The Sony MDR-7506 is a testament to what happens when a company develops a killer product that stands the test of time. Released in 1991, they are still among the most popular headphones thanks to their multi-use capacity.
The Sony MDR-7506 is an affordable set of headphones that punch way beyond their modest price tag. With capable sound and impressive build quality, they are just as good as the day they were released.
With its capacity for various applications, the Sony MDR-7506 is a versatile pair of cans with a lot to offer. Let’s check them out in more detail.
At this price point, these headphones offer exceptional sound quality reminiscent of far more expensive ones.
The balance between frequencies is impressive, making them a viable option for light studio work while maintaining enough vibrancy to make them a pleasant set of headphones for day-to-day listening.
Unlike other neutral-sounding headphones, the MDR-7506 offers a restrained and accurate high-frequency response that isn’t overly brittle or sharp. Well-defined and clear without causing fatigue over longer sessions.
The mid-range is equally impressive, with excellent tonal definition to bring instruments and vocals to life. They don’t become lost in the soundscape; there is enough accuracy to make informed mixing decisions.
The Sony MDR-7506 features a balanced sound profile.
Moving into the lower end, the accuracy remains, but they lack some oomph. If you like your headphones bold in the low end, these might not be the best choice. But they hit the nail on the head for a pleasant balance across all frequencies.
Imaging is also superb and equal, if not better, than some headphones that cost twice as much. Drivers are matched well, and the stereo image is defined and precise for excellent spatial awareness of tonal elements.
The soundstage is a bit cramped due to the closed-back design and shallow earcups, but that is a common problem found in closed-back headphones. If you need a spacious soundstage, you should check out open-back headphones.
There is little to fault with the MDR-7506, especially at its price point, which is exceptionally reasonable. Well-balanced and tight performance for day-to-day use in both casual and studio settings.
The excellent clarity also makes them a viable option for DJing applications. A well-rounded pair of headphones that perform a lot better than their price might indicate.
The Sony MDR-7506 closed-back headphones also offer a high level of comfort thanks to lightweight materials and comfortable padding.
The ear cups are large enough to accommodate most ears, but the depth of the cups is noticeably more shallow than more premium choices on the market. If you have prominent ears, there is a chance your ears will make contact with the driver covers.
The padding is reasonably plush and soft for a comfortable and relaxed fit. The quality, however, is not amazing, especially if you are used to more expensive headphones that offer a more durable coating.
The padding is relatively comfortable but prone to early flaking.
The headband padding is sufficient, and since these are relatively lightweight at just 0.5 lbs. (227 grams), you won’t feel any excessive pressure on the top of your head.
The clamping force is also relaxed, which adds to the comfort level. But there is a tradeoff for this more easy-going fit with stability suffering. If you move around a lot, these can slip out of position.
Breathability is also reasonable for a closed-back set of headphones. Some heat build-up is present but on par with other closed-back options on the market. It takes a little time for that heat to build up, so it should only become noticeable over longer sessions or in hot climates.
For the price, the Sony MDR-7506 offers a relaxed and comfortable listening experience that is more than suitable for casual listening and short to medium-length stints in the studio.
This is perhaps the only part where the Sony MDR-7506 shows its age. These over-ear headphones look like they are from the 90s, with a very straightforward and generic design that feels a little dated.
Don’t get me wrong, many other headphones are on offer today that look similar, but we have also come a long way in aesthetic design, so there are more stylish cans out there.
The all-black finish gives it a professional appearance, but having the word plastered on the side of the ear cups is unnecessary and a sign of the era that these were designed.
Functionally there are also a few points worth mentioning. The first is the exposed cabling from the earcups, and I’d much prefer these to be hidden away as there is the potential to hook onto these and cause damage.
The MDR-7506 features a simplistic design.
The second issue is the non-detachable cable. The included cable is high quality and does come with an adapter, but if you prefer a straight cable, you’ll be out of luck as you can’t detach the cable and switch it for another.
Despite the relaxed fit, these headphones don’t leak much sound and offer decent isolation. But suppose you are in a very loud environment. In that case, lower frequencies will creep in, which might make something like beatmatching more challenging.
To be fair, you can’t expect everything for a budget-focused pair of headphones. Nevertheless, it is worth highlighting as it might be a dealbreaker for some people.
On the flip side, the Sony MDR-7506 headphones offer swiveling ear cups, making them an excellent choice for one-ear monitoring. They also collapse for easier transportation in the included pouch.
While these are not the most attractive pair of headphones, and they bare the hallmarks of 90s design, they still comfortably blend into studio environments. Plus, I’ll always take a less attractive pair of headphones that performs well over a trendy set that sounds like garbage.
