinking back on it, perhaps the tuning is as intentional as can be, and perhaps Sony wanted it to sound exactly this way. In which case, I would say it's either that you love it, or you hate it.

    Certainly, I can see why someone will love it. It's a fairly efficient headphone that plays decently loud and reasonably well out of a phone (funny enough, we had to max out the volume on the ZX2, hm...), and out of most other sources. It's insanely luxurious. Like... I thought Z7 was luxurious but Z1R is on a whole other level. It's like lounging back and sinking into a high-class sofa, sipping your favorite beverage while enjoying the music, and in @brencho's words, which I'll echo again: "it's just so fucking comfortable!" It sets a whole new standard for headphone comfort! And last but not least, the sound doesn't do anything offensive.

    Judging it from that angle, then yeah, I guess I can "somewhat" justify its price point. But personally, I still put sound quality ahead of everything else, and Z1R just has a sound that I don't think is quite competitive with other options around the same price point. Or more like, I can find other options at lower prices that fit my taste better. And that's the chink in the armor.

    If Sony could just make the bass a little "faster-sounding" while keeping the same impact, I think they would have been able to convince me to get a Z1R for myself, because again, I think it sets a new standard for headphone comfort. Designers of high-end headphones should definitely take a look at what Sony has done with the Z1R and try to figure out where they can improve their products. Even the Sennheiser HE1 didn't feel as comfortable as Z1R for me.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    In hindsight, a modded Z7 might be better.
     
  5. bazelio

    bazelio Friend

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    Sounds like @beowulf 's avatar is far more interesting than the Z1R, and that I made the right decision to pass on the loaner tour.
     
  6. beowulf

    beowulf Guest

    :) It's actually entertaining to accompany the flow of the Z1R here vs HF. The opinions vary so much it seems like it's a totally different headphone. Mostly negative here, mostly positive there.

    Different tools for different ears, I guess. To me it is still the best closed can, or, more accurately, easily on the top 3, that's definitely the right comment since I have more models to hear.

    I can see why some people find the bass slower and perhaps even slightly woolly, but it does so many things well that with time (had it for six months now) I ended up liking it more and more. It's good fun and definitely sounds very different if I jump to it right after the HD800 or Andromeda, but not different in a bad way, IMO.

    The test of time will be revisiting this thread in 10 years or so, assuming we're all in good health and doing well, seeing how the Z1R managed to survive in reputation. My bet is that it will be very positive. Maybe not R10-aura-like, but quite good, especially if Sony discontinues it quickly (which would not be a surprise)

    While the sound is subjective, the build and comfort are not. Also agree there, to my surprise they turned out to be some of the most comfy cans I have ever used, perhaps the most comfy if one excludes the usual warm-up that comes from leather pads. Design is so minimalist, yet efficient.
    Sound is perhaps the most important, but not always. You can have the best sounding headphones in the world, but if they're not comfy, you won't enjoy yourself as much, in fact, it ruins the experience for me regardless of sound.
     
  7. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    even the Utopia has divisive comments..and that is fine, depending on one's listening skill levels,
    let alone pref'd sound sig.
    now let's hope Sony follows up with some TOTL iems, too...their new signature line includes
    cans, DAP, and an amp...all that is missing are some replacement ex800/1000st / /mdr 7550 iems
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    A few reasons why SBAF differs from HF in terms of the Z1R:
    1. SBAF members will have an narrower range of irregularities in frequency response and distortion that they will accept for a $2200 headphone.
    2. Soft and slow tends to be generally disliked by members the SBAF community.
    3. SBAF members will take into consideration objective measurements, if not keep their own subjective observations honest. At times, those who understand the measurements may use them to identify showstopper issues and elect to drop out from the loaner programs.
    4. Gear is always assessed relative to other similar gear. The Z1R might been received more positively had the Atticus or Eikon not come to market.
    5. Even generally well regarded headphones such the HD800, HEK, Utopia are not universally praised.
    6. SBAF isn't HF.
    No.

    The Z1R will be largely forgotten in 10 years, like the Sony PHA-1 or PHA-2, or at most thought of like the AT-W5000, except way overpriced. Given the number of private conversations I've had with people about the Z1R, I think I would have a pretty good pulse of the how most of the respected members feel about it. I do know a few people who really love the sound of this headphone though.
     
  9. Comzee

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    Only thing worse than the Z1R is the TA-ZH1ES amp they released with it.
    Swinnng... and a miss.
     
  10. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Horsenuggets, I'd take a stock Z7 over the Z1R...
     
  11. The Life

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    The Z1R appears to be an HP that people either love or are nonplused by. For those like me who find the sound beautifully captivating, it is hard to describe or explain what we love about it to those who aren't enchanted by the sound in the same way.

    Having compared the Z1R to the rest of the high-end closed backs at Canjam NYC (Atticus, Zaikon, LCDX, Ether flow C), I found all of them to have things that they did sonically better than the Z1R, but none of them came close to eliciting the same emotions from me that the Z1R manages to pull out of me as soon as the music starts playing. I can't explain it or quantify it, but I know it when I hear it.
     
  12. chopstix

    chopstix Canali at HF (keeping him close)

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    The Z1R appears to be an HP that people either love or are nonplused by. For those like me who find the sound beautifully captivating, it is hard to describe or explain what we love about it to those who aren't enchanted by the sound in the same way.

