Pros: Beautiful airy presentation with great timbre
Cons: Microphonic cables. Available only in Japan (excl grey market)
This review will have a lot of references to the e-Q5 which will be explained later.
As with the e-Q5, the e-Q7 is also an easy-to-drive low impedance single balanced armature designed by Ortofon. In fact it's the same balanced armature as the e-Q5. The main difference between the e-Q5 and the e-Q7 is the pure silver plated cables as opposed to e-Q5's OFC cables.
The e-Q5 review can be found here :-
Again, like the e-Q5, the presentation and the packaging of the e-Q7 is impressive. It comes in a box, and a carry case in addition to the extra flanges, filters and tip cleaner.
A close up of the case :-
The big difference in the cables aren't only with it's construction but also the way it's cloth-material wrapped. The cables are as such somewhat less tangle-free but somewhat introduce microphonic vibrations.
The cables also come down perpendicular making it easy to wrap around the ear if desired with less stress on the joints. Strangely though, the isolation on the e-Q7 seems to be tad less than the e-Q5 and possibly the extended length appears to be add weight to the ends pulling the earphone down a tad. I've not tried different flanges to see if it improves isolation.
Since the balanced armature is the same as the e-Q5, a lot of my impressions are in comparison to the e-Q5 - to see the difference in SQ between the OFC cables vs pure silver plated cables.
Acoustic instruments sound more refined, controlled, & clearer than the e-Q5. Somewhat with more finesse, detailed & less mid-forward. There is still the mid hump, but its a tad pulled back in comparison to the e-Q5. The mids also sound a little more detailed, and overall, I'd say the eQ-7 is a tad more balanced & a little more neutral than the e-Q5.
The trebles seem a little bit more airy, detailed & can be somewhat revealing to tiny details in recording, more so than the e-Q5.
The soundstage is also slightly larger than the e-Q5 but depth-wise is the same. It maintains the airy tube-like presentation of the e-Q5. The e-Q7 also adds a little more depth to the dimension. I'd also rate the a better timbre than the e-Q5.
As with the e-Q5, these earphones deliver a lot for it's online street price of Y21,400 (USD$270). Whether the e-Q7 is worth the extra USD$95 over the e-Q5, that's a more difficult question. Purely in terms of SQ, it's harder to justify. However the e-Q7 does provide a nice box for storage and carrying case for transporting around; in addition to the SQ improvement over the e-Q5.