• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Sony MDR-Z1R Headphone Review

Guerilla

Active Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
103
Likes
36
For studio work you are NOT supposed to use Harman curve. That totally defeats the purpose. To me it seems that this reviewer tries to keep someone happy instead of giving an objective presentation of these headphone's performance.
Cheers!
 

markanini

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
1,641
Likes
1,689
Location
Scania
For studio work you are NOT supposed to use Harman curve. That totally defeats the purpose. To me it seems that this reviewer tries to keep someone happy instead of giving an objective presentation of these headphone's performance.
Cheers!
You shouldn't use headphones, unless you want translatability issues or want to give the mastering guy extra work.
 

peniku8

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
345
Likes
687
For studio work you are NOT supposed to use Harman curve. That totally defeats the purpose.
Cheers!
Care to elaborate? I mean, you shouldn't mix on headphones at all, but a timbrally neutral sounding mixing environment to not add to the circle of confusion sounds like a decent premise, doesn't it? Or are you talking about tracking headphones?
 
OP
Cuckoo Studio

Cuckoo Studio

Member
Reviewer
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
97
Likes
851
For studio work you are NOT supposed to use Harman curve. That totally defeats the purpose. To me it seems that this reviewer tries to keep someone happy instead of giving an objective presentation of these headphone's performance.
Cheers!

I'm tired of having to explain myself at length every time someone dismisses others with short sentence. I'm just sharing content on the ASR forum without any personal gain. I think I will delete the detailed experiences and introductions from all my previous and future reviews. They have taken up too much of my time for translation and correction, but all I've received in return is disappointment and exhaustion.

and GaryH,You've been liking every reply that opposes mine, and I've thought long and hard about the reason but couldn't figure it out. I've also contemplated how to make you stop, but in the end, it seems like I have no way to do so. Therefore, I've decided to show you a cute panda plush toy that I saw at the zoo yesterday.

微信图片_20230912232233.jpg
 

Zerohour

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2018
Messages
73
Likes
34
"not intended for everyone" you can say that again

nice review, I remember not liking this years ago (even before I got into audio) testing it in a Sony store. Pity cause I quite dig the look.
 

peniku8

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2020
Messages
345
Likes
687
They have taken up too much of my time for translation and correction
You use a translator? Maybe that's why I got hung up on some of your phrasing, because in one reply you pretty much said that the 3khz spike would be inaudible to anyone. That's why I replied to it in the manner I did. Because it wasn't phrased as a personal experience, but rather as a generalization.
Btw you said I'd be attacking your work - I never intended to do so and I apologize if it sounded like that. I appreciate any effort in people making reviews, but when I see something that I disagree with, I will comment on it. My initial comment was a snarky reply on the generalization that the 3khz spike would be inaudible (to anyone). I think we all can agree that this is not the case, as long as the content playing has spectral information in that region (like pretty much any modern production with distorted guitar) and the person in question doesn't have severe hearing damage ;)
 
Last edited:

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,815
Likes
6,629
Location
UK
You use a translator? Maybe that's why I got hung up on some of your phrasing, because in one reply you pretty much said that the 3khz spike would be inaudible to anyone. That's why I replied to it in the manner I did. Because it wasn't phrased it as a personal experience, but rather a generalization.
Btw you said I'd be attacking your work - I never intended to do so and I apologize if it sounded like that. I appreciate any effort in people making reviews, but when I see something that I disagree with, I will comment on it. My initial comment was a snarky reply on the generalization that the 3khz spike would be inaudible (to anyone). I think we all can agree that this is not the case, as long as the content playing has spectral information in that region (like pretty much any modern production with distorted guitar).
I also appreciate his reviews, but felt I should point out a few points/elements I didn't agree with. I didn't put a like on his review because I disagreed with too many of various aspects of the review, but I do appreciate the fact he did the review. I think it's normal for people to point out elements that they disagree with. (Just to add perspective from another user here.)
 
OP
Cuckoo Studio

Cuckoo Studio

Member
Reviewer
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
97
Likes
851
I also appreciate his reviews, but felt I should point out a few points/elements I didn't agree with. I didn't put a like on his review because I disagreed with too many of various aspects of the review, but I do appreciate the fact he did the review. I think it's normal for people to point out elements that they disagree with. (Just to add perspective from another user here.)
I can find a more suitable HRTF feature for Z1R to continue discussing this topic with you, but it seems pointless now. After all, I don't need to "please" anyone by defending the Z1R. Keeping the content simple will prevent me from getting involved in controversies and will also save my time. I have decided to do so. But still appreciate your kindness.
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,815
Likes
6,629
Location
UK
I can find a more suitable HRTF feature for Z1R to continue discussing this topic with you, but it seems pointless now. After all, I don't need to "please" anyone by defending the Z1R. Keeping the content simple will prevent me from getting involved in controversies and will also save my time. I have decided to do so. But still appreciate your kindness.
I'm just saying it's ok for people to point out things they didn't agree with. To be honest I'd rather see you continue to do the occasional review on here rather than stopping doing them. I just mentioned some things that I thought could be improved/changed in the review, and also my view on what I thought of the headphone based on your measurements.
 
