Sony MDR-Z7 Performance Build Quality Comfort Value PRICE $700 AT A GLANCE Plus Yummy sound, nice bass, clear top end Impeccable Japanese build quality Huge soundstage for a closed-back design Minus Doesn’t fold for compact storage THE VERDICT Sony's back with a winner! The MDR-Z7 looks, feels, and sounds like a high-end headphone. Sony PHA-3 Performance Build Quality Features Value PRICE $1,000 AT A GLANCE Plus Handles ultra-high-res 384kHz/32bit files Does DSD at 2.8MHz and 5.6MHz Single-ended and balanced headphone outputs Minus No indicator for remaining battery charge THE VERDICT The Sony PHA-3 has undeniable synergy with the MDR-Z7, but sounds terrific with other headphones. Sony's hardly a newcomer to the upper echelons of the headphone scene. Some of you might recall the legendary MDR-R10 from 1989—at $2,500, it was the most expensive headphone in the world. The sleek Qualia 010 debuted in 2004, and that one bore a remarkable resemblance to Sennheiser's current flagship, the HD-800, but the Qualia 010 arrived five years before! Now, with the $700 MDR-Z7, Sony's back with a new, considerably more affordable flagship. For this review, we mated it up with the company’s also-new flagship portable DAC/headphone amplifier, the PHA-3.