The Sony MDR-1RNC has a solid build quality. When it's folded, all the parts fit snugly together, and the mechanism for adjusting the size is sturdy with increments. The colour is black with red accents, courtesy of the metal rings around the earpieces, which gives the headphones a stylish appearance. The materials mainly consist of plastic, which is disappointing for this price class. They aren't small, at least. The earpieces are about 8 cm deep and 10 cm high. The headphones weigh 330 grams, not super-heavy when you wear them.
The Sony MDR-1RNC shares a number of characteristics with the other versions. All models have 40 mm drivers with a membrane in what Sony calls 'liquid crystal polymer' noemt. This material is supposed to provide the right combination of rigidity and lightness for balanced sound reproduction. Sony claims a frequency range of 4 to 80.000 Hz.
The drivers are contained in comfortable earpieces, that rest softly on your head due to the foam layer. While they also get warm like most on-ear headphones, they are still very comfortable after several hours of listening. Another function of the foam cushions is that they keep out a lot of noise from the outside world. The housing joints are equipped with silicon rings so they move silently. The earpieces can be folded flat for transport, and the same joint improves the wearing comfort as well.
The cable runs to the left earpiece and can be replaced. Sony includes two cables, one 1.5 m cable and a shorter one (1.25 m) with built-in remote and mic, for compatible smart phones. The cable is worth mentioning, because it has tiny grooves in it to prevent tangling, and this is a very welcome feature for daily use.
The left earcup also has the on/off button for the noise cancellation. This feature requires the built-in battery to be charged. If it's empty, then the headphones will produce no sound wat all. Fortunately they headphones do work on no battery when you turn off the noise cancellation, something which isn't always the case we've noticed with other similar headphones. To charge them, you use the included micro-USB to USB-A cable which goes to a hidden connector in the right earcup.