Sony MDR-CD950

The MDR-CD950 is part of the Sony CD line released in 1991 with the CD1000 and CD3000 being the top of that line. The CD950 is very similar to the CD3000 : same headband structure, same earpads, similar cups. The diaphragm is made of evaporated (amorphous) diamond while the CD3000 has some bio-cellulose material.

The CD950 is easy to drive, and comfort is good, despite the imposing size. Pleather on these old CD Sony headphones is quite bad and doesnt last long. I damaged a lot my pads just by removing them (in order to clean the drivers). Moderate stretching crumbles them so easily …  The CD950 (and its bigger brother CD1000) are less common than the CD3000.

○ Release : 1991
○ Current status : Discontinued
○ Type : Over-ear / Closed-back
○ Measured weight : 360g
○ Impedance : 32 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : 104 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $100-200

Sound Impression
Wow … the CD950 has one of the sharpest treble I have heard in a long time. Balance is very bright. It doesn’t have the nasty edginess or sibilance like the HD800 or some AKGs. Instead, it’s more a sharp, razor-like treble peak that immensely bothers me . “sss” or even “zzzz” sounds are very strong, like small needles hitting my ear canal. I would say around 8-9 khz.

Bass is extremely light. If you think the HD600 is a bass light headphone, just do not ever try the CD950. It has no real impact and extension and seems to roll-off around 120-150hz. Sure, on the other hand, there is no muddy bass feeling or boominess since … the bass is non-existent.

Midrange seems fine, but lacks body. I don’t hear strong emphasis in the 1 to 4khz region, which is a good thing considering the rest of the FR. Sure, they do sound open and not closed-in, with impressive soundstage from a closed-back. And quite clean, though moderately compressed and lacking in punch.

But all this does not really have any importance since the tonality is so lean. I tried having a perfect seal and putting different kind of foams over the driver to tame the treble, nothing came close to my likings.

Bass could be improved with some very thick leather pads but honestly, don’t bother. Buying a pair of old Sony CD is very risky : you have to deal with flaking pleather, risk of voice coil breaking (a flaw with some Sony CDs and the MDR-R10) and a non musical (to me) tonal balance. I had recently a CD2000 and it was already better, with better build (no stupid “collagen” pleather) and more full-bodied balance (though still on the bright side). The CD1700 or the MDR-F1 are miles better.

Measurements & Resources

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