Sony Electronics Inc. today announced the expansion of its Signature Series premium audio products, introduced a new line of in-ear stage monitor headphones, and showed the successor to the highly acclaimed MDR-Z7 over-the-ear headband headset at the Rocky Mountain International Audio Fest (RMAF). These products are made using the finest materials and harness decades of audio expertise to proudly showcase Sony's relentless pursuit of sound excellence.
"At Sony, we are constantly innovating in the premium audio market, with the goal of enabling audiophiles to fully immerse themselves in their favorite music as the artists' intended," said Toshi Okuda, president, Consumer Business Group and deputy president, Sony Electronics North America. "From the sound engineers and audiophiles at RMAF this week, to artists and sophisticated music lovers around the world, we are confident that users will experience an uncompromised and clean sound, thanks to Sony's innovation and meticulous design."
The Signature Series
The Signature Series advances sound to an entirely new realm of audio engagement — taking the experience from simply listening to feeling. Committed to audio innovation, Sony has created a range of products in the Signature Series that surpasses everything that came before it. Pursuing sound reproduction to ultimate perfection means being able to distinguish every nuance in the music with live atmosphere — even the natural decay of fading notes to silence. This new line in the Signature Series enables an astonishingly faithful sound reproduction that is definitively clear and expressive, where even the subtleties and delicate nuances of micro-sounds and bigger scales at higher dynamics are effectively reproduced.
The IER-Z1R Signature Series Headphones
Delivering an immersive music experience, the IER-Z1R headphones feature an HD hybrid driver system consisting of three newly developed Sony-designed drivers. The driver unit's sound, quality and consistency of sound character are critical to the headphone's performance. For the IER-Z1R, Sony-designed drivers ensure a preservation of consistency in sound signature, from driver design stage to the finished product.
IER-Z1R Headphones' Dynamic Drivers Details
The 5mm dynamic driver is constructed with a newly developed aluminum-coated liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragm and external magnetic circuit, allowing it to reproduce the ideal frequency response of up to 100 kHz. The 12mm dynamic driver's diaphragm features a magnesium alloy dome, which is lightweight yet highly rigid. In addition, the diaphragm of the balanced armature unit is made from magnesium alloy. Working together with a newly developed, silver-coated copper voice coil and gold-plated terminals, they increase the driving force of the balanced armature unit to reproduce sound without losing the tiniest of micro signals.
The IER-Z1R boasts perfectly controlled acoustics, achieved by the refined-phase structure, and features a magnesium alloy inner housing that delivers a natural sound with precise sense of image projection never experienced before. All three drivers – the 5mm dynamic driver, 12mm dynamic driver and balanced armature driver unit – are built into the inner housing, which works as an optimal sound path. Advanced sound space control technology was applied to finely control air flow at the rear of the drivers.
Network Designed With High Grade Parts
Sony's dedicated audio-grade film capacitor for crossover network circuits, found in the IER-Z1R, delivers a refined sound with low distortion. The film capacitor was developed after numerous listening tests. In addition, a Sony-developed dedicated audio-grade solder minimizes loss in the signal path and ensures purity of contact.
High-Sound-Quality Balanced Connection using Supplied Cable
High-sound-quality balanced connection is achieved with the supplied 5 pole, 4.4mm balanced standard cable or the use of optional cables. Silver-coated oxygen-free copper (OCP) is used in the supplied cables. Sony has evolved the plating structure of the plug and mmcx terminal to a gold plating with an undercoat instead of the commonly used magnetic material, such as nickel, which disrupts signal flow. An optional cable engineered with KIMBER KABLE® is available for another way to enjoy high-resolution sound.
Comfort is Key to Delivering the Ultimate Listening Experience
Using an accumulated ear shape database collected throughout decades of research, Sony designed the IER-Z1R for comfortable yet stable wear with an optimized housing shape, 13 variations of ear buds (six variations of triple comfort ear buds and seven variations of hybrid ear buds) and pre-formed ear hangers. This exquisite pair of headphones also boasts a zirconium alloy outer housing for increased hardness, corrosion resistance and durability. The face plate of the IER-Z1R features an elegant "Perlage" pattern, distinguishing the headphones at a glance. The IER-Z1R is meticulously handcrafted using only the finest top-grade materials by skillful artisans in Japan, allowing audiophiles to fully immerse themselves in their favorite songs as the artists and sound engineers intended for them to be heard.
The DMP-Z1 Signature Series Digital Music Player
Combining ultra-high quality sound, premium design and enhanced usability, the DMP-Z1 is a super-charged music player bringing top-end, stationary-class headphone amplifier sound and power to wherever you desire. Reaching new sound quality heights, the DMP-Z1 achieves an optimal High Resolution Audio (up to Native DSD 11.2MHz/PCM 384 kHz/32bit) and approximately 1500mW (16Ω) headphone output power (when using balanced headphone output) for a premium listening experience.
The DMP-Z1 uses a Sony customized high-end analog rotary volume controller, which is copper plated followed by a gold plating, and supports the volume for four separate signal paths (L+ / L- / R+ / R-). This ensures signal purity and allows the DMP-Z1 to reproduce transparent and clear vocals as it maximizes the DAC chip performance. All the while, it retains audio source information even at low volume levels. The DMP-Z1 also features a dual DAC and an analog amplifier for high headphone output power and high-quality sound. It uses the Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4497EQ DAC chip, a world-renowned DAC integrated circuit, as well as the TI TPA6120A2 amp chip, similarly a world-leading, top-end headphone amp integrated circuit.
