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Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone


Pros: Very good build quality, decent midrange performance, excel at live sound monitoring

Cons: Very pronounced peak at highs, bass performance crippled by high THD, missing top octave, non-swappable cable




There are very few headphones which have survived three decades and still remain as the main workhorse for many sound professionals around the world. The Sony MDR-7506 started out as the MDR-V6 exactly 30 years ago. Understandably back then the headphone landscape was much different and these were an instant favourite amongst many sound engineers. Praised for not only great sonic performance but also well thought out ergonomics the MDR-V6 became a classic and Sony decided to do a slightly higher priced spin-off and call it the MDR-7506. The younger brother of the V6 has slightly better build quality and initially used the same driver with samarium-cobalt magnet which was in the late 90-ies replaced with a stronger neodymium magnet. Unfortunately the magnet swap happened without changing the serial number, hence it’s hard to know what version exactly one has.


Traditionally the MDR-7506 has been a favourite amongst live sound engineers and looks like this means that these Sony headphones have found their way into studio control rooms as well. Like the equally venerable Yamaha NS10 monitor it has become something like a standard amongst many practicioners, but does its live sound pedigree automatically make it good for mixing and mastering - read on to find out!



Uncalibrated performance.




The MDR-7506 is known for its bright-ish sound signature, which is usually thought to be “the” studio sound. Our measurements show that the MDR-7506 could actually be well suitable for live sound aplications, but for studio use most will find it to be rather bothersome.




First off - it’s safe to say that this Sony headphone isn’t known for its bass. The low end starts to roll off at 50Hz which doesn’t mean that you’ll be missing much of the music, however for serious studio use it is insufficient. High THD doesn’t help here - for most of the samples we measured it peaks at significant 15% at 100Hz. Your 808 kick tail will have possibly nice drive to it, but do not be fooled by it - its the headphones that are giving those nice overtones not the sample! We would recommend avoiding mixing bass with these headphones at all costs.


100Hz - 2KHz shows good linearity with minimum channel differences. This is the region where usually most of the musical information resides, so despite its other shortcomings the MDR-7506 does much right. Usually if your mids aren’t on point, then who cares about the rest? Pretty sure that it’s the clean mids which are responsible for MDR-7506’s fame.


After 2Khz is where the real trouble starts. Severe peaking starts in this region right up to 10KHz where a gradual peak up to +10dB makes these sound very harsh and at times sibilant. We can see this might be useful in live applications, like when you need to quickly check for some hissing or noise in some channels. Also you will get extra lows and mids from the PA (and room) whilst wearing these, so for live applications this peaking could actually make sense, but not for making critical mixing decisions. In studio environment the high frequencies will be very disorienting. Most music simply sounds harsh on these cans. The hihats and cymbals will just be too much to bear. Also the de-essing can not be properly done, just like on the M50x. Your mixes most probably will sound quite dull on other systems. All in all these would be rather good headphones if it wasn’t for the over hyped highs.


Interestingly enough the very top octave on the MDR7506 is pretty tame. After 11KHz there is a steep roll-off, which masks many overtones for both instruments and vocals. The perceived effect is a congested sound with very little stereo width.



Calibrated response




The calibration effect on the MDR-7506 is very pronounced. Contrary to the “fun” sounding Audio Technica M50x, post-calibration the MDR-7506 becomes not only more precise, but also euphonic - you can actually start to enjoy listening to some tracks on it!


Extra low bass extension will surely be gained by calibration, however the performance ceiling is largely set by poor THD performance in mid-bass frequencies. Tonal richness caused by THD still persists, therefore bass mixing is rather problematic.


The linearity increase in mids won’t be easy to detect, however stereo image will be more precise if individual calibration is used. This is where Sony really did it right and Sonarworks plug-in keeps those clean mids intact.


Highs is where the most work will be done. Sonarworks plugin removes the “AM radio” tinny sound by completely removing the enormous peak at 2KHz-10KHz, hihat and cymbal tone is completely transformed. Well recorded female vocals and many string overtones will sound much more natural, hence they can finally be mixed with confidence.


The 11KHz-20KHz dip is restored to neutral as well. Overtones and spatial cues can be easily heard, making the sound wider. Instruments are more easy to detect in phantom stereo image. This top octave might not be much in the big picture, but we make sure you can hear all of it.







