Sony MDR-Z1R Measurements Based Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sony MDR-Z1R Measurements Based Review

    NOTE: One disturbing trend I've observed lately is that people finding their way to this site want everything handed to them on a silver platter. That is they want summaries of how headphones sound. The problem with this is that you ask ten random people and you will get ten random answers. This is why the predecessor to this forum Changstar was more focused on measurements.

    Added Later:

    While measurements will not describe the totality of how a headphone sounds like, they will tell us a lot. For this reason, I am just going to post Z1R measurements and let you guys figure it out. I won't even provide commentary as I usually do. I will force you guys to figure it out. At least for now. I will add commentary later.

    Sony MDR-Z1R Frequency Response (0db line = 100db SPL)
    Sony MDR-Z1R Frequency Response.png


    Sony MDR-Z1R Distortion (at above levels)
    Sony MDR-Z1 Distortion L HD.jpg
    Sony MDR-Z1 Distortion R HD.jpg


    Sony MDR-Z1R CSDs
    Sony MDR-Z1R CSD R.jpg
    Sony MDR-Z1R CSD L.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  2. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Looks kinda like a T1 by Sony
     
  3. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    Looks like a focal Elear only with a weird AKG upper midrange hump, and more tubby bass. For reference:


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Although, given that this is a closed or mostly closed headphone while the Elear is open, I'm assuming this suffers from some decay issues in the bass and treble to make it sound more unrefined in general compared to say an Elear.

    I don't like emphasis or anomalies around 2k, I just think it makes headphones sound honky, which is the absolute worst.

    I bet they're very comfortable though.
     
  4. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Keep in mind the T1 measurements were V1 coupler. V2 would look different, probably less upper mids.

    Idk, the bass distortion looks a lot more low-fi than the Elear and that treble distortion spike! On my measurements the distortion I get at 3-4kHz with the HD800 (which some measurements also show having a D2 spike there) is entirely below the noise floor, which is 0.1% at 92db. There seem to be major issues between 3 and 4kHz with the Z1R.

    I expect the FR to sound different from what we see here based on the huge driver, so more 2-4kHz seems realistic to me. Might make for a not too bad midrange tone. The bass distortion is just embarrassing for a 70mm driver. The plateau of sibilance from 7-10kHz combined with the 3.3kHz ringing and D2 spike of death don't look very pleasant at all.

    I still don't get how Sony can get this crappy bass distortion from a 70mm driver. With speakers distortion improves the larger you go, with no limit for any even remotely realistic size. This bass distortion from a driver with 1.5 times as much surface area as an HD800 looks just horrible. I guess the whole magnet design is worth throwing in the trash.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
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  5. The Life

    The Life Almost "Made"

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    Measures like it sounds, though that 3K spike isn't as audible to my ears as it is in the measurements and the bass isn't as distort-y.
     
  6. philipmorgan

    philipmorgan Member of the month

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    Bass distortion looks a lot like my MA900!
     
  7. AMW1011

    AMW1011 Friend

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    That certainly looks like a headphone Sony would make alright.
     
  8. WNovizar

    WNovizar Almost "Made"

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    MA900 Closed Edition, just exactly what I want
     
  9. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Less T1 and more Elear. The T1 has lower and mid treble spikage all over the place with peaks of the spikes exceeding the 500Hz-1kHz midrange area. In addition, the T1 has the characteristic of an FR null at 8kHz which is seen as ringing in the CSD. In situations like this (null FR but CSD ridge), the treble spike tends to be quite nasty.

    I would say Elear frequency response with Z7 or MA900 timbre would describe this headphone the best. I had a hard time figuring out the bass from a subjective point of view. Was it clean or was it not? At times I felt it was almost as good as TH900 bass, but most other times, it didn't. Second order distortion is actually pretty good from 60Hz on up at well less than 0.5%. The curveball is the high third order distortion. Typically, third order distortion is significantly less than second order. This is definitely an odd one with low second order and very high third order.

