The history of the Sony MDR-7506 runs all the way back to 1991, and for good reason as few headphones have ever compared to its price-to-feature ratio. The bass, mids, and treble are just some of the highlights that Sony has long since perfected on the MDR headphones and, with a sub $100 price tag, there’s plenty of reason to add these directly to your Amazon wish list.
In a future world, maybe on Earth 2, we’d love to see the MDR do away with the corded approach and go all-in on Bluetooth connectivity. We can dream, right?
Design & Features
Let’s be honest, these headphones have been around for over 20 years so discussing the durability of the design feels like something we can’t just glance over. There’s been some concern about the earpads not lasting for more than a few years but the good news is they are user-replaceable and inexpensive at just $9.99 a pair.
Additionally, there’s been some concern historically about the hinges breaking but with a price tag under $100, there’s bound to be some give in the design and this still seems limited to a small group of users.
“Still, longevity aside, there’s nothing about the Sony MDR headsets that truly stand out.”
We don’t want to call the headset design boring, but as mom used to say – if the shoe fits. The addition of a 10 foot 3.5mm coiled cable is rock star mode for Sony though, and we’re perfectly okay with its placement on the left earcup.
We would love to see included active noise cancellation, but, alas, that’s generally found in a more expensive pair of headphones. The MDRs still do an above-average job of blocking out external noise and if you aren’t listening next to a jackhammer, you should be just fine.
At just over 8 ounces, you can put this Sony headset on and listen for hours and hours and hours without ever feeling the need to take it off. Considering that so many of you have ears of different shapes and sizes, it’s good to call these headphones a one-size-fits-all and additional online reviews all agree – the fit is just damn good. Since it’s an older design, you won’t find the extra padding that’s more typical and almost standard in today’s current design.
While we’re talking about fit, let’s be realistic. It can make all the difference. No matter how expensive a pair of headphones is, from the cheapest pair of in-ear headphones available at the gas station to premium headphones that cost 4 figures, if they don’t fit well, you won’t listen for hours on end.
Fortunately, these just fit and the racetrack-shaped ear pads and the headband have just enough padding to feel comfortable without overwhelming your ears. Additionally, there’s no real “head-clamping” or extra tightness that makes them so uncomfortable on the top of your head that you would only listen for just a limited amount of time.
“The bottom line? Wear these for hours and thank us later.”
Everyday listeners unite because the sound quality is great right off the bat. The 40mm drivers sound great with the headphones exhibiting a 60-ohm rated impedance. There’s a reason these headphones have been around for 20+ years. The sound is just awesome for the price range.
The bass, mid-range, and treble balance are, for the most part, extremely accurate, and just about every music genre from hard rock to jazz to classical sounds great.
The drivers point toward the ear from the back of the cup which offers a nice open sound. The closed-back driver design also means nobody will hear when you’re listening to Kenny G belt out his greatest hits. The bass feels deep without any “boom” and the treble hits right on point.
Are there better-sounding headsets out there? Absolutely, but be prepared to pay a hefty price tag to get something that is so much better than even the casual listener would quickly detect the difference. Another positive is the balance between the left and right speakers and, while small imbalances sneak through, too many headsets have suffered from this nuance that creates a wildly frustrating sound and audio experience.
Fortunately, that isn’t the case here as the errors in imbalance are so infrequent and mild, you’ll hardly notice. What about sound distortion? We don’t need any distortion around here and the MDRs rise to the challenge and keep the sound experience mostly free of any unwanted pollution.
As an aside, there’s plenty of review evidence to suggest that these headphones offer good enough sound for DJs or musicians to mix and record music, an honor that’s generally reserved for headphones with much higher pricing. The sound is loud, but not too loud and feels just right for casual, everyday use.
- 10-foot-long cord is great for the office and home
- Second-to-none reputation and longevity
- Excellent audio performance across musical genres
- Included ¼-inch adapter is good for DJs and hobbyists
- Great sound for casual, everyday use
- No Bluetooth connectivity for wireless listening
- Cable connection limited to left ear only
- 10-foot-long cord not ideal for commuters
- Uninspiring design
Final Thoughts on the Sony MDR-7506’s
So, how do you properly judge a headphone that’s likely older than some of our readers? It won’t dazzle you with its design, but it will surprise you with its sound. Yes, there have been some complaints over the years regarding ear cup use after a few years and the hinges have broken here and there, but can you name a product that’s been around for this long without a hiccup or two?
The sound is balanced, and every genre sounds just as good as the next and that’s not something you’ll find easily these days. There’s plenty of comfort for lengthy listening sessions through bus and train commuters will want to consider purchasing a shorter third-party cord to hook to a smartphone or music player. In that sense, the headphones don’t make the best travel companions but find us a better pair of headphones at this price for use in your home or office. Go on, we dare you!
In terms of value, the sub $100 price point makes the price to feature ratio so good, it’s almost blasphemous to say no to buying a pair. Still, we’d love to see them available in a color that’s not black but that’s a personal niggle of this reviewer, I don’t need enough colors to pair with my daily clothing choices, but something other than drab black would be nice.
The bottom line is that these are exceptional headphones with the outstanding sound quality available at an almost impulse price point. If you need a new pair of headphones and don’t need wireless connectivity or a whole lot of bells and whistles, look at the Sony MDR-7506 first.