Today I’m the mailman (but not Karl Malone) and I’m going to be delivering some news about the Sony MDR V6 vs. MDR 7506! These are two well-regarded headphones in the world of audiophiles and have a few differences to speak of.
Before we get started though, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
The Sony MDR V6 is a highly regarded, closed-back audiophile headphone that is at it’s best in a studio environment. It’s a mixing/reference can that proves to be very honest and neutral in its sound signature & presentation. It boasts a pristine clarity and has just the right amount of bass in my estimation. From graphs, you would think there’s none. It does roll off a bit, but the response is textured, nuanced, and extremely detailed. It kind of just rumbles really nicely. What the V6’s will give you is a tight, clear, controlled bass, but nothing overpowering.
What’s startling to me about the MDR V6’s is that they have been around since the early ’80s, and maybe even the late 70’s. If you look closely enough, you will see these around everywhere. They will last you a LONG time and are about as reliable as it gets for studio monitoring. The sound spectrum is flawlessly represented here, although there may be a slight grain in the mid-range at first. You will start to hear things in recordings that you previously thought absent.
The treble is also a problem area for some. For me, it’s not. They are definitely on the brighter side, but I’ve been using them in my studio for a while now and I don’t hear any hiss, metallic hue, or essy character. I think they just tend to get “hot” in the treble sometimes, meaning there’s a bit too much energy.
Long life. As mentioned above, there have been people raving about the longevity factor with these. Being that they came out before I was even born, you can see why. If the term revolutionary could ever be used properly in context, it would be regarding these headphones.
Nearly indestructible. These have a proven track record of being some of the most rock-solid headphones on the planet.
Trusted. These will be your go-to solution, and they have proven time and again to deliver results in a studio monitoring environment as well as a casual setting.
Plug. All metal plug with strain relief is a nice added touch. It contributes greatly to their build and reliability over time. Uses a 3.5 mm jack with a 1/4″ adapter.
No amp needed. They will play plenty loud on anything you use them with.
Also good for gaming because of that comfort factor, and the fact that you can hear very subtle nuances in sound.
Excels in both critical and casual listening situations
Very comfortable. Across the board, this was an almost universal consensus.
They fold up nicely but aren’t really meant for on the go situations due to the coiled cord.
Ear cushions will need to be replaced after some time, and the ear-cup may actually fall off. This was one of the main gripes with the V6’s. Being that I’ve owned the 7506’s, I can attest to this problem. The 2 are nearly identical, and the ear cup issue was one of my main dislikes about the phone.
A few reviewers have said that the left (or right) side has gone out after about a year + of use.
Don’t do well on the go, being that the coiled cable is bulky. It’s also non-detachable.
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These don’t need an amp, and by most accounts, they sound plenty loud enough with any of your portable devices. You can always opt for something like The Fiio E10K as it will enhance the sound a bit. That said, I wouldn’t get carried away with amplification here. This is a headphone with 63 Ohms Impedance and 106dB Sensitivity. That basically means that it’s not going to need a lot of power from an amp to reach peak loudness. Related:What is Sensitivity in Headphones?
Who these headphones benefit?
People looking for a flat neutral sound, conducive to mixing. Critical listeners.
Casual listeners looking for a crispy, uncolored sound. They do great with:
This is an all-around headphone that will work well with pretty much anything you decide to use it for. Out of over 10 headphones, this is one of the ones I use the most and one that I will not be selling even as I get rid of a lot of other headphones. It’s the quintessential studio headphone!
A very neutral, flat, and even sounding set of headphones. They will not amaze you in any way in regards to bass response, but the low end is tight and controlled. Overall they give you a pristine clarity and are some of the longest-lasting cans in existence. The main gripe is the ear-cup issue. Other less common complaints are:
somewhat loose construction
the left or right side of ear going out
folds when you don’t want them to fold; i.e. a bit flimsy
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 first set 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 tenfold 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 that they are 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 the 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 alike.
Amazing reference headphones. An accurate reproduction of the music.
Neutral and flat, ideal for mixing.
Durable and long-lasting.
Great mid-range. It’s nice and flat, with vocals and instruments having much life.
Subtle nuances will be heard in your favorite records, which lends to a really enjoyable listening experience.
Folds up for easy storage.
The coiled cable is not detachable, and can get tangled frequently.
Can sound a bit hot in the treble area.
Ear cups will 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.
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An amp can help out the sound quality a little, but like the V6 I wouldn’t go overboard here. Here are a couple of options that you may consider and ones that I’ve personally had a lot of experience with.
FiiO E10K. This is just about the perfect Amp/DAC under $100 that will power the majority of headphones. It’s perfect for headphones like the V6 and 7506 because A) They don’t need much power, and B) Because even so, this Amp will improve sound quality by using the dedicated DAC that comes inside the E10K. Related:What is a USB DAC?
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Step Up/Portable Option
Audioquest Dragonfly Red. If I had to choose one Amp/DAC to use in every circumstance, it would be the Dragonfly. Super convenient, portable, and works with your phone, on your desktop, on the go, etc. Small and compact, and only requires a roughly $8 adapter for use with a phone. Learn more:Audioquest Dragonfly Red Review!
I wouldn’t worry about anything else outside of these two options for these two headphones specifically. They will be more than enough to make you smile and get some nice sound quality out of the tracks you listen to.
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.
They work with all of the same genres and applications as the V6.
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
The replacement driver part numbers are exactly the same, and the drivers are both neodymium.
The sound overall is very similar. Some say the differences are negligible, but I have found a couple of differences below.
Both have non-detachable cables coming out of the same ear-cup.
Signature/Bass/Treble. Right off the bat, the biggest difference between these 2 sets of headphones is their slightly different sound signature. Both are pretty neutral, but the V6’s are more so than the 7506’s. However, the 7506’s have a slightly meatier bass and are a bit more harsh and shrill/sibilant in the treble range. What does sibilant mean? I can attest to this because it was one of my main complaints with the 7506. Vocals sometimes have this tendency to sound “tinny” on the 7506 and I didn’t get that feeling from the V6. The V6’s give you more of a smooth, even sound, while the 7506’s can become quite fatiguing after a long listening session. The V6’s treble is definitely hot at times, but I don’t get the feeling that it’s shrill or harsh. It just simply becomes a bit too bright with certain recordings. As if there’s too much gain or something. I’d say 99% of the time it’s clean as a whistle. Keep in mind these differences are pretty subtle at the end of the day. A lot of people say they sound the exact same. That’s one battle that I’m not going to get into, because they may very well be right. It’s just not enough of a difference to really debate about.
Wording. The V6’s say digital on the side of the ear-cup while the 7506’s say, Professional. This may not sound like a huge deal, but because of that “Professional” moniker, some are saying the customer support is better with the 7506’s. However, being that the V6’s are some of the most durable cans ever, you most likely will not have to contact them.
Jack. The V6 uses a silver headphone jack while the 7506 is gold plated.
Outside of those differences, these headphones are very similar in a lot of ways. The V6 is the original. The 7506 was created due to consumer demand for more bass. That’s really the gist of it in a nutshell.
The V6 has been discontinued after 35 years (1985-2020) and goes for ridiculously high prices now. Just save your money and get a 7506.
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.