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Sony MDR-7520 Professional Headphones

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #128 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Clarity, clarity, clarity! Detail, neutrality, revealing, maybe even transparent? Very comfortable.

Cons: You will definitely hear the flaws in bad recordings

So, I've finally found MY headphones :) I tried the Sennheiser Momentum, the KEF M500, B&W P7, Sony MDR 1R, Philips Fidelio L2 (yes, the L2), the B&O H6, the Focal Spirit Classic (you read that right too) and the Sony MDR Z1000.

 

I was in search of a good sounding, but most of all comfortable closed headphone. All the headphones I've tried above sounded quite good, but none of them were comfortable enough for me (except for the Z1000, which is the 7520's less refined brother) so I ended up returning all of them.

 

So what was the first thing I noticed when I listened to the 7520? The amazing clarity. I'm not exaggerating when I say that all the above headphones (with the exception of maybe the L2) sound veiled compared to the 7520. Also the level of detail these headphones retrieve is amazing. It's actually leaning towards the analytical side, without losing it's musicality. I can listen to music for hours without the level of detail becoming too much, but when I want to close my eyes and focus on the music there is just oodles of detail to be found, I just get lost in the music :)

 

To my ears this headphone responds very well throughout the entire frequency range. The highs are nice and crisp but never sound harsh. Sometimes you will hear a bit of sibilance though, but that's only with less well mastered recordings. The mids are very neutral and detailed. And the bass is very very nicely done, very taught, controlled, and again I think fairly neutral. And it will still reach deep into sub-bass regions when the music calls for it. If a song is warm, the headphone will sound warm. If a song is cold, it'll sound cold. If the music is rocking, these headphones will rock. If the music is serene and quiet, these headphones will be very composed.

 

The soundstage of these headphones is also quite good. I'd say it portrays the soundstage the way the audio engineer intended it to sound (provided he was using good speakers/headphones as well of course :)). So with classical music the soundstage can sound quite wide, and with other music it can sound quite narrow, depending on how it's recorded. I also feel like the imaging is done very well and the instrumental separation is excellent. When you focus you can and will hear every individual instrument, easily. And if you don't want to focus, it turns into a nice ensemble so you can just do what music is intended for: enjoyment :)

 

The Z1000 is the 7520's brother. They look exactly the same, just that the Z1000 has silver accents. I think they also use the same drivers as the technical specs are exactly the same, but others have pointed out that they are actually different drivers with very similar specs. Whatever the case is, they certainly do not sound the same. The bass response is a bit rolled off I'd say on the Z1000. It's just not there, even when the music calls for it. And compared to the 7520 the soundstaging was less expansive when the music called for it. The rest of the frequency range sounded otherwise fairly similar.

 

These headphones put a smile on my face when I listen to music. Eventhough they are marketed to the professional audio engineer market (and I can certainly hear why), I think any audiophile will be able to appreciate these headphones. I've never heard a truly neutral high-end headphone, so I cannot compare it to that, but I think this is quite close to a neutral sounding headphone.

 

I highly recommend this headphone to you all. At least give it a listen :)

 

Edit 3/25/2014: I lowered the rating by half a star as there is a bit of creaking in the headphone that I haven't been able to fix. It occurs when I move my head or jaw. It can be quite annoying. The SQ is still superb, but the creaking sometimes distracts me from my listening.

Posted

Pros: Bass, Detail, Smooth, revealing

Cons: Detail, can sound a bit conjested at times, finicky fit.

A bit about me. I am an average guy that loves music. I listen to a wide variety of music but of late listen to alternative, rock, hip hop, rap, dance and jazz. I generally am not a fan of country music but some songs reach out to me. I got turned on to hifi at a young age as my dad had a decent setup and then my brothers as well. Have heard, B&W, Mission, Dynaudio, NHT, Bose, Mordant Short, KEF and a few other speakers in various setups, but nothing outrageous, like $20,000 setups. So I think I can appreciate good music. I was a musician, (haven't practiced in years) learning the piano.

 

I have realized that this is a journey for me. Where I live, I cant try before I buy, They only sell the cheap crap here and anything decent costs an arm and a leg. I saw an M-audio Q 40 in a shop here once for about US$300 when they were selling in the US for less than half that. and that was a rare find, so my journey starts with this community and their reviews and opinions of which I give a big thank you to, even if you are decimating my wallet. So with that out of the way, I begin.

 

 

This is a review of the Sony MDR 7520, which I will compare to my Sony MDR 1R.

