Sony MDR7506 - Our Review

by Ben Owen
by Ben Owen
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Key Features

  • 40mm Driver Unit
  • Closed-Ear Design
  • Folding Construction
  • Stereo Unimatch Plug
  • Gold Connectors and OFC Cord

Weight

8.1 Ounces

Style

Closed-Ear

Sound Quality

9.5/10

Amazon Rating

4.6 / 5

The Bottom Line

The Sony MDR-7506s are likely to appeal to a very specific type of user.  That is, those who are unlikely to move far, or who are unlikely to play or record for long periods.  The lack of stability in the build, and the relatively awkward comfort level, will likely put you off doing much with them for long periods.  Beyond this, they are liable to fly off your head if you do anything as much as sneeze. Therefore, if you’re going to be a sedentary user, you probably won’t have a hard time adjusting.

But, let’s focus on the positives.  There is a nice, neutral soundscape that comes through these headphones.  We’ve reviewed headphones for double the price, and with all the bells and whistles, which fail to get a good balance between bass and treble.  For example, some of Sennheiser’s best headphones still struggle to get the best out of high frequency sound. With that in mind, the Sony MDR-7506s are, in a way, good all-rounders.

But with good all-round technology and engineering, you should expect comfort, durability and stability.  A good pair of DJ headphones should be easy to use, comfortable to wear and always adaptable. There is the excuse that these units cost much less than you’d expect to pay for leading models.  However, from a name brand such as Sony – there really is no excuse.

You can expect a low amount of leakage, but the noise isolation overall really disappoints.  There are plenty of systems out there like the Sony MDR-7506s which get this right, and for a similar price.  Therefore, we’d be loath to say you might want to hold out for something better. Don’t always let the brand sway you!

Sony MDR-7506s will only really be worth buying if you know you are unlikely to use your headphones much over a long period of time, or if you are unlikely to need much from stability.  They will easily pack down, but at what cost? Lightweight headphones that pack away are all well and good – but cheap manufacture never bodes well.

  • Very low leakage – fantastic for the price

  • Very lightweight, compact and portable

  • Sound levels and engineering are impressive for the price

  • Noise isolation is not great

  • Manufacture is very low-quality

  • Unstable and not the most comfortable to wear for long periods

front facing Sony MDR7506

Sony is a name which, of course, tends to spread far and wide as far as technology is concerned.  However, many people see them as a leading name in headphone technology, and we can’t say we blame them.  The Sony MDR-7506 is a studio headphone standard which has been around for some time now. They’re light, they’re flexible and they’re appealing.  Above all, they seem to be aimed towards the studio user rather than your average gym goer or music fan. That being said, we had heard plenty of good things.

Plenty of experts will advise you that Sony MDR-7506s are good, neutral choices for indoor headphones.  These closed back systems will likely provide you with enough clarity across the mids and trebles to appeal to most casual listeners.  However, as wired headphones, they may take a bit of a back seat to some of the more flexible options on the market. Of course, there is always going to be a market for cabled cans, so why should we discount them altogether?

If you’ve read our other reviews, you’ll know that we’ve tried and tested plenty of closed back, as well as those leading models from other brands.  Sony is one which seems to offer plenty of innovations, but their engineering standards can vary.

For anyone looking for a solid pair of studio headphones, how do the Sony MDR-7506s stand up?  We took a closer look, and listened, to find out.

 

First Impressions 

First impressions count, and the ones we get from the Sony MDR-7506 system are generally good.  It’s clear that the cans are built from plastic, but this doesn’t really let things down. They are light out of the box, which means we are already expecting them to be a great asset to anyone tired of clunkier tech.  However, this did raise a few alarm bells for us in terms of durability. Naturally, this is something we were going to have to balance out in due course.

Sony always tends to make pretty appealing headphones, at least in the visual aspect.  It’s clear that they have gone for a lighter twist on the old-school studio headphone standard.  We think this pulls off pretty well. The cable emanates from one ear, and there’s a soft, flexible headband to go alongside.  From the offset, the cushioning looks comfy enough, but, when you compare the Sony MDR-7506 to something like Sennheiser’s latest technology, it’s easy to see why people opt for something a bit more pillowy.

