Portable Over-Ear headphones. Launch date: November 2014.

AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7

Rating:
4.26923/5,
  • Portable Over-Ear headphones.
    Launch date: November 2014.

Recent Reviews

  1. BigBadBirdman
    not suitable for classical music
    Written by BigBadBirdman
    Published Oct 17, 2017
    2.0/5,
    Pros - good build quality, looks nice
    Cons - poor frequency response, bright treble and upper midrange, weak lower midrange and bass, not very comfortable
    Introduction

    The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 is a bright sounding headphone that will not appeal to people who want a warm or neutral sound.

    Sound Signature

    The SR stands for Sound Reality but the sound is not realistic at all if you ever go to classical music concerts. I have been to hundreds of concerts and every time I am impressed at how big and warm the sound is. The sound in every concert hall I have been in has a huge bass that cannot be reproduced accurately by any speaker and headphone. The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 does not even try. Instead, they try to pass themselves off as “high resolution” by decreasing the upper bass and lower midrange and increasing the upper midrange and lower treble. By doing this you will hear some things that you will not hear in a neutral or warm sounding headphone but you are also missing much of your music.

    When listening to “El amor brujo” conducted by Leopold Stokowski, the sound was very strange. It was like listening to tiny speakers with a subwoofer. The bass is deep and extended but there is no upper bass or lower midrange and the upper midrange is super loud. When I play this recording on any of my other headphones, the sound is warm and smooth.

    Next I put on Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony conducted by George Szell and got the same results. There was a thinness to the sound that is completely unnatural. You would never hear a tonal balance like this in any concert hall. I have had this CD for decades and listened to it on many different speakers and headphones and it is normally a warm sounding recording. The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 just sucked the life out of the performance.

    “The Rite of Spring” conducted by Simon Rattle actually sounded pretty good. There was really good resolution in the quiet parts and the big bass drum whacks had depth and power.

    Probably the most disappointing recording was the Mahler First conducted by Erich Leinsdorf. This is one of my reference recordings and on the Philips X2 it is one of the most lifelike sounding recordings I have. On the ATH-MSR7, the sound was thin and anemic and generally unpleasant. I only made it about halfway through the first movement before I had to change to a different headphone.

    My Setup

    I use CD, Blu-ray, and DVD as my sound source. I mostly use a Marantz CD6005 but sometimes use an Onkyo C-7030 as my CD player. I use a cheap Sony Blu-ray player for video.

    I drive all my headphones with a Schiit Asgard 2 headphone amplifier. The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 is designed for portable use. However, I do not use any portable listening devices and do all my listening exclusively at home.

    If you are planning on purchasing the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 and you intend to use them on your home audio system, you will need to purchase a 1/8” to 1/4” adaptor. There are 3 cables supplied but they all are 1/8” and there is no adaptor included. All my other headphones came with adaptors but apparently Audio Technica thinks the ATH-MSR7 is only going to be used with portable players.

    I primarily listen to opera and orchestral music. The other headphones I currently own are the Sennheiser HD600, Sennheiser HD700, Beyerdynamic DT-990, Beyerdynamic T51i, and Philips Fidelio X2. All my headphones sound amazingly good when paired with the appropriate recording and each can be the best headphone I have ever heard. I consider all of my headphones to be a good value for the price.

    The Highs

    The treble on Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 is loud. It is louder than any of my other headphones but not necessarily more detailed. While other headphones might have a boost in the mid or upper treble, the ATH-MSR7 starts the boost in the upper midrange and through the lower treble. Because of that you cannot really hear anything above the lower treble because it is drowned out by the volume.

    The quality of the treble is middling. It is on par with the DT-990 and X2 but not as good as the HD600, HD700 or T51i.

    The Midrange

    The midrange is the most problematic part of the ATH-MSR7. The lean lower midrange coupled with the bright upper midrange is the downfall with this headphone. If they had gotten the midrange right, I think I might have been able to overlook the loud treble.

