Three New Headphones, a Portable Headphone DAC/Amplifier and Headphone Cables from Sony

November 12 2014, 06:00
Further continuing its commitment to bring premium High-resolution audio to consumers everywhere, Sony introduced at the RMAF 2014 show in Denver an expanded range of portable audio options to enjoy Hi-Res sound on-the-go. This includes three new headphones – the MDR-Z7 headband type Hi-Res Headphones, MDR-1ADAC Hi-Res Headphones with Integrated DAC/Amplifier, and XBA-Z5 Hi-Res In-Ear Headphones – as well as the PHA-3 Portable Headphone DAC / Amplifier, and several headphone cables including models engineered with Kimber Kable.

“By continuing to expand our Hi-Res audio line, we continue to push the envelope and offer the best Hi-Res products for our customers to elevate the listening experience beyond their normal expectations,” says Takumi Sasaki, director of Sound. “Our new Hi-Res headphones and PHA-3 Portable Headphone Amplifier are great examples – as are the new line of Headphone cables, some of which were created in close collaboration with Kimber Kable to achieve the best playback suitable for Hi-Res audio.”

MDR-Z7 Hi-Res Headphones
The MDR-Z7 headphones meld ultra-responsive audio performance, a solid, thoughtfully designed aluminum structure and lush, ergonomic, enfolding comfort for an unparalleled listening experience. The relatively large 70 mm HD drivers deliver a sound wave similar to that of a loudspeaker, ultimately distributing a highly natural sound from super-low bass response to ultra-sonic frequencies, and providing the listener with an immense feeling of space to ‘feel the air’ as if they were listening to music in a live venue. Lightweight and responsive Aluminum-coated Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragms also provide uniform sound production across all frequencies without coloration.

Additionally, the Z7 features a 4-wire structure that uses separated ground cables to minimize crosstalk between left/right channels and supports balanced audio connectors while silver-coated OFC cable strands reduce signal transmission loss. The MDR-Z7 also includes a balanced output cable (2m) for improved signal separation with the option of plugging into a compatible, audio amplifier, such as the new Sony PHA-3.

Made in Japan, the MDR-Z7 exudes quality and precision workmanship. The pressure-relieving, ergonomic urethane ear pads were designed using the latest 3D sewing in order to keep the square shape of the internal cushion from crushing or hardening. There’s also an Inward Axis structure that utilizes a slanted swivel axis design to bring the pads closer to your ears, for improved stability, better bass response and long-term comfort.

MDR-1ADAC Hi-Res Headphones with Integrated DAC/Amplifier
The newly created MDR-1ADAC headphones enable listeners to experience the best from multiple digital audio devices. The 1 ADAC can also play both PCM (at up to 192 kHz /24-bit) and DSD (at up to 5.6 MHz) music files directly, without the need of an external decoder. Additionally, its built-in S-Master HX digital amplifier reduces noise and distortion across all frequencies, and reproduces each track in outstanding detail.

The MDR-1ADAC headphones support PCM 192 kHz/24 bit, and DSD 2.8MHz/5.6MHz – New 40mm aluminum coated liquid Crystal Polymer HD drivers also deliver frequency response up to 100kHz when in analogue input. The new MDR-1ADAC headphones also come with multiple-inputs and the cables that are necessary to connect to a smartphone, portable audio player or PC.

In order to accelerate the Hi-Res experience, Sony has created several different cables for direct connection – including the specially developed thin and flexible USB connecting cable, the Digital connecting cables specifically for Walkman and Xperia devices, an exclusive iOS Lightning connector cable as well as a conventional audio connecting cable. Plus its built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 7.5 hours of continuous playback.

XBA-Z5 Hi-Res In-Ear headphones
Similarly to the MDR-Z7 headband type headphones, the new XBA-Z5 in-ear headphones are also Balanced Audio Capable and take full advantage of dedicated left and right channel connectivity for improved separation loss and a stellar listening experience.

Its compact in ear design consistently delivers Hi-Res audio reproduction via newly developed, Linear Drive Balanced Armature technology which utilizes a more symmetrical design for enhanced waveform reproduction.

The XBA-Z5 incorporates 16mm dynamic driver units with Aluminum-Coated LCP diaphragms and its ultra-compact, lightweight magnesium housing, has the necessary rigidity to prevent vibration when listening to music anywhere. The Z5’s easily adjustable ear-hanger design with Shape-memory resin also enables secure and comfortable fit, while significantly lowering sound leakage. Plus it includes 2 pairs of detachable cables for both balanced and unbalanced connections, making it ideal for use with the Sony PHA-3 Portable Headphone Amplifier.