What we were concerned about in terms of a first impression was how flimsy the unit appears to be.  We’ll cover this a little more below. Lightweight headphones do tend to carry this impression that they’re not going to take much of a beating.  Can you, say, easily throw these headphones in a bag and expect them to survive the journey, five days a week? Maybe not. However, as we soon found out, that was hardly the point.

The Sony MDR-7506s are appealing visually to those who are used to studio tech, but who are probably looking for something a bit less clunky than the standard.  Therefore, it’s probably going to be visually appealing to a niche audience. That’s no bad thing.

Manufacturing and components 

side facing Sony MDR7506

On closer inspection, the Sony MDR-7506s are fairly cheap in terms of manufacture.  As stated, these aren’t headphones that you are going to be able to throw around and still expect to bounce back.  We’d never condone that, of course, but when you are used to more robust tech in the studio, it’s going to come as a bit of a blow.  Much of the build is plastic, which is to be expected.

The pads are made of faux leather, which we can – collectively – give or take.  We’ll come to the comfort side of things shortly. Before we come to that, however, we must address the fact that yes, you can compact these headphones down – a very good move in terms of portability – but that doesn’t excuse the cheap manufacture.  Nor, we found, does it mean that they are going to be any more durable as a result.

Our thoughts on manufacture, therefore, are this – the Sony MDR-7506s aren’t exactly the most solid of headphones, but they are easy to compact and tuck away.  Then again, as they are often extremely reasonably priced, many people would argue that you get what you pay for. That all depends on what you’re looking for, of course!  Are you in the market for a durable pair of headphones which are going to take a battering in the studio? You might want to look elsewhere.

Plenty of studio techies invest in their own styles of headphones for the manufacturing quality.  It’s clear that the Sony MDR-7506s try to emulate the style and look, but a lot of this falls away when you look at how well they are actually made.  It’s honestly quite surprising from this brand.

However, what the manufacturing quality of the Sony MDR-7506s tells us is that they are probably a good fit for hobbyists or very casual users.  Therefore, they are always going to be a good shout for home users. One thing that some experts state is that they will likely be a good fit for YouTubing or podcasting.  We can see the logic, particularly if you are going to get into either of these things casually. However, we’re going to need to probe a bit deeper into the performance. Don’t worry, as that’s coming up.

Comfort

There’s not too much to say about the comfort of the Sony MDR-7506s apart from that on the whole, they do the job they are supposed to.  Faux leather isn’t always going to sit well on everyone’s ears. After a while, they can rub and get irritating. Therefore, it’s safe to say that they aren’t the comfiest to wear for very long periods.

Nor are they, from what we notice, worth wearing if you are going to need headphones for going out and about.  This is a cabled system, which immediately restricts you a little to devices with a relevant jack. However, on top of this, they’re not necessarily the most stable.  They are ideal for sitting still with, or for using in static environments. However, if you’re in the market for a good pair of headphones you can run with, or which you can easily wear on your head from place to place, Sony has better options elsewhere.

They also aren’t the most breathable of headphones, meaning that even in slight heat, you’re going to start feeling overwhelmed during long periods.  If comfort really matters a lot to you, again, it might be worth checking what Sony has available in their wider catalogue.

Therefore, in terms of comfort – they can clamp down a little, and the earpads are going to rub after a time.  However, providing you’re not wearing them for very long periods, this likely isn’t going to bother you much. Set your expectations accordingly, as always.

Features

As a simple, wired pair of headphones, you’re not really going to get much here in terms of added features.  It’s a closed back design, which means that noise isolation should be fairly decent. However, as stated, this may well be at the cost of comfort if you are going to be in the studio or listening for long periods.  Therefore, if you’re looking for a fairly basic pair of headphones to do a fairly basic job, you probably won’t be disappointed.

