First Impression: Sony Z1000 -updated-

With a street price of around $500 for the Z1000, I believe Sony has hit a good spot in the current headphone landscape. Of course, this is a different landscape from a few years ago when $400 will give you the flagship models of Sennheiser, AKG, or Beyerdynamics. The scale of pricing is vastly different today, as people are spending more for the current flagship headphones and IEMs, and $2,000 models from Stax and Ultrasone being less elusive than it was a few years ago. Although the official price of the Z is around the $700 mark, most vendors are offering the Z1000 at a street price of around $500. Indeed this is a sweet spot, as previously there were almost no other semi-portable closed headphones at that price bracket, other than the Audio Technica ES10 and ESW10 models. There is a very large user base for the mid entry level $100-$200 semi portable closed headphones, and at $500, Sony is tempting them for a nice upgrade.

AMPLIFIER AND SOURCE REQUIREMENTS
The nice thing about having the Z1000 headphone is that it’s very easy to drive, even a tad easier than the Audio Technica M-50. Plug it in to an Ipod directly, or even better to a HM-602/601, and you’re good to go. With the Ipod, a good portable amp would help improve bass articulation slightly, but the Z1000 is very good sounding even driven direct. So, from a user’s perspective, you only need to spend the initial $500 on the Z1000 and you’re done.

The drivers are transparent and resolving enough, and so with the abundance of good DACs and portable players we have, a source upgrade is going to be quite noticeable on the Sony. This, in my opinion, is also a very big plus.

GENERAL SOUND IMPRESSIONS
When I did the Closed Headphones Comparison, the Audio Technica M-50 came out as a favorite all rounder. The other headphone that also came out unofficially as a crowd favorite was the Sennheiser HD25-1. To recap the comparison briefly, the M-50 was the better all rounder headphone, with a moderately laid-back presentation, good sized soundstage, clean and grainless sound, good treble extension, midrange body and bass body (though slightly uncontrolled). The HD25-1 had a more forward presentation, a smaller soundstage, more grain in the sound, and an excellent bass punch, articulation and PRaT.

Now, I’m going to say that the Z1000 sounds like a more mature M-50, as the voicing of both headphones are very similar. In terms of technicalities and driver resolution, it’s quite an upgrade from the HD25-1. But the HD25-1 has a very unique voicing, and if the HD25-1 sounds perfect to your ears, then you would find the Z1000 to be less engaging and lacking PRaT, just like how the M-50 is. So, unfortunately for HD25-1 fans looking for an upgrade, I cannot guarantee you that the Z1000 will be a satisfying headphone.

The M-50 was a good all rounder headphone that tackles a wide variety of music fairly well. Of course, the HD25-1 is king for Rock, but I’m sure all of us have quite some genre variety in our playlist, and that is why the M-50 is more appealing. The M-50 is a hard headphone to hate, and while it may lack a certain area compared to some other headphone, I haven’t quite find another headphone that can be as universal as the M-50. The Z1000 somehow finds itself being as a good upgrade platform from the M-50, offering many improvements where the M-50 falls short. However, due to the similar sound signature and voicing, at first the Z1000 didn’t sound that much better from the M-50. It certainly is not 5x better than the M-50 (the M-50 sells for ~$100 street price).

The thing with the Z1000 is that it gives an improvements on so many areas that the total sum of them is definitely worth the additional $400 from the M-50.

Starting from the ergonomics, the Z1000 is simply better. It’s quite lighter in weight and have a much lighter clamping force. The pads are softer and is made from a better quality leather. Although the clamping force is softer, the design of the headband and the pads makes the Z1000 stays just as securely on your head. As a matter of fact, due to the lighter weight of the headphone, the Z1000 stays on your head better than the M-50 is. There is also size differences. The M-50 looked rather big if you wear it in public. The Z1000 had a slimmer headband and housing, and though it may look like a slight difference in the pictures, it actually make a big difference when you wear it in public. The cable of the M-50 is long and is heavy, as it is designed for studio use. The Z1000 comes with a long 3 meters and a shorter 1.2 meter cable, and so you can plug it in to a player in your pocket and not have cable problems. The cable is also much softer and flexible than the M-50. I certainly would use the Z1000 far more often than the M-50 just based on these improvements.

Sound wise, perhaps the biggest noticeable improvement from the M-50 is that the mids to lower treble is more forward and engaging compared to the M-50. The tonality is very similar, but the M-50 sounds more distant and darker just because of the difference in the mids. The Sony’s mids are fuller, sweeter, and have a warmer tone to it. It definitely translates to a more engaging music listening without being too in your face ala Grado. Vocals definitely sound sweeter and fuller on the Sony, while the M-50 still has some dryness to it. There is no comparison here.

The treble is smoother and extends further than the M-50’s. Somehow, probably due to the choice of housing material and damping schemes, the more extended treble of the Z1000 also exhibits far less sibilance issues than the M-50. The upper treble is also more relaxed, in a way it reminds me of the Stax Omega 2’s upper treble presentation. The upper treble is there, but the Sony presents it in a way that I can listen to female vocals all day long and not meet any sibilance. It’s also soft enough to deal with the prevalent sibilance problem in techno and club music recordings.