    The Bass

    The bass is the best aspect of the ATH-MSR7. It is very detailed and extended and neutral. There is no bloat but it is powerful when needed. The big bass drums on Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky had excellent detail and impact. On Handel’s Serse, the bass was big and warm. Unfortunately the upper bass starts to disappear and it makes Beethoven and Haydn symphonies sound too lean.

    Soundstage

    The ATH-MSR7 does not have much of a soundstage but it images pretty good. There is good separation of images but no depth. Closed back headphones generally do not have as good of a soundstage as open backed ones but my only closed back headphone is the T51i and it has a decent soundstage. The ATH-MSR7 is average or slightly above average in this category for a closed back design.

    Conclusion

    In head to head comparisons to my other 5 headphones, it usually came in dead last and it never came in first. The highest it ever ranked was 3. I think the problem is that Audio Technica is trying to market this headphone as “high resolution” but they are not using upgraded drivers so they are altering the frequency balance to give the illusion of having a higher resolution.
      ShaggyFi likes this.
  2. ZOMBIEWINEGUM
    Lean and clean with good looks and comfort
    Written by ZOMBIEWINEGUM
    Published Apr 14, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Tight bass, incredible highs, gorgeous looks
    Cons - hot spot headband, creaky plastic, unnatural midrange
    I've had the Audio Technica MSR7s for about a year and a half now. I purchased them myself from amazon for £145. I won't bother with specs/accessories since every other review has already been over that.
     
    Build and comfort
     
    When you first hold the MSR7 the build feels very premium, it is  weighty with aluminum cups and plush, high quality pads. However, the plastics used leave something to be desired, with a fair amount of creaking developing at the hinges and a general feeling of "don't stretch them too far" when you go to place them on your head. I think it was a mistake to use plastic on the hinges, it in no way inspires confidence. Luckily, that is the only real complaint about build, the rest of the headphone feels fairly solid and about in line with what you'd expect for the price. 
    DSC_0049ed.png DSC_0050as.jpg
     
     
     
    Pads are plush, using what I presume is high quality pleather (materials are not mentioned anywhere). They provide great comfort for me, going all around my ears whilst being deep enough to keep my ears from touching the plastic behind the pads. If you have larger ears, I could see these pads being a little too small for you. The headband uses the same material as the pads but for some strange reason has more padding on top than on the bottom, where it will rest on you head. This, combine with the curved shape that will not conform to most heads, can create a bit of a hot spot on your head during long listening sessions.  
     
    Obviously, the MSR7 is an exceptionally handsome headphone, so no qualms there.
    DSC_0047.jpg
     
    Sound quality
     
    Highs
     
    Truly the star of the show, the treble is stunning. In quantity, the treble could be seen as having just the slightest hint of warmth, preventing any harshness whilst preserving the details and excitement. The headphones resolve even the slightest detail with ease, never sounding congested or too upfront. In quality, the treble is liquid smooth, no harshness or even sibilance to speak of. The best highs I'm yet to hear in any headphone.
     
    Bass
     
    Robust. Bass extends reasonably low, perhaps missing the lowest rumble, but what it lacks in extension it makes up for in, well, everything else. In quantity the bass feels neutral with the treble and has no midbass hump or bleed into the vocals. Not really for bassheads. In quality, the bass in tight and fast with no distortion. Like I said earlier, the best word to describe the bass is "robust".
     
    Mids
     
    Mids are where the MSR7s fail to impress quite so much. The upper mids are a little too forward for my taste, introducing a leaness to the presentation of vocals that sounds a little unnatural. Instruments suffer the same flaw, although to a lesser extent. They sound detailed, but lack realism.
     
    Imaging and soundstage
     
    Soundstage is very small, with it feeling like everything is happening within a space the size of the cups. However, this is not to say they sound congested, in fact, its entirely the opposite. Thanks to the smooth, detailed treble and fast bass, imaging is pin point accurate with each instrument and singer given their own spot around your head. This results in none of the congestion and confusion associated with the small soundstage of closed headphones. 
     
