Captivating clarity


By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation

Sony’s signature series MDRZ1R headphones take listening pleasure to another level

Promising to deliver “every note and every nuance”, Sony’s MDRZ1R headphones are one part of the Japanese manufacturer’s latest Signature Series, which Sony says, transcend the limits of high resolution sound. The three other signature products are the TAZH1ES headphone amplifier and two Walkman players – the NWWM1Z and the NWWM1A.

I got to try the Z1R with the Walkman WM1Z and the amp and I can confirm that the sounds are very impressive, with true-to-life details of all musical instruments as well as a deep and solid bass and exquisite vocals.

Sony says its engineers have accumulated all their experience from the invention of the iconic Walkman in 1979 through to its championing of High-Resolution Audio as the new standard in sound quality in 2003 to achieve the Signature Series. It adds, again proudly says the Signature Series is the latest innovation to break new ground within the high-end audio landscape, with the fine-tuning and precision of the products optimised by its leading sound engineers.

All promo hype aside, the Z1R headphones really do sound really great thanks to their large 70mm dome type drivers. Normally, a headphone driver measures about 40mm. The newly developed diaphragm with Magnesium dome and Liquid Crystal Polymer edge enables up to 120kHz playback in High Resolution Audio and bass are as deep as 4Hz. The result is unparalleled sound purity and precision.

 The ergonomic sheep-skin ear pads are designed to comfortably encase your head in sound, preventing any from leaking in or out and effectively reproducing powerful bass. Moreover, the Z1R uses a special acoustic filter that controls the air resistance and eliminates any reverberations produced by driver movement, giving you only cleanest, crispest sounds.

The titanium and leather headband is flexible, light and durable. The titanium has high elasticity, meaning that it returns to its original shape even when bent. During the test, I listened to music for hours without suffering any discomfort.

Instead of using one-end audio cable plugin, the Z1R has two separate left and right audio inplugs for better sound quality. And the package comes with a newly developed 4.4mm balanced connection cable that separates left and right sound signals while minimising signal transmission loss. The balanced cable jack can plug into the WM1Z Walkman and ZH1ES headphone amplifier. A 3.5mm audio cable is also provided for connecting to players or smartphones that have a standard 3.5mm stereo jack.

Both 4.4mm balanced and 3.5mm cables are silver-coated oxygen-free copper cables, which are designed to minimise resistance and signal transmission loss. This results in less sound degradation, finer detail and smoother treble.

The package comes with hard case for storing the headphones and with separate compartments for cables.

During the test with WM1Z directly and with the sounds amplified by ZH1ES headphone amp, the headphones reproduced faithful sound quality. The bass sounds were very deep and powerful and the musical instruments sounded authentic.

When I listened to Eliane Elias’ “That Old Feeling”, I fell in love all over again with her beautiful voice and the iconic trumpet solos of Chet Baker. And even though both of these were outstanding, they didn’t detract from the bass, percussion and guitar in the background. The test file was encoded in FLAC 96kHz/24bit format, which is a step below than the full Hi-Res Audio format of FLAC 192kHz/24bit.

When I listened to The Eagles’ “Hotel California”, which was encoded in FLAC 192kHz/24bit, all the instrument details could be heard.

I also listened to Metallica’s “The Unforgiven” in FLAC 96kHz/24 bit format and the bass drum sounded solid while the lead guitar was outstanding and even the cymbals were pleasing.

Sony MDRZ1R has a suggested retail price of Bt69,990.

Key Specs

– Driver Unit: 70 mm, dome type (CCAW Voice Coil)

– Magnet: Neodymium

– Dynamic Type: Closed, dynamic (circumaural)

– Impedance: 64 ohms

– Frequency Response: 4 Hz  120,000 Hz

– Sensitivities: 100 dB/mW

– Weight: 385g without cable

– What’s In the Box: Uni-match Plug Adaptor (Goldplated); Headphone cable (approx. 3.0m, silver-coated OFC strands, Gold-plated stereo mini plug); Balanced-connection headphone cable (approx. 1.2 m, silvercoated OFC strands, Lshaped goldplated balanced standard plug); Hard Case


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