The Sony MDR-7506 are comfortable, closed-back critical listening headphones with a good sound. They're a little cheaply built but they don't leak much, which makes them a good option for recording. However, they're not the most versatile headphones, sot they won't stay on your head if you run with them and poorly isolate you from the ambient noise of your environment.
The Sony MDR-7506 have a simple studio design and a comfortable fit. The wide headband and large ear cups are decently padded, even if the padding material feels a little cheap. Unfortunately, the build quality is slightly weaker at the hinges and although there's a thin metal frame to strengthen the headband, they don't feel like very durable headphones. They're also not the best for sports or physical activity. They will quickly fall if you run or jog with them.
The Sony MDR-7506 have a straightforward over-ear design that feels a bit bland but will work for most. The understated, all-black color scheme, is highlighted by a few branding logos. The ear cups are large and oval and the wide headband is lightly padded and covered in a faux-leather like material. They look a bit cheap and won't stand out in a crowd but the minimal, studio aesthetic and and simple style will please some listeners.
The Sony MDR-7506 are comfortable and lightweight headphones. The ear cups are large enough to fit well around most ears. They're not too tight, so they don't get uncomfortable during long listening sessions. However, although soft, the padding fabric used feels a little cheap and susceptible to wear and tear. It also feels a bit rougher on the skin than the padding on some of the more premium models.
These headphones do not have a control scheme and do not come with an additional audio cable with an in-line remote like some of the other wired designs.
The Sony MDR-7506 are decently breathable headphones but will still make you ears make your ears fairly warm during long listening sessions. They have a closed back over-ear design that prevents airflow so they won't be suitable for exercising or working out but should be okay for more casual listening.
The MDR7506 are decently portable headphones. They're about average sized for an over-ear model, but the foldable design tightly tucks the ear cups within the frame to save space. They won't be the easiest headphones to carry around on your person, but they will comfortably fit into most bags. Unfortunately, they don't come with a pouch or case.
The build quality on these headphones feels mediocre-at-best. They have a thin metal frame that somewhat reinforces the build, and they're lightweight with dense enough plastic to withstand a few falls without damage. However, these headphones feel a little cheap. The rest of the design is a bit too plasticky for their price and creaks a bit when putting on the headphones. The hinges are relatively weak, and the wiring is slightly exposed which could get damaged through regular use. They're decently built just not as durable as some other headphones even within the same price range.
These headphones feel very loose on the head. While the lack of tension is good for comfort it makes the fit less stable. They won't slide off your ears during casual listening sessions but they're not meant for physical activity or sports. They will easily fall off your head if used while running or jogging. Also the non-detachable audio cable is a bit bothersome and makes the headphones more likely to fall if it get hooked by something.
The Sony MDR-7506 are a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. They have a very good, deep, powerful, and punchy bass, an excellent and clear mid-range, and a better-than-average treble. However, their bass is a bit on the heavy side, but without being muddy or boomy which some may like. Also, their treble could sound a bit harsh and piercing on S and T sounds (sibilant), especially on overly bright tracks. Overall, they are a very versatile pair of headphones suitable for a wide variety of genres, from bass-heavy dubstep and film scores, to rock, folk, and even audiobooks. Additionally, they have great imaging, but like most closed-back headphones, don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage. For a more neutral bass, consider the Beyerdynamic DT 770, which also sounds a bit sibilant. For a better treble and overall sound, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x would be a good alternative.
The bass is great. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 11Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass heavy genres like EDM and Hip-hop is above our neutral target by 3dB. This brings a bit of excess thump to their bass, which some people may find pleasant. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and punch of kick drums, is flat and even, but overemphasized by 2.5dB. High-bass, responsible for warmth, is well-balanced which is great, since overemphasis in this range is quite detrimental to sound and common among bass-heavy headphones. Overall, the Sony has a powerful and punchy bass, without being boomy or muddy.
The mid-range of the Sony 7506 is excellent. The response throughout the range is quite flat and even, and within 1dB of our neutral target. This suggests a well-balanced and clear reproduction of vocals and lead instruments. The dip around 250Hz could thin out vocals a little bit but this will also help bring out the punch and kick in the bass range.
The treble is decent. Low-treble is even and flat, but above our neutral target by about 2dB. This bring a bit of extra emphasis and presence to vocals and lead instruments. The 10dB peak around 10KHz makes the sound of this headphone noticeably sibilant (sharp on S and Ts) on vocals and cymbals, especially on overly bright tracks.
The frequency response has good consistency. In the bass range, the maximum deviation across our five human subjects is about 5dB, which is subtle but noticeable. The treble range shows more consistency below 10KHz with the maximum deviation of about 5dB and in very narrow ranges.
The imaging of the MDR-7506 is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.28, which is within very good limits. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This ensure a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched. This is important for the accurate localization and placement of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image.
