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[Short Review] ATH-AD700 vs. MS-1

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 


Some question regarding AD700 vs. MS-1 have been asked for quite a few time and since I own both, here is my little review/comparison of both. First of, I bought both in relatively close time and burnt them in as soon as I got them (>80hrs now). Second, just in case any of you don't know, AD700 is the open version of A700. SQ wise, AD series (open) is always better than A series (close) of the same number. Third, I never mod my MS-1, but rather use a replacement pad which give a slight effect of quarter mod (better breathing, I believe).


BUILD QUALITY
Like any Grado's 'phone, MS-1 looks and functions very retro. The good thing about using old style design is nothing much can go wrong - it is, by all means, 'solid'. Also with good quality built, AD700 is, however, very fancy in design and material. Although mainly made with plastic, AD700 doesn't feel cheap (of course). The paint job give it a very metal / high class look. Both 'phone use heavy cable. Weight by weight, MS-1's cable (Y-cord) is more heavy, although AD700's cable (single sided) is longer. As you can see in the picture, AD700 uses a metal mini plug that comes with 1/4' adapter. Due to its weight and Y-cord, I personally find MS-1's cable less user friendly.


COMFORT
AD700 is the definite winner. Its 3D-wing-design headband combine with the very soft pad simply puts no stress on the listener (even though its overall weight is actually heavier). The only problem is the listener might feel a bit of heat on long term use (as in any over-the-ear 'phone). For MS-1, its pad need braking-in before user will get any comfort in long term use. I washed mine several times just to get it softer.


SOUND QUALITY
MS-1 is engaging, detail, tight bass, good vocal, balance in all range, nothing overwhelming. some might said MS-1 is bright, I personally find it to be OK. The only sonic quality MS-1 lacks of is soundstage. There is no sonic imaging about MS-1, every thing is 'in-your-face'. On the other hand, AD700 does not engage you into the music, but rather surround you with an unbeatable sound stage. Bass is there, but not powerful - just enough for any non-basshead. Vocal is slightly recessed, but nothing terrible. In short, MS-1 performs well with Rock&Roll recording, while AD700 really brings out the best of classical. SQ wise, AD700 is a better all around 'phone than MS-1 when considering all genre of music. However, depend on what kind of music you are into (ie. soundstage is not important), you might want to have MS-1 instead.


CONCLUSION
MS-1 has been prised as an all-around 'phone over Head-fi for quite a while, but personally I think AD700 will serve the job better. However, there are certain kind of music where MS-1 does perform better. I simply place AD700 first because the majority of people will tend to enjoy soundstage more, rather than the MS-1's 'in-your-face' sound. If you are not 'fix' on listening to a certain genre of music, I personally will recommend AD700. This is not to say MS-1 isn't good enough, it is simply because it is a Grado, and it'll take some time to get use to. The true is, most of those who own a Grado long enough will eventually fall in love with its 'in-your-face' sound. It is ultimately a choice you need to make for your own: what kind sonic signature are you looking for?

post #2 of 64
I owned the AD700s and MS-1 at the same time for a long time as well and would reach for the AD700s over the MS-1 90% of the time
post #3 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-cee View Post
I owned the AD700s and MS-1 at the same time for a long time as well and would reach for the AD700s over the MS-1 90% of the time
I see you have 701s. How do they compare to the AD700s and MS-1s?

Mooch
post #4 of 64
Thanks for your review=] I am particularly interested in getting an ad700 for a friend, so your review was helpful to me. Thanks!
post #5 of 64
To the OP... what amps did you use for this comparison, if any?
post #6 of 64
MMMM. Yummy. Anyone can be happy for the rest of their lives owning both cans. I envy you.

Too bad the AD series of cans are pretty obscure here considering how good they are. Makes them more special I guess. A hidden jewel you might say. ;0)

Thanks for the review.
post #7 of 64
I mainly use my AD700s for gaming, terrific sound stage when paired with an X-Fi. I do use them for music occasionally and find classical/folk/acoustic better suited for these phones than rock/metal/punk music, but the heavier stuff still sounds good.
post #8 of 64
Excellent review.