    Conclusion
     
    To sum up, the MSR7 is a handsome, well made headphone with reasonable comfort and fantasticly detailed sound. A solid offering at the price point.  
    DSC_0048b.png
     
    Update: Forgot to mention that I find this headphone responds incredibly well the the Fiio E10k's bass boost. Great for if you feel these lack bass quantity. The above impressions were all made without the bass boost, however. 
    1. Wiencon
      I loved the build quality of them, but sold mine after 2 months. I couldn't get myself to like them, after extended sessions I felt fatigue and the sound was annoying to me, I think it was the big amount of trebles and very low amount of bass. Switched to Fidelio X2 and it seems like perfect sound signature for me.
      Wiencon, Apr 14, 2017
    2. BigDave
      I agree with this review a lot.  I would also add that they are quite source dependent for me.  When running off my nuforce icon hdp they sound great (they do not need the power but maybe the dac makes a difference?).  They sound pretty good out of my ibasso dx50.  However, my cowon d20, sansa clip+ and other cheap daps do not have a good synergy - the highs become a little harsh and unbearable. And these msr7's are not hard to power. Even out of my Asus ultrabook the sound is .... average.  None of my other cans have quite this sound change depending on source.  Oh well.
      BigDave, Apr 15, 2017
  3. theminstrel
    Superb sound at a superb price
    Written by theminstrel
    Published Jan 17, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Relatively Cheap, beautiful natural tonality, detailed and wide soundstage, loud, stylish, comfy
    Cons - Would be nice if they folded up.. oh well.
    My favorite pair of headphones, and considering I own the Sennheiser HD598s, that is saying something. They look fantastic, very stylish indeed, they are extremely comfortable, infact the ear pads are quite heavenly, although the headband is prone to heating up a bit and could be a little bit thicker in order to distribute the weight around my head. The grip is a bit tighter than on many brands of headphone though never painful for me and provides a great seal that leaks zero sound and isolates external noise very well. The cans themselves should be more than big enough for most ears. They are light enough to be portable but solid enough to feel good quality. They are sturdily built as well. The choice of cables are all very good, thickly insulted in rubber and with pure gold connectors. The Sound quality on these is phenomenal. First, in terms of volume, these are very loud, even at medium volumes, on my relatively under-powered Sony A17 Walkman. Though the listed impedance is a higher-than-usual 35 ohms, these must have very efficient drivers as they can get very loud indeed on portable players and smartphones. An Amp is really never needed for these at all. The actual quality is wonderful, you get an almost perfectly neutral response, although I tend to eq the upper-mid-raange down a little bit as it can get a little bit harsh, and bump up the bass slightly to my taste. The bass is tight, clear and controlled, the mid-range is smooth, full bodied and natural, and treble sparkles sharply without the strange metallic quality some headphones deliver. Detail and clarity is unsurpassed at this price and the sound-stage is wide, deep and precise.
      amigomatt, stalepie and SteveOliver like this.
    1. MarcoGV
      Thank you for the review.  Where did you find them at the "price paid" listed under "Review Details?"
      MarcoGV, Jan 17, 2017
    2. theminstrel
      I got them for £145 which is now $180, on the website www.accessoryjack.com/, however the sterling is much weaker than it was two years ago so they are now £182
      theminstrel, Jan 17, 2017
  4. Egoist
    The best headphones I have bought (only like 4th pair so...)
    Written by Egoist
    Published Jan 30, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful mids and amazing details and sound stage. Just makes music alive
    Cons - Comfort can be a issue in the beginning, Mainly plastic, picky on music (quality)
    (first review) After having many troubles with my Sennheiser momentum on ears (v1), the breaking down of my wonderful Vsonic gr07s and the over powering bass of my RHA T10is. I've decided to look for a new headphone that will finally please my ears other than the gr07 which was not even close to being call durable. 
     
