If I wanted to spend $200 or less on a pair of over-ear headphones, the Sony MDR-7506, for the third year running, is that the set i might buy. After we researched all of the over-ears during this price range that are currently available (around 110 models in total), read countless professional and Amazon customer reviews, and conducted three separate listening panels of audio professionals, the Sony MDR-7506 emerged because the clear winner once more.


Sony MDR-7506
Sony MDR-7506
The best headphones under $200
The Sony MDR-7506, a longtime favorite of audio professionals and therefore the universal choice among our listening panel, offers more reliability, more comfort, and better sound than many headphones twice its price.

The MDR-7506 has been a studio staple since its introduction in 1991, and there’s an excellent reason why: Not only does this pair of headphones provide accurate bass, mids, and treble, but it also gives you a far better sense of the depth and dynamics of your music than many models twice its current retail price of about $80. Plus, this set is durable, comfortable, and reliable.


Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Another great pair but slightly pricier
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is pretty much balanced for the worth, with a crisp, articulate high end (that some listeners might find too bright) and rich bass. The replaceable cable may be a nice bonus.


If our pick sells out, or if for a few reason Sony executives lose their minds and discontinue one among the longest-selling headphone models ever, our runner-up pick is that the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. because of its clear, crisp, and articulate high end, its rich bass, and its detachable, replaceable cable, our panelists liked the ATH-M40x considerably. However, for 3 out of 4 panelists, a couple of extra decibels within the high end (hi-hat, snare, and feminine vocals were too loud for our ears) kept the ATH-M40x out of first place. If you can’t get the Sony pair or if you wish or need extra intensity within the higher frequencies, you’ll be very proud of the Audio-Technica set.
group of headphones arranged on a table
From left to right: the amount two Audio-Technica, the amount one Sony, and therefore the now-discontinued number three Onkyo have had serious endurance.
Budget pick
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
An inexpensive option with good quality
For people on a limited budget, this is often the most cost effective pair of headphones which will hold its own against our picks.


The ATH-M30x may be a budget version of our also-great pick, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. If you would like to save lots of some money while still getting an honest pair of headphones, these are your best choice. it’s nice earpads and a refined bass bump with impressive details, but we also found that it produces a touch an excessive amount of treble.
The research
Why you ought to trust me
Who can purchase this
How we chose what to check
Our pick: Sony MDR-7506
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Runner-up: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Budget pick: Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Other under-$200 headphones we like
The competition
Sources
Why you ought to trust me
Not only did I perform extensive research and consult another top professional reviewers (you can read more that below), but I also hold a bachelor’s in both music performance and audio production from Ithaca College. I spent several years in terrestrial radio before moving on to become knowledgeable voice actor in l. a. , employment I still do and love. (In other words, I’ve spent quite a decade in and out of top recording studios.)

Around the same time, I started reviewing high-end home audio equipment for magazines like Home Entertainment, home theatre Magazine, and Sound & Vision. Since landing at Wirecutter, I’ve had the pleasure of taking note of and reviewing hundreds (yes, hundreds) of headphones, and my articles are featured in Electronic House, Fast Company, Forbes, and Time. With my background, I’ve got a reasonably good handle on what’s out there and what’s worth some time and hard-earned money.

Joining me within the testing was our panel of experts: Brent Butterworth, a Wirecutter AV writer with decades of experience within the audio field for publications like About.com, home theatre, Sound & Vision, and lots of others; Geoff Morrison, writer for CNET and Forbes and AV editor here at Wirecutter; John Higgins, a session musician (with a music master’s degree from the University of Southern California) and a music and audio teacher at The Windward School, a personal highschool in Los Angeles; and Phil Metzler, a musician/keyboardist with a bachelor’s in music who is within the band Just Off Turner.

Who can purchase this
Over-ear headphones during this price range are made for people seeking a primary serious pair to immerse themselves in their listening experience. an honest set of headphones at this price index should create a transparent, balanced sound that accurately represents what the recording artist (be it musician, movie composer, or game sound designer) intended. Closed-back headphones during this range should also lock in the listening material and exclude ambient noise.

