Sony MDR-1RB

At the end of last year the Japanese from Sony released a new headphone for high demands. Already when unpacking it becomes clear that these headphones are in the higher class, which is not least confirmed by the price. With a recommended retail price of 249 euro, the MDR-1R is no bargain. But there are more and more people who are looking for such high-quality headphones. Apart from the wired version, there is also a Bluetooth version (MDR-1RBT) for 100 euro more, as well as the Sony MDR-1RNC (399 euro) with active noise suppression.

SONY MDR-1R models

As previously mentioned, the Sony MDR-1 series is available in three models. All three models are compatible with all Apple products. The three models at a glance:

Sony MDR-1R: The "entry-level model" of the premium headphone series has a cable to control the iGadget and microphone. Telephoning with these headphones is a lot of fun, as the voice reception is very good.
Sony MDR-1RBT: Thanks to Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC, the user of this model can enjoy wireless listening pleasure with up to 30 hours battery life.
Sony MDR-1RNC: The top model in the range has a 50 mm membrane, unlike its two brothers. Thanks to active reduction and unique noise cancelling technology, the headphones are designed to filter out 99.7% of ambient noise.

Scope of delivery Processing

The three variants do not differ in appearance. The black-red headphones are mostly made of plastic, but still make a high-quality impression. The well adjustable and softly snapping in headband, which by the way is extremely comfortable and covered with cuddly leather, ensures a high wearing comfort. The ear cups are also made of leather, which means that the ears sweat less.

Two 1.20 metre long cables are included: one is suitable for connecting the headphones to an iPhone, iPad, etc. Thanks to the built-in remote control and integrated microphone, the Sony MDR-1R headphones can easily be turned into a headset. It’s also nice that Sony has thought about travellers and has packed a cloth transport bag. Well solved: In a separate compartment you can store the cable you don’t need. What is unfortunately missing is an adapter to operate the Sony headphones on classic stereo systems. The cable would be too short for this purpose anyway.

Ergonomics and wearing comfort

With a weight of 232 grams without cable, the MDR-1R is not a lightweight, but in view of the technology used, it’s not really heavy either. In the test, the weight was never negative, making the headphones suitable for mobile use in buses, trains and the like. The choice of materials is also positive: Sony has chosen high-quality materials that increase wearing comfort. The soft ear pads relieve the ears and ensure that the headphones don’t pinch uncomfortably. Fortunately, the manufacturer has chosen to allow for generous headband adjustment, so that even large heads don’t have a problem. In winter, you can even wear the headphones over a cap.

Somewhat unusual is the attachment of the detachable cable: there is an extension on the left earcup that represents the jack input. Thanks to the cable’s structure, the classic cable tangle is avoided and scratching and noise are eliminated.

Environment Sound

Closed headphones often have the “feature” that they completely cut off their wearers from the outside world. This is not the case with this product, which is highly desirable in public traffic. If you do not exaggerate with the volume, you will hear approaching vehicles. The soundstage emitted by the Sony headphones is also limited. Only if you turn up the MP3 player of your choice more than 75%, the neighbour in the bus will hear something.

The Sony MDR-1R was tested on several iPods, iPhones, iPads, MP3 players and smartphones. While the bass is audible but not very concise, the mids and highs sound outstanding. Overall, the headphones sound very neutral, which can be good or bad - it’s a matter of taste. We liked it a lot, as we’re not fans of exaggerated basses. But in the end, it all depends on what kind of music you listen to. A neutral sound is well suited for jazz and classical music, while dubsteb lovers want more bass.

Sound output is provided by two 40-millimeter membranes coated with liquid crystal polymer.


The SONY MDR-1R convinces with high wearing comfort, neutral sound and a lot of attention to detail. This product is a clear purchase recommendation for all music lovers. If you are looking for a little more bang, you might be a little disappointed.

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