    First I'll give you some backgrounds on what kind of person I am so this review doesn't seem too bias. I listen to J-Pop, C-Pop, Jazz, EDM, Classical, And tons of female and male vocals are involved in these genres epically the stuff I listen to. I like a clear and detailed sound without too much treble (the s sounds) or bass that over powers and makes the mid ranges sound muffles (what happened on RHA T10i). I had sony extrabasses for a year so I do like bass but not too much of it. I use my headphones extensively, everyday, and for iems I used to sleep with them but now I have cheap ones that I sleep with. 
     
    Design/Comfort
    So lets first start with the design, I personally find these beautiful(I bought the black and blue version). It's clean and stylish. While having a decent weight on your head that feels comfortable for me. However not a fan of the plastics dues to squeaking occurring after some use. But overall the design is solid with the exception of the thin ear pads which some pointed out but wasn't a problem for me since I have small ears. Now on to comfort. This is something I am not too proud of, however, it is something that is fixable. When I first tried the MRS7s at e-earphones in the Akihabara Store in Japan I loved the sound, but hated the fit. The earcups were fine but the clamping force almost made my already small head hurt. (it's smaller than most girls) The guy at the store suggested that I put them on tissue boxes every night and wear them during the daytime. Which worked out wonderfully. It solved the fit problem for me in about a week completely. However I think for people with wider heads could result in a far more un comfortable situation. But I personally feel that the comfort factor is what turned most people away from this headphone. 
     
    Sound Quality
    To be honest, I want to say these are the best pair of headphones I have tried; it's just my opinions (I tried the HD 600s, Shure 846, grados GS1000.etc) It may not be the most detailed but it makes the music I listen to sound more appealing to my ears personally. the Highs are clear but not piercing, and the bass is punchy and detail but still not enough for a bass head in my opinion. However, the mids are what I feel these headphones really offer. Comparing a track 黑白 by方大同 really showed me where these headphones shined. The male vocal is clearly defined, and the jazz played in the background just gave me this emersed experience that I haven't had with any other headphones I've tried with this track. The Sennheiser momentum on ears compared to this sounded muffled and un detailed. lacking sound stage and clarity. And being more expensive really disappointed me. The fit also kinda irritated me. However, these are quite picky in terms of what you listen to. most of my music are all lossless or 320k mp3 which is fine. But if the file was badly recorded you can hear all the harsh details. Some people mentioned that using an amp would greatly improve the sound, I have a Fiio A3 which I used regularly, but in my case, I haven't found any significate improvement other than slightly more details from the instrumentals. Overall if you like most genres that benefits from an outstanding mid, this might be a good consideration. 
     
    Summary
    These headphones are something I truly like. It's a pretty flat signature with a defined mid. I would definitely recommend to anyone who is willing to deal with the comfort issue, and feel that it is seriously a great value.
      SteveOliver likes this.
  5. Chiek
    Favourite pair of earmuffs and portable over-the-ear cans
    Written by Chiek
    Published Jan 21, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Thought I was in heaven when I listened to 'Jump right in' by Zac Brown Band and Remember when by Alan Jackson
    At -20oC right now in the middle of the Norwegian winter, these beautiful ear muffs keep my ears from frostbitten, while piping in my favourite genre of folk music. Like Unkle Bob's Satellite. Listening to Zac Brown Band's songs like 'Knee Deep' and 'Goodbye in her eyes', made me cry because it just sounded too good to be true. 
     
    Once one has gone through a few headphones, rating new cans get a little easier if one can just make reference to the previous cans. This way I can dispense you guys of meaningless jargons beyond treble, bass and soundstage. 
     