 

Looks

 

Well no contest, if you are going in for a beauty contest, the 1R wins hands down. It is just a wonderful looking headphone compared to the 7520. Which is just utilitarian in design. Think Audi R8 (1R) vs Nissan GTR (7520) the Audi just from the looks exudes class and luxury and beauty. The GTR is Utilitarian. You know what it is built for... its not ugly by any means, but it is definitely function over form.

 

Build, design, comfort

 

They are both well built. The 7520 is the more solid feeling of the two though. The 7520 also feels heavier. I like the locking cable and the jack itself seems to offer more resistance and ability to hold the headphone jack than the 1R. The 1R beats it in design though. With its swiveling cups and fold flat design it as the design edge.

 

As far as comfort goes, I think that because of the design, the 1R ends up being more comfortable. It is lighter, better padded on the headband and is more tolerant to shifts than the 7520. Sit in a chair and lie back with the 7520 and the sound sig changes. turn your head to look at someone and the sound changes. It can get annoying and may dissuade you from getting them for portable use. Also as the pads are firmer than those of the 1R and it clamps more, it is not as comfortable as the 1R

 

One issue that has greatly reduced over my use of both headphones is creaking. I had to lubricate them both and that stll took about a week to fully take effect. They both creak very little now and that factor has been all but eliminated.

 

Accesories

 

No brainer here. 1R comes with two cables. 7520 comes with one that can be cumbersome, though I dont mind the coiled cable.

 

Sound

 

Well my setup is in my sig, but just to repeat it here: Ipod Touch 3rd gen with sendstation LOD and PA2v2 as an amp. At present using a monster cable cable from LOD to PA2v2 and the 7520 cable as my stock cable.

 

My Music of choice were

 

Coldplay: Dont Panic

Radiohead; High and Dry

Alanis Morisette; That I Would be Good from MTV Unplugged

Splender; I think God can Explain

Daft Punk; Contact

Bruno Mars; Locked Out of Heaven

David Gray; White Ladder

Busta Rhymes; Gimme Some More, This Means War

C&C Music Factory; Just a touch of Love

 

and others

 

So on to the sound.

 

Bass:  Clear winner in my book goes to the 7520. The bass just goes deeper, is more articulate and hits harder. It reminds me more of a speaker setup than another phones I have heard. I haven't had much anyway, but of the six cans I have owned, this is the first one where I can say I 'feel' the bass. The 1R in comparison just sounds bass light and even boxy depending on the track. It did sound like this on the Radiohead and Splender tracks. These recordings are not bass heavy by any means and can sound boxy, but the 7520 differentiated between a natural sounding un miked kick drum and just a thud, which is what the 1R sounded like. On the other tracks where the bass has more body in general, the 7520 just showed its authority. And even though, it was very rare to say that the bass was too much. Thing is, I put that down to the recordings being bass heavy. esp in the rap and hip hop genres.

 

Mids:  This is a toss up. My preference goes to the 7520 here. It is more even and natural sounding over the mid frequencies while still maintaining the detail. The 1R is more forward and upfront in the mids and also seem to have a little frequency hike in the upper mids. This gives the impression of aggressive and harsh sounding mids and depending on the song this can be good or bad. On Alanis Morisette, even though the 1R introduced some nasality, I still enjoyed the more forward presentation of the mids on that song, nut on songs that already have harsh sounding instruments and synths, this sticks out like a sore thumbs and can get irritating. Caracter wise the 1R has a generally smoother sound but for the spike, and I heard a little more rasp in the lead singer for Splender voice with the 7520. The 1R Also seem to have a better sense of atmosphere than the 7520 because of this midrange in my opinion.

 

Treble:  Well i initially thought that the 1R had better extension, but burning in the 7529 shows otherwise. The treble on the 7520 is now more extended and a bit smoother and realistic. A bit more full bodied and rich. If the recording has harsh treble as in the C&C Music Factory, you will hear it for sure. So not much details here from me. Treble is just better on the 7520

 

 

Overall

 

Overall, I have fallen for the 7520. A great sounding phone in my opinion, let down by its lack in comfort and adjustability to fit to your head properly. the sound is enough to allow me to soldier on though, and I plan on getting the Shure SRH 840 pads as recommended by Starfly. I would describe the balance as the most neutral and speaker like headphones I have heard. If I were to add any criticisms,,,, it would be that because of the lack of harshness in the mids, they can sound a bit boring at times and also that they seem to lack that 'there' feeling some other phones may have.

 

 

So there you have it. My Sony MDR 7520 review, Hope it was helpful to you.