Another problem that the Sony “fixes” from the M-50 is the bass area, where the M-50 can be slightly boomy. The Sony cuts down the bass quantity slightly, but in turn you get far better texture and detail on the bass, especially on the low bass where the M-50 is more muddy. The Sony is also much better in layering the different bass notes, definitely much improved from the M-50’s bass quality. The bass punch is also improved considerably in the Sony, although it still doesn’t punch like the HD25-1.

The soundstage is actually wider on the M-50, but the Sony has a better depth, translating to a more three dimensional soundstage experience. The Z1000 also has less housing reverb issues that is quite prevalent in the M-50, while also tuning the timbre to be warmer and more wood-like, compared to the more plasticky and cold timbre of the M-50.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
I think that the M-50 was primarily designed to be a monitoring headphone, but it just happens to have good mids and bass body that makes it also suitable for music listening. On the other hand, it looks like the engineers of the Z1000 were tuning the headphone to be a good music listening device. With the exception of small and boutique recording houses, I certainly don’t think that the average mainstream TV and production studios would be willing to spend $500 on a monitoring headphone. And if the Z1000 was used in a monitoring setting, it probably wouldn’t sound that much different than the M-50. Back at the music listener’s realm, the sonic and ergonomic improvements of the Z1000 does make it a far better headphone than the M-50. On top of all the improvements I’ve outlined earlier, the Z1000 is more “nimble” than the M-50, allowing it to pick up a better pace than the darker sounding M-50. It also has a better ability to follow the character of the recording, presenting a good vocal presence on vocal recordings and presenting a deep soundstage for live and classical recordings. It still doesn’t do fast rock, electronic and progressive like the HD25-1, but it doesn’t slack at them either.

Given the design and purpose of the Z1000, I think it’s one of the best and most versatile semi-portable headphone out there. The light amping requirements and the superb ergonomics make it a very good headphone for the road, and the very wide genre bandwith makes it a very good pairing with most of the music in your library. $550 may seem a bit steep for a semi-portable closed headphone, but again, you’re buying a nice product here, and nice stuff doesn’t come cheap.

Thanks to Peter for loaning the Z1000.

Gears used for review:
Headphones: Sony Z1000, Audio Technica M-50, Sennheiser HD25-1
Source: Ipod Classic, HRT MS2+, Hifiman HM-602, HM-601, Grace m902
Amplifier: Grace m902, WooAudio6, HeadAmp Pico Slim

The clamping force is soft, and yet the headphone stays very steady on my head. The hinges are very soft and flexiblle. Superb fit.

 

The pads forms a chamber, similar to the Omega 2 or LCD-2 pads.

 

Made in Thailand, apparently.

 

There is a port on the housing body.

 

Overall look is simple and doesn’t scream flagship. In fact, I don’t think Sony intended this to be a flagship. Someting high end, but not flagship.

 

Single sided removable cable.

 

The removable cable with screw on connector.

 

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134 Comments

  • Reply January 28, 2011

    rose123

    HOW DO THEY COMPAE TO THE SONY MDR-7509HD
    I hear they can take a bit more power ….other than that i think they look better .

    • Reply January 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Nope, haven’t compared to that one yet.

  • Reply January 28, 2011

    cn11

    Mike– Insightful comments as always. They reflect my impressions very closely. I think I would like a little more bass though. But yes, very smooth, detailed, nice sounding cans. I was surprised by their compact size.. I had thought they were going to be a bit larger. Like you said they do isolate very well too. I attribute it to their pad shape, and how snugly it surrounds your outer ear.

    • Reply January 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      What did you think about the bass? When Peter got it new, he told me that he felt the bass to be lacking. So he used the Headstage Arrow’s bass boost feature on step I. But he told me today that the bass is all good now, and that with the Headstage, the bass is excessive now.

      I do feel the bass to be sufficient in quantity, punch, even texture. I don’t think he’s done hundreds of hours of burn in on it though, more like 20-30 hours. It doesn’t quite have the PRaT of the HD25-1, but again, I thought the whole presentation is moderately relaxed, similar to the EX1000.

  • Reply January 28, 2011

    Anaxilus

    Hmmm, the demos I tried at CES had treble somewhere between Beyer and Grado levels. Maybe they weren’t a final production unit but they were a tad too hot for me. Perhaps the lack of lower end had an impact on that impression. It was a brief listen since I knew they weren’t something I was after upon hearing them.

    • Reply January 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Interesting…

    • Reply January 29, 2011

      franz

      why were u banned on headfi?

  • Reply January 29, 2011

    franz

    hey mike have you tried comparing it to zx700? i have the latter right now and your impressions on the z1k seem to match the 700 but of course i expect the z1k to be superior given the price difference. im just curious if the upgrade is worth it

    • Reply January 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry franz, I don’t have the the ZX700 around. 🙂

  • Reply January 29, 2011

    cn11

    Mike- I do think they’re a bit light on bass… but I prefer a really hard hitting, deep low end. As a basis for reference, my first higher end IEM was the Atrio, and that’s what I got used to.

    Shortly after I received the Z1000s, I picked up a pair of the Pro 900s, and they are much more in line with what I’m after. They actually can move a bit of air around your ears when music material calls for that low of a bass, and they do it cleanly.