    So comparing these with the over-the-ear portable headphones in the same price range that I have, I like these pair of headphones more than Sennheiser momentum in design & comfort (by a lot) and Sony MDR-1A in sound (not by much, both are very pleasing).
  6. DimarzioMesaFan
    Best Overall Headphones For The Money
    Written by DimarzioMesaFan
    Published Dec 13, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed, Clear Sound. Responsive Bass. Reasonably Good Isolation.
    Cons - Shallow Earpads. Flimsy Cable Connectors. Leans Toward Bright
    Context
     
    Hello everyone, this is my first review on Head-fi. I generally just lurk most of the time as I feel there is no point having discussion over subjective topics especially on a particularly elitist topic. I am 24 years old with what I would consider above average hearing based off the experience I've had with those around me. Everyone calls me an audiophile that knows me but I always reply that I am no where close to being one compared to my actual audiophile friends and some of what I've seen on sites like this. My budget is extremely meager as I've got plenty of student debt but I try to get the best I can get without hurting myself financially. My current setup is definitely the best one I've owned although I've listened to plenty of amazing several thousand dollar setups just for the sake of making me jealous I guess. I am very practical and I'm not going to ******** you and tell you that the most minor change is going to make some massive improvement to sound.  I purchased these headphones from my place of employment at a steep discount but even at the MSRP I feel the cans stand on their own and are worth the price. I personally think its a bit silly to include a plethora of pictures as it is widely available in many reviews and product pages on various websites so I'll spare you the data usage.
     
    Enter The MSR7
     
    Since the topic has been covered quite well I won't go into absurd detail and bore the hell out of you but I can confidently say there are no better headphones (to my ears) for the money. I am running the Fiio X3ii and more recently in tandem with the Fiio A3 amp. I've used several DACs built into various computers and phones with these as well and while they are still solid I feel it is a different experience on something like the X3ii even though its an entry level DAP. 
     
    Sound Profile because that is what you really care about anyways right?
     
    Relatively expansive sound for closed back earphones which is what attracted me to them on initial impressions with quite good separation to my ear. These of course aren't going to be like some ~$500 open back headphones but honestly the sound quality is comparable in my opinion. Everything is extremely snappy and responsive with no particular range sounding muddled so there really isn't a lot to complain about.  If you are looking for some very detailed (especially at the higher range) cans then this is the way to go for the money. Most reviews will mention that these headphones are bright which I completely agree with, but not really in the fatiguing sense to me. I can listen for several hours without any problems and I am certainly someone who is very sensitive to bright sounding gear and prefers bass by far. There are a few songs that can get into the annoying range depending on your listening volume but I would say 95% of the time I am not thinking about it. Bass is very clear and clean but slightly lacking for my taste personally, the mid range is very pleasant and actually weirdly warm to me while the upper ranges are brilliantly shining but certainly not for everyone. Overall I would give it 7/10 compared to everything I've heard but a 9.5/10 compared to closed back headphones only. Part of the reason I'm so lenient about it being a bit bright is because the quality of the sound is so pristine I just fall in love with songs all over again while listening with these, some reviews have complained they are 'ridiculously' bright but of course that is subjective. I can honestly tell you as someone who very much dislikes bright sounding gear it is completely fine. 
     
    -Examples-
     
    Vivaldi: La Inverno - 1
     
    [​IMG]
     
    One of my favorite pieces beautifully recreated, I highly recommend this compilation set. This song really lets the MSR7s shine, beautifully separated instruments, crisp and pristine highs. Flowing energetic mids and a tinge of bass to accent the entire piece. The best you can ask of any headphones is to let you faithfully experience the music and this song epitomizes the strengths of the MSR7s. It is difficult to put into words because I find myself just experiencing the music and not thinking about it, every minor detail of the music is exposed. Honestly and I'm not embellishing, there is a pretty small difference on this track between the ATH-MSR7 and the Hifiman HE-400 except of course the separation is more accentuated and more full sounding. That is a ballsy thing to say but it is how I personally feel about this specific track so don't go crazy that I just compared the beloved Hifiman to the lowly Audio Technica. (beloved Ortho and lowly dynamic)
     
    Trivium: Shogun
     
    [​IMG]
     