    The 3kHz FR peak and CSD I did not actually notice. Possibly because the tip of the peak is level with and not higher than the lower and middle-mids. Then there's the upper mid suckout which is very much like the Elear, subjectively and objectively.

    There are some peaks in the treble, but looking at the CSD, the decay is immediate and hits the floor by 0.5ms with the exception of the spot at 10kHz. I definitely heard this. It's very spotlit though. I didn't hear it on Alicia Keys Unplugged, but it was very obvious with Peter Gabriel So (with the way it was mastered). A very distinct tizz, but not painful to me ears, which is expected with ringing around 10-12kHz. The Elear has a similar sounding tizz. Still, there might be lower treble fuckery that I did not notice because of the massive amount of bass masking or "balancing" it.

    Despite the weirdness, I do like the headphone, particularly when the bass is toned down a bit with EQ. There is a "beautiful" sound of sorts, but I wonder if much of this is because of the cups and what appears to be purposeful delicate and understated reverb effect. The CSD actually has a fairly clean floor for a closed headphone.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
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  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Interesting (and puzzling:confused:) result. Thanks!

    Bass tonality looks good. I like boosted bass (20-200hz) like this. But somewhat high 3rd harmonics in bass are strange. z1r might need stronger (thus heavier) magnet to control it better? I don't know.
    Treble response looks like elear, which I could not like in the end. Not very sure z1r's treble is similarly annoying or not. Potential showstopper for me.
    3k behavior is also strange. But I think subjective perception of 3k weirdness may differ across different ears(ear-shapes) and/or ear-smoothing.

    Now I want to hear this more than before. Measurement-wise this luxury headphone has some weirdness, but I am very curious how my subjective feeling is affected.
     
  12. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Thanks Marv for the measurements. Well at least it's less funky than the Pioneer or the TH900s (and the z7s). Tried it briefly last week, really liked it, liked it better than Elear when it comes to density, depth, etc, kind of reminds me of the Fitear Paterre in that it sounds more "3d" or hall like than it should (but less distracting than the Paterre which is almost reverby) Elear sounds more mid forward to me. The D3 while higher than I would imagine, sounded cleaner than it looks. The sound does align with the more recent j-fi iems like Fitear TG334 or the Oriolus (it know that's chinese but it was developed with the Japanese market in mind). For me it's a much better take of the z7 sound, the price locally is that of the Ether Flows or Audeze LCD-X but cheaper than the Pioneer, and I would personally opt for the z1R rather than the others.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I agree that it's less funky than the TH900s. The big midrange scoop and sharp treble of the TH900 is too much for me. The Z1R I can live with. The Z1R, despite being bassy, also seems more cohesive throughout the audio band compared to the Elear, although I feel the Elear is technically a better headphone. Yeah, it's a refined Z7 basically.
     
  14. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    Maybe they just slapped Z7 drivers into a better housing, and Z7 drivers were coincidentally MA900 drivers.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I wouldn't put this past Sony. Reuse OK drivers, but build awesome cups and headband.
     
  16. The Life

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    Just looking into the respective earholes on mine, the drivers in the Z1R "looks" differenct from the Z7 ones, though that really isn't saying much.
     
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    BTW LR channel balance looks very good (not only FR but also distortion-wise).
     
  18. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Sometimes a 3kHz ridge that I get on my coupler doesn't appear on my head, but that's on my more lossy foam coupler. I will try the creatology/CD coupler. It might go away on the V2 type coupler, too (talking about a different headphone, don't have the Z1R).
    I still don't get why they don't go for ortho bass distortion with a driver this size. My HD800 measurements show much less bass distortion than that. Actually lower distortion across the board.

    EDIT: In that case it does mostly go away on the V2 coupler.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  19. WNovizar

    WNovizar Almost "Made"

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    The only explanation you can get is that they are doing it for purpose i.e fun bass. I think they have been doing these kind of tuning since XB1000
     
  20. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    I read somewhere that the drivers are 70mm but a different material then the Z7's driver.

    I wonder if this headphone is as unfriendly to bass heavy rock, as the Elear? (stares at Flea...)
     

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