    • Reply January 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yea, the Z1000 won’t give you that Atrio punch.. But bass-light? You’ve
      got to be kidding me. 😛

  • Reply January 29, 2011

    markychas

    leave it to Headfonia to always be on top of the most interesting product!

    • Reply January 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the compliments! 🙂

  • Reply January 29, 2011

    Kunalraiker

    Hi Mike,I personally feel that the HD-25 are decent but not hi-fi headphones,and these Sony headphones being inferior to the HD-25’s don’t stand a chance with this price tag.

    I could probably get the thunderpants made for this price.

    • Reply January 31, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HD25-1 still has a unique forward aggressive character that works
      well for Rock. The PRaT is also better than the Sony Z1000. But other
      than that, I think the Z1000 pretty much betters the HD25-1 in every
      technicalities. Now whether the sound signature is suitable for your
      music, that’s another story. But I think the Z1000 has one of the widest
      genre bandwith I’ve ever heard in a headphone.

      The HD25-1 drivers are just old technology from Sennheiser, it just
      happens that they have a very lovable signature.

  • Reply January 31, 2011

    jendol

    I own hd 25-I and hd 25-I-II, and now z1000. z1000 is simply better than both hd 25

    • Reply February 1, 2011

      Kunalraiker

      That is interesting 🙂

      • Reply February 1, 2011

        Anonymous

        Kunal, if you’re totally a 100% comfortable with the HD25-1, you may find the Z1000 not totally to your liking. But if you’re looking for something different or better than the HD25-1, then give the Z a try.

  • Reply February 1, 2011

    Anonymous

    The Z1000 has a scary good synergy with the HM-601/HM-602. It makes for a pretty killer, semi-portable headphone system. The Sony driver is definitely one of the best in this class (closed, around this size), and transparent enough to let all those DAC resolutions pass through.

    I’ve been listening to the Z1000 for a few days non stop now. Unlike the EX1000, the Z is not hot in the treble, and there is plenty of bass down. At least this one that I’m listening to has roughly 100 hours of burn in time, and it is in no way bright or bass-light. It works very well for mainstream Pop, Rock, RnB stuff.

    The soundstage image is good, and if you feed it a good source with good soundstage information, the Z1000 will pass it through.

    It still doesn’t have the PRaT of the HD25-1. And as I’ve said, the Z is moderately laid-back, so it’s not aggressive like the HD25-1. But for long term listening and genre bandwith, the Z is quite better than the HD25-1.

    The bass texture is very good, though it’s a tad boomy with RnB songs.

    I can’t wait to update the article with something more in depth.

  • Reply February 3, 2011

    Pete Manakit

    Wonders how this will stack up to the B&W P5!

    • Reply February 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      I didn’t spend too much time with the P5, but from what I remembered, the P5 is much more warm sounding with fuller mids and bass body. It’s very good for vocals, but it’s a bit too thick for other music. The Z1000 is more neutral and has a wider genre bandwith.

      Peter has both of them, so he can probably comment better than I do.

      • Reply February 3, 2011

        Pete Manakit

        What do you comments on their comfort and isolation?
        I’m sold for the P5, but I remembered reading some says the pad – which does quite a good job at noise isolation – does get rather warm!

        Judging from your brief description, it seems like the P5 would be a nice match for my current portable source, the iphone. (which in my opinion, sounds rather thin)

        • Reply February 3, 2011

          Anonymous

          The P5 is extremely comfortable, but I haven’t spend too much time with it so I can’t say if it will get warm for long term listening. I suppose if you’re going to use it in an air-conditioned room, then the P5 would be fine. But if you’re going to use it outdoors on a summer day, then even the Z1000 would also be sweaty because it really covers the ears.

          The P5 is warm and full, it should be a good pairing straight from your Iphone. But keep in mind that it may not have enough speed for fast paced music. The Z is a safer choice IMO. It has plenty of bass body too, so you should not find it sounding thin at the bottom.

  • Reply February 4, 2011

    Anonymous

    I’m using the Z1000 and the Zana Deux to do a three way comparison between the Musiland 02 (~$100 bracket), Yulong U100 (~$200), and HRT MS2+ (~$300).

    The DAC comparison is pretty simple, basically with every $100 increase in the budget, you get a good steps of improvements in the treble extension, soundstage and ambiance, and naturalness of decay.

    However, I’m more amazed at how well the Z1000 scales up to the Zana Deux amplifier. The driver resolution is tremendous, and it scales up beautifully when paired with the Zana. The genre bandwith is also very wide, with the tonal balance adapting very well to the different recording styles. Obviously the Zana has some part in this musicality as well, but I think it’s amazing to have a headphone that sounds good out of an Ipod (and great straight out of the HM-602, 601), and yet scales up beautifully when the system is there.

    The tonal balance is among the most well tuned, which again translates to a very good ability to play a wide range of different recordings. This is truly one of the best tonal balance tuning I’ve ever witnessed on any headphones.

    • Reply February 4, 2011

      Muncrats

      Which one has more enjoyable sound between Sony EX1000 or Z1000 for critical listening Mike?

