These definitely aren’t the most flashy or stylish cans. Why do so many recording engineers consider them to be one of the best? Is it because they have a completely flat and neutral response? Is it because they’re an absolute bargain with a professional performance?
It’s no accident that these are so highly-rated and reviewed… but why? Throughout this review, we’ll do our best to help you understand the best and worst features they have to offer, as well as hopefully answering any questions you have!
If you’re anything like us, you probably agree with the importance of having all the facts before you make your decision! Keep reading our Sony MDR 7506 Review to see what makes them one of the most well-loved “industry standard” studio monitors!
Sony MDR 7506 Review – What Makes Them “Industry Standard”?!
Basic Features & Technical Specs:
- Closed back over-ear wearing design
- Driver Type: Neodymium dynamic
- Driver Size: 40 mm
- Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
- Impedance: 63 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 106 dB
- Includes: 1/4″ adapter + soft carrying pouch
- Weight: 8.1 ounces
Before you move on, take a quick look at the links below that you can use to navigate our review. Each section will provide an in-depth analysis for each individual performance aspect.
Here are the 5 most important features you’ll want to consider before making your decision:
- Build Quality & Compact Folding Design
- Comfort – Are The Ear Cups Too Shallow?
- Sonic Performance – Neutral or V-Shaped?
- Are They Better For Studio or Casual Use?
- Who Are They Perfect For?
Now that you’ve taken a quick look at the technical specs, let’s start by examining two of the most important features – their build quality and compact folding design!
Build Quality & Compact Folding Design
These have an almost completely plastic build, aside from the metal headband under the padding. Although they’re advertised as being ‘over-ear’ headphones, their actual fit will vary from person to person. If you have bigger ears, they’ll fit more like an on-ear. If you have medium-to-small sized ears, they fit how most over-ears would.
Since they have a mostly plastic build, their design is fairly lightweight. This is why they aren’t the most durable cans. They decided to sacrifice extreme durability for better overall wearing comfort. Although they aren’t exactly built like a tank, it’s pretty easy to replace any parts that wear down over time.
The headband has left and right indicators on the outside of the joint where they fold. The left plastic indicator is blue and the right is red. Since these are such a popular choice for so many people, there are quite a few ‘fakes’ trying to be passed off as authentic. How can you tell if yours are authentic?
How To Verify That They’re Authentic!
One way to verify yours are completely authentic, is to pay attention to the clicking sounds as you adjust the headband. The right side clicks loudly as you adjust them down while the left side clicks more loudly as you adjust them up.
Each side of the metal piece of the headband has numbered adjustment notches. (They’re especially helpful if you’re a little bit OCD about making sure your headband is perfectly adjusted). Seriously though, the numbered notches can be helpful when you fold them down, put them in their case, and come back to listen later.
Compact Storage & Swivel Ear Cups
As we briefly mentioned above, they have a compact folding design. Both ear cups fold in and up – towards the bottom of the headband. Once they’re completely folded down, they form into an almost pocket-sized shape.
You will also receive a soft drawstring carrying pouch. The company’s logo is stamped into the bottom center portion of the pouch. One of the main downsides to their build is the lack of swiveling ear cups. If you’re thinking about using these in the studio, you probably agree.
Is The 9.8 Foot Coiled Cable Detachable?
Unfortunately, the 9.8 foot coiled cable is non-detachable. While you may consider that to be another noteworthy downside, the cable itself is pretty hefty and durable. This affects three major areas:
- Adds more overall weight
- Makes them less ideal for portable use (which we’ll cover in more detail below)
- Cable is less likely to fray or break after years of continuous use
Although there are a few minor downsides, the cable shouldn’t just randomly break or stop working. For the most part, its non-detachable design will affect where you use them more than anything. If you decide to use the included 1/4″ adapter, it screws on and off.
It’s important to note that these are very easy to drive, so the adapter becomes more useful for plugging them into recording equipment than an external DAC/amp like the Audioengine D1. Now that you know what to expect in terms of build quality, take a look at how comfortable they are!
Comfort – Are The Ear Cups Too Shallow?
It’s hard to tell by looking at the picture above, but the ear cups on these cans are pretty shallow. Even if you have smaller ears, they will rest against the inside of the ear cup. Luckily, there is foam lining underneath the felt material covering the drivers. The foam lining adds more cushion and prevents any severe outer ear discomfort.
If you find that the padding is too thin or shallow, you can replace them. Also, the actual cushion tends to wear out a little bit faster than usual. Some people prefer replacing the stock pads with the ones pictured below.
They are fully compatible with these cans, but keep in mind they will have an affect on how they sound. Once again, it’s not totally necessary to replace the ear pads, but you do have the option if you decide the stock pads aren’t up to par.
When you’re wearing these, you’ll notice that they have more headphone clamp than other similar cans. While there is pretty minimal headband padding, their lightweight build and wider headband is more comfortable than you might think.
Passive Noise Isolation
When it comes to isolating yourself from outside noise, these don’t do the best job. The stock ear pads are partially to blame, although if you’re using these in the studio/recording environment – extreme passive noise isolation isn’t totally necessary.
That being said, if you plan on wearing them in noisier areas like an airplane or busy store, you can always turn to volume up louder. Overall, they have a fairly comfortable wearing design that doesn’t cause any major discomfort. We think the shallow ear cups are the main downside in this area. By now, you’re probably wondering if they’re better for studio or casual use!
Are They Better For Studio or Casual Use?
There are a few major features that make these more ideal for studio use. For one, the extra long 9.8 ft. coiled cable. You can always bring them with you to the store, but finding a place to stash the extra length might be more trouble than it’s worth. On top of that, they tend to leak quite a bit of sound.