These are great headphones for college kids, office workers looking to dam distractions, recording artists within the booth at knowledgeable or home studio, aspiring DJs/musicians/producers (or those just starting their career), or anyone who wants the simplest sound possible at an inexpensive “entry-level” price.

Our top picks during this range will sound better than anything you’ll get for an equivalent price in in-ear headphones or Bluetooth models. So if you would like to urge the foremost bang for your buck soundwise, this is often the category you would like. Still unsure whether this is often the proper style for you? inspect our “Which Headphones Should I Get?” guide for advice on making the simplest decision.

How we chose what to check
First, I read reviews. many them. I kept notes on what headphones received good reviews from professional publications and websites like CNET, Sound & Vision, and What Hi-Fi, and that i studied customer reviews on shopping sites like Amazon and Crutchfield, plus enthusiast forum sites.

I also verified the highest reviewed headphones from other respected critics like Steve Guttenberg of CNET and Tyll Hertsens of InnerFidelity. Then I researched new headphones that had been released since we had our last panel, and that i looked to ascertain what Wirecutter readers had requested that we inspect. Afterward, we brought altogether of the new and requested headphones in order that our panel could hear them back-to-back. We ended up with 15 pairs in total, including our previous winners.

Since we got such great performance from the $80 retail Sony MDR-7506 last time, we expanded the worth range for this category to incorporate headphones retailing from $70 to $190 in hopes of finding another affordable hidden gem.

15 pairs of headphones arranged on a wooden table
Round three—ding ding! Another 15 pairs of headphones enter the testing ring.
Once we had our list, I obtained samples of all the headphones and called within the panel. this point we had Geoff Morrison, John Higgins, Phil Metzler, and myself. Brent Butterworth had been a part of our previous two panels. With our decades of experience and therefore the sort of sonic preferences (as well as cranial and ear shapes) among us, you’ll make certain that if we all like something, it’s pretty darn fantastic.

With our decades of experience … you’ll make certain that if we all like something, it’s pretty darn fantastic.

The idea behind each of the panels we’ve assembled is to concentrate to all or any of the headphones back-to-back to urge a way of their sound, build quality, comfort, and features as compared with each other. That last part, the comparison, is particularly important, as other headphone reviewers generally conduct testing on new models one by one as they are available out. Our panel evaluations constitute the primary time most of those headphones have undergone direct comparison at an equivalent test session.
The panelists had instructions to use music with which they were intimately familiar, to rank their top three choices, and to debate their thoughts on each set of headphones individually. We used iPhones, Android devices, receivers, and laptops as sources, with music of varying sampling rates from 44.1 kilohertz (CD quality) to high-res 192 kHz. If necessary, i might think about price to settle on a final victor, though with the Sony MDR-7506, that ended up not being a problem.

Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 has been our top pick 3 times during a row for variety of reasons.

First, this model has great reviews. CNET and Head-Fi readers gush over it, then do Amazon customers, who currently provides it 4.6 out of 5 stars with overflow 3,000 reviews. Every audio professional I interviewed spoke highly of the MDR-7506. Also, speaking from experience, nearly every studio, station, and therefore the like features a pair attached to the blending board or sitting within the recording booth. Start listening to measure film crews performing on news programs or reality shows, and you’ll see the MDR-7506 tons on screen. (Or maybe you shouldn’t. you would possibly devour my weird headphone-spotting habit that drives my friends crazy.)

Every audio professional I interviewed spoke highly of the MDR-7506.

Second, the MDR-7506 sounds fantastic. all of our panelists ranked this pair because the top choice. Last time, Brent Butterworth said the results had “perfect tonal balance” with “no flaws,” sounding “like a headphone should sound.”

John Higgins commented that he ranked this model first because he was ready to hear nuances within the music that he was “unable to listen to using many of the competing headphones.”

Geoff Morrison added, “Damn. These still impress. they only don’t do anything seriously wrong, and tons of things right. And for the worth … still fantastic.”

Phil Metzler agreed and also placed the MDR-7506 headphones as his favorite, commenting that they’re “just great reference headphones.”