For a budget pair of headphones, the Sony MDR-7506 offers a reasonable level of build quality and, in some cases, far superior to other budget cans on the market.
The plastic is reasonably thick, but some minimal creaking is present when placed under pressure. The thin metal adjustable headband strip is also reasonably robust but not comparable to more expensive options.
The MDR-7506 offers reasonable build quality for its price point.
The hinges are equally competent, but I would still ensure you are careful, as I could see these breaking easily from a drop or excessive force. I’ve already mentioned the exposed wiring, but it is worth highlighting again. It is another potential point of early failure if you are careless with these cans.
The padding on the ear cups is also adequate, but it will be prone to flaking sooner rather than later. It’s a common issue with budget headphones, so if you need more durable headphones, you’ll inevitably have to spend more.
I’ll admit I’ve been critical of the build quality, but for what it’s worth, it is essential to factor in the price point. You can’t expect premium materials in headphones this cheap. And when you factor that in, these are more than acceptable.
Value is the name of the game regarding the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. These offer an enticing price point while delivering in the sound department.
The detailed and neutral response makes these a flexible pair of headphones that will be appropriate for a broad range of tasks.
The MDR-7506 comes with a pouch for storage.
Need a decent set of cans for DJing with? These offer a pleasant sound profile and enough volume to get the job done. Want to switch over to some light editing or studio work? These offer the neutrality you’ll need to make accurate decisions. Are you kicking back on the couch, listening to music? The MDR-7506 offers a non-fatiguing sound that highlights the details in your favorite tunes.
The package includes a pouch for storage and transportation, along with an adapter to ensure you can connect these headphones to various devices. With a relatively low impedance of 63 ohms, they also play nice with lower-powered devices like smartphones.
A value-packed set of cans that might not last forever but is far better than some cheaper options that sound horrible and will fall apart at the slightest bit of pressure.
After over 30 years in the market, the Sony MDR-7506 has been around long enough to have a substantial amount of reviews to put these headphones into perspective adequately. Most reviews are positive and more glowing than I have been. These are well-liked headphones with a lot of satisfied customers.
Versatility Saves You Money
Let’s face facts, setting up a home studio is not a cheap endeavor. The initial setup cost can rapidly escalate when you factor in all the equipment you need.
That is where headphones like the Sony MDR-7506 shine. These versatile headphones can handle various tasks with a level of quality that is enough for a beginner setup. Why buy a dedicated pair of headphones for DJing, another pair for studio work, and a further pair for casual listening when you can buy one set of cans?
Headphones that handle multiple tasks can save you money to spend on other gear.
While I encourage you to spend more or have dedicated cans for specific tasks, if you can afford it, but for many beginners, buying so many different pairs of headphones will also be overkill.
Keep in mind that as your skills and goals change, so will your priorities regarding gear. Once you have a clearer idea of your ambitions, you can tailor your future purchases to suit your needs more accurately. But if you are getting started buying a versatile set of cans can save you a lot of money.
I’ll admit that buying a set of budget headphones is exceptionally challenging. There is an abundance of low-quality options that are not worth picking up, but there are also some gems in the garbage. Below we take a quick look at some alternatives worth considering.
Sennheiser HD 200 PRO Review
The Sennheiser HD 200 PRO is another enticingly priced pair of headphones that will suit specific applications better than the MDR-7506.
- Punchy and engaging sound profile that is great for casual listening.
- Modern and attractive design compared to the MDR-7506.
- They are not as balanced and not an ideal choice for studio work.
Sennheiser HD 200 PRO
Sennheiser HD 25 Light Review
These DJ headphones feature the high-quality sound of the popular HD 25 but within a different frame. Excellent sound without a massive price tag. If you are looking for a value-packed offering these are worth considering.
- Excellent definition while maintaining a relatively balanced frequency response.
- Solid passive isolation, which is ideal for DJing.
- The on-ear design can be uncomfortable for some people.
Sennheiser HD 25 Light
Tascam TH-02 Review
If you want to stretch your budget as far as possible, these low-priced headphones from Tascam are a reasonable choice. Not amazing, but at this price, it is tough to complain.
- Respectable sound for headphones in this price bracket.
- The super cheap price point makes these an ideal budget choice.
- Low-quality materials but expected at this price.
Should You Buy?
The Sony MDR-7506 has stood the test of time. With over 30 years in the market, they have proven themselves as one of the most affordable and versatile headphones you can buy.
They are far from perfect, with a bland aesthetic and some dated features, but the fantastic sound quality makes up for it. An ideal choice for a home studio setup where you are aiming to keep costs down. Capable as a set of DJ cans but equally respectable in a studio setting. They are an all-rounder with a lot going for them, especially at this price point.