**2018 Update – Since we produced this article in 2015, there have been many technology shifts. Including the removal of the headphones jack on many smartphones. To account for this, we’ve added a new headphones recommendation to the site. Check it out here.**
After a lot of research, screw turning, and soldering, I’m excited to share the Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod with you. Let’s back up a little bit to explain why I made these headphones iPhone-compatible. To me, “Beats” is a bad word. Dr. Dre wants you to believe that a bass-heavy mix is the best way to hear “all” of your music. As a semi-pro a/v engineer, I have to tell you that he’s so incredibly wrong. When listening to music, the “correct” sound is the sound the artist originally intended. During production, a great artist puts their very essence into the audio mix. To hear that passion, you don’t want to modify the mix with expensive cans that blaspheme the original sound… right? Unfortunately, Dre’s marketing team sings so much praise for the product that they push all artistic and engineering criticism into the background. The company’s branding is brilliant. The proof is in the Apple buyout. I sincerely hope that Apple creates a less blasphemous set of cans at some point in the future. If you like your Beats, don’t feel bad — the market shows you’re not alone — you’re just listening to something completely different from what the artist intended. That’s not how I want to listen to music. If you agree with me, you should try our Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod. Here’s a quick video we produced that shows the process:
Why should you modify the Sony MDR-7506 instead of buying other iPhone-compatible headphones? Simply put: this mod takes professional recording studio headphones and turns them into a great iPhone listening experience without emptying your bank account. These aren’t expensive cans. Nothing else in the sub-$100 price range offers the clarity and definition of these headphones. In fact, you’d have to switch to the open-back category and spend another $200+ to find a better sounding pair of cans. Open-back headphones don’t offer any isolation, so they’re not ideal for mobility. At $80 or less, the 7506 are perfect for this project. With a $30 iPhone cable, $5 in parts, and a little DIY knowledge, you’ll have the best iPhone-compatible headphones under $120. It’s such a great deal.
I keep calling these the best iPhone-compatible headphones, but what does that really mean? Is the Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod iPhone-only? Can they work with Android? Let’s start with the features this mod adds to the 7506: a microphone, volume buttons, a play/pause button, and Siri compatibility. That’s everything an iPhone user needs from a pair of headphones. This mod adds all of that with a single, detachable cable. For the iPhone, we’re using the Beats RemoteTalk Cable. Eww, I said Beats, right? Actually, we haven’t found a better cable for the iPhone at this point. It’s robust, has all the features we need, and will be around for a very long time thanks to the Apple buyout. The iPhone cable does not work with Android. You’ll have to find an Android-compatible cable for that. We would’ve recommended the Beats Android cable, but Apple discontinued it. Shocker. The best work-around I can suggest is an Android app that lets you define button presses on the Apple-only cables. If anyone finds an actual Android-compatible cable that works with our Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod, please let us know in the comments.
Sony MDR-7506 iPhone Mod Picture Guide
To complete this do-it-yourself, Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod, you’ll need the following parts and tools. The blue amazon links you’ve seen in this article are the actual hardware you need to purchase. If you don’t have some of the tools listed below, you may need to purchase them or borrow from a friend.
- Sony MDR-7506
- 3.5mm Headphone Jack
- Beats RemoteTalk Cable
- Phillips #0 screwdriver
- Soldering Iron & Solder
- Wire Cutters
- Dremel tool with a cutting disc
Take a look at each picture below. We made sure to take a picture of every step to make this as easy as possible. Even still, you cannot hold us responsible for any damage you cause to your headphones. If you follow the steps properly and have everything ready to go, you can expect this process to take less than an hour.
There were plenty of challenges for this mod in the beginning, but I suffered through all of that for you. As it stands, we feel comfortable placing the difficulty of the Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod at 6/10. It’s not for a beginner, but it’s doable for many people.
I completed the Sony MDR-7506 iPhone mod a few weeks ago. It’s been awesome using these headphones since then. Personally, I would call these modified cans the “best over-ear iPhone-compatible headphones.” Since it’s technically a mod, I’m not saying that specifically… even though it’s true. There are plenty of iPhone-compatible ear buds, but they’re all terrible sound quality — to my ears. Sound is purely subjective; you will always like something different from me (however slight). That’s why I like the 7506 so much. They don’t try to modify the sound of the source to fit any particular taste; they just portray the source as intended. They’re glorious to my ears.