I was with all of them: The MDR-7506 stayed my favorite, too. We listened to music starting from James Taylor to the Beatles to Björk. I also gave these headphones a while attached to my receiver, and that they handled dialogue, music, and sound effects even as well. And since they are available with a ¼-inch adapter and travel pouch, you’ll easily move them from your iPhone to your home theatre setup to your gaming rig to a mixing board.

person on floor surrounded by headphones taking note of a tablet
Gotta have variety: We listened using iPhones, iPods, iPads, Androids, and a receiver.
Third, the MDR-7506 design has been around forever, and these headphones last forever. Seriously. they need great build quality, replaceable earcups (should they ever deteriorate), and a one-year warranty on parts. Some reviewers on Head-Fi and Amazon mention having pairs over 10 years old and still going strong. The coiled cord allows some give do you have to walk a touch too distant from your device, and it’s tough, too—I myself have seen DJs roll over the cord with desk chairs, and voice talent drop the MDR-7506 on the ground, with no ill effects. These headphones also fold over for straightforward travel and storage.

Fourth, while the MDR-7506 is hard, it’s also very comfortable. All our reviewers commented on the fit being good, which is unusual once you consider the range of head sizes and ear shapes we’ve. Fit can make all the difference on whether you really use a pair of headphones regularly, so to possess everyone be relatively proud of the comfort of a specific set may be a big deal.

black and white dog wearing headphones
Our special guest panelist found the MDR-7506 comfortable but in need of more bacon flavor.
While the Sony MDR-7506 has an MSRP of $130, it typically sells on Amazon for about $80.

Fifth (and perhaps most important), here is where the amazing part comes into play. While the Sony MDR-7506 has an MSRP of $130, it typically sells on Amazon for about $80. and that we ranked this model first even before we took price under consideration. So this Sony set may be a fantastic buy. you’ll feel very confident in your purchase.

Sony headphones on top of a pile of headphones
King of the hill: the Sony pair and therefore the remainder of the royal headphone court.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Although we love almost everything about the Sony MDR-7506, we will come up with a couple of things that we’d change if we had an opportunity. For starters, we’d make the cable removable and replaceable. While the coiled cable is practical in an office or studio environment, having the ability to swap it out for a shorter cord with a foreign and a mic for mobile-device usage would be nice.

And let’s be honest here: The MDR-7506 won’t win any beauty contests. Available within the same color options as a Ford Model T (black and black), the MDR-7506 features a utilitarian look that, while perfectly practical for audio professionals, won’t incite design lust within the fashion-minded. That said, many headphones that look twice as fancy also cost twice the maximum amount, and sound half nearly as good, as this Sony pair.

Those issues aside, the extent of audio quality that you simply get for the dollar within the MDR-7506 quite makes up for any shortcomings, and people who want their first serious audio investment to last won’t be disappointed by this classic model.

Runner-up: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Runner-up
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
Another great pair but slightly pricier
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is pretty much balanced for the worth, with a crisp, articulate high end (that some listeners might find too bright) and rich bass. The replaceable cable may be a nice bonus.


Second place (again!) goes to Audio-Technica’s ATH-M40x. The ATH-M40x is that the sibling of a cult favorite, the ATH-M50x; we tested that model, as well, and you’ll read below to ascertain how it fared. After taking note of all of the most recent competitors, however, we kept the ATH-M40x in its second-place ranking. This pair offers a dynamic, clear sound also as a light-weight feel and cozy fit. The cords are removable and replaceable, too, and although this model has an MSRP of $140, it currently retails on Amazon for about $80. people that hear tons of rock, electronic, hip-hop, and pop might really enjoy the top- and bottom-boosted sound.

This pair offers a dynamic, clear sound also as a light-weight feel and cozy fit. The cords are removable and replaceable, too.

In fact, during our second round of testing, Brent said, “If I had to travel buy a pair of headphones to combine with immediately, these are what I’d buy. i prefer them even better than the [more expensive] ATH-M50x.”

Geoff, John, and Phil also liked the ATH-M40x, but found that the Sony MDR-7506 edged it out. John said that the ATH-M40x slightly lacked the MDR-7506’s depth of sonic field, and Phil and that i discovered that the high end and low end were just a couple of decibels too forward within the mix to concentrate to future, especially for fans of acoustic or serious music. Although neither concern was huge, together they were enough to push the ATH-M40x out of the highest slot even before we factored within the price.