I'm still considering AD700's as my first set of high end headphones. But everytime I have my mind set on a phone, the DT770/80's come back into my mind and change it.

Good review though, very nice pics too.
post #9 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grndslm View Post
To the OP... what amps did you use for this comparison, if any?
No amp this time. But for the record, I find AD700 works better with amp than MS-1. My Little Country is tuned to maximize soundstage so it doesn't help MS-1 as much as AD700. As for my other SS amps, they all seems to improve AD700's SQ more than MS-1 (which isn;t benefit as much from amping). AD700's slightly recessed mid / vocal and low bass can actually be improve if you use it with a warm amp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottyyy View Post
I'm still considering AD700's as my first set of high end headphones. But everytime I have my mind set on a phone, the DT770/80's come back into my mind and change it.
Really need to get myself some DT770/80 too
post #10 of 64
I think I'm sold... I didn't think anything could be better than MS-1...

Everybody says MS-1 has similar KSC75 signature... I'm assuming that AD700 is just a bit more relaxed, but as long as there's good bass there with an amp... I'm sold.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moocher View Post
I see you have 701s. How do they compare to the AD700s and MS-1s?

Mooch
As good as the MS-1/AD700s are, the K701 is a class or two above these. More detailed, even HUGER soundstage than the AD700s, however it is a demanding mistress... needs good amping and a better source to truly sing, but when she sings... does she sing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackjaw View Post
I mainly use my AD700s for gaming, terrific sound stage when paired with an X-Fi. I do use them for music occasionally and find classical/folk/acoustic better suited for these phones than rock/metal/punk music, but the heavier stuff still sounds good.
hehe, I bought the AD700s originally for gaming as well, but then music sounded pretty excellent. I agree, they're not as snappy as the MS-1s, but generally smoother.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottyyy View Post
Excellent review.

I'm still considering AD700's as my first set of high end headphones. But everytime I have my mind set on a phone, the DT770/80's come back into my mind and change it.

Good review though, very nice pics too.
funny you say that, i owned the AD700s/MS-1/DT770/80 Pros all at the same time, and unless you're a real basshead the DT770/80s were probably the worst sounding of the three headphones. They have bass, lots of it, a little treble but no mids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grndslm View Post
I think I'm sold... I didn't think anything could be better than MS-1...

Everybody says MS-1 has similar KSC75 signature... I'm assuming that AD700 is just a bit more relaxed, but as long as there's good bass there with an amp... I'm sold.
i have the ksc-75, ms-1 and ad700 and i agree, they share similarities but the MS-1 is more detailed.

depends what you're looking for in the bass, i amped my AD700s but they're still pretty balanced in their bass when compared to other headphones, so may sound a bit light in the bass.
post #12 of 64
Thanks d-cee for the detailed comparison.
post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-cee View Post
As good as the MS-1/AD700s are, the K701 is a class or two above these. More detailed, even HUGER soundstage than the AD700s, however it is a demanding mistress... needs good amping and a better source to truly sing, but when she sings... does she sing.


hehe, I bought the AD700s originally for gaming as well, but then music sounded pretty excellent. I agree, they're not as snappy as the MS-1s, but generally smoother.


funny you say that, i owned the AD700s/MS-1/DT770/80 Pros all at the same time, and unless you're a real basshead the DT770/80s were probably the worst sounding of the three headphones. They have bass, lots of it, a little treble but no mids.


i have the ksc-75, ms-1 and ad700 and i agree, they share similarities but the MS-1 is more detailed.

depends what you're looking for in the bass, i amped my AD700s but they're still pretty balanced in their bass when compared to other headphones, so may sound a bit light in the bass.
Gah! You've changed my mind again. Damn you.

Why is it so hard to decide which headphones to buy?
post #14 of 64
I always personally liked the MS-1's more than the AD700's. As the OP said...Grado fans love their Grado's .
post #15 of 64
AD700: superior soundstage, spacing, etc, warmer presentation
MS1: superior in details, less recessed vocals, more forward presentation

Personally, I'm most likely going to end up with both. They both complement each other quite well and would most likely cover every genre there is known to man. After these two + Xin Supermicro, thassit.
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