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Circuit Breaker

Sony's new $2,300 headphones would pair well with a $3,200 portable media player

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Sony is celebrating its 70th anniversary, and it's doing it up right. According to Wikipedia, a 70th anniversary is technically a "platinum" anniversary, but Sony's really exploring all the metals in this lavish new MDR-Z1R "Signature Series" pair of $2,300 headphones. There's the 70mm magnesium dome driver, an aluminum-coated diaphragm, neodymium magnets, and the headband is made out of beta titanium. Naturally, the jack is gold-plated.

The precise internals give these headphones a frequency response all the way up to 120kHz, which is an impressive number but humans don't usually hear beyond 20kHz so it's not the most useful number ever. In fact, from the spec sheet the best indicator of exactly how good the Z1R might sound is the price. Sony's not a major contender in the highest-end headphone world lately — its highest priced pair on the market is the Z7, which goes for $699, and gets good reviews, but isn't exactly designed to contend with top-end headphones in the $1,000+ range. I'm looking forward to some audiophiles checking these out and discovering what 70 years of Sony-ness can really achieve when price is no object. Is there another MDR-R10 waiting to spring forth from this company? The Z1R will be available this November.