That said, these headphones are detailed and have tons going for them, and that we just like the incontrovertible fact that they are available with both a coiled cable and a straight cable. So if you would like cord options, plus great lows and mids with a touch added oomph within the high end, at about $80 the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is another solid choice.

Budget pick: Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Budget pick
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
An inexpensive option with good quality
For people on a limited budget, this is often the most cost effective pair of headphones which will hold its own against our picks.


Another headphone model within the Audio-Technica M line is that the ATH-M30x. Slightly better than the M20x and almost nearly as good because the M40x, this middle child is during a tough spot.

The ATH-M30x has nice earpads, but the earcups feel a touch brittle where they attach to the scarf. It sounds better than the M20x (more refined, with a pleasant bass bump and better detail) but produces a tad an excessive amount of high-end treble (around 3 kHz). Our verdict: If you would like to spend the littlest amount possible for a pair of headphones which will hold its own during this field, at the present Amazon price of about $60 (the MSRP is about $100), the ATH-M30x may be a pretty bargain. But honestly, if you’ll find an additional $20, we are saying to travel for our Sony pick.

Other under-$200 headphones we like
AKG K275: We liked the sound of the K275, with a rather elevated bass and a few extra detail to the high frequencies in comparison to the Sony MDR-7506. We also like that these have replaceable ear cups and a replaceable cable. What kept them from being a pick is that they’re twice the worth of the MDR-7506, and that we aren’t sure that they’re twice nearly as good.

AKG K371: The K371 may be a excellent pair of headphones. They feel sturdily made, with replaceable cables and ear cups. Our panel was impressed with the deftly boosted lows and highs that sound very balanced and shut to the Harman curve. However, our panel couldn’t agree on whether the general experience was enough of a intensify to warrant paying double the worth of the Sony MDR-7506. Brent and that i felt that the sound lacked some sense of depth, and John thought the highs had a rather shushing quality to them. Additionally, I found that the oblong ear cups wouldn’t seal on my smaller head, so I had to carry them in situ to concentrate critically. Although Brent felt that the sound was fantastic for somebody who wanted to pay the additional money for headphones to use when recording and mixing music, John and that i felt that the MDR-7506 would accomplish an equivalent for much less money.

The competition
We’ve tested and thought of over 100 pairs of headphones for this guide, so we can’t include everything here. If you’ve got questions on a selected model, please reach bent us, and we’ll be happy to share our thoughts.

Angle & Curve Carboncans: the scarf on this pair can pinch, and sadly the sound profile doesn’t structure for it. The bass is just too forward, and therefore the mids sound lifeless, with highs that are boosted within the wrong places, which adds a harshness to strings and feminine vocals.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: Revamped to incorporate a detachable cable, this cult favorite has ranked among the highest reviewed headphones for an extended time, and it had been Wirecutter’s top pick when our site first launched. many of us who own a pair of ATH-M50x headphones, including Tyll Hertsens of InnerFidelity, swear by their sound.

However, once we compared it directly with our other picks, the ATH-M50x clothed to be relatively lacking in sound also as build quality. Brent found the high end “tizzy and buzzy” and a few of decibels too hot for the combination. Geoff agreed that the high end was too hot and also found the bass “loose and boomy” next to our top winners, including the cheaper ATH-M30x. John liked the M50x’s clarity of sound but said that it didn’t have as even a frequency response because the Sony MDR-7506. I also found the high frequencies to be tinny and lacking in definition, and therefore the bass painfully woofy in comparison with the mids.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x: Despite the very fact that this model has an MSRP of about $70 and currently sells on Amazon for about $50, we recommend that you simply spend the additional money for the Sony MDR-7506 or for Audio-Technica’s next model up, the ATH-M30x. For starters, the M20x’s build quality feels remarkably cheaper than that of the remainder of the ATH-M line. and therefore the sound reflects that very same lower-quality feel, because the M20x lacks the crispness and detail of the M30x and falls far behind the Sony MDR-7506. We recommend you pay double the worth of the ATH-M30x—around $70—for something that sounds better and offers a more solid build (such because the Sony pair).