    In this song you have a pretty wide range of sound and the MSR7s bring out the aggressive raw sound of the drums. Every snare hit is crisp and snappy, the cymbals are extremely natural sounding and you aren't let down by the sound of the guitar either. The deep respite of the strumming combined with the heavy mid range chugging provides a good opportunity to hear how the headphones handle the relative 'business' of metal music. There is a lot to hear all at once but there is no point with these headphones where I feel lost in the sound in a negative sort of way. I can focus in clearly on any instrument and I'm not missing out on anything. This is a great example though of the brightness of the headphones, I feel that with most metal music in general, with such a heavy emphasis on the drums and relatively aggressive sound doesn't do the MSR7s any favors. If you are sensitive to brightness in sound then the snare will certainly make you cringe at a louder volume. Being my favorite genre, this is what motivated me to seek a slightly darker influence on the MSR7s with the Fiio A3. 
     
    Wu-Tang Clan: Hellz Wind Staff
     
    [​IMG]
     
    While I could go in depth about how amazing Jazz and blues sound on these cans I figured i'd go another direction, yep its the one and only and not to be ****ed with. Hip-Hop has a notoriously and intentionally muddy sound which in a strange way adds to the soul of the music as bizarre as that might be to see someone say. Being vocally focused of course it narrows what the MSR7s can really do for you. I think the cans are fantastic with vocals but when you listen to hip-hop it feels very open and spacey which isn't really what you typically want. Most of the time you want a very full, in your face kind of sound. While the vocals do deliver certainly I can't help but feel I'm missing some impact and it is tough to pinpoint but it is definitely at the lower range where it is missing some oomph so to speak. Not to say I don't enjoy it but a more bouncy fun headphone like the V-Moda M-100 is much more enjoyable for this type of music.
     
    -Summary- 
     
    I've gone on and on about the detail of the sound but overall I'd say these headphones really suit mid-upper range full sounding music. Classical, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Rap, Pop. They aren't optimal for EDM, older school Hip-Hop, and Metal although still enjoyable of course. In a similar price point I'd say go for the Fidelio X2 if those genres are of vital importance although as I mentioned earlier the Fiio A3 mostly solved my minor complaint.
     
    Build Quality
     
    The overall build of the headphones I feel is quite good, very comfortable in my opinion and it feels like it should for the money. I won't go over too much of the specifics as it is of minor importance but overall they feel very durable and I've had no problems. They are nice and light but not too light and the clamping force is strong but not overmuch in my opinion. I'll quickly summarize my issues
     
    1) Cables although seemingly high quality and nicely tangle resistant have pretty garbage connectors on them. Within just a couple months of usage the connectors are already noticeably shaky and the included cell phone (mic) cable registers as disconnected with the slightest motion which pauses the audio of course.
     
    2) Inside the earcups they made the odd design choice of having a raised circle inside the center which really isn't doing anything for you sonically and for some people (me) touches your ear and causes some discomfort over time. A good solution to this I saw online is getting the Brainwavz HM5 pleather earpads as a replacement and inserting a riser inside (or glue foam). 
     
    That is really all the complaints I have. They are still vastly more comfortable than most of my previous headphones (cough cough V-moda you shallow earcup bastards). 
     
    Noteworthies
     
    So I thought it might be worth mentioning that most of the problems I have with these headphones in terms of sound is mostly remedied by the Fiio A3. Its a dirt cheap amp and the headphones don't really need it but it does soften up the sound just ever so slightly which is very helpful for Metal and EDM in particular. I have also played around with the original Vali from Schiit which I personally love especially for the price, I'm a bit sad to see it totally replaced instead of having a second option with the new Vali 2 but I think most people didn't like it as much as I did. In addition to this I've tried the Schiit Stack which I actually didn't like personally, I feel it had the opposite effect that the Vali and Fiio A3 had and sharpened the sound to the point of annoyance with these earphones.
     
    I am not one to really care much about isolation but the headphones do a reasonable job of it. On a flight my ears personally get quite wonky, nothing sounds right and I get intense ringing in my ears so it is difficult to vouch for any headphones but the isolation in other environments is quite good, at my comfortable listening level (slightly loud) I can't hear anything around me. 
     
