The premium Hi-Res MDR-1A headphones by Sony were one of its best sellers when launched in 2015. This flagship series were extended to include the MDR-1ABT model which adopts Bluetooth wireless streaming and NFC technology.
The MDR-1ABT is provided with a USB cable for charging, a mini stereo audio jack cable for wired connection and a handy pouch. The accompanying documents consist of a safety notice and a simple startup guide.
Since it claimed to offer longer wearability comfort, we tried to test wear the MDR-1ABT. The soft leather earpads were still comfortable on the ears after several hours.
We then decided to pair the MDR-1ABT with the Xperia XZ smartphone which is also Bluetooth LDAC enabled.
First we turned on NFC by touching the NFC icon on the MDR-1ABT in the power-off mode.
On the Xperia XZ, we enabled NFC and was immediately triggered to start pairing with the headphones. Pairing was established in just a few seconds to successfully detect the MDR-1ABT on the smartphone.
When power-on the MDR-1ABT with Bluetooth enabled on the Xperia XZ, the connection process took around 10 seconds to complete between the two devices. On the other hand, if turning on Bluetooth on the smartphone while the MDR-1ABT is powered-on, connection was established in just about 1 second.
Once connected, the MDR-1ABT can be easily controlled from the Xperia XZ for music streaming.
When linked with the Xperia XZ, the phone will automatically select the LDAC codec supported by the MDR-1ABT for music playback.
A nice feature of the MDR-1ABT is that it offers multiple profiles for use with various compatible devices when connected. These profiles which include HFP (Hands-Free Profile), HSP (Headset Profile), and the Bluetooth A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and AVRCP (Audio Video Remote Control Profile) provide different functionalities such as hands-free calls and battery charge display.
The AVCRP is controlled by touching/swiping the music volume and tracking indicators on the headphone's right body.
The hands-free call function unfortunately picks up noises when used in the outdoors hence is only suitable for use in a quiet environment.
On a full charge, the battery is approximated to be able to stretch for 30 usage hours. When we tested using the headphones for 3 hours/day over a duration of 5 days without charging, there was still remaining battery charge available.
Using the supplied mini audio jack cable to connect between the MDR-1ABT and the Xperia XZ, we found that the high frequency band expanded to 100KHz. Bluetooth will be turned off during wired connection.
Overall the headphones on its own is comfortable for prolonged use and can work well with supported devices like the Xperia XZ.