The Sony MDR-7506 headphones provide great sound in a quality package for all-day comfort. Whether you're listening to a portable music player or a home sound system, it would be hard to find a better headphone at this price point.
I love to listen to music. While I'm at work, I will often listen to music all day, but like many people, I work in an environment where I can't use speakers without annoying those around me. Therefore, headphones are a must. For many years I used ear buds to listen to my music, specifically a pair of Shure SE530s. The ear buds were great at isolating the sound; noise around me was completely removed and my music was not audible to those around me. Perfect!
Well, not quite perfect. After a few hours, my ears began to hurt from having the foam of my ear buds crammed in my ears. I also found it annoying to have to remove the earbuds when someone walked up to talk to me. Taking them out was easy enough, but putting them back in required squeezing the foam and inserting the driver into my ear, a feat which involved placing one arm over my head in order to pull my ear upwards to straighten the ear canal. It was a hassle. Not only that, but after removing the ear buds, my ears would itch for several minutes.
When the wires on my Shure ear buds began to fall apart, I decided to shop around for over-the-ear headphones instead. After quite a bit of research and listening to different headphones at a local audio shop, I ordered a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones. I haven't looked back since.
The Sony MDR-7506 phones are extremely comfortable. The headband is sufficiently strong so that the headphones are secure on your head, but not so tight that it becomes irritating. Even after listening for 7 hours, I still find these headphones to be comfortable. If you wear them in a hot environment, I imagine that you might find that your ears sweat, but even in an office environment where the temperature isn't always as cool as I'd like (and I live in Texas), I haven't had any problems at all. I also love the fact that, unlike with my ear buds, I can easily remove my headphones in order to talk to someone and then put them back on within a second or two. Excellent!
The ear pads on the MDR-7506s are covered in a soft leather-like material, but it's not leather. In fact, it's a material that eventually (after a year or two) begins to crack and deteriorate. However, you can purchase replacement pads for about 9 bucks each. (If you have to replace both pads, you'll spend 18 dollars.) If you really want to upgrade your headphones for better comfort, order a pair of the Beyerdynamic EDT 200 velour pads for your MDR-7506s. They'll run you about 23 bucks, but they're well worth it. They won't deteriorate, they're much more comfortable, and many people find that they solve the sweat "problem".
I wasn't blessed with "golden ears", but I do have quite a bit of experience in listening to and performing music. I can easily distinguish quality sound, and the MDR-7506s definitely deliver in this category. I tend to prefer a more neutral mix in my music. In other words, I like to hear the music the way it was intended and not with added bass or sizzling highs. Neutral sound is exactly what I get from the MDR-7506s. Bass is solid and not at all muddy, and the highs are clear and detailed without being overly emphasized.
With that said, the MDR-7506 drivers are certainly capable of pounding out painful levels of bass if you want to boost it. While you're at it, you can also crank them up to dangerous volume levels if you wish. Sound remains undistorted and clear at whatever volume you choose. Listen to them at high volume for long enough, however, and they'll become obsolete as your hearing leaves you.
It doesn't take a big amp to drive the MDR-7506s. My iPod sounds great with them. However, if you want even better sound from them when using portable devices (including a portable DVD player), I would recommend a headphone amplifier. I personally use the FiiO E7, a phenominal little amp. Not only can the E7 give you better sound through amplification, but it can also boost the bass significantly for those of you who prefer your teeth to rattle. (The E7 is an absolute must, in my opinion, if you're listening to the MDR-7506s plugged into a notebook computer.)
Quality of Build
I have been using my pair of MDR-7506s daily for quite a while, and they are holding up very well. They're well-built and if treated properly, they should last you many years. However, there are some areas that make you scratch your head and wonder why Sony didn't beef up the ruggedness a bit. For example, each driver is attached to the headphones using plastic pins that swivel on a plastic arm. Granted, this is extremely tough plastic and I have no doubt but that it will hold up, but metal would have been my preference.
The quality of the cord on the MDR-7506s is excellent, and the plug enclosure is metal instead of plastic. The plug is a 1/8" mini jack, but Sony includes a 1/4" adapter that screws onto the end of the 1/8" plug. This is a great idea, but it is a negative in one respect. If you lose the screw-on adapter, there's a good chance that a generic replacement won't work. The threads on the plug prevent generic adapters (at least the ones I've tested) from seating correctly.
Note: To keep your MDR-7506s safe, Sony includes a vinyl headphone bag.
I absolutely love my MDR-7506 headphones. I use them for my music, for watching movies on my iPad, for playing games on my iPad, and when using GarageBand and other music apps on my iPad. In all of these scenarios, they provide unbelievable sound and comfort while providing ample isolation from outside noises.
If you're looking for a pair of headphones for any purpose and quality sound is important to you, you can't go wrong with the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. I highly recommend them.