The Sony 7506 has a sub-par soundstage. Due to its shallow earcups, this headphones interacts with the pinna more like an on-ear headphones. This can be seen in the low amount of pinna activation (PRTF size). This suggests a soundstage that is perceived to be small, and located mostly inside the listener's head. Also, because of their closed-back design, their soundstage may feel less open and spacious compared their open-back counterparts.
The harmonic distortion performance is good. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within good limits. However, the sharp peaks in THD in the mid and treble ranges could make the sound of those frequencies a bit harsh and brittle.
Like most passively isolating headphones, the Sony MDR-7506 will prevent some high-frequency noise from seeping into your audio. Unfortunately, it's not enough for the loud, noisy environments of public transit. They won't do well as commuting headphones, but on the upside, they don't leak much, so no one will hear what you're listening to, even in quieter settings.
The isolation performance is sub-par. These headphones don't have active noise cancellation (ANC), and don't isolate in the bass range at all. This means they will fully let in the rumble of bus and airplane engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they isolate by 8dB, which is about average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they achieve 30dB of isolation, which is good.
The Sony MDR-7506 has a good leakage performance. The significant portion of the leakage is spread between 2KHz and 5KHz, which is a relatively narrow range. The overall level of the leakage is quiet too. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 37dB SPL and peaks at 50dB SPL, which is the same as the noise floor of most offices.
These headphones do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.
The Sony MDR-7506 do not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.
These headphones have no active features and therefore do not require a battery. They also do not have a dedicated app or software for added customization options.
These are passive headphones with no active components and no battery.
The headphones do not have a dedicated, compatible app for added customization.
The Sony MDR-7506 are straightforward wired headphones with no in-line remote or microphone on their cable. This means they have practically no latency for watching movies and videos but do not have the convenient range of a wireless headphone. Also, since they have no mic they will only have audio support when plugged into your console or PC.
The Sony MDR-7506 headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good Bluetooth headset for more casual use check out the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2.
These headphones have a single non-detachable audio cable with no in-line remote. This means they will only provide audio when connected to your PS4 or Xbox One controller.
The MDR-7506 do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The Sony MDR-7506 do not have a wireless range since they're wired. If you want a good wireless headset for critical listening, consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
These headphones have practically no latency since they have a wired design. Unfortunately, this also means that they're limited by the range of the audio cable.
The Sony MDR-7506 are straightforward, closed-back, critical listening and recording headphones. They have a well-balanced sound that packs a good amount of bass but also a sharper spike in the treble range that could sound a bit harsh with already bright tracks. They're one of the best studio headphones we've tested. Unfortunately, they do not have the best build quality although they are lightweight and decently comfortable. On the upside, they are fairly affordable and a good alternative to most of the similarly designed closed back critical listening headphones below. See our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones and the best headphones under $100.
The Sony MDR-7506 are slightly better critical listening headphones than the MDR-7520. The 7506 offer a better value thanks to their mid-to-budget price range. They also have a more comfortable fit than the MDR7520 and they sound better overall with more bass. On the other hand, the MDR-7520 are a much better build headphone. They have more premium look and design and feel a lot more durable than the MDR-7506. They also come with a detachable cable which further increases their durability compared to the 7506.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are above-average closed-back critical listening headphones. They have an excellent, and well-balanced audio reproduction and feel a lot sturdier than the Sony MDR-7506. Their larger eacups are also a bit better padded and more spacious but also a bit less breathable since they do a better job sealing your ear. They're simple and straightforward headphones for enjoying your music, and they are not much better for mixed usage than the Sony. If you have the budget, get the Audio-Technica since they're a bit more durable, sound better and have more accessories.
The Shure SRH 440 are also straightforward critical listening headphones like the Sony MDR-7506. They have a more comfortable over-ear design with thicker pads and larger ear cups. They also sound a bit better although they do not pack as much bass as the Sonys. On the upside, they have a detachable and replaceable audio cable. Unfortunately, they do not create the best seal around your ears especially if you wear glasses, which may change their bass performance a little bit. The Shures perform a slightly better overall for the same price but if you want a more compact over-ear and you wear glasses, then the MDR-7506 are a great alternative.
The Sennheiser HD 280 PRO are a legacy recording headphone with a mostly plastic but sturdy and durable build quality. They're a lot bulkier than the MDR-7506, and they're not as comfortable since they're very tight on the head and not breathable. Like the Sony, they are not really versatile enough for anything else but critical listening, and they're around the same price so your choice will depend more on which sound quality you prefer and if you need a more durable or a more comfortable design.
The Grado SR60e are open back on-ears with a lightweight but sub-par build quality. They have an open sound that creates a spacious soundstage but unfortunately, they are also quite piercing especially with bright tracks. On the upside, they're a bit more comfortable than the Sonys but lack a lot of bass and so they won't be the best choice for more fans of bass heavy music. The MDR-7506 are a more balanced sounding and better-built headset but if you need a wider soundstage and do not mind the sibilant audio reproduction of the Grados, then they could be a slightly cheaper alternative for critical listening.