New MDR-Z7M2 Premium Headphones from Sony Arriving October 2018

September 7 2018, 01:25
When Sony introduced its new flagship Signature Series MDR-Z1R headphones, it received mixed reviews from precisely the user communities that it targeted, considering its hefty price tag that placed it in direct competition with Audeze, MRSpeakers, HiFiMan or Stax. Already announced in Asia and more recently at IFA in Europe, the new Sony MDR-Z7M2 premium headphones inherited core technology from the MDR-Z1R, uses new 70mm drivers, keeps the comfortable design, and retails at a much more affordable price.

And the more intriguing part is the fact that Sony announces, "improved sound quality with technology inherited from the Signature Series MDR-Z1R’s." This might be related with the fact that the newly developed 70mm driver unit, with aluminum-coated Liquid Crystal Polymer diaphragms, bigger magnets and a Fibonacci-patterned grill (there had to be a Fibonacci spiral for that extra spark!), results in a completely different frequency response and improved dynamics, that many demanding users will find much more balanced and detailed.

The Z7M2's new drivers are able to generate a more natural sound with low coloration at mid-high range. This is due to the dome of the diaphragm having been upsized and its profile optimized, which enables a better mid-low range response, and more detail at mid-high range. The drivers contain a larger magnet (double that the volume as compared to the previous MDR-Z7 model), resulting in stronger driving power and hence, better dynamics.

The mysterious Fibonacci-patterned grill – implemented first in the Z1R – is made of a stiff resin, which offers thinness with strength, and aims to minimize sound damping from the grill in the ultra-high frequencies. In addition, Sony added a special acoustic port on the housing – named the Beat Response Control – to control air flow behind the driver and optimize diaphragm movement when reproducing low frequencies.

Sony characterizes the resulting sound quality as a "three-dimensional, spatial sound experience that delivers wide spacious sound from 4 Hz to 100kHz," since this new model is also part of what Sony calls its "High-Resolution Audio compatible" range of products - someone in the company thinks that hi-res audio needs to be synonym with extreme frequencies. But forgetting the marketing aspects of the absurdly extended response specifications, what will be interesting to discover is how closer this model will be from the preferred frequency response in the critical audible range.

On the construction side, Sony once again offers an excellent, light design, with generous ergonomically shaped ear pads made of very thick low repulsion urethane foam, reducing pressure and providing long-wear comfort, ideal for a closed, circumaural model. Also, from the MDR-Z1R, the MDR-Z7M2 inherits the Φ4.4mm balanced connection cable, which connects to special lead-free solder and Corson alloy contacts in the headphone connecting jacks. Corson alloy (a type of copper alloy) is an ideal material for electric contacts connection in jacks due to its low resistance value and high durability.

The Z7M2 comes with two different headphone cables; a standard unbalanced cable and a balanced connection cable. A screw lock-ring mechanism is used for to secure the connection and enhance durability. In addition, silver coating was used for the copper balanced cable. Sony also recommends its 8-wire braided cables, engineered with Kimber Kable and sold separately.

To improve the wearing comfort of the Z7M2, a synthetic leather headband with aluminum alloy hanger and slider ensures the headphones' durability, while a special anodizing treatment process results in increased hardness of the hanger, also to minimize scratches caused by daily use. Special attention was paid to designing an inward axis structure for the Z7M2 where the point of side pressure is closer to the head. This ensures better wearing stability for the user at all times. The Z7M2 also features a silent joint mechanism that minimizes mechanical noise caused by the movement of joints, ensuring a quieter listening experience.

The Sony MDR-Z7M2 premium headphones will be priced at approximately $899.99 / €800 be available in most countries from October 2018.
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