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Sony MDR-R10: The world’s best headphone?

Sony MDR-R10

Sony MDR-R10 headphones, with a Red Wine Audio amplifier.

I’ve heard most of the world’s best headphones, but somehow missed the Sony MDR-R10. Only 2,000 were made. Production started in 1989, and at $2,500 a pair, it was the most expensive headphone in the world. The headphone cognoscenti scooped them all up years ago, and right now MDR-R10s rarely come up for sale. When they do, they usually go for more than $6,000!

The MDR-R10’s 50mm “Bio-Cellulose Dome Diaphragms” are credited with producing the headphones’ superclear treble and oh-so supple bass. The headphone also sported real lambskin-covered ear pads, and the large sculpted ear cups are made from aged wood from Zelkova trees. Sony did make a few other headphones with Bio Cellulose drivers — the MDR-CD3000, 1991, MDR-E888 in 1995, MDR-CD1700 in 1996, and the MDR-CD2000 in 2000 — but those headphones never attained the stature of the MDR-R10. No, it’s never just one thing that makes the great ones great, it’s the whole design.

That’s all well and good, but I had yet to hear a MDR-R10 for myself to see if it’s really all that special. I finally got a chance when Red Wine Audio’s Vinnie Rossi borrowed a set to show at a recent NY Head-Fi meet. The headphones were plugged into a Red Wine headphone amp, of course, and when I played a few tunes I was shocked by the sound. The MDR-R10’s effortless, unforced, yet still highly detailed and clear sound was world class. They’re closed-back headphones, but the wide-open sound-staging was exceptional — no wonder these long out of production headphones developed cult status. The sound is more lifelike and natural than any other headphone I know, so music sounds realistic in ways that hi-fis rarely do. The MDR-R10 is a big and bulky design, but they seemed nicely balanced and comfy for the 20 minutes I listened to them.

So the question is raised: If Sony was clever enough to design a world-class, uber-audiophile headphone back in the day, why can’t they do it again? Or make something almost as good and sell it for a lot less? I really don’t have a clue, but the MDR-R10 may have really been the Holy Grail, at least as far as dynamic headphones go. Stax electrostatic headphones may be more transparent and clear, but they don’t have the body and soul of the MDR-R10.





  1. When lightning strikes, nearby magnetic compass needles might be seen to jerk as a result of the electrical discharge. No compass needle deflection results throughout the buildup of electrostatic charge preceding the lightning bolt, only once the bolt really strikes. Exactly what does this phenomenon indicate about current, current, and magnetism?

    Just like electricity might be utilized to create magnetism, magnetism can also be utilized to create electricity. The second process is called electromagnetic induction. Design an easy experiment look around the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction.

    A sizable audio speaker may actually demonstrate both concepts of electromagnetism as well as electromagnetic induction. Let you know that this might be done.

    What is your opinion can happen if a person would lightly tap around the cone of one of these simple loudspeakers? What can another speaker do? When it comes to electromagnetism and electromagnetic induction, explain what’s happening.

    Draw the pattern from the magnetic area created by electric energy via a straight wire and thru a wire coil:

    In 1820, in france they physicist André Marie Ampère learned that two parallel wires transporting electrical current would be either drawn to each other, or repelled by each other, based on what directions the 2 power were going. Devise a test to breed Ampère’s results, and see which directions current have to go to provide an attractive versus a repulsive pressure.

    A lasting magnet is really a device that maintains a magnetic area without requirement for a energy source. Though a lot of us have observed the results of magnetism from the magnet, very couple of people can describe what can cause permanent magnetism. Explain the reason for permanent magnetism, in your words.

    A coil of wire is created of numerous loops. These loops, though tracing a circular path, might be regarded as being parallel to one another. We all know any time two parallel wires carry electricity, you will see an analog pressure produced between individuals two wires (as with André Marie Ampère’s famous experiment).

    When electric energy is undergone a coil of wire, will the inter-loop pressure often compress the coil or extend it? Explain the way to go.

  2. Ellis Montemayor

    I would like the very best earphones and also the best gaming mouse there’s! However i have no idea things to buy! Help!!!

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