All things considered we are pretty impressed by the MDR-1RNC. Generally it sounds excellent, even if it's not the best we've ever heard. The lows are a little too weak to accomplish that, and this will be noticeable to those that enjoy bass-heavy music. For the majority of genres these headphones will be great, however, and that's supplemented by the extremely effective noise cancellation. The latter does affect the sound signature, but it's something you can live with. If you frequently travel in noisy environments, you will definitely appreciate the silence created by the 1RNC.
The comfort and build quality are good, even if the plastic makes it look a bit cheap for this price segment. On the other hand, adding more metal for example would increase the weight and perhaps negatively affect the comfort. The relatively large size of the headphones do make us wonder how big the market for these headphones are, since people on the move that will enjoy the noise cancellation tend to prefer more compact models. Home users, on the other hand, probably won't have much use for the noise cancelling feature.
A side note we do have to mention is that the MDR-1RNC reportedly has a different sound signature than the model without noise cancellation, and that's not surprising considering the extra circuits that feature requires. This review therefore does not reflect the other two models.
Sony proves with the MDR-1RNC that it still knows the art of the headphone, even after all these years, and that its noise cancellation is more effective than that of many competitors. A Silver Award is therefore definitely deserved.