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Sony MDR 7506 vs Audio Technica ATH M50 | WHO’S BETTER!?

HI friend and Welcome!

Today I’m going to be giving you a very special review of the Sony MDR 7506 vs. the Audio Technica ATH M50!

I have owned the M50’s since January 2013, and used to have a pair of 7506’s. Both sets really made me look at music in a different way, and I’m excited today to tell you why!

So grab a snack, sit back, and relax..

You’ve come to the right place!!

Now for, DUN DUN DUNNN..

Sony MDR 7506 vs. ATH M50

Sony MDR 7506 vs. ATH M50

Pretty anti-climatic huh? Lol.

What I will bring you in this review

of each headphone

  • Specifications
  • Summary
  • Pros
  • Cons
  • Amp/DAC requirements
  • Who these headphones benefit?
  • Consensus/Conclusion
  • Similarities & Differences
  • Final Word

Now without further ado, lets get into things!

Audio Technica ATH M50 (and 50x)

audio technica ath m50

audio technica ath m50

M50x price: check amazon!

M50 best price: check amazon! | check eBay!
type: closed back, dynamic
fit: circumaural (on ear)
impedance: 38 Ohm
frequency response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
material: plastic, faux leather, metal
color: black

It should be noted that the M50’s are a bit different from the 50x’s. The 50x’s are in essence a slightly updated version, and come with:

  • Removable cable
  • A choice of 5 different colors (White, Blue, Black, Green, Matte Gray)
  • contoured ear cups that seal tighter for improved isolation
  • a bit of added bass emphasis!

Outside of these things, the two are nearly identical in sound & build.

Summary

Expect to put these on and be amazed. After listening with them on for the first time, I really got a sense of what I had been missing. If this is your first foray into audiophile type equipment, these will really make you look at music in an entirely different way.

They aren’t neutral per se, but do excellent as a mixing/reference headphone. They are colored in a sense, but to me it never feels over the top. I would describe the sound as huge, full, and detailed. You will start to hear things in recordings that had previously been lost. One of the biggest differences between these and the 280’s is bass response. These reach down really low, and give you a nice thump, without sounding bloated or artificial. They are tighter than a panty hose homie!

Think of it this way: They do extremely well in a variety of different listening situations and musical genres. My friend who just purchased the 50x’s bought them for this purpose. There’s a reason these are so popular. They are a remarkably versatile set of cans.

Pros

  • Versatile. Expect to be using these as your go to cans almost (if not outright) daily for a variety of different things.
  • Bass. It’s tight and controlled, while at the same time being loud and hard hitting. Contributes to the “wow” factor upon first listen.
  • Comfort. These are a bit more comfortable overall than the 280’s, and you will find yourself wearing them over a longer period without adjustment.
  • Flexibility and build. Contorts and folds in many of the same ways as the 280. A bit more flexible in this regard. This is one of their strongest suits contributing to longevity. There are simply less ways these can break given their ox like build.
  • Audio Technica ATH M50 protective coil3.5 mm jack. The little things are what impress me most, and the fact that these come with a protective coil at the end of the chord running into the 3.5 mm jack is priceless. I’m sure it’s saved these on many occasions since I’ve had them. Truly extraordinary.
  • Choice of coiled or straight cable. I normally opt for the straight cable, but the fact that you have a choice is nice. If you plan on using these out and about, I’d suggest the straight version.
  • Out of your head. Even as a closed back model, these do exceptionally well with instrument separation and sound-stage. You may frequently remove them from your melon to see where the sound came from. They have very impressive imaging in this regard. What is Soundstage?

Cons

  • Ear cups. While comfortable, the ear cups are prone to cracking over time. I wouldn’t advise wearing these right out of the shower, as this has probably contributed to mine having this issue. The ear-cups can be replaced, and should be because they also flatten out a bit over a long period of daily use.
  • Even being able to wear them over a long period, the sound can get trapped inside your dome, leading to fatigue. Take a break man!

Check out the video review!

Amp/DAC requirements

At 38 Ohms, none!

Who these headphones benefit?

  • Bass-heads will love the tight, controlled, yet thumping quality these provide. Prepare to be amazed.
  • Producers who need a good mix-down. While not entirely neutral, these do excel in studio as a reference monitor.
  • People who are looking for longevity and versatility from their purchase
  • Those who want to be able to listen for long sessions with the occasional adjustment or break

Consensus/Conclusion

A slick set of studio monitoring/reference cans that double as easy listening devices. Highly versatile, comfortable, and built to last. The ear-cups have been known to crack over time, but are replaceable. Closed back design will force you to take a break every so often. Overall an amazing set.

Onto..

Sony MDR 7506

Sony MDR 7506

Sony MDR 7506

  • best price: check amazon! | check eBay!
  • type: closed back
  • fit: circumaural
  • impedance: 63 Ohm
  • frequency response: 10Hz – 20 kHz
  • material: plastic, a bit of metal, pleather
  • color: black, blue, red, some gold

Summary

There’s so much to be said about the 7506’s that it’s hard to begin. These were the first pair of “higher end” headphones that I purchased when I made my foray into the world of audiophiles. Being that I had never spent more than $20 on headphones, it was quite a monumental purchase to say the least.

