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Over-Ear item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - cheap, comfortable, portable, flat response, easy to drive
Cons - fragile, better sounding headphones availible
These headphones can be found in any studio for a reason. They are affordable (less than 100$), they have flat response and isolate well (monitoring) and sound good, maybe not compared to some more expensive models, but still, probbably the best in the price range. These are also suprisingly comfortable despite beeing more on ear than over ear (maybe my ears are big?) because ear pads are really comfi and soft, but are looking fragile. Headphones also fold nicely and have a pouch included with them. Compared to M50s, they look fragile, but are made of metal and should do well, unless you abuse them.
I would look at these if you are looking for closed-back headphones on a budget, especially, if you want to use than as monitors or even mixing (flat response). If you are willing to spend more money on closed headphones, you may want to check out Beyerdynamic DT770 (detailed but bassy), but these should work for most people.
Pros - Sturdy, isolating, decent bass response.
Cons - Not musical, very fatiguing, poor ergonomics
This review might well make the 7506s seem like a poor set of headphones, they're not, at least, not objectively. They try to fill many rolls, but are only useful for one. Having strong feature sets that can appeal to both professional, and audiophilic users in one way or another is appealing to the budget minded consumer, but they shouldn't be considered hi-fi cans - nor can they be considered for studio work.
I'm a rural Irish university student, adament music lover, tech enthusiast, and gamer. I listen to a wide range of music, from classical to EDM, and almost everywhere in-between. The few times when I'm not listening to music, I'm either with friends, in a lecture, or gaming.
MDR-7506s have recieved 3 months heavy usage, and have been subjected to a wide range of uses (music, videos, video editing, gaming). They've been compared to (over the course of these 3 months) my Sennheiser HD201s, Sennheiser MX170s, Brainwave Deltas, OSTRY KCA06s, Havi B3 Pro 1s, Pro-Ject Audio Hear-it Ones, and DALI Zensor 3s – all of which I'm very familiar with.
Packaging and Presentation:
My intial encounter with these headphones was slightly underwhelming – and while I wouldn't say they're packed/presented particularly poorly, I've seen better for the price. The box itself was sturdy and undamaged, the plastic window in the front of their enclosure revealed the silky material that the cans sat on. It didn't quite look like a princely cushion, probably due to the immediate and imposing nature of the hard plastic mould that impressed out of the silk . Not that this should ever impact on anyones purchasing decisions, but it does make a difference to the unboxing experience. There was a lovely servicing slip with a diagram of the assembly of the cans inside the box, along with the promise of a warranty. One thing that was definitely highlighted by the unboxing was their crazy durability, which we'll touch on later.
Build quality, particularly durability is a crucial aspect of any headphones you plan to move about with. The one thing I can say without any hesitation, caveat, or pause, is that these headphones are top dogs with to their tankish strength. If you're looking for unkillable headphones (in this price point, and having read up on how they sound), look no further, these won't let you down.
I treat my headphones relatively poorly, especially when they're replacing IEMs for mobile listening. These things have been stepped on, crushed in a heavy bags, dropped from heights, and rolled over on office chairs (band and cable). Minus some scuffing on the driver housing, they're still going strong. They fold up nicely, and have absolutely no pinpointable weakness; no cable tension, no weak headbands or extension struts. I have been able to pull off one of the cups (twice, actually, by accident), but nothing was broken, weakened, or scuffed in the experience and I was able to reattach them.
If it wasn't for that, or the slightly exposed and uncomfortably long cable going from the headband to the drivers on either side, they'd be a 9.5.
9/10. Like a tank.
No praise here. The headband is okay, but hardly floatins above the head. The earpads really aren't that fab, they work alright for some people, myself, I have oddly pertrusive ear cartilage that led to the pads being unbearable, and I'm really not the only one Not only did they fail to be totally over-ear, the thin pads and shallow earcups lead to by ears being pressed up against the metal dome of the driver. Regardless of volume, this quickly became unbearable. I'm aware this is a personal issue, but this shouldn't be an issue. I actually bought some EDT250 velour pads for them, just so I could use them without murdering my poor ears.
4/10. Very poor, really could've done better.
An often overlooked aspect of headphones is how they look, and personally, I love good looking equipment. Aside from being out and about and wanting to present yourself well, it's plesant to know you have a good looking equipment. Here Sony gets a pass because they're definitely a style in themselves, not one I'm fond of, and they're really no work of art (the completely broken color scheme of black, blue, gold, and red for example, is a huge negative.), but if you're into the retro look, you might really like these!
