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Sony’s $299 MDR-1AM2 headphones put the emphasis on high-res audio

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If your headphones have a wire these days, they’d better sound good

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Sony MDR-1AM2
Sony MDR-1AM2
Photo: Sony

Having recently augmented its over-ear headphones portfolio with two excellent variants of the wireless 1000X, Sony today returns to its wired range with an update to the popular MDR-1A model. The new MDR-1AM2 doesn’t add any fancy extras like the 1000X’s noise canceling. It’s a model that focuses narrowly on delivering high-resolution, high-quality audio on the move.

Inside the 1AM2 is a newly developed 40mm audio driver that contains an aluminum-coated liquid crystal polymer diaphragm. It is claimed to have a frequency response that tops out at 100kHz — though, as usual with these claims, any number higher than the 20kHz limit of human hearing is mostly of academic (or bragging) importance. Still, that allows Sony to make its high-res audio claim, which the company supports by also providing a 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced audio connector alongside a cable with the regular 3.5mm jack. These larger connectors are only supported by a few dedicated music players and amplifiers so far, but they’re growing in popularity among those who still believe in wired audio.

Compared to the original 2014 MDR-1A, this year’s update is lighter and, Sony claims, more comfortable. The ear pads are made of synthetic leather, and the overall MDR-1AM2 design apes some of the look of Sony’s more recent $2,300 MDR-Z1R Signature Series flagship. The MDR-1AM2 will be available this spring for a recommended price of $299.99.