However, if you are looking for all the bells and whistles, you’re probably going to feel let down.  There are plenty of wired headphones out there with extra controls and features added in – some of Sony’s tech included – however, the Sony MDR-7506s seem to avoid this side of things.  It would be nice, at least, to have some form of in-line volume control, or some way to control EQ from a distance. However, given the price you are likely to pay for Sony MDR-7506s, it’s probably reasonable to expect these tweaks from more expensive systems.

The inner ears benefit from 40mm drivers, which is pretty solid tech for the price you’ll likely pay.  As stated, there is also a nice focus on isolation here, which means that you can expect sounds to stay within your cans, with minimal leakage.  That is, of course, in theory.  

Of course, as stated, we will look at performance in a little more detail shortly.  It offers a coiled cord and up to 10 feet in range, which is likely to be more than enough reach for most people.  It’s super-light at less than 230 grams, too, which again, rather puts us on edge when it comes to durability. However, this is going to be a plus point for many people.

side facing Sony MDR7506

Performance

Ok – so this is where things count.  The soundscapes achievable through the AKG K812 are spot-on.  There is a great amount of bass, meaning that the lack of a boost function really won’t keep you up at night.  Beyond this, it’s a high-end pair of headphones which won’t struggle on the trebles. It’s bizarre how many headphones fail to focus on trebles in favour of beefing up the bass.

That being said, some people may not warm to the headphones right away.  We took a lot of time away to try them, and over time, they grew on us. Some experts agree – that right away, you might not notice the magic that you’re paying for.  That alone could encourage some people to ‘pass’ altogether. We wouldn’t blame you, but then again, you can’t rush great quality tech. If you’re going to invest in a pair of headphones for the long-term, it makes sense to give them space.

The open back design really does help to encourage a natural soundscape, one which is large and adaptable.  As mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be a struggle between any of the main levels. People who prefer a lot of bass will likely find the AKG K812s a worthwhile purchase, but the detail in the sound reproduction is really where things start to shine.

Are you worrying that you miss a lot of detail in your favourite songs?  If you really care about EQ and instrumentality, then you are likely going to want to give the AKG K812s a look.  The same goes, of course, if you are listening to your own mixes, and want to make sure everything is perfect. They are ideal for home use, for reasons we’ve already explored.

AKG refers to their headphones as the leading end of their years of innovation, at least in terms of performance.  It’s safe to say that they perform well above what you will expect an average pair of wired cans. But are they worth the money?

Value for Money

One of the biggest selling points of the Sony MDR-7506 is going to be the price tag.  We never say you should look at pricing alone, but that all depends on what you’re looking for.  It’s clear that Sony intends these headphones to be the budget option for home studio users, or at least for those who are recording or streaming on a very casual basis.  They might even do well for you if you’re looking to chat online while gaming. For music and studio mixing? We’re not so sure.

We are all for a bargain.  You’d be surprised how many fantastic headphones there are out there which price very reasonably.  However, the Sony MDR-7506s seem to promise more than they actually deliver. For that reason, we are concerned that some users may see them as a viable purchase just for the cost.  Take it from us – as stated, Sony has produced better!

Then again, think about your likely usage.  Are you looking for a lengthy cord? Are you likely to use your headphones away from your desk?  Are you remotely worried about noise cancellation or isolation? If you’re in the market for a no-frills pair of cans, then that’s really what you’re going to get.  Therefore, to some people, they may be of good value.

But the build quality really doesn’t excuse why you should have to pay less.  There are headphones out there which offer much better noise isolation and more stability for a lower price.  Don’t be afraid to shop around!

 

Conclusion

  • Very low leakage – fantastic for the price
  • The overall price, generally, is affordable for most dedicated audiophiles
  •  Very lightweight, compacts down easily enough for portability 
  • However, noise isolation is not great – disappointing for headphones of this kind, from this brand
  • Very unstable to wear, and not exactly the most comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Manufacture is very low-quality, again, disappointing considering the brand
  • However, sound levels and engineering are fairly impressive for the price and for the model in general
  • Likely worth buying for short-term use at desks or consoles – not worth it if you need something comfortable to move around with
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