    Easier to read Amp/Dac combos I've tried:
     
    Fiio X3ii - Natural sound, strong mids, sharp highs. Small EQ tweaks help but too much ruins the sound quality.
     
    Fiio X3ii + Fiio A3 - Softens up the sound just ever so slightly, great pairing and very cheap. Perfect budget combo for these headphones
     
    Fiio X5ii - Very minor differences. Hard to discern with these headphones to be honest compared to the X3ii. With some higher end headphones I feel like the X5ii has a warmer sound but I don't hear it on the MSR7s
     
    Schiit Modi + Magni - Clear all around and strong sound overall but annoyingly sharp highs in my opinion. More so than normal
     
    Schiit Vali 1st gen - Softens up the sound just  a pinch and overall sounds better to me than my usual setup of the Fiio X3ii+A3
     
    O2/ODac - Similar sound to the Schiit Stack but just a touch warmer in the high range with extremely minor increase in bass
     
    Summary
     
    The headphones have their flaws but I don't want to give the impression they aren't good. I personally like to focus on the negatives more so than the positives because any jerk off can tell you how perfect the thing they purchased is but I'm not going to lie to make myself believe I bought the best thing on Earth. That said I honestly feel these are the best headphones for the money even though I didn't pay MSRP, I would without a problem. Show me the Oppo PM-3 on sale for $300 then I'll think twice probably or if I had a more limited taste in music I would most likely go with the Fidelio X2 but to cover all the bases I really love these headphones. I didn't want to write a review until I lived with them for a while, which I'm glad I did to get a full impression, I've seen a lot of reviews bragging about the cables but that was far and away my least favorite thing about the headphones even though that is a bit knit picky. I also want to congratulate you for bearing through this entire review, it isn't my forte and I don't particularly want to bore people with the same details they can read in 100 other reviews.
  7. keanex
    A worthwhile option in the $200 closed headphone range
    Written by keanex
    Published Sep 25, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Aesthetics, sub-bass quality and quantity, driver quickness, musicality
    Cons - Midbass bleed, peaky upper mids

     
    Pros: Stylish aesthetics, removable cable, musicality.
    Cons: Shouty upper mids, rolled off treble, sluggish midbass.
    Tonal Balance: Mild v-shape
    Style: Closed circumaural
    Listening Set-up: Musicbee (WASAPI/FLAC) -> Matrix HPA-3U
    Cost at Time of Review: $220
     

    Reviewing Process

    I’ve had the MSR7 for approximately a month with daily use being primarily for light jogs through a quiet neighborhood while plugged into my Sansa Clip Zip. I have spent a great deal of time with the MSR7 and feel comfortable sharing my opinion of them, but experience is always better than reading reviews. I encourage all readers to demo products before buying them when able to.
     
    Thanks to Audio Technica for the review sample.
     

    Build & Fit

    Build
    The MSR7 are constructed of metal and plastic and feel to be built consistent with the general quality of the $200 headphone market. When handled nothing feels overly loose or overly tight and I don’t hear any creaks or groans when making adjustments. The pads and headband appear to be stitched cleanly and securely as well. Nothing about the build stands out as being phenomenal, but I can’t find anything to complain about.
     
    Fit
    Comfort is about average in every regard. Downwards force is mild due to the lightness of the body, but the headband padding is thin causing the downwards force to be increasingly noticed over time. Clamping force is enough to be secure without causing a headache, strong enough for a light jog but I wouldn’t trust them with strenuous exercise. The pleather pads are a bit thin, my ears nearly touch the drivers, and could certainly benefit from a bit more padding, I’d be interested in trying the HM5 pads on these actually. Isolation is above average though which makes these great for travelling or in close quarters listening situations.
     