Your Music Your Way
As a first for digital music players, listeners can personalize their preferred sound with the DSD Remastering Engine, which lets users convert all PCM music sources into DSD 5.6MHz. Thanks to some clever processing, the newly developed Vinyl Processor feature recreates the acoustic phenomenon unique to vinyl playback, such as the tone-arm resonance, tiny surface noise and the rich sound from the vibration by acoustic feedback from the speakers to the turntable.
Independent Power System
The DMP-Z1 has an independent power system using a total of five battery cells that provide independent and stable power to both the digital and analog blocks. The separate digital and analog power systems prevent noise propagation from the digital section to the analog block. The independent analog battery features a simple power circuit to supply power to the headphone amplifier, delivering noiseless, clean and powerful sound.
H-Shaped Aluminum Monocoque Chassis & Frame
The DMP-Z1's H-shaped aluminum chassis presents a high rigidity frame structure that eliminates vibration and reduces resistance, thereby delivering clear and powerful low frequency performance. In addition, isolation of the amplifier board by physically separating the amp board and main board using the H-shaped chassis further reduces noise, which will provide transparent, distortion-free sound to the listener.
With its mirror-finished aluminum top plate, spin-finished aluminum physical playback control keys and gold-plated analog rotary volume controller, the DMP-Z1 sports a sleek premium design that exudes high-class luxury in every component. With dual micro SD card slots, 256 GB internal storage, USB type-C connections and a Bluetooth receiver, the DMP-Z1 provides enhanced usability, making it a breeze to use daily.
The IER-M9 and IER-M7 In-ear Stage Monitors
These in-ear stage headphones provide the best tonal balance for monitoring a musician's play on stage with absolute sound isolation and a stable fit to keep the headphones secure during a performance. The headphones are developed to provide accurate sound that enables professional musicians and audiophiles to monitor every emotion and musical nuance, in addition to tone color and rhythm.
Multi Balanced Armature (BA) for optimal tonal balance
Newly developed by Sony, the multi BA system enables musicians to feel not only the rhythm and pitch, but also the detailed nuances of their live performance. With Sony's unique driver design, these headphones have the ability to reproduce tone that is true to the original sound, allowing musicians to monitor the sound balance of their own performance on stage. The IER-M9's Penta BA driver system (5 BA / 5 way) includes a super tweeter while the IER-M7 has a quad-BA driver system (4 BA / 4 way). Since the sound quality and consistency between BA units is important to harmonize tonal balance, Sony developed each driver unit in-house based on years of expertise.
Other key IER-M9 and IER-M7 features include:
- Magnesium alloy inner housing: a magnesium alloy inner housing holds the BA units firmly in place and eliminates unnecessary vibration for low distortion and resonance
- Housing integrated sound path: IER-M9 and IER-M7 has an outer housing molded sound path; the sound path realizes ideal frequency response with its short and wide sound path that suppress peaky acoustic resonance
- High Grade Parts: the IER-M9 and IER-M7 use Sony's dedicated audio grade film capacitors for crossover network circuits to deliver a refined sound with low distortion
- Sound isolation and stability: the outer housing shape is designed for isolating noise and providing a stable fit; for optimal sound isolation, the housing has a firmly closed noise-blocking structure that shuts out external sounds from the eardrum; thirteen variations of ear buds and pre-formed ear hangers hold the headphones firmly
- IER-M9's newly developed super tweeter: the newly-developed super tweeter in the IER-M9 features a magnesium alloy diaphragm for rigidity and high internal loss, gold plated terminals and silver-coated copper voice coil to raise the driving force of the super tweeter
- High-quality supplied cable: the supplied cable features silk braid as an insulator and damper against vibration and touch noise; silver-coated OFC conductor helps to reproduce detailed sound without loss; a 4.4mm silver-coated OFC balanced standard cable is also included
The MDR-Z7M2 Premium Headphones
Evolving the "Sony Sound," the MDR-Z7M2s inherit some Signature Series MDR-Z1R technology such as the Fibonacci-patterned grill and a Φ4.4mm balanced connection cable in the box. In yet another testament to Sony's commitment to audio excellence, the MDR-Z7M2 features a wide frequency response, dynamic range and a linear plane wave, offering listeners realistic reproduction of "air" around musical instruments and voices, which provides a three-dimensional and spatial sound experience as if listeners are standing in a live music space. The MDR-Z7M2 headphones provide refined music reproduction for listeners using a 70mm HD driver and aluminum-coated LCP diaphragm.
Expert sounds for the sophisticated ear
The MDR-Z7M2 features newly developed driver units adapted from the MDR-Z1R Signature Series Headphones, including improved LCP diaphragms for natural sound with low coloration at mid-high range. The dome of the diaphragm has been upsized and its profile optimized, which enables clear sound at mid-low range, and brilliant sound at mid-high range. The driver unit contains a larger magnet—double the volume compared to MDR-Z7—resulting in stronger driving power and sharpened music clarity. The introduction of a Fibonacci-patterned grill made of stiff resin achieves both thinness and strength while minimizing sound damping from the grill, resulting in smooth sound reproduction across all frequencies.
In addition, Beat Response Control, a special acoustic port on the housing, controls airflow behind the driver and optimizes diaphragm movement when reproducing low frequencies. At the same time, it improves the transient characteristics in bass sounds and delivers the rhythm in music accurately.
Other features in the MDR-Z7M2 include the use of non-lead solder and corson alloy contacts in the jack. Sony developed dedicated, audio-grade solder to minimize loss in the signal path and ensure purity of contact. Corson alloy, a type of copper alloy, is an ideal material for electric contacts of jacks due to its low resistance value and high durability.