Sony announced a number of new audio products at CES 2015 earlier in the year, and we recently got our hands on the MDR-1A BT headphones, which have some interesting features.
These are an evolution of the MDR-1A headphones that we rated highly in our 2014 review. In this case, the BT stands for Bluetooth, as Sony follows a number of other manufacturers in cutting the cord on a wider range of headphones.
In the case of the MDR-1A BT, Sony is looking to hang on to the Hi-Res Audio tag by introducing its own codec, called LDAC.
LDAC aims to increase the quality of Bluetooth music, with three times the bit rate than regular Bluetooth. Sony says that it's capable of higher than CD quality audio.
Of course you'll need a compatible device, like the new ZX2 Walkman, but there's apt-X support too so you'll get those benefits when connected to a wide range of mobile devices.
There's NFC for pairing, but the thing we were most interested in was gesture controls.
Rather than having buttons on the headphones, the right-hand can outer plate is touch-sensitive, meaning you can control your music by touch.
You'll be able to swipe through tracks, adjust the volume, and pause, meaning there's no hunting around for buttons when you're on the move. We gave it a try and found it pretty simple to use.
The headphones themselves are of the over-ear variety, with plenty of padding so they're nice and comfortable. There's no noise cancellation, instead relying on a good fit and in our brief listening time, that seemed effective enough.
We didn't have the chance to fully test the sound quality from the 40mm drivers, but we were impressed with the tracks we listened to. The bass is nice and punchy, which Sony seems keen to emphasise.
The internal amplifiers use Sony's DSEE HX to enhance the sound, attempting to replace some of the detail that gets lost in heavily compressed audio. You can also attach the supplied cable for the best possible quality.
These headphones fold flat to make them easier to stow in a bag, and they promise 30 hours of music listening from a charge, which is impressive endurance.
There's no word on pricing or availability just yet.