With Sony continuing to expand its Hi-Res audio line-up this year at CES, I thought it'd be a good occasion to finally check-up the brand here. So, lemme see what new Hi-Res headphones are there. The MDR1-A! Ah, I guess I can work with that.
Being a headphone enthusiast isn't an exclusivist endeavor anymore. It's not reserved to a small group of people willing to spend small fortunes for that 0.5% critical sound. Sure, them folk are still there, but the available choices have been expanded massively for the budget / mid-range audiophile as well. Whether you love it or hate it, Beats kickstarted a massive growth in the headphone market, and brought many a key-player to the forefront. Though Sony has pushed audio for years (for decades actually), the Hi-Res brand is relatively young, and unfortunately, until last year, woefully under-marketed. Now, the company has expanded this series considerably, preparing even a $799 pair of headphones and an unbalanced portable DAC, as well as several DAPs that at the very least look absolutely gorgeous.
It’s no secret. Sony is good at making some really good lookers, and the MDR1-A is most assuredly that. These headphones are the 2014-updated version of MDR1, still branded Hi-Res, with the same metallic, shiny look. They feature angled drivers and a somewhat bassy signature (as it is tradition).
Alas, that might be an issue for me, since I’m the kind of bloke who likes his sound mellow, neutral, with a sparkly but warm treble. I have mixed feeling about strong bass. At times it might be a good thing, depending on the tracks, but it can also take a lot from a song if it isn’t done right. Still, I promise I will try to look at them from a bass-hunter point of view.