Like: Incredible sound for sub $100. Comfortable. Reliable. Classic design.
Dislike: Heavy cable. Material covering cups fray, but that’s purely cosmetic. Light on bass on some tracks.
Bottom Line: Excellent sub $100 headphones, would even be great at the $200 range. Better for home listening, cable might be too heavy for walking around, definitely not workout cans.
If you’re shopping around for headphones around $100, and you’ve stumbled on this review, you’re probably not a finely tuned audiophile. Nor am I, but I recognize good quality sound, and these are fantastic without even considering the low price tag.
Largely unchanged since 1991, Sony’s MDR-7506 headphones continue to dominate the pro headphone world. Want proof? Just take notice next time you see any audio/video professional with headphones, he/she will likely be wearing either the Sonys, or the much newer, and twice as expensive, Sennheiser HD 25s.
I’ve read a few grumbles about insufficient bass, which might feel true on some tracks. But as you churn through a playlist, you’ll find some tracks with markedly more bass than others, and you’ll realize that the headphones are telling you what’s best. They project incredibly clear and bright sound with spectacular depth, all while delivering raw audio; they sound like what studios and producers want you to hear. They don’t sound overly doctored or altered, like the majority of the Beats lineup which are bass heavy, and cater mostly to a Hip Hop crowd (even if Beats claims they’re great for every music genre). Having said that, you can mess around with equalizer settings to make the Sonys sound just the way you want.
The MDR’s angled edges give them that old school look, which I love. The coiled heavy duty cable adds to that “classic hi-fi” look, but it is very heavy and unwieldy, thus limiting its mobile uses. It’ll drag down and swing all over the place while you’re walking, unless you tuck it away. Perhaps the cord’s heaviness also adds to the MDR’s reliability, as I haven’t had any issues at all after 5 years of ownership, which is more than I can say for previous Senns I’ve owned. The cushion cups and headband are very comfortable, but as with most over-ear headphones, they will get warm around the ears after a while.
Construction quality is excellent. However, the faux-leather material covering the cushions is extremely thin, and will fray around the edges after a while, but that’s purely cosmetic. I’m a fan of the swiveling ear cups to make the headphones more compact. However, one of the hinges started squeaking after wearing them on a rainy day, but it has no impact on the functionality or sound at all.
For the sub $100 price tag, the Sony MDR-7506s simply cannot be beat, they are the cans for the people. They sound terrific, but the cable might be too heavy and cumbersome for mobile use. Being professional studio monitors, they have a great “undoctored” sound, meaning they provide a great, solid structure for your music, which you can then dress up (if you like) by fiddling around with EQ settings.