 

Dudlew

Posted

Pros: build, sound, cost

Cons: coiled cable, FR i'm not entirely used to yet

Comparing these to my Philips L1 and my Beyer T1 they have a lot more mid-bass through midrange and are slightly tilted toward the high.  They sound great but quite a bit different sound signature which I need to get used to.  My other headphones are T5p which I have yet to compare them to and Ety ER-4s.  In general all my previous phones have a less aggressive sound to them. Less mid-bass in your face.  Very very efficient, almost double the volume as the L1 and over triple the volume of the T1.  It puts a lot of music and detail across the entire spectrum in your head not light on any frequency and not missing any detail.  As I said it can be a little tiring after coming from the L1 or T1 which are much more laid back sounding.  

 

Build is top notch for the price, very solid.  Cable is a bit over-engineered especially if you are planning to use this portably.  I only wish it came with a straight 4' cable rather then the coiled 9' one since I will be using it on the road but one nice thing is the cable is a simple 3.5mm male to male so you can replace it with anything you want.  I will replace it with a simple super light weight $5 3' off amazon.  I'm one of those people who doesn't see great value though in thick or heavy cabling.  Super-silver oxygen free pure copper it all sounds the same to me in lengths under 10 feet.

 

Will have to see how the 7520 performs with cabin noise but it does seem to isolate better then the L1 and I am guessing the stronger midrange and bass might come through better with more background noise.  I can't stand the cable of the L1 which is one of the big reasons I was looking for something different. Not sure if I will sell the L1 even though this was meant to replace it because I also like that signature and I bought that at the intro price rather then the steep discount now being offered online.  It just isn't worth the loss in value to let go of seeing as they still sound great, will probably just re-cable them.  

 

Edit: After 30 hours of burn in with white and pink noise they sound much more balanced.  The mid-bass hump seems to have diminished and both ends have opened up.  Getting used to the sound as well and they are starting to really impress me.  However my new complaint is that they really need another quarter inch of ear cushion thickness to help soften the feel and also to lift the drivers a bit so they aren't touching your ear like mine do.  Not quite as soft (plush or cushy) feeling against the ears as I am used to with either of the L1 or T1 or T5p.  I am starting to get used to that as well but it would really help in terms of comfort and even give a better seal to have slightly thicker pads which I don't think would have cost more or cause any sound quality issues.  In fact I think adding this foam would perhaps improve the sound slightly, as I said there is plenty of sound output so distancing the driver slightly from the ear may give a more laid back feel.  If anyone knows how to make a mod to add say a quarter inch of memory foam behind the stock pads I am all ears.  Also if anyone has any comments regarding possibly removing the light cloth mesh inside the cups between my ears and the driver I am considering that as well.  Currently my ears touch the mesh and it is a little aggravating.

Posted

Pros: Clarity, Accuracy, Sexy Drivers!, Bass

Cons: low impedance might be a problem with some amps

These just rocked up.

Amazing clarity and accuracy to their sound, everything sounds ridiculously balanced and the instrument separation is awesome. 

Haven't spent enough time with them yet to write a detailed review but so far all I can say is WOW.

Build quality is great, all magnesium frame feels strong.  The only problem I can think of with these is that they're low impedance and very sensitive, so damping with some high-impedance amps might be a problem

 

Sony MDR-7520 Professional Headphones
By:
Description:

The Sony MDR-7520 is a high quality studio headphone for critical listening pro applications, including studio and broadcast monitoring. These closed-ear headphones have a high power handling capacity of 4,000mW. The MDR-7520s also have premium gold connectors and an Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) cord to improve sound and volume quality. Hear all of your audio's nuances with the headphones wide frequency response. Whether youre mastering or monitoring your mix-downs, these headphones are ready to go with the soft carry case and they are ready for any situation with the included stereo Unimatch plug.50mm Driver Unit with LCP DiaphragmClosed-Ear DesignWide Frequency ResponseHigh Power Handling Capacity 4,000mWStereo Unimatch PlugGold Connectors and OFC CordGet yours today; with the convenience of the Sam Ash Direct 45/60day return/price protection policy, we assure the best price and a fast, free delivery.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingPersonal Computers
BrandSony
EAN0027242821842
Feature1/4" Adaptor and Carry Pouch included
Weight0.59 pounds
LabelSony
List Price$499.99
ManufacturerSony
ModelMDR7520
MPNMDR7520
Package Quantity1
Product GroupPC Accessory
Product Type NameCOMPUTER
PublisherSony
StudioSony
TitleSony MDR-7520 Professional Headphones
UPC027242821842
SKUSONY:MDR7520
Departmentmusic, instruments, instrument accessories
Part NumberMDR7520
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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