Home Closed Back Headphone Reviews Sony MDR-7506 Review: Still Relevant In 2024?

Sony MDR-7506 Review: Still Relevant In 2024?

The 7506 has been around since 1991, but is it still worth a look today?

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear), all over again, so…

Before we get into the Sony MDR-7506 review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

The Sony MDR-7506 is a renowned pair of over-ear, closed-back headphones that has earned its place as a staple in the audio industry.

Known for its exceptional sound quality, durability, and versatility, the MDR-7506 is a favorite among audio professionals and enthusiasts alike.

In this overview, we will delve into key aspects of the 7506, including its build quality, comfort, sound profile, amplification needs, its suitability for critical audio tasks such as mixing, mastering, and music production.

By examining these factors, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of why the MDR-7506 remains a popular choice in various audio applications.

This is part of my “Budget Kings” Series, which takes a look at some of the best options for under $100.

Why did I place this third?

Both the 9500 and 30i outclass the 7506, but it’s still a highly relevant headphone and has been since it first came out.

If you’re looking for closed-back mostly neutral headphones, the 7506 is definitely something to consider.

If you’re new to the hobby, the V6 (now discontinued) has been around since the ’80s, with the 7506 coming along in 1991.

Both are studio staples and should have a place in every engineer’s cabinet.

Sony MDR-7506

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!

In The Box

Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

Soft Case

1/4″ Adapter

Limited 90-Day Warranty

Specifications

With that, let’s get rolling!

Build & Design

Sony MDR-7506 Review

The Sony MDR-7506, first launched in 1991, showcases a robust build quality, featuring sturdy metal adjustments that contribute to its overall durability.

Its compact design is a notable advantage, offering a sleek profile that doesn’t compromise on structural integrity.

The headphones, despite a flimsy-ish profile, boast a convenient foldable design, making them easily transportable for on-the-go professionals or casual homies.

7506 folded

However, a few drawbacks do exist.

Cable

The coiled cable, while providing flexibility, tends to become an annoyance over time as it tends to tangle after about a year or so.

Padding

Another area of concern lies in the faux leather pads, which, although initially intact, exhibit a propensity to flake and peel over extended use, leaving plenty of debris, including in the ears, on the floor, etc.

Ear Cups

Additionally, the earcup, held in place by a small slit around its circumference, can occasionally become dislodged over time.

With extended use and abuse, you will likely have to re-insert it.

This can become a pain in the ass after a while.

Despite these nuances, the MDR-7506 remains a well-built and robust option within its price range, combining durability with a compact design for practical everyday use.

The 7506 further stands out with a free and loose feel in hand, an aspect that might raise initial concerns but hasn’t proven problematic for me thus far.

On the outside of the cups,

you’ll see that unmistakable lettering that reads “Sony”, as well as “Dynamic Stereo Headphones”, “MDR-7506”, and “Professional.”

Sony MDR-7506 Review

Sony MDR-7506 ReviewThe headband is stitched and provides sparse padding, and the top (as with the V6) reads “Studio Monitor” in hollow block letters.

The headband adjustment contains a super robust metal piece with numbered indicators and the mechanism itself clicks rather nicely as you’re moving it up and down.

It also stays in place rather well so you’ll never have to readjust after making the initial click.

Sony MDR-7506 Review

Sony MDR-7506 Review

Comfort

All things considered, these headphones aren’t that comfortable and will dig into your ears after a while.

They are light and fit very snugly, but the ear cups are rather small and also tend to collect moisture, heat up easily, etc.

I’ve always considered this to be a hybrid Circumaural (Around-Ear) and Supra-Aural (On-Ear) fit.

In other words, it isn’t quite one or the other.

They rest on your ears, and around them at the same time (sort of) if that makes sense.

It’s hard to explain, but will also depend on the size of your auricles.

If you have ears the size of Montana, it ain’t gonna be smooth sailing, I can tell you that right now. xD

Oh my God look at the size of those things!