Audio-Technica ATH-PRO500 Mk2: These DJ headphones fit tight, and other people with large ears (like Brent) might find their earlobes mashed by the PRO500 Mk2’s relatively small earcups. They sound specialized, though, with much of that smooth, balanced character we like such a lot in our main pick, the Sony MDR-7506, but a touch more bass, a touch less treble, and a mellower sound which may make them more enjoyable to concentrate to at high levels and for long stretches (namely, the way DJs use headphones). We prefer the MDR-7506 overall, but if you would like something more DJ-style the PRO500 Mk2 might be an honest choice.

Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro: Mildly bloated low frequencies veil the mids and make guitar sound like it’s lacking the definition in attack and decay. Overall they’re not objectionable, but we just like the more even sound of the Sony MDR-7506 better.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 Ohms: While Brent and Geoff liked the sound of this set, its lack of power in use with an iPhone put it out of advice range for them (this model is meant for home or studio use with an amplifier; you’d need to buy a second, 32-ohm pair for mobile use, and that’s too limiting). For me, the bass was painfully loud in use with an amplified receiver, and therefore the earcups were so big on my small face that I found them uncomfortable to wear for any length of your time.

Creative Aurvana Live: This light and cozy set just missed our top slots last time around. Brent really enjoyed these headphones, saying that while the detail wasn’t nearly as good as on the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x, they were good for the worth. John was less impressed, finding this pair a tad too bottom-heavy soundwise. Phil and that i had the precise same experience: We both began liking this model on acoustic music, but found that on more dense rock the mids became a touch muddy. We thought that perhaps this effect was thanks to a small bump within the lower midrange, where guitars and bass really shine. Even so, if you would like something light and portable, you’ll do tons worse for the worth.

Creative Aurvana Live 2: Although this set is merely one model number faraway from its predecessor, it couldn’t be more different from version 1.0. Not only are these headphones bigger and heavier, but in our tests they also had a bloated sound to match. John: “Too much mid bump. Messy.” Brent: “Bloated bass, coarse mids.” Phil: “They’re ‘fine’ at the best.” Me: “The lower treble lacks the clarity that would rein within the mids and provides them definition. They find yourself sounding blobby.” Survey says? persist with the first.

Denon AH-D1200: We were impressed with how comfortable this pair is to wear, but sadly the praise ended there. The bass is boomy and lacking in definition on attack and decay therefore the mids sound muffled and therefore the highs, which are mildly coarse, feel unsupported.

Grain Audio OEHP: We were disappointed within the boomy bass and highs that are boosted around 4 kHz which provides female vocals a simultaneously dull and harsh quality.

Koss Pro4S: Comfortable on the top, the Pro4S feels lightweight but sturdy. Unfortunately, the sound did not blow away our panelists. John found the bass to be one-note, and both he and that i thought the mids had a spiked, compressed sound. Geoff, John, and that i all noted some intensity round the 10 kHz area that made snare and cymbals feel piercing. Overall, while the Pro4S wasn’t awful, it couldn’t qualify to the top quality of our top picks.

Koss PRODJ200: The PRODJ200 features a lot of nice features, including a detachable cord, swiveling earcups, and an in-line remote. the matter is that its sound in our tests was decidedly middle-of-the-road, even once we considered the set’s street price of $80 (down from an MSRP of about $130). This set sounded a touch compressed next to our top choices; while it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t have enough clarity or depth of sonic field to be ready to take down the Sony MDR-7506. We also saw some reports on Amazon of the build quality falling short, and that we need to admit that the PRODJ200’s chassis does have a plastic, creaky-jointed, cheap feel. Unless you actually need an in-line remote and a coffee price, we’d say you’ll choose something better.

Koss SP540: Offering a more powerful bass than the opposite Koss pair we tested in our third round, the SP540 produced a stimulating series of peaks and valleys within the sound. The male vocal range was pronounced (with a peak somewhere around 500 Hz), and other peaks around 2 kHz and 5 kHz made everything sound bright but in a man-made way. Geoff liked the bass enough to mention that he might recommend this pair to someone who really wants more low-end in their cans, but John, Phil, and that i thought that the bass made kick drums feel “flappy-sounding,” as John put it, or “boxy,” as Phil suggested. within the end, not enough folks enjoyed the sound for the SP540 to become one among our top options.