As a live sound tool the MDR-7506 should be able to withstand daily abuse from being dragged to and fro various gigs. Earcups are made from metal as well as the headband which is wrapped in pleather.

MDR-7506 users should always make sure that their headphones have earpads in good condition, otherwise the headphone starts to lose much of its bass. Luckily the pads are swappable and there are many types to choose from. One must however keep in mind that earpads change the sound signature, hence calibration will only work as intended with pads of the same type.


Over the years Sony has decided to stick with a non removable cable, which for a headphone if this type can cause problems. A swappable cable means that you can get back into action if you’ve broken a cable mid-gig.





After analyzing these headphones it’s no surprise why the MDR-7506 is so loved by many sound  engineers. These headphones are clearly made for live sound and on-site recording work as is evident by how rugged are they made. At the same time we were pretty underwhelmed how the MDR7506 performed in studio where a neutral sound signature is needed. Uncalibrated these should not be used as a primary studio monitoring tool.


Things do change for the better when Sonarworks calibration is used. The MDR-7506 completely changes its character and becomes a useful tool for mixing many types of music. Bass performance still suffers, could be due to the respectable age of this headphone design, but all in all - the performance gain is tremendous. Calibration is a must for every MDR7506 user, if critical mixing work is planned with these headphones. Sony has done well with this headphones ever important midrange, but we all know that devil is in the details.


The Good


Very good build quality

Decent midrange performance

Excel at live sound monitoring


The Bad


Very pronounced peak at highs

Bass performance crippled by high THD

Missing top octave

Non-swappable cable


Pros: Initially clear and detailed sound, lightweight, foldable

Cons: Very short Sony warranty, long and non-replaceable coiled cord, distorted bass in left earcup

Despite its old design, the Sonys were initially very clear with a wide frequency range. The materials and workmanship are good, they are lightweight and reasonably comfortable, with soft but durable ear pads. They fold and are easily carried. However, the coiled cord is too long and not replaceable. Another negative is the rather short 90 day labor/1 year parts warranty, and the repair warranty is also only 90 days! In comparison, at least some Audio-Technica, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser and Shure headphones feature a 2 year warranty. After about 7 months of use, the left earcup developed a pronounced rattle and distortion from low frequency inputs. Gave them away to a local library. Thanks, Sony! New Beyerdynamics (DTX 350p, in black) are on their way.


Pros: Fairly Detailed, Plenty of Bass

Cons: Ear cushions

I have used the Sony MDR-7506s as long as I can remember.  I do Front-of-House (FOH) mixing for bands, and these phones have been by my side for many years.  


Some people hate the cable, i like it, and I haven't ever seen one fail. These headphones have an enjoyable sound, decent clarity and detail (occasionally can be a little fatiguing), and a solid bass presence.  The bass isn't always the most clear (something I find with many closed over-ear headphones, until you spend more).  The upper-mids seem a little recessed for me, but not to the point of being too laid back.  I also notice that these headphones can get a bit sloppy with busier songs.


While you can technically run these straight from your favorite Apple/Android/Computing device, you won't get the best from them (they'll likely sound dull and thin).  These definitely come alive with a decent headphone amp.


If there is one thing I recommend for anyone considering these, get better ear pads.  Personally, I bought the Beyerdynamic EDT250V pads.   So much more enjoyable.



All that said, for a headphone that's been around since 1991, it holds it's own against current competitors at this price point.  If you're looking to stay under $100, you can do a lot worse than these.


Pros: Good quality sound for the price, rugged, very power efficient

Cons: Cable sucks. Better options for the same price

These were the first nice headphones I've ever listened to. Before this, I only used the apple stock earbuds so I was immediately blown away by the improvement. These headphones provide enough clarity to hear each guitar string being plucked if you listen closely, and every sound is clear. However, after a while I fell out of love with these as the sound is much too analytic for my taste. Everything sounds clear but the headphones are just boring to listen to. In comparison, I tried the ATH M50s which packed much punchier bass and catchy mids for the same price. I guess the Sonys are better if you're using them to mix or prefer analytic sound, but most people will want to get the M50s. The genres I listen to most are alt rock, metal, and punk. I've found that these headphones actually sound the best with something mildly electronic, but not to the point of dubstep. Bands like Daft Punk and Passion Pit sound great, but anything that isn't already full of energy seems lacking.


