These phones are a common choice in the $100 and under price bracket, but I don't think they are the best choice. They are pretty reliable, but like most [cheap] headphones, are built kinda cheap. They don't feel very 'solid', though they'll work fine and can take fair amount of abuse and drops. One thing that really annoys me with these phones is that the muffs don't completely seal around your ear to your head, leaving the space open for sound to leak in or out. That for me is a definite reason why I prefer the Senheiser HD280 - way better isolation, and I prefer the sound, feel, and construction of them as well, overall better. Another thing I'm not such a fan of is the spiral/stretchy cord. It always needs to be stretched out, and it just adds more weight hanging off one side of the head phones when a straight cord doesn't do that. Both these and the 280's have that ''issue'', though it keeps it easy to 'roll-up' and stay neat.
The 7506's don't have a very full sound or very deep sound, but really, they are good for tracking or listening to tunes and aren't bad for the price, but like I mentioned earlier, I'd definitely get the HD280's over these everytime, as they're better for tracking, more comfortable for listening, and I think they sound better being bother wider in image and deeper in perception. The frequency response on the 7506's is 10hz to 20khz which is relatively flat, but don't rely on these for true monitoring, but you can check them for a cans reference and imaging.
The headband isn't very tight, and makes for a some-what sloppy fit, so opints off for ease of use. It comes with a 1/8 - 1/4 adapter, but the muffs don't spin or bend back or have any real features, so points off for features. Sound, eh they work but nothing great. Bang for buck, honestly I feel $100 is too much, $50-$70 is better (which is what I paid for mine new), especially when the 280's are $100. But the good thing about these is they are useful, simple, and you don't have to worry about them too much.
These aren't the best cans in the market, but I have seen these in nearly every studio and live rig I've seen. They are reference cans. After a short break in time, the near flat response is consistent over time. While the ear can acclimatize to any headphone, the MDR 7506 provides a pretty neutral space for evaluating any mix. It is especially good for evaluating in-ear mixes and eq-ing live sounds, but they are also good for doing first mixes in a recording environment. If anything, the clarity of the harmonic extremes can be misleading. For example, guitars which sound full and balanced in the headphones will sound somewhat hidden in the studio monitors or the radio mix.
Regarding form factor, they're not completely enclosed, but for live use, they are great for clapping one ear and opening the other. The ability to flip the cans make them great for just holding one side up to the ear to do a quick check. This is much easier than trying to quickly listen with a more rigid fitting can.
Again, they're not perfect, but I think every engineer should have a pair because they are really versatile. They're also remarkably rugged. My first pair is going on 15 years and been through over a 1000 shows without problems.
I love my Sony MDR 7506s. My first pair is a hand me down that the previous owner had for years and thought would give out any day. That was almost two years ago. I still use them every session. They sound great. All of my other headphones would break after 1 year of use (right outside the warranty window). I couldn't be happier. They give a very fair representation of the sound in my opinion.
They have a very honest sound and are nearly colorless. I used Yamaha NS-10's for my near field playback and used these phones to make sure that the mix was correct - comparing these two references. Ah; it was the way I did things at the time. But it worked. Very honest sound that I felt was reliable.
The quality of the build materials was first-rate at that time. They can get to feel a bit heavy after a few hours. But not cumbersome nor too heavy by any means. They could have made them a bit lighter. Solid build. But I would chose these because I could tell they would be honest and not let me down. Better materials and technology today haven't made them obsolete yet.
You can spend a lot more money and do better. But if I needed something reliable and accurate while not too expensive, they would be my first choice. Unless you could get a better deal for a better set or buying them used.
I have always considered Sony products with a great deal of respect and curiosity. Always been positively impressed to some degree. Never disappointed to any degree of significance. I did more than a little research before I spent my hard-earned duckets when I purchased these. When I first bought these set of phones back in the late 90's; they weren't selling for $100. More like $325; got mine for $275.
Get a pair if they are now ~$120. You can decide if you need more. At that current price, they are a bargain.
Disclaimer: I have developed a healthy hatred for these cans over the last 3 years.