KRK KNS6400: The KNS6400 is a reasonable studio-headphones set that we hoped would rival the Sony MDR-7506 as an under-$100 gem. Sadly, the plastic build quality didn’t win any fans on our panel, and neither did the sound. the whole sound profile leaned toward the mids and highs, with one-note bass. John and Phil described the sound as “artificial,” and Geoff and that i disliked the sibilant highs. We all agreed that the KNS6400 wasn’t a match for our top choices.

KRK KNS8400: the large brother of the KNS6400, the KNS8400 features a thick cable that feels sturdy and prepared to require a beating at a DJ gig or underneath a rolling office chair. The cable also includes an optional mid-line insert with a slide volume control that appears a touch like an electrical blanket controller but will are available handy if you would like to chop the music in your ears quickly.

Our panel came on the brink of liking the sound, but we all said that we might want to listen to some tweaks within the voicing before we could fully recommend the KNS8400. Geoff, John, and that i all thought that the bass was lacking which the sound profile, like the KNS6400, leaned toward the mids and highs. Because it didn’t produce much bass, we all thought the lower mids in guitar range sounded somewhat thin.

That in itself wasn’t enough for us to discount the KNS8400, but the way during which it emphasized the highs ended up being a dealbreaker. Geoff said the highs were too sibilant for his taste, and John and that i detected a small coarseness that made what should be the clear ringing high notes of a piano sound fuzzy or almost honky-tonk in quality. Overall, the panel concluded that the KNS8400 was a mishap.

NVX Audio XPT100 Studio: We stumbled across this pair on Amazon, and although we found no professional reviews anywhere, we decided to bring this model certain a test. These headphones have a shape almost like that of the Brainwavz HM5, which design affects the slot in an identical way. The panelists with larger heads found them comfortable, but I had a niche around my jawline; like the Brainwavz HM5, I lost a number of the lower-end frequencies unless I pressed the cups to my head. Brent, John, and Phil said the headphones had an excellent seal, but all of them commented on the upper mids having some kind of coloration and unevenness, which was enough to get rid of this pair from our top four. Worth noting, however, is that NVX markets the XPT100 as being extremely durable (the company uses a promotional picture of the scarf being twisted). So if you would like headphones which will take plenty of torque, this model may be a darn sight better-sounding than the Boom Rogue. And this set has, by far, the most important carrying case I’ve ever seen for headphones—it’s enormous. you’ll not be ready to pop the XPT100 into your bag, but you actually won’t lose track of it in your car’s trunk.

Samson Z45: Overall, these aren’t bad. The fit is light and cozy, though plasticky feeling. The mids and lows are decently represented, but we found that the highs were slightly rolled off, which gave syllables a shushing quality that made the Z45 come short of our top picks.

Samson Z55: The earpads on this pair are on the hard side and our panel found them uncomfortable to wear for very long. They also aren’t sonically balanced—the lows are nice and therefore the mids are forward, but the highs have an uneven representation that creates male vocals sound recessed, female vocals stand out more, and consonants feel mildly rolled off.

Sennheiser HD 280: Readers requested a glance at the Sennheiser HD 280, so we brought during this pair back in May 2013. Sadly, this set suffered from tons of an equivalent issues because the HD 380 Pro did. The headphones were uncomfortable, and therefore the highs were way too hot to be called neutral. Overall, we still found the Sony MDR-7506 to be a far better choice.

Sennheiser HD 471: This pair caused a touch dissent among our panel’s ranks. John and that i felt the sound quality was lacking intimately and sparkle within the highs, with rolled-off bass that made everything sound veiled. Brent enjoyed this profile, saying that the sound was very flat (in terms of frequency response) which he’d wish to use these for mastering. However, we all agreed that the build quality was unbelievably cheap feeling and that we worried that anyone using the 471 regularly would be doomed to interrupt them.

Sennheiser HD 569: The highs are harsh and blaring on this pair, and while they need a touch extra bass, it’s still a sound profile which will be fatiguing to concentrate to.

