As one of the main forces in the headset market, Sony has produced great quality headsets that offer superior hi-res audio. One of the most popular models is Sony MDR1A. However, this particular model has been updated with Sony MDR1AM2. So, what is the difference between Sony MDR1A vs MDR1AM2? Is the new model really worth the extra money?
Continue reading below to learn more about:
– The design and appearance of each headset
– Whether these headsets are comfortable to wear or not
– The impedance level of each headset
– The performance comparison of Sony MDR1A vs MDR1AM2
– What accessories that are included with each headset
– Whether Sony MDR1A or Sony MDR1AM2 is better
Sony MDR1A comes with a stylish yet unassuming design. The form is rather simple, but it looks classy and elegant. The dominating color is black, but there are some dark red parts behind the ear cups. In addition to the brand logo, there is also a hi-res logo decorating the headset. See also: Beats Solo 3 vs Studio 3.
This original Sony MDR1A model is already quite portable. The headband does not fold, but the ear cups can be turned sideways so that the overall shape is slimmer and flatter for easy storage. The drivers are protected with durable aluminum housings and nice ear pads. The cable is detachable, and the in-line buttons are actually customizable through the Smart Key mobile app available on Google Play Store.
Sony MDR1AM2 retains a similar design just like the predecessor. It is simple yet stylish and elegant. However, this model is now almost completely black. It still looks very nice nonetheless. The ear cups are still swiveling, and the cable is still detachable.
The build quality has been improved. The drivers are covered in aluminum-coated crystal polymer diaphragms, which are supposed to be lightweight while having excellent solidity and durability. Unfortunately, just like the original model, Sony MDR1A still has a plastic bridge and plastic hinges, which are not very durable.
In terms of comfort, both Sony MDR1A vs MDR1AM2 are incredible. They are surprisingly lightweight – they are even lighter than they look. They have elongated pads that are soft and very comfortable.
Both models are over-the-ear. The ear cups are supposed to envelop your ears rather than sitting directly above them. Over-the-ear headphones are generally more comfortable because the ear cups won’t press on your ears. However, over-the-ear headphones often become pretty hot after an extended listening session.
Sony MDR1A and Sony MDR1AM2 also suffer from the same breathability issue. The headphones will become warm after one hour of continuous listening. However, it is not really terrible. In fact, both of these headsets don’t become as hot as most other closed-back over-the-ear headphones.
One of the main differences between Sony MDR1A vs MDR1AM2 is their impedance. According to the manufacturer, the original Sony MDR1A has a slightly higher impedance level. The new Sony MDR1AM2 comes with slightly lower impedance. But how significant is the change?
Sony MDR1A has 24 ohms of impedance. As a matter of fact, this is not considered as a high impedance level. There are other headsets with much higher impedance. The impedance level of a headset is related to how much power that is required to drive the audio drivers. Headsets with higher impedance consume more power in order to produce the same volume as headsets with lower impedance, but they often provide better audio accuracy and detail.
But Sony MDR1A is already compatible with most devices because the impedance is not too high. It can be powered properly by even a mobile device. The volume is decent.
Sony MDR1AM2 has 16 ohms of impedance. Indeed, its impedance is lowered a little bit from the predecessor. But the effect will not be dramatic, considering that the original model is already compatible with most devices. You may notice that Sony MDR1AM2 delivers slightly higher volume levels, but it still has excellent accuracy and detail.
Sony MDR1A sounds great. It is recommended even for audiophiles. It sounds engaging and exciting. The response is impressive. It can immediately shift from music with speedy and attacking beats to slow, moody music without compromising the sound quality during the transition. It also has very good clarity. The top end is uncluttered, hence giving you clean and crisp treble.
This model has a lot of openness. It gives fine audio details which your ears will really enjoy. And, the excellent amount of detail also somehow draws your attention away from the weak midrange. If you listen carefully, the frequency response of Sony MDR1A sounds V-shaped, with strong bass and treble yet weak midrange. Vocals lack a natural warmth and don’t really sound substantial.
Sony MDR1AM2 apparently has a fine-tuned frequency response. It is still similar to the original model, but the midrange performance is a bit better. The highs are warm and clear without becoming fatiguing. The lows are tight, solid, and accurate. The bass is not overpowering, so this headset is great for those who appreciate balanced audio.
Although Sony MDR1AM2 still doesn’t have as much clarity as high-end audiophile models, it is still an excellent entry-level audiophile headset. The overall sound is accurate and much more detailed than common headphones. The vocals have good presence. Admittedly, it is not without a weakness. Sometimes, the treble becomes too sharp and harsh, but this only happens on certain songs.
Sony MDR1A comes with two cables. The first cable has an in-line remote and mic. It only has one button, which can work seamlessly with Apple devices. In order to personalize the in-line remote for an Android device, you need the Smart Key mobile app, which you can download from Google Play Store. The second cable doesn’t have any in-line remote or mic in order to deliver better sound with no interference.
Sony MDR1AM2 also comes with two cables, but they are different. The first one is the standard 3.5mm audio cable. The second one is the 4.4mm balanced audio cable, which is often preferred by audiophiles because of the lower cable noise and lower interference.
Sony MDR1A vs MDR1AM2
- Sound Reproduction up to 100 kHz, 40 mm driver units with ALCP for articulate audio reproduction
- Compatible with 3 optional cables engineered with Kimber Kable
- Inward axis structure delivers optimum fit, Silent joints won't disturb your audio experience
- In-line remote and microphone for hands-free phone calling, Carrying pouch and cord length is 3.94 feet
- High-resolution Audio compatible
- Responsive liquid crystal polymer driver for clarity
- Smartphone compatible with in-line remote mic
- Heavyweight bass with beat response control
Between these two models, Sony MDR1AM2 is definitely more recommended. This model has lower impedance, so it can deliver higher volume levels with less energy consumption. It also has a fine-tuned frequency response that allows overall better sound. It includes the 4.4mm balanced audio cable for audiophile-grade performance.