Cheers big ears!

I would say comfort is about average, maybe slightly below depending on who you are.

One thing I find myself doing after around 30-45 minutes is pulling each ear cup a few times to give my ears a breather and also readjust the position they’re in.

Sound

Sony MDR-7506 Review

The sound is a bit tricky to review since the 7506 are marketed as reference headphones and thus do a very good job in that regard.

They will sound wonderful with certain recordings, and not so great with others.

For that reason,

the 7506 is great for mixing by virtue of being some of the rawest and most honest headphones you’ll ever come across.

Mixing on them can be a bit of a chore because of the harshness and sibilance in the high-frequency ranges, but that same “issue” actually becomes a huge benefit when you’re trying to dissect the mix and find flaws.

This is true for most headphones with a brighter treble around the 8-10kHz area, but the 7506 also has rather remarkable resolution – especially for a headphone in the $100 range.

That said, I got a chance to purchase a Sony MDR-CD900ST and I think, overall, they’re a bit better for mixing.

Treble

Sony MDR-7506 Review

Even so, the treble on the 7506 can become fatiguing to the point of exhaustion at times.

I found myself having to take them off and give my ears a rest because of this.

Keep in mind that I would have them on my head for hours at a time when I was mixing a beat back in 2010 and 2011.

They still work for casual listening, and I love them for that because of how neutral and revealing they are (outside of the hot treble).

Many people, like my boy Brennan Parker, will find them incredibly enjoyable for simply listening to music casually and nothing else.

I would say if you plan on mixing with these, plan to do so at lower volumes to save your ears.

I also want to mention a great point that Fabian in the comments made down below and something I harp on quite a bit in articles and videos:

It’s that yes, the 7506’s treble can be a bit peaky at times, but a lot of the time it entirely depends on the track in question – how it was recorded, mixed, and mastered.

This is a concept that’s largely lost on audiophiles who refuse to acknowledge some of the truths about basic sound engineering principles; ones that will never change.

And the reason they refuse?

Sony MDR V6 vs. MDR-7506

Design: HomeStudioBasics

It’s because they’ve never actually mixed down a track and thus can’t understand that it’s the producer behind the music that has a lot of say in how something is going to sound.

Before I go off on a rant, I will digress for now.

Bass

For the most part, the bass is good.

It’s tight, controlled, and provides incredible detail and clarity.

That said, there’s a smidge too much mid-bass emphasis which can put a subtle layer of .. how shall we say, “hum”, over the low end. In other words, it almost has too much impact even though it’s by no means bloated.

Contrast that with the MDR-CD900ST; a more neutral representation of this area and arguably better for reference work. 

In any event, the 7506 was the first headphone that allowed me to discern very subtle sounds in my mixes, as well as my favorite music in general.

They do impress me in that regard and will likely cause you to look at music in an entirely different light.

Sony MDR-7506 Review

Suddenly,

songs that I thought I knew front to back revealed themselves to me fully.

For that reason, it was an epiphany in every sense of the word.

Mid-Range

This is most certainly the 7506’s bread and butter, as the mids sound pretty much perfect to my ears.

It’s in large part what makes this headphone so incredible for mixing, as this area is the most crucial in getting the song right and having it translate well to pretty much anything you might play the track on (speakers, other headphones, sound systems, car stereos, etc.)

As a result,

there’s not much to complain about.

You’ll notice vocals and instruments sound incredibly lively without really getting out of line or becoming too shouty or in your face.

Consequently,

the sound is incredibly revealing; you’re going to start hearing subtle details in the music that you weren’t aware of before with cheaper products.

This is what makes the 7506 an incredible value and pretty much a jaw-dropping experience for the beginner enthusiast/producer like I was back then.

Few headphones beyond this price point reveal anything more, and this is in large part due to The Law of Diminishing Returns!

