sony mdr1am2 review-discover-11-facts-you-never-knew-before

Sony MDR1AM2 Review [October 2023]: Discover 11 Facts You Never Knew Before

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Great sound in Sony’s high-end lineups. Does the impressive sound gel with construction? We will raise the curtain in this piece of Sony MDR1AM2 Review.

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Sony MDR1AM2 Wired High Resolution Audio Overhead Headphones

Delivers great bass sound at an affordable price. Very good choice for mixing, listening and audio recording. Closed-back headphones have a strong build and design. Offer reasonably comfortable ear cups.

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Sony has been in the audio market with the best in class headphones for quite some time now. The Sony MDR is one of the most popular Sony options on the market today.

Why not, Sony is known for its quality products for the consumer. Sony as a brand is a leader in the technology industry. Especially it has a huge customer base worldwide in the audio market.

When it comes to Sony’s wireless or wired headphones, the MDR1AM2 delivers impressive sound. Like its predecessor, the MDR1AM2 is built with premium materials. Performance is also great.

I usually do buy Sony products. And to be frank, I didn’t buy these over-ear headphones for myself. Rather bought it to gift it t my niece.

But, before I would gift it to her, I wanted to review the device. I wanted to review the features and see the quality and performance of these headphones.

Sony promises high-quality results. But that’s for us to judge. This is a good pair of headphones and gives the impression of being robust.

But they are also feather-light. I liked the build quality. It’s very good. When you pick up the MDR-1AM2, you get a distinct impression.

Sony spends as much time tweaking the look as it does the sound. It’s also true Sony has been a brand of audiophile headphones for a while now.

The company went hi-res with its LDAC codec in 2016. Since then it used the tech in the Sony WH-1000XM2. This is one of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.

Sony’s MDR1AM2 over-ear headphones apply the same high-end approach. They feature liquid crystal polymer diaphragms.

They come with 40mm drivers with a frequency response of up to 100,000Hz.

Let’s deep dive into how this headset delivers and discover 11 facts about it you never knew before.

1. What is in the Box- Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones?

The packaging of the Sony MDR-1AM2 comes with all articles that is definitely on the more minimalistic side.

It includes just about everything you need your headset to get going. It includes the following in the box:

  • Sony MDR1AM2 headphones
  • Small carry bag/pouch
  • Audio cables (x2)
  • User Manual

2. Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones Design and Build

The MDR-1AM2 wired headphones have a closed design. This means that the cans have sealed ear cups to prevent sound leakage. Perfect!

When I opened the box, the first thing that surprised me was its weight. Unlike other counterparts, the MDR-1AM2 is feather-like light.

This is very surprising, especially for a pair of high-end headphones. I used other brands loading up their drivers with heavy components in the name of high-quality audio.

Sony has a different take on this, it proves that less can truly be more. The Sony MDR-1AM2 over-ear headphones have very well designed padding. It allows the earcups to wrap around the ears, and fit snugly on the head.

Indeed, the over-ear design gives long lasting comfort. This ensures the headphones are as comfortable after 10 seconds or 10 hours of use.

The MDR-1AM2 features a large 40mm driver. This design reduces material resonance and keeps sound quality high.

Also, like almost all Sony audio devices today, the 1AM2 has an in-line remote control microphone. I found it very handy to make calls and issue voice commands.

The quality of the mic itself doesn’t appeal to a larger extent. But the fact that it’s included helps keep these headphones reasonably versatile.

The 40mm HD driver unit is attached to the plastic bridge. This has an aluminum-coated liquid crystal polymer diaphragm.

The diaphragm has a certain solidity to them.  This helps reduce any resonance that detracts from the quality of the sound.

The Sony MDR-1AM2 comes with two separate cables. One 4.4mm balanced audio cable and another standard 3.5mm cable.

The 4.4mm cable minimizes cable noise and reduces interference. Audiophiles love this standard.

3. Features and Specifications- Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones

The Sony MDR-1AM2 over-ear headphones indeed win the hearts of music lovers. They deliver sound with precision and full-spectrum clarity.

The cans have a lightweight design and soft cushioned earpads. I enjoyed listening to music for hours in total comfort.