OP
Cuckoo Studio

Cuckoo Studio

Member
Reviewer
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
97
Likes
851
I'm just saying it's ok for people to point out things they didn't agree with. To be honest I'd rather see you continue to do the occasional review on here rather than stopping doing them. I just mentioned some things that I thought could be improved/changed in the review, and also my view on what I thought of the headphone based on your measurements.
I welcome discussions with different opinions, but you may not have noticed some unpleasant sarcastic comments that occurred earlier.
I will continue to update content here, but I will choose to simply share data without saying too much about other things.
Recently, I received the Topping E2X2 and have completed all measurements. Tomorrow, I might share some data on the forum in advance, but I won't write it in too much detail since I'm also more interested in reading Amir's Review.
 

markanini

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
1,641
Likes
1,689
Location
Scania
I wouldn't mind if the graph-Karens kept to their own spaces, where they can discuss which product has the highest measured compliance to a heavily smoothed target. :p

Context: The reviewer took the time to contribute a mixed review, including his own measurement. Some people with no hands-on experience melt down over the reviewer not disliking the product more, and direct rude remarks toward him. Big WTF for anyone with sense.
 
Last edited:

Jimbob54

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
10,985
Likes
14,583
You do the reviews the way you want to. I'd personally rather read some feedback from an experienced user and some graphs than just the graphs. Those that dont care about subjective comments can just look at the graphs (or not). The nature of the beast means you will get some thanks and praise, some useful constructive criticism, some challenge and some snide.

As regards this headphone- a hard no due to the "quirky" tuning (and price ) but by all accounts they are very nice to wear.
 

Robbo99999

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
6,815
Likes
6,629
Location
UK
I welcome discussions with different opinions, but you may not have noticed some unpleasant sarcastic comments that occurred earlier.
I will continue to update content here, but I will choose to simply share data without saying too much about other things.
Recently, I received the Topping E2X2 and have completed all measurements. Tomorrow, I might share some data on the forum in advance, but I won't write it in too much detail since I'm also more interested in reading Amir's Review.
It's up to you how much subjective listening experience stuff you put in your review, it is interesting to hear someone's experience with it, but of course you have to accept that some people might think it's strange you like a headphone if it measures badly, but if you do actually like the headphone you should say you like it, just you can't expect people to agree with you all the time - I guess that's the nature of the beast (Amir once in a while gives a good rating to a poor measuring headphone, that Stax one he measured recently.)
 
OP
Cuckoo Studio

Cuckoo Studio

Member
Reviewer
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
97
Likes
851
It's up to you how much subjective listening experience stuff you put in your review, it is interesting to hear someone's experience with it, but of course you have to accept that some people might think it's strange you like a headphone if it measures badly, but if you do actually like the headphone you should say you like it, just you can't expect people to agree with you all the time - I guess that's the nature of the beast (Amir once in a while gives a good rating to a poor measuring headphone, that Stax one he measured recently.)
Thank you. Yes, I know. I shared my STAX data in that comment section. I have to say that evaluating headphones is much more difficult than evaluating ADDA. The same arguments happen all over the world because everyone's ear structure is different.
One realistic point is that here is not my home turf, so adding subjective comments will be much less tolerated by some viewers. Therefore, I will consider changing some of my conhere.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
15,743
Likes
35,610
Location
The Neitherlands
My view on the measurements.
I will use the 'compensated' ones as these look more intuitive (speaker, amp, DAC alike)

index.php

What I see here is about +5dB of 150Hz hump. Sure it could be +4dB or so using another target but this is too much of a hump.
I kind of agree with Dan Clark that a small hump (max 2dB or so) will give sound a bit of 'thump' or 'power' to the sound. Too much is just 'bloat'.
It is true one can get used to this and call it 'full sounding' but with proper recordings it will sound too 'fat'.

On the 3kHz peak. I disagree that this is like an ear resonance. It is waaaaayyy too narrow to be just that.
It may not be as obvious as it may look. Reason being it is narrow and preceded and followed by a dip. The way the hearing works the peak thus will not register as too loud and it will 'mask' the dips before and after the peak a little.