Where do I begin? For studio production applications, I hate these things so much that I make an effort to dissuade others from buying them. Here's a list of my grievances:
The isolation sucks. Hope you like lots of click in your overheads.
There's a harsh presence peak in the midrange. Sibilance correction turns into ears bleeding.
The ear pads either disintegrate or fall off, and replacing them is both a pain and expensive. This is a certainty.
The coiled cable will turn into a rat's nets. This is also a certainty.
Headband tension wears over time. In fact, a set of these flew off a drummers head 3 times last week.
The cable on each ear cup gets crimped when you try to fold them up.
When an artist complains about harsh-sounding cans, I give them my DT-770 Pro's. After doing that, there are no more complaints. It's not an accident.
So I guess if you're looking to spend $100 on "industry standard" headphones for your own light tracking and editing, these are fine. But if you're looking for something you can actually have people do serious work on, you'd be better served by taking one step up the quality ladder.
Last edited by DanH; 10th October 2012 at 03:38 AM..
Reason: edited for more humor
I know they have their issues that people don't like BUT:
I have been using Sony MD7506 headphones NEARLY exclusively since 1996 (I think) and I still love them.
I fall asleep on the airplane with them on, usually even before take-off.
They don't give me ear fatigue, even at decently high volumes (which we avoid of course) and don't find them harsh.
They have decent enough isolation for vocal tracking, provided the singer isn't a deaf doorknob.
The bass whump and hyped top are compensate-able.
They take abuse fairly well in the studio or on the road.
I've probably purchased some 20+ pairs for myself, the PA company or the studio over time.
You can get them realllllly cheap sometimes. Not $100, more like $40.
As long as you don't step on them, stretch the cord out or wear them in the rain (sweaty drummer?) they can last easily a dozen years. I can prove that. I am seriously familiar with their response curve
There are some cans with better isolation but aren't as comfy and some cans that have better response that have less isolation. I think the 7506 is a nice balance of all the desired types of things you might want over-all. A good workhorse headphone. Maybe not the best for recording a whispering vocal from a deaf singer and maybe not the best to get an accurate sonic print of what you're mixing but somewhere in between.
Sony MDR-7506 has got to be the most sibilant headphone for the professional studio setting. I can't use this while tracking because it's so bad on the highs that it pierces my ears. It's also not physically sturdy, it's got to be handled carefully.
The one use I got for it is to check for hiss and noise. Coz if there's a bit of hiss or noise, this headphone will exaggerate it a great deal. That is all. Hope this helps.
most of the other reviews have already pointed out the major features and flaws of this headphones, so i will just add some of my opinions.
one of the strong points of this headphones is the upper midrange and sibilant forwarding sound and i use this if a singer has problems with intonation using the studios standard beyerdynamic dt 770. somehow this headphones can help those singers to better hear their pitch.
for my own mixing i use this headphones and beyerdynamic dt 880 as they sound rather different and can show me different aspects of the mix.
one thing that is not very good on this headphones are the faux leather earpads, because they tend to get used very fast and the faux leather which is a very thin layer comes of exposing the foam beneath it.
my solution for this problem, instead of buying the original sony replacements every couple of months, was to buy velour replacement earpads for the beyerdynamic dt 250. these earpads fit perfect on the 7506 and hold the test of time much better than the sony ones do and they are also even cheaper. they are a bit thicker than the original earpads, but that helped open the sound a bit and it also prevents leakage a bit more.
as i also use some sony mdr v500 headphones for djing which use the same drivers as i think, i am very familiar with the sound of these cans in loud environments and so i always use the mdr 7506 when mixing or recording live shows.
I have a pair of these I've owned for 12+ years. The original pads wore out a few years ago and the replacements are now almost worn out. But the headphones still sound like they did when they were new! These things have been used and VERY abused but still work like the day I bought them. YES, they're pretty bright and yes, if played very loud can bleed into a vocal mic! As long as you can put things into perspective (...$99) these are a great investment (...maybe 'were a great investment' as I have a couple of new pairs and time will tell if they hang). I've bought a couple other brand of $99 headphones and these are by far my favorite.
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.