The MDR-1AM2 features 1.57″ HD drivers. This is perfect to deliver clear, lively sound across all frequencies.

I am sure, you will love deep lows and euphoric highs with a full-range response from 3 Hz to 100 kHz. The 1.57″ lightweight HD driver is an aluminum-coated liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragm. This gives a great listening experience.

The headset delivers a clear, lively sound, especially in mid to high tones. I listened to a few vocals. And did love a smooth, precise response across the entire frequency range.

The earpads are made with synthetic leather. They are comfortable for long listening. I am impressed with the closed-back design as it minimizes any sound loss.

I know you may ask if perception is up to about 20kHz. What’s the point of using headphones up to 100kHz?

Well, higher frequency range results in less distorted sound. If you are editing in audio software, the higher frequency range provides better response curves. This also provides better frequency responses and spectral analysis. Keep soundstage within the limits of human perception.

 I am sure, you will love the audio delivery in headphones. This is ideal for listening with less distortion at very high frequencies.

Many of the best headphones on the market need more power than normal devices can put out. Laptop, smartphones or MP3 players don’t perform well with them.

They don’t do enough to drive top-of-the-line audiophile headphones. Connecting with a dedicated amplifier did a job for me.

Even a desktop computer can’t provide enough power for an audiophile’s headphones. This needs an amplified sound card.

You can spend a few bucks and plug your headphones into a dedicated device. But, Sony’s 1AM2 requires a relatively low impedance of 16 ohms, which is great for phones and laptops.

The MDR-1AM2 over-ear headphone is well suited for coupling to low power devices. And they include laptop, smartphones or MP3 players.

4. Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones- Wearing Comfort

The Sony MDR-1AM2 over-ear are high-end headphones. I am sure most music enthusiasts would agree with me. But, one thing that disappoints me a little bit is the headphones’ plastic construction.

Many of you think twice to spend a few hundred dollars because of its plastic build. As general thumb of rule, users tend to think expensive things should be heavy, not plastic.

But, the MDR-1AM2 is no more a cheap plastic made headphone. Though it’s made of plastic construction, it’s at par with other high-end cans. It’s very light on the head and ears.

It’s also important to understand why plastic is so common in high-end headphones. Headphones are not only computer peripherals. They are also devices that need to be physically worn on the body.

For over-ear headphones like the MDR-1AM2, you will wear them for hours at a time. Headphone manufacturers know that even a small amount of weight can cause neck discomfort.

A plastic design is used because it offers the best combination of comfort and durability. As a result, most high-end headphones are made of plastic.

Their looks and feels don’t look too different from what you’d find in much cheaper headphones. They defy our intuition that expensive, high-quality technology should be heavy and stiff.

You have to actually put it on and listen to music to know what you’re dealing with. Turn on MDR1AM2 for a few hours and you’ll understand.

The MDR-1A is a lot lighter than you would expect when looking at its build quality. The pair of  MDR-1AM2 headsets have excellent padding on the earcups and headband.

I loved a comfortable listening experience that’s not exhausting even if you have them on for a while.

Yet, the padding of the earcups creates a small opening for your ears. So they may not fit as comfortably for all listeners.

5. How Do Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones Deliver Sound?

Some headphones offer a neutral soundstage. They are good for analyzing every detail of sound. Others have soundstages built to enrich the mids and highs.

Beyond a certain quality level, the specific sound characteristics of each headphone become a matter of taste. Sony’s MDR1AM2 achieves this level of quality.

The MDR-1AM2’s soundstage is best described as balanced. They have a well-represented bass response.

But they are not headphones built for bass heads. These headphones are primarily intended for movies, voice, and most music.

The headset is built around the mids and highs found in the genre. I will break the sound profile into 6 subheads.

A. How Accurate is Low?

The Sony MDR1AM2 exhibits lively driving bass that is energetic rather than heavy. I did love and enjoy it on the lower end. At times the bass seems to mask the low end detail a bit.

But I am impressed there’s still plenty of detail here. At the end of the day, the low end remains clean and articulate. and provides a sweet bottom end.

