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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sony MDR-ZX700

Disclaimer: I am not even half way done with Rick's loan.. IOW, I've got a long way ahead! :)

Although ZX700 is a part of Sony's new generation of Studio Monitor headphones, according to 角田直隆-san, who is the mastermind behind the development of E888, D777, Q010, and 1R, the headphone is tweaked to suit the taste of ordinary listeners, rather than of studio engineers. 角田-san clearly distinguishes the difference between his Studio Monitor headphones and Sony's classic monitors:

"MDR-Z1000 is meant to be used outside of a recording booth, while MDR-CD900ST is specifically made for musicians residing inside of the booth. ... The sound, of which a musician hears on stage, is basically a cacophony of noise from various sources. Yet, by clearly distinguishing his performance from that of others, a harmony is created. ... On the other hand, a mastering engineer listens to the entire session, and accurately checks the tonal balance of the result."
And unlike its sibling, Z1000, which is equipped with a liquid crystal polymer diaphragm, ZX700's diaphragm material is made of a plain PET.

PRO: A large diaphragm prevents placement-induced amplitude variation from occurring. Moreover, the headphone is basically free of distortion above 100 Hz.

CON: The frequency response follows the diffuse-field reference only from 100 Hz to 3 kHz; IOW the bandwidth is too short to be considered as an ITU standard compliant studio monitor, not to mention the high level of sub-bass distortion is a minus too.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #1: Blocking the rear vent shifts the mid-bass resonance characteristic. This vent is to be kept open at all times, unless someone wants to mess with the headphone for fun.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #2: A good amount of equalization below 100 Hz and at 5 kHz is essential.