      • Reply February 5, 2011

        Anonymous

        Bro, I think your question is rather vague. Both the EX1000 and Z1000
        has a very good and resolving driver, and I think both of them are good
        for critical listening. The Z, being a bigger headphone with a bigger
        driver has a slightly better technicalities and resolution, I feel. The
        EX1000 is also slightly more treble-happy compared to the more neutral
        Z1000.

        But knowing your passion for bass, I’m not sure if you’ll like the Z or
        the EX. I am not even sure if the EX can better your SM3 for Rock.
        I know you had the HD25-1 and sold it.

  • Reply February 10, 2011

    Poul Hansen

    Hi, quick question as I am seriusly considering picking these up.
    The minijack connector on the headphone, would it accept regular minijack plugs?
    I really want to try and make custom cables with inline remote for my player and it would be so much easier if this headphone would accept regular minijack plugs.

    Second question, could these headphones work for dj’ing also? If yeas it would be the ultimate versatile headphone for me.

    • Reply February 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      It can accept regular minijacks, depending on the build and physical dimension of the minijack. I think my friend has used the cables he built for his Ultrasones with the Z1000.

      I think it would work for DJing. Depends on your requirements of what’s a true DJ headphone should be though. The cups don’t rotate out the way some other DJ headphones are.

      • Reply February 11, 2011

        Poul Hansen

        Thank you for your reply. I don’t do anything crazy when I am dj’ing. Anyway I am doing my best to talk myself into buying them even though I am on a budget (Student). Thank yoou for helping me with that 😉

        • Reply February 12, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yo Poul,
          Why not settle with the much cheaper TMA-1 headphones? You can find a review of it under the headphones section.

          • Reply February 13, 2011

            Poul Hansen

            I listened to them and found them way to dark and lacking in soundstage. It was just a quick listen though and I have been told eq’ing (more treble) fixes the headphones issues. I am auditioning a pair soon as a friend of mine has a pair he is willing to lend me for a few days.
            There are a few things I like about the Sony’s:
            they are top of the line, so i am probably going to hang on to them for the long run.
            The build and materials make me confident they will hold up for many years of use.
            They are probably so good i could use them with my home rig and not be bothered by any limitiations in sound quality -i am not so sure about the TMA-1’s.

            • Reply February 14, 2011

              Anonymous

              Very interesting impression. The treble is not so prominent, which why I think it’s good for a lot of mainstream recordinfs, especially pop. I would not say it is dark though. With dance music I think the treble qty is just right.

              Soundstage is not too big, but the imaging is very very good. If you find the Sony sounds too dark, then the TMA-1 will be even more.

              • Reply February 16, 2011

                Poul Hansen

                Just a quick clarification.
                I felt the TMA-1 was to dark, i haven’t had the pleasure of listening to the z1000.
                I can see how my post was terribly worded. Thank you for all your help.

                • Reply February 16, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  Okay. Thanks for clarifying.

  • Reply February 21, 2011

    markychas

    I wonder why I’m seeing a slightly different version of this headphone on various sites on the internet. The one sold at Audiocubes and Accessory Jack has no red stripe that contains “For Studio Use”

    • Reply February 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      That’s true. A friend who bought the Z1000 also got a version without
      the red studio sticker. I haven’t compared the two to see if there are
      any differences in the sound.

  • Reply February 21, 2011

    allen

    How does this compare with the HD650?

    • Reply February 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HD650 is more laid back, bottom end heavy, darker, harder to drive,
      open.
      The Z1000 is more forward, not as mellow, more neutral, easier to drive,
      closed.

      • Reply February 25, 2011

        allen

        wound you consider it to be better sounding at this price?

        • Reply February 26, 2011

          Anonymous

          It depends, Allen. But for most people, I’d tell them to go with the
          Z1000 as it would have a wider genre bandwith, and it sounds good
          straight out of an Ipod.

          Cheers.

  • Reply March 16, 2011

    Saravuth

    Hi Mike

    Could you compare Z100 to ATH-W1000X and may be to HD650
    in the areas of vocal performance(mid) and 3 dimensions sound stage , How sweet are they?

    I’m considering to buy one from the list above.
    Thank you so much

    • Reply March 16, 2011

      Saravuth

      Sorry mike.
      I mean Z1000 not Z100

    • Reply March 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi,
      I think all three headphones are great for vocals and soundstage. They have their differences, of course, and not having the W1000X and the Z1000 anymore makes it hard for me to write an in-depth comparison between them.

      I think I better keep my mouth shut here, rather than giving you inaccurate information.

      Sorry.

      • Reply March 16, 2011

        Saravuth

        Thanks mike. From your comment, are you mean that HD650 also has a sweet vocal?

        • Reply March 16, 2011

          Anonymous

          The HD650 is warm, but stock, I don’t think the vocal is that sweet. The Z1000 is sweeter stock, unamped.

  • Reply May 30, 2011

    zowki

    Hi Mike,

    I am tossing up the Sony Z1000 and the Ultrasone Pro900 as an upgrade from my Audio-Technica M50. Which do you think is better?

    Thanks

    • Reply May 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      I can’t tell you which is better, both are good in their own way. But if
      you’ve been liking the M-50, I think the Z1000 is the natural upgrade path.

      I’d personally choose the Z1000 over the Pro900 though, but that’s just me.

