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Headphones - Sony MDR CD3000
18 years old... and still up to date !
In this article we will discover that an 18 years old headphone can beat even the best modern headphones on the planet ... Most of the time, with (a lot of) patience, you can find a used copy in a mint condition. I have bought my « christmass present » after a listening session in a friend home: it is a SONY MDR CD3000 manufactured in 1994...

As you know I already own one of the best orthodynamic headphones on the market ! but an excellent headphones is not necessarily a *new* one...

Here are the manufacturer specifications:

Brand SONY
Type Hi-Fi
Link Cable
Freq.response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Cable length 3 m
Impedance 32 ohm
Sensitivity 104 dB/V
Connector Jacks 6.35mm and 3.5mm
Weigth 400 gr

As usual, these specifications look common, except maybe the impedance value, not too high (with a 32 ohm) and this let us hope that a very punchy amplifier is maybe not required for driving these headphones.
We can also notice that the cable uses a Litz topology and the magnets are of neodyme type: not so common nowdays...


I have bought these headphones in the U.S.A., that is the HiFi paradise, particularly for us (the Europeans and mainly the French, the HiFi market being completely «screwed » ). The seller lives in an audio laboratory...

Here is a general view of the MDR CD3000:

  and the internal parts:

These headphones were named  « the Prince » in France, because the upper model had got a very rare award « Les Muses d'Or »  from the « La Revue de l'Audiophile », which was the absolute best award from the absolute best French magazine ever published (this magazine had nothing in common with the kind of magazines that say to have discover the 9th world marvel each month...).

The shells are made of plastic, whereas they were made of rare wood on the upper model. But the drivers are identical, they both have a 50mm diameter and are made with paper manufactured by a special kind of bacteries: this was the 1st time ever that a manufacturer (Sony) achieved such a complex process. Although we cannot verify the following information, we have been said that the manufacturing process has been lost and that nobody how to manufactured new drivers like these ones...
The arch between the two drivers is in a very fragile and flexible caoutchouc, and it seems to be hurt with the years passing: so be carefull to check its state prior buying it.
The pads cushion) are very confortable, soft and efficient: we talk about the original ones, not the replacement ones made in China that some owners might have installed; so be cautious to check that you get the original ones....
These headphones are said to belong to the « closed » type, but unless my ears have suddently improved up to the Superman model, these heaphones are not closed, but opened: the surrounding noises can easily be eared.

Theses headphones come with a very large and professional suitcase:

that you cannot simply dream to get with modern headphones...

Inside view:

  The reputation of these headphones comes from the fact that it is used by a lot of professional studios around the world... and of course they not sell them !

Just a example: do you recognize this star ?...



In my permanent quest to improve my dematerialized system, I have chosen the best (and by a large margin) USB cable on the market: the Wireworld Platinium. Be cautious: if you listen to it, you will buy it...
Here is the full system setup:



Starting the listening sessions immediately put the things back in their right place: this device is a kind of genetic mutant: it is not excellent in a given area while offering an average performance in another, it is simply excellent on the entire frequency range !

For a 18 years old baby, this is a « tour de force ».....: the bass is very punchy and very deep, beautiful and fully articulated. The rest of the frequency range (mids and highs) are at the same stratospheric level of performance...

For the time being we know no other headphones able to provided so much speed and qualities on the entire spectrum: the other competitors maybe have an handicap because they require to much from the amplifier ?

Is there any weakness ? maybe we could say that it is a bit too clear ? it will never offer a dark presentation of the music.

The excellent recordings immediately reach the reference recordings level: at this moment I am in love with these headphones... it is a sort of hybrid between the Grado PS1000 and the AKG K-701.
We are totally surprised to get such a performance froma 18 years old device !

So what is next ? it wait for a battle with a few other terrific challengers, such as the STAX SR-009 or the ERGO AMT: come back soon on to learn more about such a battle...

We do not know if this exceptional musical performance comes frm the drivers made by micro-organisms, but the mystery is a pure pleasure. If you know a person or a studio selling it, hurry up and buy it, but be aware that there is a very little chance that you go back to your existing headphones !...

  • Very impressive quality on the entire spectrum
  • Mids and highs are top class
  • Bass is... top class too
  • A delicious mix between the Grado PS1000 and the AKG K-701
  • Speed
  • Confortable
  • 3D soundstage
  • High level of detail
  • Less than 500$...

  • The look is not great
  • Not closed, meaning that you will ear the surrounding noises
  • The size is big
  • You can only by a used one
  • Maybe it delivers a little bit too clear sound
  • No hope to get it repaired, SONY does not proposed any service (like if the big firms have forgotten their jewels and the passion they should have for the beauties they manufactured in the past...)
This article has been written by Florent - Nov. 2012.

Creation date : 25/11/2012 @ 19:55
Last update : 12/01/2016 @ 20:54
Category : Headphones
Page read 1157 times

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