Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series In-ear Headphones
You might know what an in-ear monitoring headphone is. If you don’t, in-ear monitors are earphones which is for monitoring studio audio. It provides the most natural and neutral sound, closest to the source audio. There are different IEM’s (In-Ear Monitors) available in different budget options. The Sony IER-Z1R Signature Series In-ear Headphones is one of the best IEM’s out there. It’s a top of the line headphone made by Sony. This headphone costs more than 1500$ which might sound insane but it’s not considering what it’s offering. So clearly, it’s not for everyone. If you are a music enthusiast, a professional, you want the best and the budget is no concern for you, this is the headphone you are looking for. So, let’s see what makes this headphone so much pricey.
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The unboxing experience is what you might expect out of a headphone priced over $1500, very premium. After you open the Sony-branded box, you will find another black premium soft finished box. When you open the first compartment or the lid of the box, you’ll find another small metal box that kind of looks like an ornament box. After you open that box, you will find the headphone itself placed like jewels. They are very beautiful! Back to the main box, there’s another compartment you can open where you can find three boxes. Two of the boxes contain two detachable cables for the headphone, one 3.5mm, and another 5.5mm. The third box contains 13 different pairs of ear tips which are of different sizes and different materials.
Build and Design
The design is very visually appealing. It has a shiny metallic exterior. Its chassis is made out of zirconium alloy. Although it’s shiny it won’t catch micro-scratches like other shiny finishes. It is a fingerprint magnet, so you get a microfiber cleaning cloth to take care of that.
At the outward plate, it has some sort of French pearl pattern which contributes to the headphone’s overall aesthetics. The quality of the detachable cables is very high, and installing the cables are quite simple. The cables will snap in after applying firm pressure.
The Sony IER-Z1R is solidly built. It can survive without damaging its internals after a fall. Its sturdy shell is able to survive any impacts.
Comfort and Fit
Because of the sturdy shell, the weight might be a bit of an issue for some people. Apart from the weight, it’s extremely comfortable. There are 13 types of ear tips to ensure the best fit. Also, there are different size variants like SS, M, NS, M, ML, L. There are two types of tips to choose from, one of them is a triple comfort tip and the other one is a hybrid tip. The hybrid ear tips might be exclusive for the Sony IER-Z1R and on the other side, the triple comfort tips are made out of soft memory foam material. These ear tips will ensure a deep and comfortable fit.
Cables and Connectors
Every aspect of this headphone should be premium right? So are the cables. The headphone includes two L-shaped silver-plated copper cables that are oxygen-free. One cable has the regular 3.5mm connector and the other one has a 4.4mm connector, the internals of the cable is braided with a plastic shielding. The plug is also shielded with plastic for added durability. There’s an aluminum mold to keep the splitter cable lightweight. There’s also a chin slider that you can pull up to separate the wire from the ear hooks. One of the main reasons that the cables are detachable is because, the cable might get damaged and using the headphone might be an issue so you can replace it. And another reason is so that you can use aftermarket cables. This is one of the most high-quality cables around and aftermarket cables won’t provide a better fit than the stock ones.
Sound quality is the most important aspect of these IEM’s. Burn-in is recommended. If you don’t know what burn-in is, it is a process for new audio gears. A minimum of 40 hours of burn-in is recommended for new headphones. The main purpose is to loosen the diaphragm of a new headphone and stress to loosen its driver resulting in optimal performance.
The bass is very detailed and it responds very fast. The bass is very deep and its texture is noteworthy. Fast-paced EDM, rock, and pops are pretty enjoyable with these headphones. The midrange is detailed and subtle. It does not overwhelm the higher or lower ends. Stringed instruments and higher vocal octaves get much emphasis. The high end is also very detailed. Instrumental notes sounded very pleasant. Guitar solos sound very pleasant. It wasn’t harsh by any means. The snare kicks could be punchier.
The soundstage is very expansive. It will give you somewhat of a 3D feel. The instrument separation and positioning accuracy, it can’t get any better. This is one of the best headphones out there for its extended sound stage.
The tonality is very smooth and a bit on the warm side. It has a mild sound signature which a lot of people prefer.
The sound quality is overall very crisp and clean. You won’t miss any details while listening to your favorite song. Every single detail you listen to this headphone will be enjoyable. But you need a high-quality source like a DAC to enjoy these headphones to its full potential. And one thing to be noted is that these are IEMs, its job is to resemble the closest to the source audio to monitor it properly.
It is an excellent headphone considering its every detail. Sony IER-Z1R is a world-class headphone. It might look beautiful, but it sounds better than it looks. So, you can imagine how incredible sounding these pair of headphones can be. Not everyone can afford these pairs of headphones but I don’t see anything wrong with appreciating the beauty of what it really is.