      • Reply May 30, 2011

        zowki

        What are the sound differences between the Z1000 and Pro900 and what is the port on the housing body on the Z1000 for?

        • Reply May 31, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well the Sony comes with its own Sony sound and the Pro900 with the Ultrasone sound.

          You can read how the DJ1 Pro sounds on this article, it will give you a good idea of how the Ultrasone house sound is.

          headfonia.com/closed-cans-shootout-m-50-esw-9-t50p-hd25-1-beats-studio-srh-840-srh-750dj-k181dj-and-dj1pro

          As for the Sony, well you have this article that tells you how it sounds.

  • Reply May 31, 2011

    carlo

    Hi mike, really good article about Z1000. Will you consider the Z sound quality almost in the same level of of Ultrasone Edition 8? Thanks.

    • Reply May 31, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yep I think so.
      Roughly equal level of technicalities, just different sound signature. I
      think the Edition 8 should’ve been priced around $600-$700, if Ultrasone
      didn’t brand it as an “Edition” headphone.

      • Reply December 1, 2011

        leftov3r

        I am thinking about getting ED8 to use home and Z1000 on the go. Is that a bad idea?

        • Reply December 1, 2011

          Mike

          Not a bad idea, but I think there are better headphones than the Ed8 for home use. 

  • Reply June 15, 2011

    billy

    hi mike, have you tried modding the z1000 by putting some cotton wool inside the earpads of the z1000? i tried it and by pairing it with a tiny tube amp, i am really satisfied with the sound.

    • Reply June 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ah, no I haven’t done that Billy. How’s the sound? What change did you
      notice?

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Katun

    I ordered these about a week ago for around $300 new.

    I am very, very excited for these. I’ve kinda moved back to closed headphones and am liking the SRH940 quite a bit. These have been on my radar ever since introduction, but I knew I couldn’t wait any longer when I moved back to closed — and also because of the price I got them for. Reading this review got me even more excited, and I am eager to hear how these sound. Maybe they’ll be my favorite headphone of all time?

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      $300 for the Z1000? You’ve got to share the link to us man. 🙂

      Well I have the Shure right here and I think the Z1000 is more refined
      overall, though it doesn’t push the details up your face the way the
      SRH-940 does. Perhaps the weakness with both headphones is that the bass
      needs to be more punchy like the HD25-1.

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Katun

    Of course! http://www.provantage.com/sony-mdrz1000~7SNYE0X2.htm

    It’s actually direct from the manufacturer, so it may take a few weeks to get here. But hey, for $200 off retail, I’m all in!

    Oh awesome, I didn’t know you had the SRH940 with you. I’m liking it quite a bit, and will have to say it’s one of my favorite headphones ever. Shame on the comfort, I really cannot get over the headband, and also the shallow earcups. But I’m liking the sound quite a bit. Makes me feel like my HE-500 is not needed. (I think that’s just me trying to be content with less).

    Forgot to ask, how is the bass between the Z1000 and the SRH940? I feel the SRH940 is easily on the “lacking” side, even after about 100 hours of burn in. For mellower stuff that doesn’t really need bass, it’s awesome, but in general I wish there was a bit more impact. Hopefully the Z1000 extends a bit deeper as well.

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Whoa, thanks man! You R-O-C-K! I just shared that link on Twitter.

      Yes the bass punch is roughly similar to the SRH-940. There is a bit
      more body on the Sony, but what we want is punch and both headphones
      won’t give it to you the way the HD25-1 does.

      • Reply June 17, 2011

        Katun

        Yup, of course. I’m hoping more can catch onto this amazing offer.

        Well, I’m sure I”ll be perfectly fine with the same amount. Bass is kind of a love/hate relationship with me — one day I want more and more, and the next I want it to extend deep yet have little impact. I guess it just depends on what I’m listening to, but I think I’d prefer a more neutral sounding bass. Guess I’m in luck, these are sounding absolutely great by what you described. Their size is a plus too! (SRH940’s are pretty darn big, and you couldn’t catch me in public with those!)

        • Reply June 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well let’s hope that the deal is real? Have you gotten the Z1000 from
          that website?

          Yes the Z1000 will look far more normal in public than the SRH-940.

          • Reply June 17, 2011

            Katun

            I actually found about that deal over at my hometown (aka Head-Fi). I think there have been quite a few users over there that ordered as well. But yes, that is were I ordered. I think shipping was about  $10, so the total was like $317.

            They sent me the normal confirmation email, but the a few days later, they sent me a status update email. Basically they said my order has been placed with one of the suppliers and then it says, “Awaiting confirmation by regional warehouse.
            ” in that exact same font and color! XD

            • Reply June 17, 2011

              Anonymous

              Do let us know when you’ve received the Z1000 cause I’m sure a lot of
              people want to jump on this. 🙂

  • Reply July 7, 2011

    TheMiddleSky

    Mike, based on your memory, between Z1000, MS Pro, and SRH940, which one produce more accurate sound for string instrument, piano and violin?

    • Reply July 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      That’s a hard question. Well one thing is that the MS-Pro stands out as having a wooden timbre in a totally open design. This gives you two benefits: one, wood timbre which is always nice to hear, and two open design which is free of any housing reverbs getting in the way of accurate timbre.

