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Sony MDR-7506 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Updated May 04, 2018 at 03:38 pm
Sony MDR-7506 Picture
5.4
Mixed Usage
7.5
Neutral Sound
4.7
Commute/Travel
5.1
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
4.2
Wireless Gaming
6.3
Wired Gaming
2.1
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

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.

Our Verdict

5.4 Mixed Usage

The Sony MDR-7506 are mediocre mixed usage headphones but perform better for critical listening. They have a good sound and low leakage, but they're not the most versatile headphones so they won't be ideal for sports or loud environments but they deliver in the sound department.

Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Lightweight and comfortable design.
  • Low leakage.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Unstable fit.
  • Plasticky and weak build quality.
7.5 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral listening. The Sony MDR-7506 have a well-balanced sound with a punchy bass that doesn't drown the excellent mid-range. Instruments and vocals sounded good if a little lacking in detail and clarity compared to some other neutral listening models like the DT 770 and the ATH-M50x. However, they have a decent soundstage, for closed-back headphones, and their sound quality is good enough to please most listeners.

4.7 Commute/Travel

Not ideal for commuting. They poorly block noise in loud environments and have no additional features, like noise canceling or inline controls, to make commuting easier.

5.1 Sports/Fitness

Subpar for sports. These headphones are not stable enough to exercise or jog with they also have a bulky design that will hinder your movements during more strenuous physical activity.

5.4 Office

Mediocre at best for office use. They don't leak much, so you won't disturb your colleagues. Unfortunately, they also won't block the chatter of a lively office.

4.2 Wireless Gaming

Below-average for gaming. They have a good sound and a low latency wired connection but are not as convenient or as customizable as most wireless gaming headsets. Also, they don't have a microphone, but on the upside, if you do not need voice chat, then they could be a decent option for consoles and PCs since they will provide audio for both the PS4 and Xbox One.

6.3 Wired Gaming
2.1 Phone Calls
  • 5.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.5 Neutral Sound
  • 4.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.4 Office
  • 4.2 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.3 Wired Gaming
  • 2.1 Phone Calls
  1. Update 2/19/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Update 3/1/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

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.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.46 lbs
Clamping Force
0.85 lbs

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.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

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.

6.6
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.3 C

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.

6.2
Design
Portability
L 5 "
W 5.7 "
H 2.9 "
Volume 82 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

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.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones do not come with a pouch or case.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

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.

5.5
Design
Stability

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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sony MDR-7506 headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" adapter

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.18 db
Treble Amount
-1.24 db
7.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.51 dB

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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.43 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
12.42 Hz
Low-Bass
2.56 dB
Mid-Bass
2.97 dB
High-Bass
1.01 dB

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.

9.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.94 dB
Low-Mid
-0.52 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.63 dB
High-Mid
0.27 dB

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.

7.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.2 dB
Low-Treble
2.46 dB
Mid-Treble
0.11 dB
High-Treble
-11.64 dB

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.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.68 db
Dips
0.93 db
8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.28
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.61
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.51
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.33

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.

4.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.87 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
1.72 dB
PRTF Distance
9.66 dB
Openness
5.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.0

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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.6
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.158
WHD @ 100
0.245
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
4.6
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-11.75 dB
Bass
0.53 dB
Mid
-7.14 dB
Treble
-29.17 dB

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.

7.4
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
37.13 dB

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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These headphones do not come with a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone, check out the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II, the QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A

These headphones do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

The Sony MDR-7506 do not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

These are passive headphones with no active components and no battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The headphones do not have a dedicated, compatible app for added customization.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

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 practically no latency since they have a wired design. Unfortunately, this also means that they're limited by the range of the audio cable.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 4.17 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

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.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

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.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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.

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony MDR-7506 are slightly better headphones than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. While the Sennheiser show a more neutral sound profile, they perform more inconsistently with different people. The Sony have a more V-shaped sound profile, but this is more consistent with different users. They're also more comfortable and more portable.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony MDR-7506 are better headphones for neutral sound listening than the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. The Sony are more consistent among various users, have a much better-balanced and more accurate sound profile, have less distortion, and leak less audio. On the other hand, the Audio-Technica have a more comfortable and stable design, have a slightly wider soundstage, and come with two different detachable audio cables.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are better critical listening headphones than the Sony MDR-7506. The Audio-Technica will be more comfortable to wear during long listening sessions and they feel better-built. Their sound is very good and more accurate than the Sony, especially in the treble. Apart from that, the headphones are fairly similar, but you might be able to find the Sony at a cheaper price point, so they might offer better value.

AKG K371
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG K371 are slightly better over-ear studio headphones than the Sony MDR-7506. The AKG have a much more accurate and well-balanced sound profile, leak less audio, and have a detachable cable. On the other hand, the Sony's frequency response is much more consistent among users, feel slightly more stable on the head, and are more portable.

Sony MDR-7520
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony MDR-7506 are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Sony MDR-7520. The MDR-7506 offer a better value thanks to their mid-to-budget price range. They also have a more comfortable fit than the MDR-7520 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 MDR-7506.

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Sony MDR-7506 Price

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