Pros

  • Good for mixing at this price point. They aren’t perfect but get the job done. They are pretty analytical which lends itself well to studio applications.
  • Exceptional clarity and detail. These headphones helped me discern small subtleties in my mixes as well as my favorite tunes.
  • Solid Build. Aside from the ear cup issue, I could see these lasting long. They have been around since 1991, Sony’s gotta be doing something right, no?
  • Tight, punchy low end.
  • They are very flexible and fold in a myriad of different ways for added durability.
  • They come with a nice carrying case and a 1/4″ adapter.

Cons

  • The coiled cable can be a pain and get tangled frequently.
  • Ear cups may start to peel after about a year or so, sometimes even falling out completely.
  • Hot, sometimes essy treble.

Let’s take a look at a video!

Video Review/Discussion

Click the video for some BIG laffs. xD

Amp/DAC requirements

At 63 Ohms Impedance, the 7506 isn’t terribly hard to drive.

If you do decide on one, a FiiO K11 is a perfect entry point. Alternatively, the BTR5 is great for people on the go.

Outside of these, I really wouldn’t get hung up on an amp for these as they are incredibly efficient at around 106dB/mW.

In fact,

if you’re doing a lot of mixing, you’ll likely want something like a Universal Audio Volt 2. 

That way, you can simultaneously mix with monitors and headphones and not even need to worry about getting a separate headphone Amp/DAC.

Who do these headphones benefit?

Sony MDR-7506 Review

  • Beatmakers on a budget looking for a good mixing option.
  • Folks who like to hear subtle details in their music.
  • Those who want great value, and an upgrade from their current earbuds or cheap headphones.
  • People who want longevity out of their purchase. There is a reason these came out in 1991 (The Dinosaur Age) but are still around even now! Lol.

Consensus/Conclusion

Sony’s MDR-7506 is a durable, long-lasting set of headphones that won’t break the bank.

The sound is exemplary overall, with a fantastic mid-range and excellent resolution perfect for the studio.

The treble can be harsh and fatiguing, the ear cups are prone to falling off, and the faux leather tends to peel off after some time.

Still,

it’s a headphone that remains relevant even after 30+ years on the market.

For that reason, it’s an easy recommendation and a product I believe every person should experience at one point or another.

Final Verdict

Sony MDR-7506 Review

The 7506 was the first “good” headphone I ever purchased back in 2010, and I just purchased one again as you can tell from the brand-spankin’ new pictures in this article.

That said, I also just bought the MDR-CD900ST because I was curious about all the hype surrounding them. Are they better than the 7506 for mixing? I do believe so.

That said, the 7506 is never a bad purchase.

It’s one of those “aha” moments when you go “This is what music is supposed to sound like.”

It’s not a perfect headphone or sound signature but comes pretty close.

I firmly believe every engineer, beatmaker, or producer should have one of these in their cabinet.

Back Story

Ah, the Sony MDR 7506.

One of the most reviewed and popular headphones of the last 25+ years, dating all the way back to 1991 when it first came out.

To put that into perspective, 1991 was the year I got my Super Nintendo bundled with Super Mario World for Christmas. Yeah, I feel old.

This headphone happens to be the younger brother of the original V6 that came out in 1985, which was the very first headphone in a line of 7:

  1. Sony MDR-V6 (1985)
  2. Sony MDR-V600
  3. Sony MDR-7506 (1991)
  4. Sony MDR-7509HD
  5. Sony MDR-7510
  6. Sony MDR-7520
  7. Sony MDR-CD900ST

I have owned both the 7506 and V6 at one time or another, and both served me exceptionally well.

The original V6 unfortunately has been discontinued after 35 years!

In fact, my very first set of “good” cans was indeed the MDR-7506 way back in 2010.

At the time, I was heavily into mixing beats and generally preferred listening through headphones.

While others might have preferred studio monitors, I always felt like I could hear the subtle intricacies of sound through headphones. What are Studio Monitors?