      The Shure and the Sony are both good closed headphones though and it’s hard to decide which is more accurate (besides the fact that I don’t have all three of them at the moment to compare), but the Sony has a slightly warmer timbre where the SRH940 is more colorless.

      • Reply July 8, 2011

        TheMiddleSky

        ah… that’s very fair answer, ok thx Mike 🙂

        • Reply July 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks. 🙂

  • Reply July 19, 2011

    P. J.

    Mike I’m really considering this for travel use to pair with HM-602. I often travel by bus but I’m concerned these wouldn’t isolate the sound enough. I listen at lower levels and apart from the person sitting next to me do you think anyone else would hear the sound? I know its difficult to answer to such a theoretical question but please do your best. 🙂

    • Reply July 20, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think the leak levels are quite low with the Z1000. Especially if you
      listen to lower levels, I don’t think you have to worry about it.

  • Reply August 25, 2011

    Poul Hansen

    I just got a pair. Being a student (fairly restricted budget) I really put some thought into it.
    I am very pleased. Incredibly detailed. Voices are scary good. They blow my DT880 600ohm out of the water in this regard. They insulate very well and I hear no/little leaking. Incredibly efficient cans. They are going to be my regular commute cans. Incredible cans for the detail lover (not to be confused with artificial detail by hyping up the treble).

    • Reply August 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      Very good impressions there, Poul.

      I actually think that the Z1000 is better as a whole than the 701-650-880 series and perhaps most other dynamics up to the $800 range, including the Audio Technicas. It’s a very good all rounder with solid technical performance.

      • Reply August 31, 2011

        Poul Hansen

        I am even satisfied with the bass. Just a little extra bass => you keep the incredible detail and definition and get some OOMPF. Overdo it and you get artificial overinflated bass, not that there’s anything wrong about that. But then you should be going for the bass monster cans instead (there are plenty, take a pick).

        • Reply September 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well, that’s true. But they could’ve done it like the HD25-1. Not too much bass quantity, but very punchy beats.

  • Reply September 21, 2011

    De Yong

    Mike, based on memory, between z1000 and w1000x, pairing it with fostex hp-a3, which one will be better? (well actually the question is, z1000 and w1000x, which one is better? and then which one will work best with fostex hp-a3?)

  • Reply October 5, 2011

    Mshen5

    hi mike, how is the comfort on these guys? do they brush up against your ear when they’re on, and is the clamping force high when compared to say, k702?

    • Reply October 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well they would brush against your ears slightly as the size is not that big, but the pads are really comfortable as they are made from leather. I think more comfortable than the K701/HD650/DT880 headphones.

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    Baele

    Hi Mike!
    How do you compare Z1000 to MDR-7509HD ?

    • Reply November 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry, never compared the two!

      In comparison to some of the older monitoring headphones (MDR-7506) however, it’s not even close. The Z1000 is a proper $500 headphone.

      • Reply November 5, 2011

        Baele

        Mike, 
        thx for reply. 
        Actually, have Shure SRH-940 and Beyers DT1350, and going to purchase Colorfly C4. 
        Just wondering – Z1000 can better match with C4 than above mentioned HPs?
        What your guess?

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Baele,
          First the Shure would be the brightest of the bunch and I think it would be too bright for the C4, though detail level is very good. The DT1350, honestly I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s made to be a small, fun sounding portable headphone, but by no means a technicalities giant. Being a C4 user, I do think that you would care about the technicalities side, soundstage presentation et cetera. Out of the three I think the Z1000 would be your best bet, although it would all ultimately depend on the recordings that you listen to. Some recordings are hot on the treble, some are dark, and the variations are pretty big.

          • Reply November 10, 2011

            Baele

            Mike,
            you were d**n right!
            Really appreciate you support 🙂 

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Baele,
          First the Shure would be the brightest of the bunch and I think it would be too bright for the C4, though detail level is very good. The DT1350, honestly I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s made to be a small, fun sounding portable headphone, but by no means a technicalities giant. Being a C4 user, I do think that you would care about the technicalities side, soundstage presentation et cetera. Out of the three I think the Z1000 would be your best bet, although it would all ultimately depend on the recordings that you listen to. Some recordings are hot on the treble, some are dark, and the variations are pretty big.

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    Florent Vaucelle

    Hi,

    I have my eyes on these, but have a question before I make my mind: is the speed good enough for very fast metal ? I had the chance to listen to them but couldn’t try with my own music lib.

    Side note: I found them to have an impressive 3D sound!

    • Reply November 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Florent,
      The Z1000 are very good headphones, but the pace is a little medium-laid back. Definitely not fast enough for fast metal.

    • Reply November 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Florent,
      The Z1000 are very good headphones, but the pace is a little medium-laid back. Definitely not fast enough for fast metal.

      • Reply November 7, 2011

        Florent Vaucelle

        Ooh, wearing  my sad panda face. What would you recommand then?
        Also, maybe I could live with it? For example, on this track (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ywTPvgilE, ~ 30s), the Denon d2000 were definately out (was to slow and mudy) while the ATH-es10 performed well enough to my ears. Do you know where the Z1000 stands between these 2?

        Thanks!