Shure SRH440: These headphones had a touch of treble sizzle that our panel found off-putting. Brent pinned it as being around 2 kHz, and John, Phil, and that i heard it there also. the remainder of the sonic profile seemed rather nice, but that darn sibilant push, although it started off feeling like clarity, ended up being fatiguing. If you would like a touch extra high end, we’d tell accompany the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x, which offers more features and a less harsh upper-frequency bump for an equivalent price.

Sony MDR-V6: Readers requested that we investigate the MDR-V6, as this model was “identical” to the Sony MDR-7506. Turns out, it wasn’t. Yes, the 2 models share a chassis, and therefore the MDR-V6 is difficult to differentiate visually from the MDR-7506 (to identify the MDR-V6, search for a red sticker instead of a blue one on the earcups, and for a silver jack instead of a gold-plated one). However, we put the MDR-V6 into a mini face-off against the MDR-7506, and every one of our reviewers found that the MDR-V6 had much more bass and notably peaked sonic response. Imagine a signal-response chart that appears sort of a roller coaster: bass up, low mids down, higher mids up, highs down. In other words, the MDR-V6 lacked the even sound of the MDR-7506, and it also didn’t have the depth of sonic field that the MDR-7506 offered. The MDR-7506 produced a way of place, whereas the MDR-V6 evoked alittle room. This model would probably be a third- or fourth-place finisher after its near-twin, but it sells for less than a few of dollars less. is best sound well worth the cost? To us, absolutely.

Sony MDR-7510: Wirecutter readers asked that we inspect the MDR-7510 and compare it against our winner, the MDR-7506. We could see why—the MDR-7510 had tons of great Amazon reviews. As such, we were also curious to ascertain how the 2 models stacked up.

What we found was that the MDR-7510 had a really spiky, uneven high end. John pointed to a neighborhood around 5 to six kHz because the most intense range for one among the spikes. I heard that too but personally disliked even higher frequencies, where consonants in words generally sat.

Aside from the precise placement of where the spikes lay, our entire expert panel found the highs to be an excessive amount of. “Sibilant, hissy, and sizzly” were descriptors that everybody used. Snare hits sounded really forward and in-your-face, and Phil thought that the uneven high end made everything from the mids up (guitar, strings, horns) sound “tinny.”

In addition to the jagged high end, we also noted an intensely boosted bass. Geoff didn’t exactly mind the additional bass boost (though he didn’t love the representation either), but John and that i felt that the unrefined and overbearing bass gave the MDR-7510’s sound a “boom and sizzle” quality.

Interestingly, due to the oblong, oval shape of the earcups, the position of the driving force in reference to the wearer’s ear could change supported how they fit. And this position could change the sound. So while the driving force itself is centered in each earcup, the earcups could sit higher or lower on your ears counting on the dimensions of your head. (You can see what we mean within the photo below.)

For example, due to my small skull, at the tightest headband setting the middle of the earcup still sat a touch low on my ears, therefore the driver aroused below my auditory meatus. However, if I shifted the earcups abreast of my head by, say, placing two fingers under the scarf, I could position the driving force more centrally over my ears, and that i got more midrange frequencies within the sound than if I let the MDR-7510 sit naturally.

Although centering the driving force position over my auditory meatus altered the sound quality of the MDR-7510, the difference in sonic profile changed from a thudding one-note bassline (when the driving force was positioned less than my ear canal) to at least one that was more intense, blurry, and indistinct, with slightly more mids within the guitar range than when the driving force was positioned directly over my auditory meatus. In other words, albeit the sound quality of the MDR-7510 can change supported how it fits your head, in our tests no amount of repositioning made this Sony model actually sound good.

In the end, the sound of the MDR-7510 didn’t hold a candle to the flat, even response of the MDR-7506. (John remarked how surprising it had been that an equivalent company could make such radically different headphones in terms of sound quality.) In light of our direct comparisons, none of our experts would choose the MDR-7510 or any Sony headphone model we tested during this range over the MDR-7506.

Status CB-1: Brent likes this pair tons for mixing, but not such a lot for pleasure listening. the remainder of the panel found that the highs were too icy for our taste and therefore the bass too nebulous sounding.