Home Closed Back Headphone Reviews The Sony MDR 1A Review: Bass Bloat?

The Sony MDR 1A Review: Bass Bloat?

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on

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Kalimera friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Sony MDR 1A Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Amp/DAC requirements
  8. Who these headphones benefit?
  9. Consensus/Conclusion
  10. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Sony MDR1A



  • Type: Closed back.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 24 Ohm.
  • Frequency Response: 3Hz – 100kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW.
  • Driver size: 40mm.
  • Material: Not specified.
  • Color: black, red.
  • Cable replaceable/detachable: Yes, and includes 2. A 47-inch cable with in-line remote and microphone for taking calls and controlling music with an Android device, and a 47-inch mini-plug cable (no remote)
  • Cable coiled: No.
  • Cable length: Not specified.
  • Comes with straight cable: Yes.
  • Ear-pads replaceable: Yes.
  • Rotating ear-cups: Yes.
  • Headband Padding: Yes.
  • Headband Style: Traditional.
  • Fold-able: Folds flat.
  • Weight: 7.94 oz.
  • Accessories Included: L-shaped plug, Smart-Key, multi-function key, single-sided cable, carrying pouch.
  • Amp needed: No.


The MDR1A is a phenomenal closed headphone for the most part. Closed back vs. open back headphones? It’s got a crisp overall sound, especially in the treble area. For a closed back, the Soundstage is also quite good. What is Soundstage?

The top-end remains intricate, smooth, and clear without becoming sibilant. What does sibilant mean? This is the MDR1A’s best character, in my opinion, along with a very natural and present mid-range. Timbre seems to be very accurate for the most part, with vocals and instruments coming through with good precision. What is Timbre?

The bass is the trouble area; it’s too bloated and artificial sounding for a headphone in this price range. There’s really no excuse for it to be honest. I have no idea what made Sony ruin an otherwise perfectly good sound signature with an overblown bass, but I digress.

Comfort-wise these are nothing short of exemplary, and though the build is extremely solid, I expected them to be heavier. That said, the materials used are solid, with hints of metal and the majority being plastic. The ear-cups feel extremely soft and supple, and I don’t get the impression that they will peel or crack over time like Sony’s entry-level models (The V6 and MDR 7506).

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  • Solid build.
  • Exemplary comfort.
  • Great mid-range and treble.


Bass is a bit too bloated for my tastes.

Video Review!

Credit to LLAT! 🙂

Amp/DAC requirements

The low impedance and high sensitivity means you will not need an amplifier with these. How to choose a headphone amp!

That said, plugging in to an amp or DAC of some sort never hurt. I always recommend the Schiit Magni/Modi combo for people who want to get their feet wet. It’s an amp that will work with the majority of headphones due to its very low output impedance.

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Who these headphones benefit?

I would say they do well with most genres, with their natural sound being the deciding factor. I listened to mostly Rock, Acoustic, and Jazz with them. They will work for bass heavier genres, but again keep in mind that bloat.


An extremely comfortable set of headphones with a great build. The overall sound is very good with the exception of that bass. Treble and mid-range are very extended and natural, though it may sound slightly artificial at times. Your mileage may vary.

Final Word

I would recommend these if not for the weird bass response. If you’re looking for a strictly bass head experience, I like the V Moda Crossfade M100 as the solution. Interested in learning more?


For a sound similar to the 1A, without the bass issues, check out the Oppo PM3. It’s a bit more expensive but worth every penny. Interested?


Looking for the closed-back budget king? That’s the V6, my friend. Interested?


What about the open-back budget king? That’s the Philips SHP9500 without question. Interested?


Well that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sony MDR 1A headphone review.

What do you think about them?? Let me know!!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Let me know in the comments below or Contact me!! I would love to hear from you..

Until then, all the best and God bless..





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