Pros: Sound, value, replaceable earpads

Cons: Non-detachable cable, cheap stock earpads, exposed wires, small soundstage

Introduction: These headphones were purchased from Guitar Center's online website for $99.99, basically $100, and whenever i confirmed the order, i was immediately overcome with joy. The reason for that was because of the fact that the Sony MDR-7506 headphones have been a recording industry standard, and i really wanted to see if they sounded any good.


Build Quality and Comfort: These headphones are mainly comprised of plastic with a little bit of metal built into them. The headband has metal built into it and it has fake leather wrapped around it. They have these wishbone type things connecting the earcups to the rest of the headphone, and overall, they feel like a really sturdy pair of headphones. 


Soundstage and Imaging: These headphones really don't deliver a wide, detailed soundstage, but i think that can be excused due to the fact that they are closed, and are not meant for soundstaging.


Bass: Detailed and Tight. Not many headphones in this price range deliver an accurate and non-overwhelming bass response that these have.


Midrange: Clean. The vocals are detailed, and most of all, wonderful... In my opinion. They are not congested or covered up by muddy bass... Nothing like that. Now, i have heard headphones that have better vocals that these, but they cost $100 to $200 more. 


Treble: Clean and not harsh whatsoever. The cymbal crashes are heard with E's, and cannot be matched by any other headphone in this price range, again, in my opinion.  


Conclusion: These are used in studios and studio applications for a reason. They sound great! Quite possibly the best 100 to 130 dollar headphones in existence.


Pros: Good technical ability, somewhat flat response, long cable, good build, highly customizeable, etc.

Cons: Upper mids are too emphasized, hints of sibilance, bass roll off, need eq, EDIT: unnatural sound, better options at the price point


I'm a consumer, a headphone enthusiast, so I'm not using these for professional use.

... that's it


They come in a nice box, really giving them a professional feel.  The bag I think is nice, since it feels durable, but it is made of synthetic  leather so deon't expect something heavy duty.  In the box, Sony gives you the headphones, a 3.5mm to 6.3mm screw on adapter, a bag, and a year warranty.  When you actually take them out of the box, you'll soon realize that that 1 year warranty is useless.


In a word, the build is simply great.  I wish I could tell you more but there isn't much to tell to be honest.  Build shouldn't be one of your worries regarding this headphone.


Comfort wise, I would say they are uncomfortable.... until you replace the pads with these:


or these:



Now they're my most comfortable cans in my selection, only surpassed by the Sony MDR MA900.


As for sound, these sound very detailed and analytical, but if you're coming from something with a warmer signature like the MDR XB500, you'll definitely notice the emphasis in the upper mids (from around 2khz-12khz).You can obviously see the boost here: from Golden Ears


Not only did Sony decide to emphasize the upper mids-treble, but they decided to recess the lower mids.  That's simply a recipe for... badness (lol).  I'm exaggeration the flaws a bit.

There's some slight bass and treble roll off, though they shouldn't be the main concern.


Anyway, some may be wondering what effect the coloration would have on the sound.  Basically, it makes the vocals sound tinny, like they're coming out of a cellphone.  Obvious exageration though.  It also can make some instruments sound a littl;e strained/strident.  Unnatural is a good word, as is analytical.


So, why have I given them such a good review?  Well, that's because of E to the Q (tried to it rhyme).  Equalization (aka E to the Q)  is fairly easy, for this headphone at least.  When you EQ, you're trying to force the headphone to have a flat frequency response.  So, in order to make these sound flat, or natural, you must counter the response:

Use an EQ, (example, EQu on IOS, or Poweramp on Android) and follow that bolded blue curve.  Add some flavor to it to make it sound more pleasing.


Sound Impressions (EQ'd, with the soft pads which slightly increase the bass)

Bass is tight, mids are right, highs are bright, distortion -3000° Fahrenheit (I can do this all day!), soundstage out of sight.  These bcome the perfect cans.  Well, on bad recordings, the sibilance does start to act up, but who cares! (lol, I know some of you care, but you's better find some better recordings or these head-fi'ers will eat you alive!).

If you want to know why these react so well to equalization, well my best guess is because of the technical ability of these things.   Studio monitors like the MDR 7506 are usually good at EQ.


MDR 7506 vs UE6000 vs M50

UE6000 un EQ'd sounds the best, but they don't react the best to EQ.  They have the tightest and deepest bass, and have the best isolation.


