HWM (Singapore) - - Multi-Test -

The Sony MDR-10R is a new ad­di­tion to the MDR range of head­phones. From the first looks, you can see that the shape of the head­phone is oval and oblong.

The ear-cups of the Sony MDR-10R are clad in faux leather. Ex­tremely er­gonomic, the egg-shaped earcups are tilted and sit nicely around the ears of the user. How­ever, we found the head­band to be a bit on the thin­ner side and def­i­nitely pre­ferred the wide ham­mock found on the Philips Fide­lio X1. Bet­ter con­tact with the top of the user’s head would have helped the Sony head­phones achieve bet­ter com­fort lev­els with gen­tler con­tact pres­sure.

Given that head­phones to­day are com­monly paired with a smart­phone as the play­back source, Sony has given the MDR-10R a cer­tain porta­bil­ity fac­tor. Both the ear-cups can be ro­tated and the head­phones can be folded flat. In this ori­en­ta­tion, they can be slipped in­side a sim­ple soft car­ry­ing case for trans­port al­though we much pre­ferred the hard car­ry­ing case that ac­com­pa­nied the Sennheiser Mo­men­tum.

Clear and pris­tine highs greet the lis­tener when the Sony MDR-10R is put to work. The tre­bles from th­ese head­phones take center-stage and can be promi­nently heard in the mix. This helps the cans ren­der the in­tri­cate gui­tar work of Ho­tel Cal­i­for­nia in sub­lime fash­ion. On Melt My Heart To Stone, the high reg­is­ters are still im­pres­sive for how they grab the lis­tener’s at­ten­tion but they lack the warmth of tone dis­played by the Philips Fide­lio X1.

The MDR10R also boasts Sony’s High Res­o­lu­tion Au­dio fea­ture, which is sup­posed to breathe life back into com­pressed mu­sic files. While it may not bring an MP3 up to FLAC qual­ity, we did hear the sub­tle nu­ances and un­der­ly­ing in­stru­men­ta­tion for El­e­ments of Life by Tiesto, which lends some cre­dence to the fea­ture’s claims.

Most as­pects of the MDR10R’s per­for­mance are above av­er­age but fail to com­pletely wow. A de­cent sound­stage helps re­pro­duce stereo ef­fect well, but is un­able to match the width of the sound­stage ex­pe­ri­enced when lis­ten­ing to the Cre­ative Evo Zx. Sim­i­larly the tran­sient re­sponse is de­cent, but the Fide­lio X1 of­fered a more nat­u­ral sound. Bass per­for­mance is the Achilles heel of the Sony MDR-10R. We found the low fre­quen­cies from the head­phones to have




the def­i­ni­tion and con­trolled re­pro­duc­tion re­quired, but the bass lacked the im­pact and oomph ev­i­denced by the Sennheiser Mo­men­tum.

It is also im­por­tant to note that the MDR-10R has the high­est im­ped­ance, of 40 Ohms, out of all the head­phones we tested. Con­ven­tional wis­dom sug­gests that 32 Ohms is the up­per limit of loads that can be driven by source de­vices such as note­books, smart­phones and tablets with­out the need for a ded­i­cated am­pli­fier. While we ex­pe­ri­enced no real per­for­mance drop, we can­not guar­an­tee that all por­ta­ble de­vices will be able to prop­erly drive the Sony MDR-10R to its full po­ten­tial.

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