    Having compared the Z1R to the rest of the high-end closed backs at Canjam NYC (Atticus, Zaikon, LCDX, Ether flow C), I found all of them to have things that they did sonically better than the Z1R, but none of them came close to eliciting the same emotions from me that the Z1R manages to pull out of me as soon as the music starts playing. I can't explain it or quantify it, but I know it when I hear it.



    I have read that from more than one poster and online mag reviews, too
    ...while it's perhaps not as accurate in sound sig as the more $$ utopia, for example,
    it nonetheless brings a real enjoyment to the music.
    in the end, measurements only take me so far, as it's my own ears and sound sig listening prefs that will
    make me pull the trigger. and for $2300...ouch...that price is a tough one to swallow.
    just wonder how iems and cans will continue to be priced in the next few yrs.

    as an aside, I wonder if Senn will come out with a TOTL sets of cans
    to compete is the $2-$4k price point...there is obviously a growing market for TOTL cans after all,
    more so now than even a few yrs ago.
    (hek v2, lcd 4, utopia, sony z1r)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  13. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    I'd argue that the "TOTL" and "$$$" are getting mixed up far too often these days. One does not have to sell a $2-4K (or more) headphone to have an amazing product. And to be clear, Senn does have a "TOTL" product, it just happens to not cost that much (although the HD800S is within spitting distance at $1.7K). Actually, many here would argue that their TOTL can costs much less, it just takes a bit of modification to reach it's peak performance. Now will Senn sell one at that price-point just because they can? That's a different question. Heck, they're selling one for much, much, much more. Cheers
     
  14. pippenainteasy

    pippenainteasy Acquaintance

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    Good point, as I recall the Innerfidelity 2015 Big Sound Headphone shootout, the modded HD800 beat out the Stax SR-009, SR-007, HE1000, and JPS Abyss among the panelists. The idea that Sennheiser doesn't already have a TOTL headphone is wrong, although that doesn't mean there aren't thing's they can't do to improve it.

    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/big-sound-2015-finale-headphones#MOuD6vPBOTwPUPgl.97
     
  15. willc

    willc Friend

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    Comparison to Atticus
    20170330_105353.jpg
     
  16. Blixy

    Blixy Rando

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    The TH-ZH1ES is a fail ? The stock Z7 is better than a Z1R ? I thought that SBAF would be a respite from Head-Fi, but looks like I was wrong.
     
  17. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Well you are welcome to head straight back there :)

    I recommend the Utopia thread with its useful section on silver-gold cables. The more expensive the cable the more cooking/burn in it needs. I recommend 172.34 hours for best performance.

    On a more serious note it's time to remove the pricing anchor from your head. A $400 hp can definitely sound better than a $2200 hp once you look past the marketing BS , fancy box and premium materials.
     
  18. BenjaminBore

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    I would suggest you take the time to understand why. Just because something is expensive doesn't mean that it won't have any glaring flaws, in fact with headphones that is basically expected. Sometimes some things just aren't worth the money, despite the marketing (and in all seriousness HF demonstrates repeatedly that it's primary focus is as an advertising platform). Quite often it's the tonality that let's a headphone down. For example I love the Fostex TH900, when EQ'd to correct the frequency response. It's 5 times the price of the Sennheiser HD650. But if I didn't EQ, like most people, I would take the HD650 in a heartbeat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    @Armaegis's statement "Horsenuggets, I'd take a stock Z7 over the Z1R..." was made in jest, in response to my assertion "In hindsight, a modded Z7 might be better", which was half serious.

    SBAF is kind of a close community "where everybody knows your name" like that sitcom from the 80s, so it's easy for folks who just walk in to "not get it" immediately. Every tenth post will have references that only insiders will understand.

    In regards to the TA-ZH1ES, there is no "SBAF consensus" (as there never truly is much here - voting for the Golden Schlong Awards was hardly unanimous). In this situation, one particular person heard the TA-ZH1ES and wasn't impressed. Although you may hold the TA-ZH1ES in high esteem and close to your heart, you shouldn't be bothered about what one person said about it (or even what ten persons might say).

    For the price of the TA-ZH1ES, which pushes over $2k, most people here would rather buy amps that have been more established for close to the same price point: iCan, Phonitor, EC, DNA, ECP, etc. Sony tends to make stuff that is way overpriced, something that even the most ardent fanboys here will acknowledge. There are a lot of Sony fanboys here, including those of us who grew up with the cassette Walkmans, who really want to see Sony do well; but we like to keep it real.

    If you want people to agree with you and give you a pat on the back and exchange mutual adulation for your Z1R / TA-ZH1ES purchase, best to head back to HF and create an appreciation thread. Heck, you could create an appreciation thread here too. (I created one for the HD650 over two years ago, espousing its performance, longevity, and price.) Just don't be surprised if someone takes a huge shit in your appreciation thread if you fail to be persuasive.

    Stomping your feet and proclaiming your outrage: "I thought that SBAF would be a respite from Head-Fi, but looks like I was wrong." is hardly persuasive.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I thought the phrase "horsenuggets" would have given that away o_O

    Though really... I don't think the Z1R is a particularly good step up (if at all) from the Z7. You get murk on one and dank on the other. We had a store rep bring one to our local meet and literally everybody just had a wtf reaction to the Z1R and a lot of sticker shock when hearing the price (it's $3k up in Canada).
     

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