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Sony MDR-1A Headphones Review
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Sony MDR-1A Headphones Review

by 2015/03/19
Positives

Stylish.
Portable.
High-Res Audio.

Negatives

Cable short
Need a big head.

Rating
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Sound Quality
95%
80%
Appearance
88%
84%
Worth it?
85%
96%
Ease of Use
89%
86%
Features
70%
76%
Bottom Line

Others are fascinated by the premium look and have a hard time choosing the colours available which are black and silver. Everybody loves these headphones, the price is reasonable, they are stylish, portable and the sound is superb.

85%
Our Rating
84%
User Rating
29 ratings
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The Sony MDR-1A was released in September 2014 for £169 on the official Sony website. Intended for providing high-resolution audio these are consumer friendly studio headphones to keep the music being listened to as authentic as possible. Other competing headphones in the market usually go for added effects to boost the sound and emulate an expensive pair of headphones such as the ones we are reviewing here.

Build Quality

With the MDR-1A Sony have gone for the smart look metallic frame with soft leather for the headband and earpads. There is extremely small stitching that contours the earpads for a comfortable fit making long hours of wearing easier. They are designed to seal the music in for decent noise isolation. In conjunction with this, the headband is sliding and the ear cups can swivel enabling easy compact storage for your rucksack. On top of all this it comes with an in-line remote and mic to help you keep in touch with your friends on the go. This is compatible with both android and Apple devices allowing you to answer important phone calls hands free. They have also made it compatible with the Sony Smart Key app which allows you to control primary functions wirelessly for your headphones such as the volume settings.

Sound Quality

The MDR-1A has an ultrawide frequency band ranging from 3hz to 100khz. To put this into perspective, the Urbanite XL from Sennheiser has a frequency response of 16hz-22khz because the focus was more on the look rather than the sound quality, not to say that they aren’t a good pair of headphones. The MDR-1A cover more of the audio spectrum to provide high resolution audio, this means they have the ability to playback 192kHz/24 bit audio tracks. For your information, this is the highest sample rate available to get the best out of your Flac files. Many headphones manufacturers do not bother to go to great lengths to include such a feature because the majority of people listen to MP3s which are of lower quality, thus there is no point for them to support higher quality audio depending on of course their target market. The sensitivity is 105db/mw which enables you to play music loud and clear. This magic that happens is all thanks to the 40 mm HD drivers which are coated in a liquid-crystal polymer for clarity.

sony mdr-a1 headphones side

Customer Opinion

Users of the MDR-1A felt that it was firm pair of headphones, unlike the previous MDR-1R which was flimsy and rattled a lot and were generally uncomfortable. People really love the sound quality and find that they get immersed in the music, however some claim that it to get the full potential of them you need to have an external DAC. It’s funny that anybody should say this because you can buy the MDR-1ADAC which is the same headphones except they cost £100 more but also have a built-in DAC allowing a direct digital connection from your PC or phone. One of the features that people love is the fact that the cable is detachable, this can be problem with other headphones because the cable breaks and if it is not detachable that usually means it’s the end of the headphones unless you are some technical surgeon. When wearing the headphones they do provide decent enough noise isolation to block out noisy children if the volume is loud enough. Some prefer that they are not noise cancelling because it is useful to be able to hear the outside world just in case there’s a serious problem that you might not be aware of otherwise. Others are fascinated by the premium look and have a hard time choosing the colours available which are black and silver. Everybody loves these headphones, the price is reasonable, they are stylish, portable and the sound is superb.

United States: Amazon, Sony

United Kingdom: JohnLewis, Currys

China: Kakaku

International

bhphotovideo

I ended up buying the silver version but at first i was tempted by the black version but in the end decided to go with the more classy silver, and wow does the silver look good, it gives off a certain premium luxury vibe that comes with well built products


With these headphones you almost feel as if you're at concert or club(especially with edm music) and it makes enjoy experience. They are fun to listen to as well. If you want fun but high quality sounding headphones these are for you. It does justice to edm and pop and most other genres.


A definite improvement over the last gen. They fixed the rattling wire and the extra padding means the insides no longer rub my ears the wrong way. Comfortable and sound great.


If you are looking for Hi-Res Headphones that is it, delivers clean and clear sound, but bear in mind that you must have a DAC to get the full potential of this headphones.


  • Weight
  • 225 g
  • Dynamic Type
  • Yes
  • Circum Aural Type
  • Yes
  • Driver Unit
  • 40 mm dynamic – Dome type
  • Frequency Response (Hz)
  • 3–100,000Hz
  • Sensitivities (dB/mW)
  • 105 dB/mW
  • Magnet
  • Neodymium
  • Impedance (Ohm)
  • 24Ω
  • Cord Type
  • Detachable
  • Cord Length
  • 1.2 m
  • Plug
  • Gold-plated L-shaped stereo mini

Full Spec

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About The Author
Johnny

Johnny is the manager of SoundReview but also writes himself occasionally. Away from the keyboard he likes to keep fit at the gym to balance out the daily toll of vigorous computing.

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