Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

General Information

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.

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Jogim

New Head-Fier
Sony mdr7506
Pros: Great sound, perfect details, neutral but warm tuning, easy to drive, easy to carry folded in included sony bag, good passive noise cancelling, well build, comfortable even during long sessions, cheap, great value, rarely better studio headphones on the market (2021), great parts-support by Sony.
Cons: -
These headphones are perfect for my portable devices. The Sony 7506 has 60 ohms, but the drivers have a high sensitivity. These headphones are therefore perfect for weak dap or smartphones. It does just as well in the recording studio or on stage. The 7506 has a neutral but warm sound. The highs are very detailed and crystal clear. These headphones are my favorite for everyday use. Only a small amount of sound is drunk outside during use. The headphones are robust and very durable and long-lasting. The fit on the head is very good and comfortable. The headphone is lightweight and easy to carry (it comes with a bag).

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capac

New Head-Fier
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.

Tadgh

100+ Head-Fier
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.
 
About me:
 
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.

Use case:
 
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:
 
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.

Comfort:
 
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.

Looks:
 
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.

 Portability:
 
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.

Sound Quality:
 
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.)
Tadgh
Tadgh
Hey @iancraig10
 
Thanks so much for the feedback, I'm glad to know I wasn't talking a load of nonsense :wink:
 
It's genuinely really interesting what you have to say about studio equipment and the DT150s, thank you. Out of interest, would you be willing to explain the reasons why the DT150s sounded so different using your home hi-fi setup and in the studio?
 
I don't doubt you for one second, I have several audio engineers in the family, all of whom regularly use cans that are totally inappropraite for home-listening when monitoring live sounds - and I never really understood why. An example of this would be the Sennheiser HD250s (okay well they are meant for consumer use but they still sound bloated and horrible to any listener looking for neutrality) - my uncle swears by them! I abhor the things..
 
Would you mind listing your collection of cans? I don't mean to be an ass here, but I'm brand new in the realm of pricey cans - I've been interested in audio since I was young but have only had the budget for ultra-low-budget cans and earbuds (where I found gems like the HD200s MX170s, and the Brainwavez Deltas). Anyway I have been collecting some low-mid-tier cans I plan to write reviews on, but I'm pretty fresh and I'd like to have someone to very quickly check up on issues with to make sure I'm not making any really stupid mistakes

By no means feel compelled to by necessity - if you're busy that's absolutely fine :)
 
Anyway, thanks for the feedback! More reviews coming soon, if you're interested :)
iancraig10
iancraig10
Hi Tadgh.

The drpt150 is excellent for playing into. It can be turned up to life volumes and stops you having to hold back, if you see what I mean. If headphone playback is too quiet, it can really inhibit how you play. So the curtailed top end works in its favour.

It sounds different because you hear a heavily eq'd playback from engineers. At home, where there are no controls, you're left with just as the headphone is made. I found it a bit lacklustre at home by comparison. It responds very well to properly targeted eq.

The V6 has an edge to the sound and I would tend to use it in live situations where I'm not playing. Loud can be painful on them. They give a nice roundness in the bass and are 'crystal' at low volume. Terrific for pickimg out buzzes or hims as well. They will almost focus on playback or live feedback audio blemishes.

I have so many headphones and I am a believer in choosing the headphone for the job. I don't particularly stay with one only as my favourite. Amongst my headphone collection, I have

Hd650, hd600, hd595, hd585 Momentum 1 and 2. Hd201.
K702, K712, K612
Grado sr60e, sr225i
Fostex TH900, tr40 and 50 (modded)
Beyer DT990, 770, 150
Sony V6.
Audio Technica a9
Denon d2000, d600
Paul Jones **800? Edifier equivalent which is an hd800? Always forget the numbers. The Paul Jones is great for playing in a pit as a monitor headphone.

And many, many more.

My V6 is my love/hate headphone depending on situation. Live BBC Broadcast seems to sound excellent from them and tonally, they sound kind of spot on to me. Great revealers of little detail because of that treble.

You do occasionally see the V6 around in pro situations. BBC tend to love the Beyer DT770. Probanly more to do with cost though as well.
Tadgh
Tadgh
Still very much so a production oriented headphone by the sound of it :) But hey, if it works it works - It's always very interesting to hear people talking about how sound works when working on live performances, seems like a very different kettle of fish all together.

Why (In a live-engineering enviroment) would you apply heavy EQ to what you're monitoring? Also, I'd love to try my V6s on a parametric EQ, I just got a proper VST wrapper for Foobar2000 so I might play with that sometime soon.
 
Okay, I think I understand where you're coming from there, I can certainly see it's use in low-volume usage and picking out defects in a signal chain. Now I've got a decent DAC and Amp I'm quite curious to try them again and see if they're as harsh I recall them being. They're currently in as with a guitar amp for my dad's guitar :) So I'm sure they're doing a great job at what they love!
 
That's an incredible collection Ian! I've expanded quite a bit recently, picked up an O2/ODAC and some 650s, most recently SR60es. I have to admit that the SR60es blew my mind with that effortless, open, and fast sound. I've been searching for headphones that genuinely don't sound conjested in the mids for a very long time, I imagine because I grew up listening to my dad's Ruark Talisman 3s which never suffered from dynamic driver born conjestion. So I'd like to ask, how do you fin the tr50s? I hear that Orthodynamic drivers provide that same incredibly coherency and instrumental separation as I experience with the SR60es. I would plan to mod them a fair amount. Not to dig and try and impose upon you, but could you relate that sound to any of your other cans? I'm very excited to follow this avenue, I'm the most satisfied I think I've ever been with any pair of headphones for the price.
 
Also, the HD201s are legends. Just putting that out there. NO ****-talking my babies, price/performance on them is insane.
 
Do you ever listen to them as musical cans? I'm not sure I could stomach that, as 'crystal' as they can sound, it's more like a crystal razor than a beautiful crystal cave for me.. Always wanted to try the DT770s..

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