Sony MDR-1RNC headphones

Anthony Caruana
30 April, 2013
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Good sound; USB charging





Given that Sony practically created the mobile music business, it’s not surprising to find that its entrant into this premium category is very solid. In fact, we only had one gripe with the MDR-1RNC headphones that stopped us from giving these a higher score.

The Sony MDR-1RNCs ship with a protective case that has room for the headphones and accessories including a cable with Play/Pause and volume controls. Our review unit also included an airplane adaptor, although that was labelled as a limited-time offer.

Fit and comfort was almost perfect but this is also where our only significant complaint came. The top section of the headphones has very little padding. Although there’s plenty of adjustment, we found that they became uncomfortable after about half an hour of wear.

The active noise cancellation was excellent. It transformed the roar of engine noise in an aircraft cabin down to a mild hum with a flick of a switch. In our view, the MDR-1RNCs had the best noise cancellation of the four headsets we looked at.

The MDR-1RNCs delivered impeccable sound on every occasion. One of the benefits of NC is that you can keep the volume a little lower as you don’t need to drown out ambient noise. As a result, we could listen at a moderate volume level and still hear everything.

The bass was solid but not overpowering. We could hear different instruments clearly pick out higher- pitched instruments. Like the Bose QC15s, we felt transported to the musicians’ lair as we listened. If not for the lack of padding, we could sit back for hours and feel like we had left the office or plane.

Bottom line.

There’s a lot to like about these headphones. The noise cancellation is excellent and makes listening to music a pleasure. There’s faithful reproduction of sounds that makes you feel like you’re with the performers. If they were a little more comfortable we would not hesitate in recommending them.

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