| Over-Ear | 40 mm Driver | Neodymium Magnet |
🎧 We are reviewing the Sony MDR-1A, a refined looking over-ear headphone from Sony with premium technical specifications.
The Sony MDR-1A features an insane frequency response of 3 Hz- 100.000 Hz, angled drivers, bass-enhancing vents, balanced 4-wire detachable cables and leather earpads.
The drivers of the Sony MDR-1A have aluminum-coated liquid polymer crystal diaphragms, a diameter of 40 mm and neodymium magnets. Sony informs and rates these drivers as “HD drivers” that thanks to their large vents are able to provide punchy bass and due to the aluminum-coated LCP diaphragm achieve quick response for vocals and mid-highs clarity.
With their premium features and tech specs, the Sony MDR-1A sits on the higher-tier range of the brand’s current catalog, below the:
The Sony MDR-1A have a metal headband and earcups that resemble metal but are made of plastic. The headband has pleasant clicky positions that are fluid and very easy to adjust. Furthermore, the headband offers more padding than many average headphones to lower any risk of top headache.
The cables have a very nice textured pattern (seen on other earphones and headphones of the brand, for example the Sony MDR-EX650), are detachable and connect to the left earcup via a 3.5 mm connector.
You can buy the Sony MDR-1A in many different flavors, such as:
- Sony MDR-1AS – Silver colored model (the “S” just indicates the color)
- Sony MDR-1ABP – Model that includes a balanced-connection headphone cable
- Sony MDR-1A – Black colored model; model being reviewed in this article
- Sony MDR-1AM2 – The 2nd gen of the MDR-1A
Moreover, Sony also offers the Sony MDR-1A in two special version with extra advanced features:
- Sony MDR-1ADAC – Version with a built-in DAC (something that you can see in headphones like the JBL Synchros S500 and JBL Synchros S700)
- Sony MDR-1ABT – Wireless model with Bluetooth connection
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Sony MDR-1A Review
Tests & Scores
Sony MDR-1A weight in Ounces and Sony MDR-1A weight in grams.
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Accessories & Packaging
The Sony MDR-1A unboxing results in two sets of detachable cables (one with a mic/remote and one without it) and a protective/carrying soft pouch with a very nice fabric. Everything is packed in a large box with a clean design.
Bass & Sub Bass
The Sony MDR-1A bass is super energetic with strong mid-bass and deep sub-bass. Their style is punchy, impacting and very bassy; people loving bassy headphones and bass-intense music will love these. People expecting more conservative bass will find them out of control.
Certainly, Sony did not bluff about their bass-enhancing vents and powerful low-end response. The Sony MDR-1A bass strength will cover absolutely any bass-hungry genre without a single problem.
Applying an EQ there is crazy deep sub-bass, strongly punchier mid-bass and a general style even more energetic than before.
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Mids & Vocals
The Sony MDR-1A have very warm mids, noticeable/fairly strong mid-bass bleed but lower vocals fight back despite the congestion added by their mid-bass bleed. Higher mids are not super crisp and a bit rolled-off but offer sufficient crispness for normal listeners. These recession of their higher mids makes them harsh-free.
This tuning is clearly aimed to normal listeners, which usually prefers smooth, cozy mids and vocals and less aggressive higher mids that do not get harsh.
Using an EQ, there is a revolutionary improvement with much more clear sounding lower vocals, strongly reduced (but still there) mid-bass bleed and crispier higher mids. Sincerely, we would had appreciated if the Eq’ed version would had been their baseline mids response.
Highs & Treble
The Sony MDR-1A boomy bass gets also over mid & highs frequencies, making things darker despite some brightness buried below. Nonetheless, there is sufficient detail resolved but may be difficult to identify due to the invading bass. The recessed tuning makes them free of piercing and sibilant highs.
With an EQ, there is a very noticeable extra amount of brightness and detail added, much less dark and muddy sound – miles better. On the other hand, still expect darkish-styled highs and more frequent sibilance.
The sound leaking out of the Sony MDR-1A is lower than on most over-ear headphones, by a noticeable amount. They can be used safely under any normally noisy situation or busy city without disturbing nearby people.
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The sound isolation provided by the Sony MDR-1A is more efficient than on many average headphones. They provide a substantial reduction of environmental noises but the isolation will not be absolute unless you are willing to utilize high volume settings.
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At first glance you might think that the Sony MDR-1A are hefty and weighty headphones but they are unexpectedly very light thanks to their mostly plastic construction.
The earcups rotate 90+ degrees and tilt a bit less than 45 degrees. These wide range of movements and their well-padded earpads with soft leather allow them to provide an excellent and comfortable fit.
Moreover, the Sony MDR-1A have a swivel folding design that allows them to lay fully flat and improve their ease of transportability.
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Response to Equalization
The response to EQ of the Sony MDR-1A was highly efficient, providing outstanding improvement on mids, lower vocals and mid-bass bleed control. Highs benefited of substantial brightness and detail addition and bass became extra deep and punchy.
Size & Fit
Sony MDR-1A size and Sony MDR-1A fit.
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Sony MDR-1A Scores
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Sony MDR-1A Frequency Response Curve
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Sony MDR-1A Technical Specifications
|Diaphragm||Aluminum-coated, Liquid crystal polymer|
|Cord Length||3.94 ft|
|Plug||Stereo mini plug|
|Supplied Accessories||carrying pouch; cable w/remote and mic; cable|
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