High in luxury, with slightly mixed noise-cancelling
Lovely build quality
Noise-cancelling brings brightness
These aren't cheap, costing £450 if you buy them from Sony. It's lucky, then, that we've found them far cheaper by shopping around.
First impressions for the MDR-1RNC are good. They certainly look like £450 headphones – build is impeccable, plus they're comfortable and just the right weight.
Switch on the noise-cancelling and it's a peculiar effect. All the low frequencies are drained from your surroundings, but midrange and treble remain – so in an office you can hear the tippity-tap of keyboards.
There's also a brittle quality to high frequencies in this mode. Bass is fast and tight, but lacks punch.
On the plus side, the soundstage is lovely and wide, and the detail on offer is fantastic. Turn the noise-cancelling off and that brittleness reduces, replaced by guts and punch.
More after the break
These headphones are a real mixed bag. We don't like the brightness that the noise-cancelling brings, but we love the luxurious feel and warm, friendly sound you get without it.
Do they sound £150 better than our current Award-winner, the Bose QuietComfort 15s? No. Do they feel £150 better? Most definitely.