      • Reply November 7, 2011

        Florent Vaucelle

        Ooh, wearing  my sad panda face. What would you recommand then?
        Also, maybe I could live with it? For example, on this track (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ywTPvgilE, ~ 30s), the Denon d2000 were definately out (was to slow and mudy) while the ATH-es10 performed well enough to my ears. Do you know where the Z1000 stands between these 2?

        Thanks!

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Lieven V

          It probably sounds good on the sr-009, bass could be a bit disappointing  though 😀

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Lieven V

          It probably sounds good on the sr-009, bass could be a bit disappointing  though 😀

          • Reply November 7, 2011

            Florent Vaucelle

            Ooh, I’d love to be able to afford these, but they would not be suited for a work open-space environment 🙂
            Anyway, I’ll certainly give the Sony’s a try.

          • Reply November 7, 2011

            Florent Vaucelle

            Ooh, I’d love to be able to afford these, but they would not be suited for a work open-space environment 🙂
            Anyway, I’ll certainly give the Sony’s a try.

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          If the ES-10 is fast enough then the Z1000 is a little faster than the ES10. The bass, however, is not that punchy, and quite behind the ES-10 in terms of punch. 

          • Reply November 7, 2011

            Florent Vaucelle

            Thanks a lot for this insight! Actually, I found the ES-10 bass to be a bit too punchy, almost boomy.

          • Reply November 7, 2011

            Florent Vaucelle

            Thanks a lot for this insight! Actually, I found the ES-10 bass to be a bit too punchy, almost boomy.

            • Reply November 7, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes, that’s right. The ES10 bass is a bit like that. But I do think you need a little punchier bass than what the Z1000 gives.
              I still think that the Z1000 is not a proper metal headphone, and that you’d be better off with something like the HD25-1.

              • Reply November 7, 2011

                Florent Vaucelle

                I already own the HD25, and love them while commutting, but I need more comfy headfones for the office, and I’d like a more airier sound as well as more details. As I also listen to softer music and prog music so I’m willing to trade some Rock sound for something more all-rounder. I’m in a sort of dilemma as I want closed + hifi + rock + available in France, but I know I’ll find 🙂

                So far I’ve tried ATH-W1000X, ATH-A900, Denon line, Sony z1000, AKG 272HD. The Sony’s were my favorites. In my list are Beyer’s T70 and DT770/600, and Fischer FA-003, but I can’t find them for listening. What else?

                I think I’m going off-topic by now, sorry!

              • Reply November 7, 2011

                Florent Vaucelle

                I already own the HD25, and love them while commutting, but I need more comfy headfones for the office, and I’d like a more airier sound as well as more details. As I also listen to softer music and prog music so I’m willing to trade some Rock sound for something more all-rounder. I’m in a sort of dilemma as I want closed + hifi + rock + available in France, but I know I’ll find 🙂

                So far I’ve tried ATH-W1000X, ATH-A900, Denon line, Sony z1000, AKG 272HD. The Sony’s were my favorites. In my list are Beyer’s T70 and DT770/600, and Fischer FA-003, but I can’t find them for listening. What else?

                I think I’m going off-topic by now, sorry!

            • Reply November 7, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes, that’s right. The ES10 bass is a bit like that. But I do think you need a little punchier bass than what the Z1000 gives.
              I still think that the Z1000 is not a proper metal headphone, and that you’d be better off with something like the HD25-1.

        • Reply November 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          If the ES-10 is fast enough then the Z1000 is a little faster than the ES10. The bass, however, is not that punchy, and quite behind the ES-10 in terms of punch. 

  • Reply November 11, 2011

    Benjaminjtlee

    Would you suggest these if you could find them for ~300?

    • Reply November 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      It would be a killer value at $300, just be careful of scams cause last time I heard they were more like $500 on the street.

  • Reply November 24, 2011

    calluna

    Hi,

    Do you plan to compare this model to the Sony MDR-7520?

    Thank you 🙂

    • Reply December 1, 2011

      Mike

      Sorry Calluna, no plan. But the Z1000 is way ahead the MDR-7506 if that helps. 

  • Reply January 30, 2012

    crinacle

    Hey Mike, any comparisons in detail level for the Z1000 vs the SRH940? Thanks.

    • Reply January 31, 2012

      Mike

      Detail level is roughly the same, but the SRH940 pushes out those details more, while the Sony is more relaxed. 

  • Reply March 9, 2012

    swede92

    Hi Mike, I have thinking about The Senns HD 600 but they are open so..I dont live alone so I might disturb with sound leakage but I really want the HD 600. Does this Sony MDR-Z1000

      do a good job compared to the HD 600?

  • Reply March 9, 2012

    swede92

     How does the Sony MDR-Z1000 compared to the HD 600? I really want the HD 600 but I might disturb with soundleakage And I want a better headphone now. I currently have the Denon ah-d1100, it works great but I think I can have better sound..whats your thoughts? 🙂

    • Reply March 9, 2012

      Mike

      I think the Z1000 compares very well to the HD600, the only low point being the Z1000’s weaker bass.

  • Reply March 14, 2012

    Jeff Kong

    From a earlier comments post you said ”
    I actually think that the Z1000 is better as a whole than the 701-650-880 series and perhaps most other dynamics up to the $800 range”  so to be more precise, is this better in terms of technicalities or enjoyment? 