These were the 1st headphones that made me look at music in an entirely different way. The 2nd pair being the Audio Technica ATH M50!

These are studio reference cans, and really improved my mixes ten fold when I was first starting out. They have a ton of clarity in the treble range most notably, but be aware that they can get harsh and shrill at times, especially after a long listening session.

The best way I can describe them is technical, and analytical. They can bit a bit cold at times, which is perfect if you’re looking for an honest reference headphone. They do well as pure listening devices, but the main focus with these should be in studio.

After putting them on for the first time, you will quickly see why they have been an industry standard for years. You may have seen them on TV and radio in various instances, they are used heavily by professionals and amateurs a like.

Pros

  • Amazing reference headphones. An accurate reproduction of the music
  • neutral and flat, ideal for mixing
  • very comfortable
  • durable and long lasting
  • balanced mids, lows, and highs, and a very pronounced mid range
  • subtle nuances will be heard in your favorite records, which lends to a really enjoyable listening experience
  • folds up for easy storage
  • 1/4 ” adapter and synthetic leather carrying case included
  • pretty good movement in the ear-cups.

Cons

  • Coiled cable is not detachable, and can get tangled frequently
  • Potential to sound a bit boring, being so analytical
  • harshness in the upper mid and treble range, leading to fatigue
  • a bit too bulky for consistent portable use
  • ear cups may start to peel after about a year or so, and leave little bits of black in your ears. One of mine actually came off and I had to frequently re-attach it.

Check out the video review!

Amp/DAC requirements

At 63 Ohm, None! How to choose a headphone amp!

Who these headphones benefit?

  • Producers, or anyone looking for neutral and honest sound for their projects
  • People who want a crisp clear sound, with a lot of detail. They are very revealing in this sense.

Consensus/Conclusion

These are the industry standard for a reason. They are some of the most reliable and honest headphones you will find at this price range or otherwise. Build quality is above average overall, but the ear-cups may present problems. They are meant for studio, and don’t really do well on the go.

Similarities & Differences

Similarities

  • They have a similar look and feel, although the 7506’s are more throwback.
  • They are both closed back, circumaural models, with similar impedance.

Closed back vs. Open back headphones

  • Both can be fatiguing and harsh in the high end, though overall the 7506’s more so.
  • Both have a similar headband adjustment (flashes of metal).

Differences

  • Sound. The M50’s are warmer and less neutral than the 7506’s, and have a deeper bass response. While the 7506’s are more conducive to mixing, the M50’s are a “fun” and enjoyable listen. They do better overall in a wider variety of applications.
  • Comfort. Overall the M50’s are more comfortable and can be worn for a longer period of time.
  • Cable. Both are suited for studio use, but the M50’s are a little more portable if you opt for the straight cable version. The 7506’s do not have a straight cable option.
  • Cost. The 7506’s are a sub $100 set, while the M50’s hover around the $150 range.
  • Headphone jack. The M50’s jack feels more durable and of a higher quality than the 7506’s.
  • Build Quality. The 7506’s feel less durable and there are certain components of the headphone that are prone to breaking down/falling off (The ear-cup most notably). By contrast, I haven’t had a major issue with the M50 since I bought them in Jan. 2013. They are built to last a long time.
  • Ear cup. Both are prone to cracking (in the case of the M50) or peeling (7506). The M50’s cracking doesn’t have much of an effect other than a cosmetic blemish. The 7506’s actually leave little bits of of the material behind in your ear!
  • Flexibility. The M50’s fold and contort in a variety of different ways. While the 7506’s are somewhat flexible in this regard, they simply don’t compare.

Final Word

If you’re looking for a more honest and accurate representation of the music in question, and require a good reference monitor headphone, go with the 7506. It’s a can that you will use time and again in studio. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t do very well on the go, and there are some design flaws that may be made apparent over time.

SEE THEM FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!

If you would rather have a headphone that gets you excited, and sounds more “fun” and enjoyable overall, go with the M50. It’s quite a versatile set, and does well with nearly every genre and application, studio or otherwise. The bass frequency is also quite a bit more pronounced. This is a bass-heads can!

SEE THE M50’s FOR YOURSELF ON AMAZON!!


 

Well that’s about it for today folks! I hope you have enjoyed my review of the Sony MDR 7506 vs Audio Technica ATH M50!

Which model is more valuable to you? Let me know!!

If you have any other further specific questions, please leave them in the box down below or contact me! I very much look forward to hearing from you!

All the best and God bless,

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[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!!

 

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12 Comments

  1. Great comparison between the Sony and Audio Technica. I was looking at different headphones for my podcast for monitor headphones while recording and editing. The Sony MDR 7506 like you said seemed to almost be the industry standard as I have seen that model suggested by a few podcasters. Based on your final comparison, confirms my gut feeling for the Audio Technica which I am also looking at a new mic by the same brand. Thanks Stu again for a great comparison.

    • Hey Ryan!

      Glad to be able to help! So you’re going with the Audio Technicas then?

