Sony Wants to Out-Beat Beats With Its MDR-1 Headphones

By Sam Gibbs on at

Sony's been making quality headphones for donkeys -- hell, I've owned at least five pairs of Sonys over my lifetime. But these days all the cool kids seem to be wearing Beats. Sony wants to change that with its MDR-1 range with wired, wireless and noise cancelling variants for your aural work-out.

The bog-standard, wired MDR-1s pack 40mm drivers with "liquid crystal polymer film" diaphragms; an inline remote for iDevices, and a wide frequency response of between 4 and 80,000 Hz, which should be good for all your high fidelity musical listening -- bit of a contradiction having an iPhone remote and hi-fi quality drivers, but whatever you're into, I guess. They're closed backed, too, which should help those sitting next to you on the tube from screaming in pain at your horrendous choice of music, plus they've got some fancy non-tangle cable, which I'll believe rids you the mess of wires when I see it.

Things get a little more interesting with the MDR-1RBTs, which add Bluetooth and NFC into the mix for some instant pairing, and should last you a not-too-shabby 30 hours per charge, according to Sony. If you're after noise-cancelling in your 'phones, Sony's MDR-1RNC swap Bluetooth for active noise cancelling, with dual microphones for both inside and outside monitoring. They'll apparently reduce some 99.7 per cent of ambient noise for 22 hours between charges, like the drone of the tube or plane, just don't expect it to nuke the guy jabbering on his phone next to you.

All variants of the MDR-1 will be available from the beginning of October for an undisclosed, probably quite high, price. Here's a little piece of advice, Sony: if you want to beat Beats, give your headphones a name as well as a model number, preferably something catchy, because "MDR-1" just isn't.