Sony MDR-Z1000 P5 review

An impressive pair of  'designer portables' with good sound Tested at £385

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Nicely built headphones with an impressive sound – and useful flexibility


  • +

    Tight, punchy and exciting


  • -

    Colouration to the low midrange/upper bass

  • -

    could be more transparent

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These beautifully built, closed-back cans are aimed at the hi-fi end of the market.

But given their rigid construction, understated design and compact size, they could arguably double as the kind of ‘designer portable’ headphones we see so much on the underground these days.

They’re not a million miles away from being a slightly less elegant version of B&W’s P5s.

Sony appears to see the Z1000s as very much a ‘pro’ pair of cans aimed squarely at the studio, but they are equally at home in the lounge.

Clever use of technology
A liquid-crystal polymer film diaphragm – designed to balance rigidity with high levels of internal loss, so vibrations are minimal – as well as a cleverly designed noise isolating earpad and a lightweight magnesium alloy housing, all contribute to the performance.

And they’re deeply impressive. Tight, punchy and exciting, they offer real sonic solidity married to a smooth, and so perpetually inoffensive, treble.

There is a bit of colouration to the low midrange/upper bass, and there are similarly priced rivals that offer a little more transparency, but these are an impressive and likeable alternative – with the boon that you could, if you wanted, take them out on the road.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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