You have to give it to Sony. They're very good at making the unboxing experience feel good. When you first open that white box full of glamour shots, you're smacked by the headphones resting in this plush, velvet fabric, wrapped around a plastic mold. It isn't actually premium, but at least it looks like it. Inside you get a semi-padded travel bag, and two pairs of cable: one with in-line controller / one without. It's a standard packaging, but I would have wanted to see a proper carry case, and maybe an extension cable too.
As for the MDR1-A, when it comes to aesthetics, it looks damn impressive. Sporting a mix of metal, leather and plastic (that's made to look like metal), these cans look genuinely pretty to look at.
The ear-cups are built out of the aluminum, and feature angled 40mm drivers for each ear. The cushions are exceptionally soft, but unfortunately, they’re permanently attached to the housing, which means replacing them won’t be that easy.
The left cup features the 3.5mm jack socket, just like in the previous model, MDR1. Actually, the headphones look very similar to the original model, the only difference being that the pleather cushions / headband seem to be of higher quality.
The headband is decent enough. It’s a lot more comfortable than the one on the similarly priced Philips Fidelio L2, being slightly wider, and sporting a more generous padding. The plastic encased cable sheet is attached to the metal frame that goes through the headband.
The pleather wrapping looks like a thicker, more firm variant of the one used on the cushions.
I am not sure what to think of them. Sony has included two textured, rubberized, relatively thin, detachable cables in the package: one with a microphone and in-line controller, one without. Why do I have mixed feeling about ‘em?
Well, the 3.5mm jacks feature a small plastic indent that limits the use of use of other third-party plugs. From the 9 different 3.5mm cables I have right now, neither of ‘em are in any way compatible.
Both cables laso feature 4-pole 3.5mm plugs going into the headphones, which is a slightly odd find. Still, I imagine there must be a reason for it.