The M50 is nicely balanced and doesn't really need EQ but you can if you want.  The frequencies that are particularly difficult to EQ are the Mid frequncies (less so with the upper mids) and that is where the M50 lacks.  The M50 also has a smaller soundstage and is much heavier.


The 7506 is the most engaging of these, and have outlasted the rest in terms of build.



Overall, a 3.5/5 from me.


(EDIT: January 2014) It is beaten by the UE6000, ES FC300, Martin Logan Mikros 90


Pros: Easy to apply earpad mod that improves bass response

Cons: Not the greatest detail, sounds like a closed back can.

I have always taken issue with the name: these aren't large diaphragm cans. I consider 40mm diameter drivers to be average. 50mm would be large. 30mm would be small. But that's just my opinion.


This was my 3rd set of cans after re-entering the hobby last spring. They followed my ATH M40fs, and my Beyerdynamic DT 770/250 ohm cans. They initially sounded kind of clinical, but have greatly improved over time. Yes, for the record, I do believe in mechanical break-in of headphones (I refuse to call it "burn-in", because it isn't).


I realized almost immediately that I didn't like the feel of the stock ear pads. Having owned a set of Beyer cans, I had already fallen in love with the velour-style earpads. I rather quickly purchased and applied a set of the replacement Beyer ETD 250 ear pads. For $22 bucks, it was a no brainer. They were immediately far more comfortable. Over time, they also have apparently gained some improved low end response. Caveat: I do not know what they would have sounded like, had I left the stock ear pads on for a while. I hated the stock pads so much, that I just had to toss them quickly.


I use these headphones at work. I wear them 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. I run them with a stock Bravo V2 amp, sporting a late 50's vintage Mullard round-getter tube. This amp is driven by a Pure i-20 iPod DAC, which is using a 6th gen iPod Nano, that contains a combination of apple loss-less music, and some 256 kbps AAC music. No special cables are used. Stock power supplies are used. I didn't want to drop a ton of money on the setup since it sits on my desk at work, and some idiot might steal it (people regularly steal laptops where I work). So I never know if I'll still have an audio rig on my desk from one day to the next. But my job sucks, so I'd rather risk it lol. I'd hate to be without some kind of music, it's what keeps me sane.


They are light and comfortable (especially after replacing the earpads). Initially I thought they felt a bit flimsy (especially compared to the ATH M40fs, which are built like a tank), but over time they have proven solid. I don't toss them around a lot, but they have never given me any grief. They do tend to collapse into the portable carrying position without being asked to, but that's not such a big deal. The cord is long and coiled, but I personally like that. I sit at a desk so it's useful to have a nice long coiled cord. On occasion, I wear them like a DJ would (with just one side listening, the other open), and they are acceptably comfortable in that arrangement.


They are not as detailed or fine-sounding as my Beyer DT770 cans. On the other hand, they are very easy to drive. I can drive them to perfectly acceptable levels with the iPod alone. An amp is not strictly necessary. That combined with the light weight would make them a nice set of portable cans, were it not for the longish cord or the closed back.


The use of the amp and DAC definitely brings these cans to another level. I don't ever find myself wanting to run them with the ipod alone, unless I need to walk around with them on (and that almost never happens). The bass extension with the Beyer earpads is very nice. I can't say they are quite as bassy as the Beyer cans, but honestly, they do come close - certainly close enough for daily listening. They are a bit on the bright side, which doesn't help tone down the harshness of the Pure i-20 iPod DAC. The Mullard tube is a necessity to keep the setup from being screechy and harsh. There really isn't another tube I'd care to run in this amp, because of the bright nature of both the DAC and these cans.


Basically, this entire setup suits my needs pretty darn well. I can't say that I would want to buy another Bravo amp - but I would surely want to use some sort of hybrid or tube amp with these cans (it really helps tone down the brightness). They are good enough to keep me happy while I work, and cheap enough so that if some moron decides to walk off with them, at least I won't be out a ton of money.


If you're looking for the best cans on God's Green Earth, well, these aren't it lol. On the other hand, if you have a need for closed back cans and don't want to spend more than $100 or so, then these are worth considering. They have been around for a good long while, which says a lot about the design right there. I am not sorry I bought these cans. I enjoy them (and I highly recommend the earpad mod), and I would recommend them, if you have a similar need for a good budget set of cans.