      -Stu

  2. Hey Stu,
    You have a lot of great information here. What a great run down on two great headphones. You have the Audio Technica ATH M50 vs Sony MDR 7506 you say in your comparison they are so close. Do you have a recommendation for headphones in the $20-$30 price range for some one just starting out?
    Thanks for sharing
    Chris

    • Hey Chris!

      I sure do. Check out the Sennheiser HD 202’s. I own them and really like them! For a beginning enthusiast such as yourself these are the perfect set starting out.. around $23 on amazon. Hope you decide on them!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      -Stu

  3. Hi Stu,

    I’m thinking about sending my good old Sennheiser hd-25 to retirement and taking a new one. The problem is that I don’t have the cash at the moment to get one fro the price of the HD-25.

    Do you think that the Sony HDR 7506 or the Audio Technica ATH M50 could replace the Sennheiser? These are a little cheaper but do you thing the difference is significant?

    Thank you for your help!

    Kind regards,

    Adam

    • Hey man!

      I’ve been reading about the HD-25 and it’s marketed as more of a reference type of headphone. I do think the MDR 7506 could replace it, as well as the ATH-M50. The real difference is that the M50 is a bit punchier and bass heavy. It’s not bloated however. I’m not sure if that’s what you are looking for, but it’s a great listening experience nonetheless.

      If you are going for more of a flat, honest, and neutral reproduction of sound (meaning no exaggerated highs, lows, etc.) I would definitely check out the Sennheiser HD 280, as well as the Sony MDR V6.

      You might feel more immersed in the sound of the 280’s, or really any of the above mentioned. They are all circumaural (meaning the headphones surround the ears), as opposed to the HD 25’s which are supra aural (they rest on the ears).

      Also, a big complaint about the HD 25’s is comfort. Any of the models I mentioned would be an immediate upgrade in that department as well.

      So to recap:

      Audio Technica ATH M50: loud, immersive sound, crisp sparkling highs, tight, punchy low end. For bass heads definitely.] Very comfortable. I have owned a pair for almost 3 years and love ’em.

      Sony MDR 7506: The industry standard. If you bought these on a whim you wouldn’t be disappointed in the least. They are everywhere for a reason, and they continue to sell to this day because they are reliable and pretty honest.

      Sennheiser HD 280: Great neutral set that doesn’t really exaggerate anything in the mix. They are comfortable, solid, reliable, and durable. The only downside for me is that they can be a bit boring sometimes, because they are so real with you. In fact, they have exposed a few of MY OWN mixes, revealing flaws.

      Sony MDR V6: one of the oldest and most reliable models in existence, the fact that these are still even around is a true testament to their longevity and reliability in studio. Similar to the 280’s, they are pretty flat as well.

      Hope I answered your question. I really appreciate you stopping by! If you have any other questions let me know..

      -Stu

  4. Really good article and finally about some different headsets than the always Dr Beats / Bose.

    I can see that even I get influenced by the media. I used to have a Sennheiser headset which was great, but I am now using Bose headphones like everyone else.

    One thing I was wondering though: Are the prices the same regardless of which colour you choose? It is really surprising to me that I have to pay more for a certain colour. I thought it was the sound that mattered.

    Great stuff though!

    • Hey Cees!

      The prices DO vary according to which color you choose. I myself am wondering why as well! It’s very interesting. If I had to guess maybe it’s because certain colors are more popular than others? Not so sure about that one. Thank you for the question though!

      Hope to hear from you again..

      -Stu

  5. Perfect & truly , deeply analyzed advice for those who have great hunger of true, crisp musica.

  6. Reviewers shouldn’t use words like ‘neutral’ or ‘flat’ casually. There’s nothing coincidental about the MDR7506 possibly producing some ear fatigue, and being a bit harsh, and at the same time ‘clear and punchy’. They are NOT as neutral or flat as the AT 50X. To imply the contrary is just WRONG the AT is as close to flat as you will find anywhere in that price range. And for the money they are currently the ONLY choice if what you are after is FLAT. The Sony are great cans, don’t misunderstand. But THEY ARE the ones that are colored, MUCH MORE than the AT. Yes I’ve gone VERY DEEP into this. Critically listening samples, test, plots etc. Yes I am give you the correct word. I own 3 MDR 7506 and one AT 50x. Because I bought the Sony’s years ago and they still sound great and still work ! For professional work in a noisy enviroment, tracking in a live room with other intruments, the Sony’s will come through more clear, because the ARE hyped. So it’s depends on what you want. It’s nice to have both, for sure. And being relatively low cost, maybe you can.

    • Sorry bud, but I’m going to have to disagree. I’ve had the 50x’s for almost 4 years now, and they aren’t neutral at all. The bass is definitely colored, as well as the treble, which leaves you with a recessed mid-range. This is pretty much common knowledge at this point. I also owned the 7506’s for about 2 years. They are an industry standard for mixing/reference, and have been for a long time. So good luck convincing pretty much the entire audiophile community that they aren’t, lol. To say that the 50x’s are more neutral is just flat out (no pun intended) false, I’m sorry.

      Also, the 50x’s are not as close to flat in the price range of 150 as you can get. The Sennheiser HD 598 and HD380 are both flatter/more neutral.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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