Nowadays I actually like both, but tend to gravitate toward headphones because I just love them so much. <3

2007

I began making beats in 2007, and sampling in 2009.

In 2010 I knew that I needed to upgrade my setup in some way, as I was looking to improve the quality of my mixes. I was pretty much rocking an old Lenovo laptop and nothing else.

Before that, I had a desktop computer that you see pictured below, tower and all!

I don’t even remember what I was mixing with back then before I received the 7506 as a gift that year.

It could have been a Sony MDR-V150, but I can’t even be sure about that!

If I had to guess, it was these Logitechs that you see on either side of my computer monitor:

Circa 2007. My dad has since moved out of this house 🙁

It’s rather strange to think about life before good headphones.

I sure as heck didn’t have any studio monitors yet either, and that wouldn’t come until 2014 when I purchased the JBL LSR 305s from Sweetwater.

When I finally got the 7506 in my hands and plugged them in, I was completely floored. I will never forget the feeling I got when I fired up a track and pressed play.

It’s almost indescribable.

Growing up in the ’90s, I was used to those cheap drugstore headphones and had never heard anything better. In fact, I just assumed that those products were as good as it got!

In retrospect, that sounds incredibly naive, but as a youngster in the pre-Napster days, this was all I had and all I knew.

Expectations

The 7506 completely shattered my expectations and undoubtedly changed the way I looked at music during those early days. That is no exaggeration.

Once you’ve put good headphones on and hear what music is supposed to sound like, there’s no going back. This is the experience that the 7506 provides and is definitely one that you won’t ever forget.

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Sony MDR-7506 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Just want to make a one-time donation? Click here. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps keep this site running!

Would YOU purchase a 7506? Do you have prior experience with these classic headphones? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

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

Save

Save

Sony MDR 7506

4.7

Value

5.0/5

Sound

4.8/5

Build Quality

4.5/5

Isolation

4.8/5

Comfort

4.5/5

Pros

  • Clear, crisp, and tight sound
  • Good Build overall
  • Long term Reliability
  • Good Reference Sound

Cons

  • Pads crack and peel over time
  • Coiled Cable tangles over time
  • Treble can be bright at times

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17 comments

Lureita Worth January 19, 2015 - 4:33 pm

Great website. I enjoyed reading your review. You seem to be very knowledgeable about these earphones. The inconveniences you mentioned would probably drive me crazy. That’s just my personal opinion. If not for you knowledge, I would never have know so much. Thank you for this great post.

Reply
Stu February 18, 2015 - 5:50 pm

Yeah the chord is a bit ridiculous, but other than that I think they are well worth the investment. Thanks for stopping by, and sorry I missed your comment the first time around!
-Stu

Reply
daniella January 19, 2015 - 4:34 pm

Hi
I am looking for headphone because my children put music on very loud and I am going crazy.
Your articles are very interesting.
Thank you

Reply
Stu January 19, 2015 - 9:05 pm

Thanks Daniella! These and the ATH M50’s are great choices. They are closed back meaning that your kids would be able to turn the volume up as loud as possible with little to no sound escaping to the outside. Thanks for the comment!
-Stu

Reply
tony January 19, 2015 - 4:34 pm

Thanks for the information on Sony mdr 7506 headphones. Can use info to purchase me a pair. Keep up the good work.

Reply
Stu January 19, 2015 - 9:02 pm

They really are a great pair. These and the ATH M50’s would be my top picks.
-Stu

Reply
Tich January 19, 2015 - 4:51 pm

Stu

You are quite knowledgeable about building home studios. It is quite an interesting read. As a musician I have bookmarked your website so I can learn more and take away a few lessons.

I like the presentation and organisation on your website.

Good job. Keep us informed.