That said... in the 3kHz range there are mostly harmonics present and these have their fundamentals much lower. When different notes are played the harmonics around 3kHz will vary 8dB while the fundamentals are pretty constant. This will make some instruments sound a bit weird. Not necessarily 'bright' (which one would expect from a wider peak).

Due to the measurement method and target we can assume that in general there is some sharpness (8-15kHz) as that seems elevated. Sadly, because of the measurement method, we cannot say much about the treble quality. Different methods or trained ears will be needed.

This clearly will not be my headphone, also not with EQ as one cannot undo what this headphone does.
I can see a LOT of people liking this headphone because: It is SONY (reputation, deserved or not), or because of its looks or price (so it must be good) or because of the U shaped response (bass + tizz) that some desperately want. It may even sound great on some older rock recordings that lack bass.

I have to say that evaluating headphones is much more difficult than evaluating ADDA

Yep, the consensus here is that measurements are everything. Interpreting them by just eyeballing it or matching it to some 'averaged' target from specific test fixtures is not as clear cut as it seems to be.
Having measured, auditioned and heard well over 100 headphones and having been in this audio-electronics business (professionally and hobby wise) for over 30 years I will say that measurements of headphones (and speakers in rooms) are indicative at best and NOT hard science like DACs and amps despite some people insisting it is an exact science and the only truth.
 
Last edited:
OP
Cuckoo Studio

Cuckoo Studio

Member
Reviewer
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
97
Likes
851
My view on the measurements.
I will use the 'compensated' ones as these look more intuitive (speaker, amp, DAC alike)

index.php

What I see here is about +5dB of 150Hz hump. Sure it could be +4dB or so using another target but this is too much of a hump.
I kind of agree with Dan Clark that a small hump (max 2dB or so) will give sound a bit of 'thump' or 'power' to the sound. Too much is just 'bloat'.
It is true one can get used to this and call it 'full sounding' but with proper recordings it will sound too 'fat'.

On the 3kHz peak. I disagree that this is like an ear resonance. It is waaaaayyy too narrow to be just that.
It may not be as obvious as it may look. Reason being it is narrow and preceded and followed by a dip. The way the hearing works the peak thus will not register as too loud and it will 'mask' the dips before and after the peak a little.

That said... in the 3kHz range there are mostly harmonics present and these have their fundamentals much lower. When different notes are played the harmonics around 3kHz will vary 8dB while the fundamentals are pretty constant. This will make some instruments sound a bit weird. Not necessarily 'bright' (which one would expect from a wider peak).

Due to the measurement method and target we can assume that in general there is some sharpness (8-15kHz) as that seems elevated. Sadly, because of the measurement method, we cannot say much about the treble quality. Different methods or trained ears will be needed.

This clearly will not be my headphone, also not with EQ as one cannot undo what this headphone does.
I can see a LOT of people liking this headphone because: It is SONY (reputation, deserved or not), or because of its looks or price (so it must be good) or because of the U shaped response (bass + tizz) that some desperately want. It may even sound great on some older rock recordings that lack bass.



Yep, the consensus here is that measurements are everything. Interpreting them by just eyeballing it or matching it to some 'averaged' target from specific test fixtures is not as clear cut as it seems to be.
Having measured, auditioned and heard well over 100 headphones and having been in this audio-electronics business (professionally and hobby wise) for over 30 years I will say that measurements of headphones (and speakers in rooms) are indicative at best and NOT hard science like DACs and amps despite some people insisting it is an exact science and the only truth.

Yes, I agree with your point. The narrow frequency range variations caused by the high Q value when the harmonic component moves in the audio range can be considered an issue of objectivity. The high frequencies cannot be fixed with EQ either. So, in my previous responses, I emphasized that these headphones are not suitable for professional and objective work. I wouldn't use them for that purpose.
The 150Hz hump you mentioned, combined with the 3KHz peak and the characteristics of nearby frequency ranges, This makes them a pair of subjective headphones, but they have a far distance sound signature and are not designed for everyone. However, they are considered listenable and distinctive by some individuals. I mentioned this in my previous statements.
 

GXAlan

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 15, 2020
Messages
3,757
Likes
5,806
I can find a more suitable HRTF feature for Z1R to continue discussing this topic with you, but it seems pointless now. After all, I don't need to "please" anyone by defending the Z1R. Keeping the content simple will prevent me from getting involved in controversies and will also save my time. I have decided to do so. But still appreciate your kindness.
Just block the haters. When I first started blocking other posters, I was worried I would just fall into an echo chamber. I value debate and discussion.

Then I realized that blocking people that made my time on ASR less enjoyable maintained the discourse and just took the annoying posters out of my view.
 
Top Bottom