I had the chance to demo an MDR-1AM2 about a month ago, and I decided to pass on buying it precisely because they had changed the ear pads!
The ear pads and comfort on the original model were just about perfect, and I’m baffled that Sony changed any of this. The foam is a bit denser and more memory-foamy on the M2, but you’re exactly right that the holes are smaller in every direction.
It was super disappointing.
The M2 is a 1A headphone in name only. Everything about the design is different, from the ear pads to the drivers to the headband. I’m surprised they didn’t come up with a new brand for it. The only true similarity is a passing visual resemblance in the ear cup forks.
I’ve meant to write up an impressions piece on this for a while now, but I didn’t have the heart to write an entire article that was just “I don’t like these pads as much as the old ones and decided not to buy this.”
In a vacuum, the M2 is a totally fine headphone, but compared to the 1A it’s like…what happened here?
The Takstar Pro 82 does an exceptional job at recreating the feel of the old 1A models.
I hope that in spite of this you’re still enjoying your new headphones, or that you bought from a place with a good return policy! :)