Picture of the Sony MDR-7506 Stereo Headphones, well used, showing the cable and the removable quarter-inch male gold-plated plug.

Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones MDR 7506 Review




We owned the Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones, model MDR-7506  for we over a decade, and so we’ve played them with many CD players, headphone amps, iPods, mixing boards, USB audio interfaces, and stereo receivers. We found them exceptional audio devices in many dimensions. These headphones appear very similar to the MDR-V500 Dynamic Headphones Review, that we’ve also owned and discussed. So just about anything we said about those, also applies to these MDR-7506s.

The MDR-7506 dynamic headphones offer nearly unsurpassed sound by any headset in their price class. Given how little these cost, we found little to gripe about except that the ear cushions wear out quickly (after only two years). We’ve had to replace them several times now because ours began shedding bits and pieces of the simulated leather coating. But you can obtain replacements for under $10 a pair on eBay and Amazon. So this drawback is minor at worst.

These Sony dynamic stereo headphones image the high frequencies with crystal clarity, and are sparing on the heavy bass;. But that can be adjusted through an equalizer, and they do handle the boosted bass that an equalizer can produce, very well. The lower bass output makes these phones quite compatible with iPod listening, since iPods are typically heavy on the bass anyhow when run on “flat.” We’ve used this headphone with iPods on many train trips and found them comfortable enough to sleep in. So, the MDR-7506 phones are likely the best-sounding for the cost that we’ve ever owned (with the possible exception of the Sony MDR-V500s).

So if $75 to $100 is your ideal purchase price for a respectable Sony product, then we’d suggest these. For that money, you get a fairly flat-response and durable pair of quality audio head-gear.  Sony does headsets quite well.

 

Benefits, Features, Advantages, and Pros of the Sony MDR 7506 Dynamic Stereo Headphones