Pros: Light

Cons: Very cheap feeling

Currently, I'm using these headphones right now is I dictate this review. They actually fit quite well and my only real complaint is the non-detachable coiled cord. I never met a coiled cord that didn't get entangled within itself. In terms of its sonic response, I think they're okay. I say this because I simply use these cans for my little home studio, playback of my voice during voice dictation, and that sort of thing.

My ideal headphones would be just a tad more comfortable with a detachable straightforward cable, and built like a tank. The Sony MDR7506 set is not addressing my needs. Currently, this is my third set of headphones in pursuit of my goal. I'm waiting arrival of the DT 1350's yet I already believe I made a mistake. I wasn't paying attention when I ordered them, as I didn't realize just how small they were. Perhaps I got wrapped around the axle on their metal construction which at least fills one of my desires of commercial durability.

Overall, the Sony headphones are above average in relation to their price point and if I had any sense I would just leave well enough alone. As it is I'm too anal and picky so my search continues.


Pros: Durable, well defined, crisp, precise, isolating

Cons: brittle, bass shy

I've owned these headphones since 2002, yep, they have lasted me 10 years. Used all this time in my home studio I thought they were rather expensive at the time. I see they are now under $100 what a bargain. Most of the black vinyl that covers the outside of the ear pieces have completely disintegrated but the foam is still fine I've had no problems with the cord, plugs or head bracket. Its amazed me how durable these have been. They are great for their intended use as isolating recording headphones and as long as volume is kept at a reasonable level won't bleed too much into microphones. Over the years DACS have come and gone, I currently have an Apogee Duet and run that via a firewire to thunderbolt adaptor. They are comfortable to wear for hours and cause little ear fatigue if kept at medium volume. If you pump these phones you will end up with ringing ears but that will happen with most ear phones.


With 1/4" adaptor off and plugged into an iphone they sound great compared to the apple buds.


Do they lack in bottom end? If you crank them up the bass sounds pretty good, of course, you'll also be cranking up the upper mids which these phones are famous for. So the boost around 1-4K assuming you have the original 7506 and not a fake, mask the the rest of the spectrum. For loud listening, I'd advise a gentle reduction from about 3k on or a slight smiley face from 1K-4K. But if you're going to listen loud you'll get ear fatigue no matter what you do, whatever phones you use. I find for recording they represent the bottom end nicely, sure they lack weight down below 55HZ but below 80HZ and above 14KHZ human ears are less sensitive. Thats why we love to boost those frequencies. :-) If you record or listen to rap/hip hop/DnB or even bottom heavy rock, you may need some higher end phones.


I use a lot of synthetic sounds and low sounds when doing rap and find the Sony's good as long as you don't get heavy handed below 100HZ otherwise the mix won't translate. I also have to not be shy with the upper mid range otherwise it will lack energy. I always have a spectrum analyser on the mix bus so I know at least visually whats going on. You can't always trust your ears. That and my near fields, that go down to 55HZ are enough for me. Oh and the wall that goes down to 42HZ helps. :-)


If I was buying a set of listening head phones I'd go to a store and test drive a few famous pairs I've read about on head-fi and then decide but for tracking, the Sony MDR 7506's do the job.


Pros: Flat response, Precise sound, Comfortable, Price

Cons: The soundstage is'nt big enough

I got these in Guangzhou for the absolutely low price of $55. They're quite small in size compared to some other headphones I've seen.

I have been using them for several months now, & I'm very satisfied with their comfort, especially during long listening sessions.

Pairing them with a headphone amp does improve output quality marginally. I use mine with the Fiio E17 portable amp that has more than enough power to drive these. The music is accurately detailed but not very lively. Movies with heavy soundtracks (eg Lord of the Rings) sound great on these.

I'd recommend these phones for music with heavy beats(eg, rock, house, hip-hop & trance). Jazz& classical are also a pleasure to listen to though the soundstage could be better.

Overall, these phones are worth the money spent and would rate their audio quality as 8.5/10.


Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

The professional audio industry standard.The MDR-7506 is a large diaphragm foldable headphone designed for professional studio and live/broadcast applications. Proven to be reliable in the toughest situations. Headphone features gold connectors, an oxygen--free cord. Supplied soft pouch.

FeatureGold-plated, unimatch connector for universal compatibility with desktop and portable devices
Height0 inches
Length0 inches
Weight1.4 pounds
Width0 inches
List Price$130.00
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
TitleSony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Product Type Subcategoryother-camcorder-accessories
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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