Tich

Reply
Stu January 19, 2015 - 9:01 pm

Thanks man! There is definitely more to come soon. Thanks for the comment as well
-Stu

Reply
Berk October 16, 2018 - 12:02 pm

Finally, I got my 7506 and happy that I own this classic pair after our very long conversations that answered every bit of detail in my questions to the last one which left no question mark on my mind. You really care and are a very helpful person and I feel very glad that I came across this site before making my own decision.

Hope to see this site getting only better in time.

Cheers!

Reply
Jesse October 27, 2018 - 7:17 pm

Hey Stu,
A while back, I described in detail some of the sonic differences between the Sony MDR V6 and 7506. Recently, I stumbled across another slight though noticeable difference. On the 7506, voices sound slightly thinner compared to the V6. While they retained very good clarity and timbre, vocals take a slight backseat to instruments. Whether the mid-range except from the upper-mids/low-treble is more “neutral” remains debatable. An article from Sonic Elevation on the 7506 partially describes what I mentioned regarding vocals. Not that I’m agreement with everything stated 🙂 Lastly, would you contemplate putting the 7506 in the Budget Kings category alongside the V6? Although I previously mentioned my slight preference to the V6 over the 7506, going from the V6 to 7506 isn’t a downgrade so to speak. Keep up the great work, Stu.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black October 28, 2018 - 3:24 pm

Yeah man I will def do that! I need to get my hands on a pair. I haven’t heard a 7506 in quite awhile, but your impressions seem right about vocals, as well as the treble in general IIRC. They had this tinny character to them and I don’t get that with the V6. Again, I’d have to snag a pair. I owned them around 2010-2011. I mixed on them almost everyday during that period (I was making a lot of beats at the time) so I can still remember almost exactly what they sound like. I will keep you posted..

Thanks for stopping by!

Reply
Tristan August 26, 2022 - 10:26 am

Should I save for a nice Dac/Amp and the Sennheiser HD 600s or buy the Sony MDR 7506s with a cheaper Dac/Amp

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 27, 2022 - 2:56 pm

Hey man great question and a tough one. You may just end up wanting to upgrade later, so I may save. My rec is ATOM Amp/DAC with 6XX (since it’s more affordable).

Keep me posted!

Reply
Jaime November 11, 2022 - 3:57 pm

Great Review!! I’ve been using the 7605s for about 15 years or so. As live sound monitor engineer it been always my headphones of choice because of their transparency and reliability. The cable may be a little annoying but if you are in front a big mixing board and have plenty of processors you need to be moving constantly and that’s the reason for having such a long cable. What you say about the pads it’s absolutely true, but when that happened I replaced them whit a new pair of leather pads that you can buy anywhere and when I did it two things improved immediately: I had better exterior noise isolation and the treble range was softened just the amount that needed to be less harsh. In conclusion, they are a great pair of cans made for the “road” with a great reliable reference sound.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 11, 2022 - 4:37 pm

Thank you for the comment Jaime! I really want to get another pair of these, but I’ve also been considering the CD900ST as well. Have you heard those? From graphs, they look to have more bass roll-off and a toned-down treble with perfect mid-range fidelity.

Reply
Fabian February 4, 2023 - 7:40 pm

Great article you know alot about these phones. The thing is with these headphones if the track is mixed well it sounds amazing, the treble is not to high and sounds really balanced and correct. But when a track is not mixed very well the highs do not sounds good and can be really piercing. I only use them if i wanna know how to track is intended to sound but besides that i will use another headphone for normal listening.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black February 5, 2023 - 10:40 pm

Thanks Fabian!

Great point and something I want to add to the article. I think the 7506 has always gotten a bad rep for being overly sibilant, but as you point out (and this is something I harp on quite a lot in articles and videos), the track itself and how it was recorded, mixed, and mastered has SO much to do with how it’s going to sound through headphones.

Is the 7506 a bit on the bright side? Absolutely, but I think people have somewhat overblown it over the years to the point where from an outsider’s perspective, the headphone may not seem like it’s worth buying when that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Thanks for stopping by!

Reply

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