Tuesday, November 1, 2011

First Listen: Sony MDR-7506's

Currently, one of my favorite headphones is my Sony MDR-7506's. They don't look pretty, but I have never really cared about looks anyway in regard to my headphones, and besides they look good in their own old semi retro way.  Sony focuses on the durability, sound quality, and overall professional grade quality of these headphones rather than flashy visuals.  I really like these headphones due to the fact that they are an industry standard in recording studios, are some of the most durable headphones known to man, and mainly because they are DIRT CHEAP for the quality of sound you are receiving from these guys.  Most people are amazed that they only cost 130 dollars (80 to 90 on Amazon which is where I got mine) and still have such an accurate reproduction of sound.  Some don't like the fact that there seems to be a predominant upper frequency spike with these, but they are studio monitors, they are a little harsh for regular listening unless you equalize them (which is what I do with mine when I listen from my Sony amplifier and my iPhone when connected to a FiiO E7 portable DAC and headphone amplifier). They can easily double as your Studio Headphones and then your Hi-Fi home listening headphones.

One major point I would like to make is in regards to the analytical nature of these headphones.  Yes they are designed for use by professionals and cameramen in and out of the studio, thus they are extremely revealing.  Revealing doesn't always equal a particularly pleasant listening experience however.  Fortunately there is a simple resolution to this problem that allows someone looking for a good pair of durable hi-fi cans to tone down the harshness of these headphones.  Equalization! Every single audio device has one these days, and if you have a smart phone or iPod Touch, there are many third partly equalization apps out there.  I love the analytical nature of these cans because they respond exceptionally well to equalization.  This allows me to tailor the sound to exacting specifications.  Additionally on the topic or portable audio devices, I do recommend the use of an amplifier with these headphones.  Keep in mind that these were initially designed (way back in the 90's) for use with professional grade audio equipment.  However a 64Ohm impedance isn't to much electrical resistance for your basic iPhone to sufficiently power, but they do tend sound much better when amplified.  These headphones prove another major point I want to make:  Frequency response isn't everything.  They have a frequency response of 10-20,000Hz and still (gasp) sound amazing.  Strangely their slightly older brother (the Sony MDR-V6) have a frequency response of 5-30,000Hz (some say there is a sound difference between the V6 and 7506's and some say there isn't, its quite the hot button topic, next blog post perhaps)  Both models have been out for several years (since the 80's and 90's) and 20 year old working pairs can still be found today.  The Sony MDR-7506's and the MDR-V6's are tried and true, durable, widely used, professional work horses of the professional audio community.  Through proper equalization and amplification, they can serve a dual role, professional studio work, and every day high fidelity cans.  Highly recommended!

Here I will detail the specs of each:
Sony MDR-7506 technical specifications:
- 40mm Driver Unit
-Neodymium magnets
-Frequency response 10-20,000Hz
-Sensitivity 106 Db
-Closed back design
-Gold Plated connector
Sony MDR-V6 technical specifications:
-40mm Driver Unit
-Neodymium magnets
-Frequency response 5-30,000Hz
-Sensitivity 106 Db
-Closed back design
-Nickel connector
Pretty similar stats huh?
Apparently the V6 is also wired differently.
For more information on these headphones, here is the Wikipedia site on them which I have found surprisingly accurate:
 CLICK HERE for Wikipedia site on Sony MDR-7506, and Sony MDR-V6 Headphones

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