Thursday, December 29, 2011

Xmas present to self: Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

In this age of tiny computer speakers, or worse - laptop speakers, it's easy to forget just how good music can sound in a decent set of headphones.

I must be a bit of an addict as over the years the headphone collection has grown to more than ten pairs. While you generally get what you pay for, it's not always the case.

There's a bit of a balance to be struck between comfort and quality. When walking (where I listen to podcasts) I use either a little Bose on-ear pair or the Apple in-ear headphones - although I don't like the noise I hear as the cord moves around.

At my computer I've ended up using a Sennheiser HD 212Pro which I find very comfortable and pleasant despite a pronounced bass boom.

On the podcast front, I was a dedicated listener to Leo Laporte's TWIT network but the ads have grown to be so long as to sometimes go for five minutes or more. I'm also finding the density of useful information and unique insight has dropped. They do a great job and it must be hard to keep up the pace.

This year, 2011, I've discovered Dan Benjamin's 5by5 podcasts. I'm addicted to Hypercritical with John Siracusa and Talk Show with John Gruber. Host Dan Benjamin is a great host and sensitive interviewer, further he clearly cares about audio quality. Dan sounds great and chastises guests when their audio breaks up (I'm looking at you Gruber).

Dan has kindly published details of the equipment he uses and when he raved about the Sony MDR-7506 for just US$85 I thought I'd track down a pair. Foolishly, my first thought is I'd visit the local Sony Centre, imagining it would be like an Apple Store with every thing they make. The Sony store looks like an Apple store without any customers. They told me that the 7506 is obsolete and sold me the nearest thing: MDR-ZX500. While comfortable, they are disappointing lacking sparkle and I was soon back to the 212Pros.

In a Twitter exchange, Dan urged me to get the originals and today they arrived.

I really like the MDR-7506 headphones, wide response, smooth low end, sparkling high end response. They are comfortable and the curly cord is convenient (I often run over the long Sennheiser cord with my chair).

Here in Australia I ended up paying AU$167 (including fast shipping) via eBay seller onlyonline.

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