I know, I know. It seems like we do an awful lot of headphone reviews. Well, that’s because we do. There have been times I’ve considered changing the site name to something more audio oriented, LOL. That being said, every pair of headphones is distinctly different and these reviews are truly subjective. Audio isn’t heard the same way by everyone so what my thoughts are may not reflect your experience or taste.
The Sony MDR-Z7 are the latest wired over-ear headphones that have come across my desk. I’ve used dozens of headphones priced from $30USD to these $700USD pair. Through that journey I am still learning and honing what I actually like in a pair of headphones. As of now, I can safely say that the Sony MDR-Z7 headphones are the best pair of wired over-ears I’ve reviewed so far. Read on and find out why I love the Sony MDR-Z7 and maybe some of what I say will be helpful in making your choice.
The Sony MDR-Z7 headphones have the following features and specifications:
- Drivers: 70mm dynamic dome type drivers
- Headphone style: Closed-back, over-ear
- Frequency response: 4 – 100,000 HZ
- Nominal impedance: 70Ω
- Sensitivities: 102 dB/mW
- Circum Aural Type: Yes
- Weight: 11.82 oz without cable
- Dimensions: 6.9″ x 8.3″ x 1.7″ | 17.5cm x 21cm x 4.3cm
What’s In The Box
- Sony MDR-Z7 headphones
- Audio cable 9.84 ft
- 1/4″ adapter
- Balanced audio cable 6.56 ft
- Manual and documentation
- Warranty card
At first glance, I wasn’t sure about the Sony MDR-Z7 look and design. The cups are enormous but that makes sense since they house massive 70mm drivers. But their enormity is what also makes them truly over-ear headphones. The herculean ear cup’s openings are girthy enough to swallow your entire ear! That makes these headphones some of the most, if not the most, comfortable I’ve ever worn.
The padding on the ear cups is thick and rich and feels extremely nice against the skin as well as comfortable. They are so plush that you could label it as a luxury feel. The ear cups are also thick, the clamping force is perfect, and I never felt like my head was being squeezed like a melon. They’re also lightweight and easy to have on for long hours. I thought these would weigh a ton but for their size, they’re shockingly not heavy at all. I was thoroughly impressed with how comfortable these headphones are, despite their husky appearance.
The Sony MDR-Z7 headphones are constructed of high-quality metals and premium leathers. Sony says that the all-metal design suppress unwanted vibration and keep sound stable. The company also says that the metal housing on the MDR-Z7’s resonates less than other headphones constructed with “traditional” materials. This is supposed to deliver clearer mids to highs and smoother low frequency sounds. Even the hinges are metal and they articulate to fit the curves of your head very well. The headband, like the ear cups, is made of leather with a metal inner band that flexes without losing shape. It’s a nice balance of clamping power and comfort.
The rest of the Sony MDR-Z7’s design is fairly simple and clean. There are no controls and there are cable inputs on both cups. Both of the inputs accept the included Y-cable and the ends not only sit in the jack, but they screw in for a better fit. The included cables are high-quality and thick. They’re also very long and the jack ends are made of premium materials and are super thick. You can really tell that there is a high level of quality here.
The headband adjustment is smooth and Sony gives you a good range of adjustment. There is a range of 1-10 on the adjustment and I sit just about an 8. This tells me that these should fit just about anyone. Usually, most headphones have to open all the way to fit on my head. Yes, I have a big head but the MDR-Z7’s still have room so just about anyone should be able to fit into these headphones.
Sony includes two very high-quality cables along with 1/4″ adapter for those using devices with 1/4″ The one thing missing here that I wish Sony would have included, because of the price, is a hard shell carrying case. Or even a nice headphone stand would have been great. I just think at this price point, you should get some sort of protection included.
Overall, these are super well designed headphones. All the materials are well made and the headphones are super comfortable. As I said before, these could easily be the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used, to date. While Sony could have included a case or stand for better protection and storage. I do think you’re getting a lot of headphone for the money.
The Sony MDR-Z7 headphones are probably best enjoyed through a good DAQ. I have a cheap DAQ that I use only occasionally but have been meaning to get one that’s actually worth using. The MDR-Z7’s are probably best suited for home use on your PC or a nice stereo system. This is where you’ll get the best performance from them. If you have a phone with a DAQ built-in, that would work too.
Even without a DAQ and plugged directly into a smartphone without a DAQ, the Sony MDR-Z7 sound is pretty amazing. I felt the soundstage had good clarity with crisp highs and mids that shone through without any trouble. These do lean more towards the bass end of the stage but not grossly done. The bass is evident and you can feel it for sure, but it’s not to the point of rattling everything and your brain.
The 70mm drivers are absolutely massive and they deliver a crazy 4 – 100,000 HZ frequency response. I listened to everything from country music to heavy metal and rap to classical and everything felt in perfect balance and harmony. I do think bass heavy music feels a bit more full given the bass frequencies are heavier here. Again, not in a bad way and tastefully done.
Some of the technicals are better explained by Sony:
Mighty 2.76 in HD driver units power through your music, keeping every note precise, no matter how high you turn up the volume. Because of their massive size, these drivers create a plane wave effect in the earcups that prevents reflection delays and minimizes sound loss. So you can hear all the emotion and energy of the original recording with punchy bass and crystal clear high notes.
The wideband frequency range—spanning 4 Hz to 100 kHz—is designed for today’s broad variety of music styles. The 4 Hz low end of the frequency range offers more than enough latitude for even the deepest sub-bass notes. At the 100 kHz high-end, you’ll be able to enjoy vocal melodies, subtle audio harmonics
,and tonality, giving your music more life and realism.
With a high sensitivity of 102 dB/mW, these headphones are highly efficient in converting electricity into acoustic signals. That means you’ll hear a clearer sound across the entire audio spectrum (compared to less sensitive headphones) when listening to music through the same source and at the same volume level.
Overall, the soundstage is wide and broad which really opens up much of the music you’ll hear. This means you will hear things you’ve never heard before in your favorite songs. It could be a vocal part or simple percussion parts that come resonating through. Sony did a very good job here and I have no real complaints about the sound on the Sony MDR-Z7 headphones. I think your best experience is going to be utilizing a DAQ with these headphones but they’re still excellent even without it.
The MSRP on the Sony MDR-Z7 headphones is $699.99USD but you might be able to find them on sale from time to time. That’s a high price to pay and while it’s worth it, some may find it’s just too much to fork over. I do think there is a ton of value here for those who have the cash to drop. Sony definitely should have provided a case or stand for better protection and storage of your very expensive headphones given the price.
These are highly recommended over the ear wired headphones. The high price may not be for everyone but if your pockets are deep and you’re ready to spend this much you won’t be disappointed.
*We received a review unit of the Sony MDR-Z7 for the purposes of this review.
Last Updated on October 13, 2018.