Sony F1 Cans Report

8991XJ

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Oct 8, 2011
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897
#1
Posted about grabbing these at a great price in the ongoing thread. Had em 4 days. Tried em on the computer, very comfortable, just circles around each ear, dual metal bands providing light pressure clamping power over the head and a fake suede top of head band with dual rubber bands providing that support/positioning. Nothing touching the ears it those circles.

The drivers are mounted very open air to the circle frame at an angle just like ears sticking out a bit more toward the back. The driver support is only a 1.5 in part of the inner circumference of the over ear ring, the rest of the circumference is the open air. This piece is a nice magnesium casting and its movements are limited by the yoke which is part of the headband.

I don't do cans. Owned a set of Koss Pro600/AA back in the day driven by my Sony TA-2000 preamp. Then had a set of Koss ESP6 electrostatics, great cans but oh so heavy. Then a decade without any until I bought my first CDP, a Sony D7 and got a pair of Sony MDR-M77 to use with it. These were fine but not much bass being rest on the ear small driver assembly cans. One of the better ones they offered at about 80 bucks, I think. They outlived the battery pack of the cdp and became a diagnostic tool only. When they lost a connection between the sides, dropping a channel I started looking at headphones on CL while dissecting the M77s for repair. The MDR-F1s showed up last week and a quick review of the Google said at the selling price...Go Get Them, Right Now! Made contact and got em the next day.

Other than a brief computer trial, I have used these each night for 5 CDs powered by an HK Citation 25 preamp. Nice remote control system usually driving the NHT SB3 speakers with the Citation 22 200wpc amp. The 25 seems more than capable, plenty of volume. Ran em without tone controls until tonight. Bumped the 200Hz turnover (400 is the other offer) to about 2:00, I think. I don't know if I have a defeat on the pre I need to cancel. Anyway, I was happy with the bass but all the reviews made me want to bump it a notch just to see.

I don't know if these are as free and open as the Dahlquist DQ-10s in the main rig but I'm enjoying what I'm hearing. Bedroom listening is compromised with one ear in a pillow or the need to position oneself to be in the sweet spot for tunes from speakers. These cans eliminate that problem and I get a nice stereo image all the time.

These are not ESP6 clean and clear, nor are they ESP6 uncomfortable. These do provide a very nice image, one I'm not familiar with. Using speakers the wall of sound is out there in front of you! Height, width and depth. The headphones create a wonderful billboard of sound from beyond the left ear through head and out past the right ear. This bill board is as tall as my ears and sound placement in that 3D picture is enjoyable to experience. Tonight, replay of Donald Fagen, The Nightfly, The Future Sounds of London, Accelerator, Dire Straits, Money for Nothing, (did Communique last night), DB 10, Fleetwood Mac Penguin (did Mystery to Me last night). Also did some Allison Krause, Lamb, Neil Young Live at Massey Hall and Depeche Mode. The F1s sound great on the electronic, ambient, downtempo music I usually just pay through the house and don't sit and listen. So much going on that I don't see not sitting and listening to this genre, mostly new to me*. Cans are more sitting and listening as the sweet spot stays with you. All the other genres, so easy to see the performance since these image so well. As with good cans, hearing things missed using speakers, especially the beginning and ending sounds for songs. *Tom sent me his CD collection a few years ago and as a coder he listened to a good bit of electronic etc music. I like a good bit of it but it is new to me, not having added lots of music to the collection over the years. His 900+CD bump straightened things out.

Maybe I'll get these to the sound room and give them a listen vs speakers after I figure out how to do that since the separates don't have a phones jack. The CDPs do, the RtR does and of course the receivers do but they only visit the sound room. My speakers can eat receivers for lunch. I need to try them with one of the Luxman receivers and maybe some records.

I'm really liking these headphones, comfortable and a big, well-defined image and they look cool. Now if they had that electrostatic sound with the other pluses I might use cans more often.
 

NeverSatisfied

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#2
Your evaluation is definitely inline with what I have read before, especially their comfort. Like you many reported that with a little EQ on the bottom end these are really good can's. Now I just need to find a clean pair for decent price and I will add them to the collection. Thanks for the informative review.
P.S. a 900+ CD addition must be a fun adventure in discovery.
 

8991XJ

Chief Journeyman
Joined
Oct 8, 2011
Messages
897
#3
It was a lot of work but it had to be done. A few years earlier I picked up about 175 Indie CDs from a reviewer and since I knew nothing about these artists I was slow to audition. When Tom's collection arrived I had to get started. Loaded the changers, main rig, bedroom and car with a stack and just started listening. Used discogs to keep track except the 20 or so Indie that were not listed. Rated em and then let another CL grab of 120 show up and finally 220 from a friend. Just kept listening. Hey, I forgot, I haven't done all the classical yet and these cans are sposed to be great with ensemble music.

I still haven't listened to all the Pearl Jam, Dave Mathews Band and Radiohead. Found about 300 that made it to the main collection, 75 I don't want to hear again and hundreds that need a relisten. Sorted into these groups

It was interesting. In the middle of listening to stuff I hadn't heard before I wanted to hear something good. I grabbed stacks of the already approved discs and really enjoyed listening to new to me music I liked.

Still going through the piles but playing a lot of CDs. I changed the output chip in my changer in the main rig to improve its sound and that made a huge difference. Made the changer sound as good as the Rega Planet CDP I use for sit down listening. Got so many CDs out I just stack em for weeks before sitting down and refilling them just to repeat the grab 5/6 at a time and load a changer and enjoy. But it was work to get to this point.
 

J!m

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#5
Many songs sound different with headphones compared to speakers. Similar to what you describe.

Recordings with deliberate use of hard pan and cross fade can get annoying with headphones whereas it’s just a neat gimmick with speakers. To me anyway.
 

NeverSatisfied

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#6
Was my description of the imaging similar to what other good cans do, set up a wall of sound that appears across the inside of your head? Different from speakers with the wall in front of you.
Funny, that’s actually a description I have experienced but could not have put into words myself. Admittedly my eyes gloss over when reading many reviews, so many come across as if the reviewer possesses super hearing and somehow gets so much more from their equipment and music than any mere mortal could ever hope to. So when nonprofessional reviewers take the time to give honest opinions, I appreciate their efforts and give their opinions more weight. To answer the question, yes I have experienced what you described with several headphones, including my Sennheiser HD 700’s and B&W PX7’s.
 
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