B. How Accurate are Mids?

The Sony MDR-1AM2  over-ear headphone delivers excellent details in the midrange. I am impressed with the clear, contrasting notes that define the headset.

The sonic fidelity here is near perfect. It gives a large midrange impression. I liked the midrange performance. It is excellent.

The low-mids are 1.5 dB less boosted, which thins out the vocals. But it’s very cool to note that it leaves room for pressure in the lows.

Mid-mids and high-mids are almost error-free and within 0.7dB of the neutral target. All in all, Sony’s midrange is clear, balanced, and important for vocals.

C. How Accurate is High?

Here is the case. The Sony MDR-1AM2 over-ear cans disappointed me with the highs. I am not very happy with the performance at a high note.

These are not bright at all.  I found the high end on this headphone seems almost too smooth for the stated frequency range. I still experience the MDR-1AM2 hitting every high note.

But, I didn’t see the frequency range hitting the notes as rich as the lows or mids.

D. How is the Bass Accuracy?

I am quite happy with the performance of the Sony MDR-1AM2. It has excellent bass. The Low Frequency Extension or LFE is 10Hz. This is great.

The bass, which creates the thump and rumbles common in the deep bass genre, is flat. But it’s 2dB above the neutral target.

The mid-bass responsible for the bass guitar body and kick drum punch is also flat. It’s also 2dB above the neutral target.

There is warm over-emphasis in the treble by 1.5 dB. I don’t see that see this as a big issue as most of it occurs below 200 Hz. Thanks to Sony’s quality control the bass didn’t get muddy.

Overall, Sony’s bass is deep, punchy, and to some extent heavy. But there is no boom.

E. How is the Treble Accuracy?

The MDR1AM2 doesn’t annoy you with its treble delivery. The treble performance is good. The lows and highs are, to some extent, underemphasized. And the 5kHz roll-off impacts the detail and presence of vocals/leads the wrong way.

But, the effect is subtle. Yet, the headset has a peak at 9kHz in the sibilance region. Going by this I am very sure that these headphones deliver sharper sound. This is piercing on S and T sounds, especially on overly bright tracks.

F. How Does the Soundstage Deliver?

A strong sense of the soundstage comes from equal parts placement and depth. Its soundstage has a certain trope that reaches your ears and draws your brain into the music. You can feel the instruments and vocals exactly as they’re intended.

This is a rarity in headphones in this price range. The Sony MDR-1A’s soundstage is below average. But, 10 kHz does not exist. This results in a relatively large and naturally perceived soundstage.

But it resides in the listener’s head. Due to the closed housing, the soundstage can also feel less open than on open-back headphones.

6. Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones- Frequency Response

The frequency response consistency of the Sony MDR-1A is good. For some reason, the right earcup feels more uncomfortable in the low range.

But the most deviation is about 4dB, which is not a big deal, especially since it usually occurs over a small range. In the treble, these headphones show a more constant (below 10KHz). This is with the exception of a narrow deviation between 5KHz and 7KHz.

7. Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones- Noise Isolation and ANC review

I am not very excited about the performance here. The Sony MDR-1A M2’s vibration isolation performance is below average. Isolation is not available in the low frequency range. Here you can hear the engine noise of metros and buses.

The mids are critical for blocking out dialogue. But the shield cuts in about 7dB, which is below average. In the high region where cross tones such as S and Ts occupy, 30dB isolation is good. The leak is clean.

Most of the leakage is between 500 Hz and 5 kHz, which is a wide range. But, the overall level of leakage is not that great.

For music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at one foot away averages 41dB SPL, and peaks at over 50dB SPL. This is about the noise floor of your average office.

8. How Do Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones Pair with Devices?

The Sony MDR-1AM2 comes with a non-OS specific audio cable. The audio cable is an in-line remote and microphone compatible with the console. Audio and voice chat is supported when connected to a PS4 or Xbox One controller.

But you may need a headset adapter for PC if your PC doesn’t have an audio jack like a tablet or phone. The headset pair with an audio jack to support devices smoothly. Go ahead and connect your MDR-1AM2 over-ear headphones with  1/8″ TRRS cable.