That pulls some more points into their jar, but don't mistake me here, objectively they're really no great shakes. Very poor colouring, decent craftmanship (the stitching really isn't so fab), strange material mix, and an unusual profile make these nothing to write home about.
6/10, if you're into their kind of thing, maybe a 8/10. Dissapointing really, it costs almost nothing to remedy many of the issues here.
It's not clear quite what's going on here. The MDR7506s have great folding cups that can lend them to portability, as well as adding a considerable extra level of durability. Perfect for a commuter with limited bag space, student, etc. Contradicting this message, they tote a bulky, heavy, and long coiled cable, great for studio use - but terrible storage or outside use. So who are these made for? Well, audio engineers I assume, but they invalidate themself for most mixing/music creation work as will be discussed later.
Not a wise choice for commuters, they'll do, don't get me wrong! But much better can be had for such an application. They're nice and portable for the studio?? A travelling audio engineer perhaps, so long as said engineer isn't mixing music. They've actually worked pretty well for me, the cable is a total nusiance when out and about though
7/10. They're portable enough for most.
This is the tough section to cover, it's probably the most important and also hard to articulate. All findings using adjectives are subjective.
I would preface this section with two major admissions; 1) I'm a fan of neutrality, like many audiophiles – therefore, I can't speak for everyone. I'll try to remain as objective as possible, and cite my sources. 2) I'm just a smidgen unsure of how to write this section, because there's a lot to say about these headphones. They have a definite character and profile, but accurately describing any sonic experience with them is a hard task. Those things in mind, let me proceed to outline their sound.
The most first thing to jump to mind when listening to the MDR-7506s is that they present a distinct and tinted sound. At no point would I describe the 7506s as uncolored, neutral, natural or transparent. They're very true to themselves in all recordings; Sharp, harsh, and actually quite fun if you can get over the first two. It's strange that these cans would still be praised under the guise of nuetrality and professionalism, maybe I took that hype the wrong way – but reports of these headphones being anything remotely suited to professional (musical) applications would have you believe they have a flat, neutral sound. Having had this impressed upon me by 'professional' branding and it's community hype, I dismissed those complaining of harshness, silibance, and a top-heavy attitude, as those who preffered a darker sound. In my mind, the dissenters simply perferred a bass-heavy attitude, with colour and a recession of treble, but that was wrong
Looking at graphs of the 7506s' measured frequency response two things immediately pop out, a peak at around 2KHz, and a large peak at around 10KHz. In my experience (and according to numerous empirical tests) are the defining charictaristics of the 7506s. These peaks are a recipe for disaster, leading to a harsh, silibant sound, far from neutral, and totally unusable for mixing, or most other studio applications. The effect is worsened by the immediate roll-off of lower bass from about 50Hz.
This can seem like a pretty unusual way to calibrate cans, so why is this the case? Well these cans are designed for a reason, and that reason is live sound. This struck me, oddly, not after reading the many reviews where various professionals rave on about their live sound applications, but taking a call while walking along a windy prom listening to music on the 7506s. Wow. The clarity of voice in windy conditions like those was unprecedented. It was almost like living through my own cutscene, enviromental noises were passively reccessed thanks to the 7506's very strong isolation, and there was crystal clear reception of voice, the effect was really rather spooky. This doesn't make up for their poor musicality, but it does lend some insight into their purpose. With that conclusion reached, let's talk about how they treat music.
Poorly. They're just not musical cans. They lack any sense of warmth (Try listening to The Gorillaz – 'Demon Days' on these, the album sounds devoid of passion or warmth), or desire to gloss over flaws in a recording, they're the epitome of critical listening - not due to a flat frequency response and copious amounts of detail but resulting from the emphasis of faults).
This doesn't make them a terrible listen, and they're not objectively awful – in fact, I would argue that they sound fantastic in certain situations. That's their main problem, they sound good in certain situations, and frankly underwhelming in others. There's not a lot to talk about regarding the body of their sound, because it kind of isn't there. The lower mids are linear and meek, horribly shy. It feels like certain frequencies are there for the sake of it, not for jubulant celebration of music. This really accentuates the 2K spike, worsening their anemic presentation. Bass response is pretty solid, but not technically great. The pads rattle your head a little. One of my female friends complained of the stock pads vibrating her chest too much in bassier moments, possibly not great cans for the bustier among us.
