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Gary Mccoy

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Sony's MDR-750closed-back, full-size headphones click with all music genres and are comfortable to wear for hours at a time. They sound excellent for their relatively modest price point.

The Bad With a coiled, pro-style cable and lack of an inline remote/microphone, some will find the 7506s less mobile-friendly than more modern headphones.

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The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is pretty well balanced for the price, with a crisp, articulate high end (that some listeners might find too bright) and rich bass. The replaceable cable is a nice bonus.

If our pick sells out, or if for some reason Sony executives lose their minds and discontinue one of the longest-selling headphone models ever, our runner-up pick is the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. Thanks to its clear, crisp, and articulate high end, its rich bass, and its detachable, replaceable cable, our panelists liked the ATH-M40x very much. However, for three out of four panelists, a few extra decibels in the high end (hi-hat, snare, and female 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 like or need extra intensity in the higher frequencies, you’ll be very happy with the Audio-Technica set.

From left to right: The number two Audio-Technica, the number one Sony, and the number three Onkyo have had serious staying power.

How we chose what to test

I also checked out the top 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 I looked to see what Wirecutter readers had requested that we check out. Afterward, we brought in all of the new and requested headphones so that our panel could hear them back-to-back. We ended up with 1pairs in total, including our previous winners.

Round three—ding ding! Another 1pairs of headphones enter the testing ring.

Once we had our list, I obtained samples of all the headphones and called in the panel. This time we had Geoff Morrison, John Higgins, Phil Metzler, and myself. Brent Butterworth had been part of our previous two panels. With our decades of experience and the variety of sonic preferences (as well as cranial and ear shapes) among us, you can be sure that if we all like something, it’s pretty darn fantastic.

Sony MDR750over-ear headphones are great for long listening sessions because they feel so light.

The ear cushions are adequate and not too shallow, but they are not super plush like some other premium headphones can feel.

A closed-back ear cup design works well for noise isolation and to control external noise. This is great for singers and other recording artists.

The closed-back ear cup design can make your ears feel a little bit warm, but you should find these headphones much lighter and easier to wear than other brands.

This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.


The Sony MDR-750are comfortable, closed-back critical listening headphones with a good sound. They're a little cheaply built but they don't leak much, which makes them a good option for recording. However, they're not the most versatile headphones, sot they won't stay on your head if you run with them and poorly isolate you from the ambient noise of your environment.

What it is

The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.

The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.


The Sony MDR-750are decently breathable headphones but will still make you ears make your ears fairly warm during long listening sessions. They have a closed back over-ear design that prevents airflow so they won't be suitable for exercising or working out but should be okay for more casual listening.

Stand required

The MDR750are decently portable headphones. They're about average sized for an over-ear model, but the foldable design tightly tucks the ear cups within the frame to save space. They won't be the easiest headphones to carry around on your person, but they will comfortably fit into most bags. Unfortunately, they don't come with a pouch or case.

Subjectively assigned

The build quality on these headphones feels mediocre-at-best. They have a thin metal frame that somewhat reinforces the build, and they're lightweight with dense enough plastic to withstand a few falls without damage. However, these headphones feel a little cheap. More. The rest of the design is a bit too plasticky for their price and creaks a bit when putting on the headphones. The hinges are relatively weak, and the wiring is slightly exposed which could get damaged through regular use. They're decently built just not as durable as some other headphones even within the same price range.