Sound Leakage In Quiet Environments
For example, if you’re getting some work done at the library (or any other quiet environment), anyone within about 5 feet will be able to hear what you’re listening to. There is a similar effect if you’re at home and someone’s sitting in the same room.
Most of the major sound leakage happens when you’re listening at about 75% to 100% volume. If you keep the volume closer to 50%, the overall sound leakage will dramatically decrease. When it comes to using them in the studio, sound leakage isn’t a very big deal.
Can You Use Them For Mixing & Recording?
One of the main reasons these are more ideal for mixing and recording is mainly due to how they actually sound. The extended coiled cable is another convenient feature since it allows for more freedom of movement. That, plus their lightweight build and unique sound profile.
Although they are one of the most popular choices by professionals for mixing audio, they are also a pretty good entry-level can. As you’ll see in our detailed breakdown below, their unique sonic performance can be a great introduction to the world of studio reference cans!
‘Oddly V-Shaped’ Sound Profile
If you’re wondering why they’re less ideal for casual listening, it’s because they have what we would call an ‘oddly v-shaped’ sound profile. Why is that good for mixing? Although many people prefer a more neutral response for monitoring the various levels on a track – their slightly lopsided playback serves a similar purpose.
It will help pinpoint any extreme inaccuracies on your mix. You’ll immediately hear where you need to raise (or lower) the volume and smooth it out. If you can smooth out the major problem areas while wearing these – your track will sound much more well-balanced.
That way, your track will sound awesome on any other headphones, speakers, or IEMs when you’re playing it for a friend. This also applies to editing audio for a podcast or video you recorded. Read the section below to see what we mean by ‘oddly v-shaped’!
Sonic Performance – Neutral or V-Shaped?
Before we get into the full details on their sonic performance, keep in mind that these are extremely easy to drive. We already briefly mentioned it above, but here’s why it’s important! Since they have a fairly low impedance of only 63 Ohms – you can plug them directly into your iPhone, Android, laptop, or PC.
You can use them with virtually any music player without running into any issues with volume or power output. (That’s a big plus since you won’t have to grab any extra gear to experience everything discussed below.) Now that that’s out of the way, here’s what we mean by ‘oddly v-shaped’!
Impressive Bass Response?
The bass is very clean and a little bit punchy (especially for a pair of headphones in this price range). There is slightly less depth and ‘sub-bass boom’ than more expensive open back reference cans like the Philips Fidelio X2.
On most tracks, the low end is slightly elevated above what most would consider a completely flat or neutral response. Aside from the barely audible sub-bass, there is a pretty obvious bump in the upper low end.
Highlighted Upper Mid Range
Vocals have a somewhat shallow presence that makes them sound what we would call ‘transparent’. The upper mids are very forward and tend to have a ‘grainy’ quality. You’ll notice a certain degree of grit that’s hard to describe any other way.
Is The Treble Crisp or Extremely Sharp?
In the upper range, the treble is fairly crisp but verges on becoming somewhat harsh. There’s a pretty obvious peak that isn’t exactly pleasant on testing tracks with an emphasized treble. It’s especially noticeable on songs that have excessive hi-hats or other piercing elements.
Their treble response is slightly less well-balanced compared to the Sony MDR V6. (These two headphones are commonly compared since they share so many basic similarities.) That being said, both cans were specifically designed to be used as studio reference monitors.
Are They Completely Neutral?
These are by no means completely flat or neutral. Their impressive bass response and forward mid-to-upper tendency makes them what we would call ‘oddly v-shaped’. The reason we say ‘oddly’ is because they’re not exactly v-shaped in the traditional sense. This is mainly because of the slightly aggressive upper mid range presence.
If you’ve never used reference monitors like these for mixing, you’ll want to read the final section below to see why they might become a necessary addition to your studio setup!
Who Are They Perfect For?
If you have a home studio (or mix/record professionally) – their ‘oddly v-shaped’ sound profile is perfect for hearing any rough edges that need to be smoothed out. It will not only improve the accuracy of your mixes, but also help train your ears to pick out major problem areas.
If you need a quality entry-level reference monitor that won’t break the bank, these cans would be perfect for you! (They usually retail for much less than $100, which is just the cherry on top.) It’s no surprise that these have been an industry standard headphone for so many years.
In our mind, the non-detachable cable and slightly shallow ear cups are the two main downsides to consider. When it comes to their professional performance and ‘no frills’ wearing design – there really isn’t very much to complain about.
If you’re still not completely sure – we suggest you take a look at the review table below. There, you can see the main pros/cons as well as how we calculated their final rating out of 10!
Now that you’ve read our entire Sony MDR 7506 review, what do you think? Should you add these to your studio/podcasting setup? Do you see why they’ve been loved by audio professionals around the world for so many years?
If you’d like to see more information before you decide, click the link below!
Let us know what you think by leaving a question or comment below! We always do our best to respond as quickly as we can! Thanks for stopping by to take a look at our overview, we hope you enjoyed!
Sonic Elevation: Ride The Waves.
Sony MDR 7506 Professional Studio Monitors
Build Quality & Folding Design8.0/10
Sonic Performance (At This Price Point)8.5/10
For Studio Use9.0/10
For Everyday Listening7.5/10
- Punchy & Fairly Accurate Bass Response
- Extended Coiled Cable Is Ideal For Mixing/Recording
- 'Oddly V-Shaped' Sound Profile
- Lightweight Build & Folding Design
- Easily Replaceable Ear Pads
- Non-Detachable Headphone Cable
- Ear Cups Don't Swivel
- Below Average Noise Isolation