Customer Review

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yet another pair of nicely designed but overpriced headphones, 4 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Sony MDR1R Prestige Headphones - Silver (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
Has anyone else noticed how people seem to be prepared to pay silly money for headphones these days? As the once ubiquitous hi fi system disappears quickly, only to be replaced by stand-alone speakers and headphones, manufacturers have to earn their mark-up somewhere. Whilst speaker technology and has moved on in leaps and bounds recently, I don't think the same can be said for headphones, at least sound quality-wise. Was I as astounded with these MDR1Rs as I was the first time I heard the faded in intro of Dexys Midnight Runners' "Burn It Down" on, I think, Sony MDR3 headphones supplied as standard with the second generation cassette Sony Walkman? No. Are these headphones 17 times (based on the current price) better than my previous Panasonic RP-HT225s bought from Argos for a tenner to replace a similarly cheap pair accidentally destroyed by my 2 year old nephew? Most definitely not. Though they ARE better, they nevertheless make the Panasonics look like a bargain.

I did try these out in a shop before buying them (a shop, incidentally charging £45 more than Amazon: DEFINITELY not worth that) and was initially impressed by the comfort and by sound quality of the MP3s I played from my own phone. Therein, I think lies the reason these headphones are not what I would class as audiophile - they appear to be designed for compressed sound.

SOUND QUALITY: The sound is only adequate. The detail is reasonable and, worryingly (for anyone who's ever seen "It's All Gone Pete Tong", they are good at high volume. Where they are problematic is with electronic dance music - mid range and bass frequencies appear to do battle with one another in the foreground and neither wins. The effect is distracting. The sound quality can be greatly improved by adjusting the tone controls on my amp - but this has to be done frequently, almost on a track-by-track basis - it's like mixing the records yourself!

COMFORT: The phones are initially comfortable and certainly better than anything I've owned previously, but for this kind of money I would expect to forget I was wearing them. In fact after about an LP's length there is a slight desire to remove them - nothing major, but I suspect there are lighter headphones with larger earpieces on the market.

DESIGN: Overall the MDR1Rs have a nice design - probably their strongest feature. They have a well-engineered feel to them - even though they are by no means of a chunky construction, they would appear to be durable (I'll find out when the aforementioned nephew gets hold of them!) As with all overpriced headphones these days, the cord is designed for portable players and much too short for listening on a home system - easily rectifiable by purchasing an extension cable, but for this money you would expect them to supply one, no? Especially as they do, in fact, come with two cables - one which is designed for an iPhone and one which is for "other" players. Oddly the iPhone one works (bar one button) with my BlackBerry, so I've no idea why they've bothered with the other cable. The tangle-free cord is a good touch though - pity it's not actually long enough to get tangled!. As for the colour, I went for the brown and silver version mainly because of product availability at the time of buying - it's kind of growing on me in a pipe and slippers kind of a way, but there is a slightly cheaper black version fairly easily available. I don't wear over ear headphones out, as I think it looks stupid - but if you are that way inclined then the black ones are definitely better.

PRESENTATION: These Sonys come in a nice hard box which could also be used for storage in a drawer (if you have enough space). The carrying pouch is also decent.

SUMMARY: Out of respect for my wife and neighbours who don't hold Detroit techno in the same high regard as me, I figured I spent enough of my life in headphones to justify spending a bit more than a tenner this time. I am reasonably satisfied with the MDR1Rs though not delighted. The design is certainly the strong point - particularly for anyone who wants to avoid (the equally overpriced) "Beats Audio" look. The sound? Well let's just say I'm not throwing my old £10 Panasonics in the bin...
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Oct 2014 19:27:17 BDT
perhaps you need a hearing test

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Oct 2014 23:48:14 BDT
Well I do suffer from tinnitus Anthony - too much techno!
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Colin McCartney
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Location: United Kingdom

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