    Secondly i’d just like to ask about how does the Z1000 compare to the DT880 in terms of scaling/increase in performance with better/ different amps and DACs? 

    • Reply March 14, 2012

      Mike

      Well the Z1000 is very musical, but the point that I was trying to make is that having a newer driver than the trio, the Z1000 is more refined and has a better overall balance than the trio (The HD650 is very bottom heavy, the DT880 has thin mids and a bright tonality, the K701 quite flat) — the Z1000 is very well rounded in the sense that it has just the right amount of treble-mids-bass combination, although someone who is in love with his Beyer or Senn may still prefer his current cans.

      The Z1000 scales up very well, I think just as well as the Beyer.

      • Reply March 14, 2012

        Jeff Kong

        Mike, thank you for your help, reply, and for writing these interesting articles!

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  • Reply January 29, 2013

    Bling

    Hi, would you suggest this over the MDR-1R?

    • Reply January 31, 2013

      Mike

      Yes definitely a better headphone than the 1R.

  • Reply July 25, 2013

    saeed zolfaghari

    hi mike!
    today I have bought these
    mine don’t have the red label on right cups that mention “for STUDIO USE” do you think that it may be fake?

    how can I find that mine is japan import or international?

    • Reply July 27, 2013

      Mike

      It does come with or without the red sticker. Not fake

  • Reply August 30, 2013

    Pedro

    Hi,
    Do you think Z1000s are the best closed all-rounder under 500$? do they consider an upgrade from my K550s?
    Thanks.

    • Reply August 30, 2013

      George Lai

      For your information, I use the DRZX701iP, its little brother, when I’m too lazy to hook up my DACs and headphone amps for critical listening. At USD70 it’s cheap enough to give you a feel of the ZX1000 sound. The only criticism is the rather shallow earpads which I’ve replaced with the much thicker Brainwavz HM5 pads (USD17). The Shure 840 pads also fit but that’s velour.

      • Reply August 30, 2013

        Pedro

        Thanks George for your suggestion, but I want to upgrade from my K550 & not only to know how Z1000 sounds

        • Reply August 30, 2013

          George Lai

          It’s okay. I have the K550 too. It’s just that when I first saw the Z1000 I couldn’t believe Sony made such a flagship look exactly like their USD70 one. I just felt cheated. Ha Ha

    • Reply August 30, 2013

      Mike

      It won’t be a total upgrade (i.e the K550 is more spacious) but I find the Z1000 better than more well balanced than the K550.
      Currently the best closed all rounder is the Vmoda M100.

      • Reply August 30, 2013

        Pedro

        Thanks Mike.
        Yes, K550 is really spacious for a closed can, but I like Z1000 looks, ergonomics & I really want to have it.

        Is K550 much more spacious than Z1000? & if yes, is it curable with silver cabling or amping?

        • Reply August 31, 2013

          Mike

          I don’t think you should focus entirely on getting a spacious sound. It doesn’t always work for all music. The Z1000 when driven from a good source and amp would give a more realistic soundstage with better depth than the K550, but it still won’t be as spacious as the K550.

          • Reply September 1, 2013

            Pedro

            Thanks a million mike for your help & time.

            I will get them next week & I hope they have a good synergy with my O2+ODAC.

            • Reply September 2, 2013

              Mike

              You’re welcome.

              Try the Cmoy instead of the O2. I always find it more musical than the O2.

              • Reply October 17, 2013

                Pedro

                Hi again Mike,

                Sorry for taking your time.
                It’s more than 15 days that I own Z1000.From the first day that I received my Sony MDR-Z1000, though I was really happy with its sound & comfort, I noticed something that really makes me sad.

                When I listen to My Doom metal, Ambient & Industrial stuff through my Sony MDR-EX100 which costs around 30$ & my broken Philips SHP2000 (10$), I can hear some deep layers much better and easier & even with better texture than my Z1000.

                For example when I listen to this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxDMHiJb7Vs) I can’t hear that noisy texture (noisy rumbling-like sound) in the first 10 seconds of the song on my Z1000 very well. Z1000 bass impact is quite good & I don’t have any problem with its bass quantity but why such a thing happen?

                By the way, my source is iPod touch.

                Thanks in advance

                • Reply October 18, 2013

                  Mike

                  Hi Pedro,
                  That’s very puzzling but I trust what you hear though I don’t really have an explanation for it. So the cheap headphones have more bass detail than the Z1000?
                  I rarely use the Z1000 these days but it is still a very good headphone and definitely worth the asking price (sometimes I think even more).

                  • Reply October 19, 2013

                    Pedro

                    Thanks for your reply.

                    Yes, it’s really “puzzling” & I don’t have an answer for this problem. It is a great phone & I can’t find anything else which I don’t like about this phone, but this problem is killing me. Now if I want to sell my Z1000 & get another headphone/IEM, which one do you think is a better choice:

                    Sony MDR-EX1000
                    AKG K551 (I sold my dear K550 & I can’t find K550 here anymore)

                    I know one is IEM & one is headphone but it’s not important.

                    Thanks in advance.

                    • October 19, 2013

                      Mike

                      Pedro,
                      I would look more to the direction of the Beyer 770-80, Shure 940, Hifiman HE400, LCD 2

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