  • Comfort fitting ear cushions.  The MDR7506 sports foamy, soft cushions, coated with a thin, resilient black film that gives them a soft, leathery texture. This further enhances the comfort level.
  • Over ear design.  The ear cushions feature oval-shaped openings that allow them to work well as an ear-surrounding (around the ear) (over the ear) design. However, these openings are rather small, such that some ears just barely fit inside, and may not fit inside at all if bigger than average. Therefore, the inner edges of the leathery cushion rims always touch our ears when wearing them. This might be a problem with other phones, whose cushions are not as soft as those on these. But this causes little discomfort with this fit-for-studio-listening headset.
  • Large Diaphragms.   Much bigger that ear bud speakers, and as such, you get a fuller, louder, true-bass sound sensation.
  • Great for any musical genres.  These stereo headphones reproduce well everything from techno to bluegrass, and classical to classic rock music, with enough dynamic range and headroom to belt out the loudest of the loud, and with enough sensitivity to faithfully emulate even the quietest of musical passages.
  • Retractable.  Foldable.    The outside perimeter of the silky soft pads are circular in shape and medium-sized in circumference.  Helps in that they can fold up into a highly compact shape, requiring only modest storage space.
  • Lightweight.  These are not heavy. In fact, they’re light enough, and offer a wide enough range of headband adjustment, that they do not press too hard against eyeglasses or earrings. Much lighter than the Koss Tech 2 headphones we’d been using prior.  While the 7506s are closed back like the Tech 2s, they’re perhaps fifty percent lighter.  Thus, we need never remove our specs while listening, and can listen for much longer without experiencing fatigue and pain resulting from ear compression.
  • Plush headband.  The headband includes spongy padding as well that further enhances overall comfort, and matches the sheen of the ear cushions. These phones indeed feel as comfortable as they sound good.
  • Eye-catching.  They look as good as they sound. Their black with silver trim with a blue and gold “Professional” sticker on the back of each phone, gives them a simple yet sleek and modern hi-tech facade.
  • Leather-like storage bag included.  Foldable ear pieces are included, which retract up inside the headband, that shrinks the size of the overall unit down to a small enough size to fit in the included black travel pouch.  The pouch features a closeable opening via a string and sliding adjuster.
  • Lots of volume.  These dynamic headphones can play satisfactorily loud, with the wide dynamic range over most of the audio frequency band. This suits them particularly for widely varying volume levels, such as those found in classical music.
  • Low distortion output.  For listing to the more constantly loud pop music, the MDR-7506 can play loud enough to sting ears without any noticeable gain in distortion or loss in fidelity.
  • Efficient drivers.  They are highly sensitive, in that they’ll play quit loud enough with a little iPod Nano feeding them.
  • Asymmetrical ear cans.  These can be worn either way (left earphone on left ear, or left earphone on right ear), and are equally comfortable in either position when you first purchase them.  Now after perhaps fifty or more hours of wearing them one way, the band and ear cups may adapt themselves (via bending and constant pressing against the ears) to the way you wear them.  When that happens, these headphones may be less comfortable when you put them on in the reverse.  But this discomfort is short-lived, as the phones will, after a little while, reshape themselves to your new wearing preference, should you adopt one.
  • Replacement cords, ear pads, and drivers available for the technically skilled.  While the connecting audio cable cannot be unplugged from the unit, replacement is not hard as long as you have a screwdriver, cutters, and a soldering iron.  New cables can be procured from numerous internet vendors.
  • Decent Sound isolating.  The MDR7506 reduce surrounding noise adequately for moderately quiet environments, which is a useful feature of their closed-air design. A metal back plate boxes in the driver speaker in each earpiece, and this helps keep internally generated sound within, and external environmental noises without.
  • Very portable.  Thus, there’s not much escaping audio from these. So, these are a good choice to listen to when you wish not to disturb people nearby.  They pack down to a highly portable size, and are great on long bus or airplane trips.
  • Light but rugged.  Despite their lightness, these dynamic stereo headphones seem quite rugged, and can take severe abuse without failing. We’ve often dropped them on tables or concrete floors, without any breakage. Thus, they hold up well in rough listening environments such as studios, DJ gigs, and bumpy train rides. Aside from the ear cushions that begin peeling too rapidly, in terms of actual performance, these phones hold up for years to the rigors of daily studio, professional application.
  • Even flat sound is impressive.  Use an equalizer if you must.  But even without one, the MDR-7506 sound great, and loud if you wish.  Never are they tinny or too booming.
  • Intended for studio and live broadcast applications.  Their high fidelity sound makes this headphone a great choice for studio recording and broadcast, and their durable construction suits them well for in-the-field broadcast reporting and live concert coverage.

 

Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Limitations of the Sony MDR 7506 Dynamic Stereo Headphones

As mentioned earlier, given how cheaply priced these headphones are, we found none too much to legitimately complain about in them. But here are several gripes we managed to come up with after much thinking.

  • Phones not deep enough.  The ear cans are rather shallow. Thus, the front of the driver speaker touches most ears, a sensation that can distract one from paying full attention to the program playing. But again with the overall softness of the ear cushions and the cloth that covers the driver, this does not interfere with comfortable listening for long periods.  Any discomfort due to this, is minimal.
  • Cushions wear quickly.  The MDR7506 coated foam ear cushions begin flaking, pealing, and coming apart too soon after buying. However, if you don’t mind the flakes getting into your hair now and again, the pads continue feeling soft and comfortable as well as keeping in the music, almost indefinitely.
  • Non detachable cord. The cables are hard to replace, since they are not detachable.  However, they CAN be replaced by someone with a bit of skill with a soldering iron.  Replacement coil-cable, ones that have the 3.5mm stereo plug already installed, are readily available.
  • Overpowering midrange frequencies.  My ears sometimes ring after listening for very long periods, due I think, to the strong mid-range frequency response of these phones.  But with an equalizer, we tweak this down and then, listen for many hours without this ringing intruding.
  • Where’s the gold?  They are not equipped with gold connectors.

 

Product Rating

The Sony MDR7506 Dynamic Stereo Headphones are a great buy, and are even better performers. We would therefore, buy them again and again, in spite of the quick-aging ear cushions.  We’d therefore rate this product at 93 out of 100.

 

References

Revision History

  • 2017-02-18: Originally published.