I had planned to use my experience with certain songs to contrast my slightly vague description of their sound, but after starting to do so I realised I was just mimicing what I've already said. Music with a lot of information in the mids (most music) sounds pale and is hard to enjoy. Instrument sparation is there, but only if you really listen to it. Soundstage is very small, and mostly just horisontal. They're not particularly slow or fast, and they never wowed me with their punch. In their favor, they're pretty controlled, and highly sensitive (although that doesn't set them too far apart).
Having said that, the cans being as character-ful as they are, they have undeniable strenghts:
While I've critisized their early and highly rolled off bass, the 7506s have a very pleasing bass response; pretty linear, deep, and impactful, but not overwhelming. This coupled with the (perhaps forced) clarity of the very top end and recessed midrange can make listening to EDM great lark. It's good fun to listen to bass heavy mixes like Deadmau5s' '4x4=12', or Blank Banshee's 'Blank Banshee 0'. Even rolling through thematic channels like Trap Nation on YouTube, hearing amateur mixes is thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, if you have a pair of 7506s, '4x4=12' and 'Blank Banshee 0' are required listening. I imagine most EDM (trance, house, dubstep, and dance in particular) will work beautifully with the 7506s.
With their sharp and cold nature, a severe lack of timbre and often texture, some ambient-type music (Speaking mostly about Vaporwave here), and very musical genres like Future-Funk can get recieve a very solid presentation played through these cans. I'm not quite sure why this is the case, I imagine it's the amount of information stored in the very top end of these tracks (a lot of Vaporwave, and Futurefunk have intesive filtering applied designed to give a slightly alloof sound – See Architecture in Tokyo (Yung Bae)'s mix: 's/t', and 식료품groceries': 슈퍼마켓Yes! We're Open), but the 7506s manage to give a relaxing, laid back demenor to atmospheric music.
Unfortunately, these strengths end up stumping other genres all together. Their harsh, often mid-less performance leaves them dead in the water when listening to other genres.Genres like hip-hop, R&B, and rap, are all severely stunted, vocals sound slightly distant, tinny, unnatural, and harsh. Drum beats particularly suffer from being far too upfront, ruining some mixes entirely. If you're looking for genre plasticity, you're not going to find it here. These cans can easily render half of your listening collection ruined, and still hunger for more. Anything like Rock, Jazz, Classical, Metal, Most Ambient,
Alternative has a 5-10% chance of still sounding pleasing encountering these cans.
The important thing to take from this review, if you take anything from it at all, is that these headphones aren't suitable for muscial enjoyment, the opposite of genre plastic, they're genrephobic. If you are looking to use the 7506s as audiophilic headphones, they're not what you're looking for. This isn't a matter of preference so much as a matter of design.
Some people really do enjoy listening to music throught the 7506s, and more power to them, we all have different perception, and perhaps the sharp edged nature of Sony's offering might appeal to those with less sensitivity for hearing higher frequencies, or those insensitive to the sharpness they suffer from/avail of.
Sound: 6/10 - not suitable for musical enjoyment, great for VOIP.
In conclusion I really feel as though it'd be unfair to score the 7506s under a single category, due to the nature of reviewing professional equipment on a hi-fi premise so I'm going to offer three ratings, and explain my thoughts on each of them after that:
Consumer Use (Musical Enjoyment): 6/10 – The detail and control are there, but the sonic profile, neutrality, and attitude are all off. Would be 7.5/10 minus their exceptionally fatiguing nature (which is unforgiveable, in any instance for those susceptible to fatigue).
Professional Use (Mixing/Musical Creation): 3/10 – Strong detail earns it points, but I can't imagine mixing anything on these cans, your top end would be totally off, mids too forward, and bass textureless.
Professional Use (Live Sound): 9/10 – Ticks all the boxes (minus comfort), isolation, headphone strength, and clarity are all fantastic. Can't imagine you'll find better in the price range (I can't claim to be an authority on this though, if anybody can educate me, do.)
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, 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.
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!
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.
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.
Very good build quality
Decent midrange performance
Excel at live sound monitoring
Very pronounced peak at highs
Bass performance crippled by high THD
Missing top octave
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:
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.