PHA-3 Portable Headphone DAC/Amplifier
Sony’s new PHA-3 portable DAC/Headphone amplifier lets consumers enjoy their favorite Hi-Res digital music in a whole new way. It utilizes balanced audio outputs with dedicated left and right channels to deliver an optimized listening experience. Using ESS Technology’ ES9018 D/A converter the PHA-3 offers outstanding audio performance in terms of dynamic range.

The PHA-3 can decode virtually any PCM (up to 384 kHz/32bit) or DSD (up to 5.6MHz) audio source, for maximum flexibility. Sony’s DSEE HX technology allows to up-scale low resolution audio sources (MP3, AAC, ATRAC, and WMA) to achieve higher music quality.

The PHA-3 uses durable materials: compact aluminum to enclose the delicate circuitry from internal or external interference, front bumpers which protect the volume knob & headphone connectors from external impact, and recessed control switches which help to reduce the chance of accidental access during playback. The internal rechargeable battery provides approximately 5 hours of balanced audio playback when connected via USB, or up to 28 hours of playback when connected using the analog, 1/8” stereo input.

Headphone Cables including Kimber Kable Collaboration Models
As the performance of Sony headphones have improved over recent years, the demand for headphone cables that deliver high-fidelity headphone audio reproduction has also increased – urging Sony to provide more advanced and diversified cables for customers.

Sony introduced a series of unique headphone MUC-B cables in pursuit of further high-quality sound playback suitable for High-Resolution music. These headphone cables, engineered in partnership with Kimber Kable namely for use with the MDR-Z7 Hi-Res headphones include: the MUC-B12SM1 High-Performance Portable Audio Headphone Cable (1.2m with 1/8” stereo connectivity), the MUC-B20BL1 High-Performance Balanced Audio Headphone Cable (2.0m with balanced stereo L/R connectivity), and the MUC-B30UM1 High-Performance Connecting Cable (3.0m with 1/3” stereo connectivity).

Ray Kimber, inventor, engineer and entrepreneur of Kimber Kable, expressed his sentiment around the collaboration by stating, “Sony is known for their excellent headphone and speaker quality and, since 1979, Kimber Kable has been known for creating high performance cables. Working in tandem with Sony, we’re now able to create the best sound experience possible through the use of the highest quality materials possible – it has been wonderful to watch unfold.”

The 8-wire braided headphone cable uses Kimber Kable’s braiding technology and expertise. Braided cables naturally reject outside interference, reduce intra-conductor sonic degradation and result in lowered noise floor and optimized electrical parameters. Additionally, the cables engineered with Kimber Kable utilize a 4-core structure with separated grounds — which improve the stereo separation and balance audio fidelity.

Additionally, Sony is introducing the MUC-S20BL1, MUC-S30UM1 and MUC-S12SM1 cables all with a multi-gauge conductor and twisted pair cable structure which twist hot and cold signal lines with each other, resulting in a reduced loss of signal transmission. These Sony cables utilize a 2-layer conductor composed of silver-coated OFC (Oxygen Free Copper), resulting in smooth high note frequency reproduction that minimizes signal transmission loss & sound deterioration.

The MUC-M20BL1 and MUC-M12SM1 Sony cables similarly utilize the Silver-coated OFC and Multi-gauge conductor structure – but differentiate themselves through the use of a Star Quad cable structure. By applying a twisted 4-pole structure, the magnetic flux caused by signal current is cancelled and the current noise influence from outside is reduced.

MUC-S cables are designed for the MDR-1A and the MUC-M cables are designed for XBA-Z5.

MDR-Z7 Hi-Res Stereo Headphones will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $699.99.
MDR-1ADAC Hi-Res Stereo Headphones will be available in December for a suggested retail price of $399.99.
XBA-Z5 Hi-Res, in-ear headphones will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $699.99.
The PHA-3 Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier will be available in October for a suggested retail price of $999.99.

The MUC-B12SMI High-Performance Portable Audio headphone cable engineered with Kimber Kable will be available in November for a suggested retail price of $229.99.

The MUC-B20BL1 High-Performance Balanced headphone cable, and the MUC-B30UM1 High-Performance headphone cable, both engineered with Kimber Kable will be available in November for a suggested retail price of $249.99.

The MUC-S20BL1, MUC-S30UM1 and MUC-M12SM1 connecting cables will be available for a suggested retail price of $109.99, while the MUC-S12SM1 connecting cable will have a suggested retail price of $99.99 and the MUC-M20BL1 will be available for a suggested retail price of $119.99.
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