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Ryan Lindow, Sony MDR-7506 Headphones – Item Number One

Name, Age, and Occupation?

Ryan Lindow, 36, Photographer & Filmmaker

What is the thing you have owned the longest?

Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

How long have you had it?

Since 1997.

How did you come to possess it?

I was getting into 4-track home recording and would read reviews about industry-standard equipment in magazines like TapeOp and Sound on Sound. The popular gear at the time included items like the Shure SM-57 microphone and the Boss RV-3 reverb/delay pedal. I needed studio-quality headphones and the Sony MDR-7506 were readily available and affordable. I went to my local music store, Skip’s Music in Sacramento, and bought all three items.

Have you made any customizations, modifications, or repairs?

No, but they are in serious need of some new ear cushions. The leather covering has been completely worn off and I’ve been using the headphones with the exposed foam for about 5 years.

When was the last time you used it?

Today. They sit on my desk next to my Genelec monitors and I A/B between them constantly when I’m working on music or editing dialog.

Why have you kept it so long?

They work the same today as they did when I first bought them. The idea of professional-level gear at the time was that you didn’t need to worry about reliability or upgrades. The 7506 headphones can still be found in most studios, the SM-57 is still the standard for mic’ing a guitar amp, and the RV-3 is the sound of many post-rock guitar bands.

If you were offered a brand new version in exchange for your item, would you take it?

No. There is no sentimental value in this particular pair, but a new version would be redundant. I can’t comment on the build quality or materials of a current pair, but mine have been used and abused for 20 years and work just fine.

I don’t think I would buy them again, either. If I were outfitting a new studio I would certainly buy a couple pairs. For personal use I wouldn’t. As much as I appreciate gear that has become industry-standard over time, I’m still interested in new technology. I am very interested in planar magnetic headphones and would replace them with a pair of Audeze LCD’s. Headphone technology has advanced to the point where they can be a legitimate alternative to studio monitors in a mixing environment.


The Sony MDR-7506 is available for $80 on Amazon. You can find Ryan and his work on Instagram @ryanlindow.