Audio-Technica ATH-M30x vs. Sennheiser HD280PRO vs. Sony MDR7506: And Our Winner Is…

Between the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, Sennheiser HD280PRO, and Sony MDR7506; Whish is the best pair of headphones.

Here it is ladies and gentlemen. Three highly popular headphones side-by-side facing off. While each pair has its standard ups and downs, they also have their own unique benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones will determine which of these might be the best choice for you. After extensive research, personal experience, and reviews; We formulated an in-depth comparison between each one. May the battle commence!  

But first…

What Makes A Pair Of Headphones Good?

  1. Sound Quality: How good the overall audio quality of music, phone calls, or video.
  2. Comfort: The ability to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, or ear pain.
  3. Build Quality: The overall durability and longevity. Able to withstand harsh conditions for extended periods of time.
  4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling: If any at all, how well the active noise cancelling or noise isolating abilities are.
  5. Battery Life: How long the battery life of the pair of headphones is at a full charge.
  6. Added Features: A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable ear cups, etc.

We compared and contrasted each of these factors for the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, Sennheiser HD280PRO, & Sony MDR7506

 

Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
With the copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, 40-millimeter drivers, and rare earth magnets; It provides outstanding sound quality and clarity for the low-price. Amazingly, these are one of the few headphones in this price range that sound engineers happily use. The frequencies are well-balanced throughout the spectrum with a minuscule dip in the bass. If you prefer bass-heavy headphones, these may not be the best choice. However, I’m a massive fan of the clearly pronounced midrange sound. Overall, the sound quality is very detailed and precise. Especially for the affordable price, you will definitely be pleased.

Sennheiser HD280PRO
In terms of sound quality, the Sennheiser HD280PRO is fantastic. They are relatively flat with a minor spike in the lower bass. In my opinion, the slight bass spike provides more feeling to the music without muddiness or boominess. It has a flat frequency response and natural sound. If you’re just in need of buying noise-isolation headphones for enjoyment, the flat frequency response makes it easier to manipulate the sound in whichever way you prefer with a bit of equalizing. Furthermore, they have high ratings from audiophiles, as well.

Sony MDR7506
If you want the most accurate sounding flat headphones for the cheapest price, this pair may be the one for you! It uses 40mm drivers for a full and clean sound. Regardless of how loud you blast the volume, they will not distort. The Sony MDR7506 was designed to play the natural sound without any added eq or sound manipulation. However, these headphones are incredibly accurate to the point in which a lower format of audio will be noticed. Likewise, a higher quality audio source will be noticed and sound better as well. The wide frequency response of 5 Hz – 30 kHz picks up every audible frequency in the human ears spectrum. Another great thing is its high SPL of 113dB.

Overall, the Sony MDR7506 has the best sound quality.

Comfort

The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Not the best, but the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is a relatively comfortable pair of headphones. I recommend these headphones for anyone who needs to wear them for 2-3 hours at a time. After a few hours, you may need to take a break.

Sennheiser HD280PRO
To my head, these headphones are a bit tight at first. After about a week, the evened out quite nicely and became a comfortable fit. Like the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, you may need to take a break every few hours.

Sony MDR7506
The wide and softly padded headband equally dispenses the weight. Thus, designed for maximum comfortability with extended periods. You will be very satisfied with the Sony MDR7506 overall comfort levels. The lightweight also helps reduce the chances of annoyance and itchiness.

Overall, the Sony MDR7506 is the most comfortable pair of the three.

Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
Besides the semi-plasticky feel, these headphones are robust and sturdy. Especially for the low price, you will be satisfied with its durability and lifespan. If I had to be picky, the joints are a bit weak. It has a circumaural design that easily fits around your ears. They are collapsible for more convenient travel. Overall, you will be satisfied with the build quality, and they will last you a much longer time than most headphones below $100.

Sennheiser HD280PRO
These headphones are lightweight with a somewhat decent build quality. In comparison to the others, I would say the Sennheiser HD280PRO comes in 3rd place of the 3. It’s not bad, but nothing impressive. However, they are still built to last, and most people don’t experience longevity issues. The cord has a thick and robust coating.

Sony MDR7506
Especially for the affordable price, the build quality is reliable and durable. Many people have used these headphones for an extremely long time without any damage. The design is very modest and plain. Some people prefer it that way, others don’t. The headphones are foldable for added convenience and portability. We also like how lightweight they are.

Overall, the Sony MDR7506 and Audio-Technica ATH-M30x are tied in the best build quality.

Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have active noise cancellation. However, it provides extremely good passive noise-isolation. It easily covers the entire ear and blocks out a great deal of outside noise once you put them on. Unfortunately, these headphones have a bit of sound bleed. People around you can hear what you’re listening to at higher volumes. Once put on, they naturally reduce outside ambient noise by 50%. Especially for the low price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x are overall very good noise-isolation headphones.

Sennheiser HD280PRO
Like the others, these don’t have active noise cancelling abilities. They do, however, provide tremendous noise-isolation naturally. It decreases outside noise by up to 32dB, which is extremely good. Most users of these headphones claim their noise-isolating capabilities is their top strength.

Sony MDR7506
Although the Sony MDR7506 covers the entire ear, the noise-isolation abilities are not up to par with the other two. However, the oval ear-pads still provide decent noise isolation. These headphones do not provide active noise-cancelling.

Overall, the Sennheiser HD280PRO provides the best noise isolation.

Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery-life becomes a convenient factor.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Sennheiser HD280PRO
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Sony MDR7506
These headphones do not have wireless capabilities. They must be plugged in via wire.

Added Features

Here we summarize each pair of headphones and talk about some of the added features.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
These headphones do not have wireless abilities, a built-in mic, Bluetooth, etc. However, they are a superb choice for anyone looking for bright, precise, and detailed sound quality. With a solid build, decent comfort, and good noise isolation; They are a great bang for the buck under $100. I recommend them for sound engineers, video editors, audio editors, or mixers on a very tight budget.

Sennheiser HD280PRO
These headphones do not have wireless abilities, a built-in mic, Bluetooth, etc. However, the Sennheiser HD280PRO is a lightweight and comfortable pair of headphones. In my opinion, they provide the best natural noise-isolation of any pair below $100 on the market.

Sony MDR7506
Overall, the Sony MDR7506 is one of the highest-rated and most famous pair of wired headphones for a reason. They are a fantastic option for those who need a high quality and affordable pair of headphones that don’t need maximum noise-isolation. Unfortunately, they do not have Bluetooth, a built-in microphone, voice-assistant, etc.

Similarities Between The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, Sennheiser HD280PRO, & Sony MDR7506

  • All cover the ear
  • All are very popular
  • All are highly-rated and reviewed
  • All have tremendous sound quality
  • All are great for mixing music

Our Winner

Keep in mind that our opinion is not the end all be all. Like mentioned earlier, everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. However, our winner with an extremely slight margin is the Sony MDR7506. It’s a slightly better bang for the buck than the others. Be sure to check out the reviews!

If you’re interested in a pair of affordable noise-cancelling headphones, see our top 12 here.

Looking for wireless earbuds with a long battery life? See our top choices here.

If you’re interested in a pair of true wireless earbuds under $150, see our top picks here.