9. Control and Portability- Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones

The Sony MDR-1A M2 comes with a rugged bag that looks sturdy. I am sorry, it doesn’t protect your headphones from drops or bumps.

But, I am happy it does protect them from scratches and minor water damage. The Sony MDR-1A are mid-range over-ear headphones with large earcups.

They don’t fit in the frame, and in a more compact format. This makes them a bit awkward to carry around on your body, especially without a pocket.

This is a disadvantage for me. The control scheme on these headphones is lacking. This is not at all very exciting. There’s only one call/music button to pause, play, and skip tracks.

I missed the volume control which is a bit disappointing. But, for my consolation at least the buttons have good feedback and are easy to use.

10. Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones Microphone and Call Quality Review

The Sony MDR1AM2 comes with an inline microphone. This is a remote microphone on an audio cable for wired and wireless headsets. Inline mics are generally better than built-in mics.

I usually prefer to use the audio cable with an inline mic. This gives me better recording quality and noise reduction for calls, games, and Voice-over-IP software.

In-line mic recording quality MDR1AM2 is average. There is a dip between 100Hz and 400Hz. This makes the recorded/transmitted audio a bit thinner. But low bass has bumps.

This makes the mic prone to pops and rumble. And the 4.1 kHz High-Frequency Extension or HFE delivers a voice that lacks detail and presence.

But, this does not affect speech intelligibility. Speech intelligibility depends on the range of 500Hz to 4KHz.

11. Sony MDR1AM2 Over-Ear Headphones- Wireless and Bluetooth Review

The Sony MDR-1AM2 are wired headphones and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you’re looking for a Bluetooth headset for casual use, check out the Sony WH-1000XM2. The Sony MDR-1A features a simple wired connection with virtually no lag.

Unfortunately, this also means you’re limited by the range of cables that come with it.

  • Great value for money
  • Light-weight and comfortable
  • Excellent sound for music lover
  • Good bass response
  • Synthetic leather earpads
  • Plastic build looks a little cheap
  • Highs are a little lacking
  • Low impedance
  • Poor noise isolation
  • Average inline mic recording quality

Conclusion: Helping You Make Informed Decision Easy

You may be ready to spend a few extra bucks for audio quality and you’ll see small improvements. But after a certain point, revenue drops off and the ratio of audio quality per dollar also declines.

The Sony MDR-1AM2 is great value for money. Hear what you paid for without adding any other audio component. This is not the case with many worthy headphones in this price range.

This is a very good over-ear headphone for the music lover. The inline mic does its job quite well. Sound leakage is minimal as these are closed-back headsets.

But, if you’re willing to spend a few hundred dollars more, 1AM2 isn’t the right choice for you. You’re better off getting high-impedance headphones and an aftermarket amplifier.

The MDR1AM2 is for those who want the best sound quality. That too without a second mortgage or a bunch of secondary devices.

This pair of headphones are perfect for listening from laptops, smartphones, and other low-power devices.

You will also love it if you wear the headphones for hours at a time. For these people, Sony’s MDR-1AM2 is the most cost-effective way to access audiophile sound.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Things You Must Know Before Buying

A: The Sony MDR1AM2 headphones are an updated version of the original MDR1A headphones, designed to provide even higher resolution audio and improved comfort. They may feature updated drivers, design enhancements, and refinements for a better overall listening experience.

A: No, the Sony MDR1AM2 headphones do not feature active noise cancellation. However, they offer excellent passive noise isolation due to their over-ear design and cushioned earpads, which help to block out external noise.

A: The Sony MDR1AM2 headphones come with a detachable cable that terminates in a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. This makes them compatible with a wide range of devices, including smartphones, laptops, and audio interfaces.

A: Yes, the earpads on the Sony MDR1AM2 headphones are replaceable. This is particularly useful for extending the lifespan of the headphones and maintaining their comfort over time. Replacement earpads are typically available from Sony or authorized retailers.

A: The Sony MDR1AM2 headphones are compatible with a variety of devices that support high-resolution audio playback. This includes audio players, smartphones, digital audio players (DAPs), and computers equipped with high-quality audio interfaces. Make sure to check the specifications of your device to ensure compatibility.


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