    Sound Quality

    TL:DR
    The MSR7 aims for a balanced sound but it doesn’t quite hit the mark, but the mild v-shape makes for an exciting and genre friendly sound while on the go. Clarity, quickness, and overall bass quality are where the MSR7 shine, all while capable of being driven from even modest portable sources.
     
    Bass
    As usual I like to run the Bass Shaker Test first when assessing the bass linearity and quality of the driver. At the press of the button the MSR7 produce a low growl that gradually gains a bit of volume, but overall the bass sounds nearly linear with no signs of unwanted distortion or driver rattle, those are all good signs!
     
    In real world listening the sub-bass response is quite good; extending cleanly with respectable quickness and weight. Songs that rely on strong sub-bass response are welcome here, there’s no pretense of a sub-woofer, rather silky smooth lows that carry a satisfying weight to them. Controlled and smooth, the sub-bass doesn’t disappoint me in the slightest.
     
    As a whole the midbass has a few minor flaws: overly prominent, lack of control, and lack of resolution. Let’s break this down and add it all up. To start, the midbass has a mild prominence to it which isn’t necessarily bad on it’s own, but it’s further exaggerated by a dip within the lower midrange. The combination of the two gives the bass notes preference in the soundstage over lower midrange instruments which include frequencies within: male vocals, acoustic piano, acoustic guitar and drums. This is further compounded by driver having a bit of sluggishness within this region, which causes the midbass notes to linger a longer than they ideally should. Lastly, the midbass lacks the clarity to fully convey the texture and quality of the bass notes, adding a subtle one-note quality or muddiness through this range.
     
    None of these issues are huge, I want to make that clear, it’s simply a perfect storm of each imperfection adding up to distract from the overall clarity and crispness of the midbass. These qualities hurt the nuances heard in band based instruments, but in less nuanced electronic and pop music the midbass is lively with an enjoyable kick to it. The lows are far from horrible for rock, jazz, or other band based music, but the tuning makes them most enjoyable with the likes of Portishead, Jamie xx or Madonna.
     
    Mids & Highs
    As I talked about above, the midrange has a mild recession which in some cases distracts from the nuances within the lower midrange. Furthermore there’s a peak in the upper midrange, notably within frequency ranges of female vocals, violins and snare drums. This not only adds sibilance, but an unbalanced brightness that makes volume control a bit difficult for affected songs. Two songs that highlight this dilemma are Portishead’s Glory Boxand Kendrick Lamar’s Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe. This peak is followed by and odd treble response that seems rather peaky and rolled off; hi-hats tend to sound quiet within a mix as do some other cymbals, while others sound clear and present.
     
    Outside of the odd peaks the midrange is clear and quick with a thin leaning tone that’s not too far from natural. Detail retrieval is also relatively good, certainly not comparable to the much more expensive ZMF Blackwood, or the HD600, but resolving enough to be satisfying for on-the-go use. Overall an enjoyable experience.
     
    Presentation
    There’s no doubt that this is a closed headphone when listening to it. The soundstage is neither wide, nor is it particularly deep, but it’s cohesive in its imaging capabilities. Left/right separation is great and positioning sounds correct to my ears. The soundstage tends to crowd up with more intensive or complex music though as the music sounds as if it’s coming from in front of, rather than around, my head.
     

    Conclusion

    It sounds as if I am being harsh on the MSR7, and perhaps I am undeservedly. I actually quite like the MSR7 as a closed full-sized headphone to use for light walks around the neighborhood. They feel sturdy, have a removable cable, isolate well, and have a pretty versatile and energetic sound signature. The MSR7 are competent closed back headphone with quick drivers, perhaps quicker than the HD600. They lack the refinement of a full-sized open back, but they’re not meant to compete with the HD600 or even the Ad900x for that matter. For what the MSR7 is, it makes for a fine choice and one that I recommend.
      Jeff Y and Light - Man like this.
    1. Light - Man
      Sounds to me like a good honest review! I was considering these but went for the Yamaha HPH-MT220 which I am happy with.
      Light - Man, Sep 26, 2015
  8. Suraki
    One of the best sealed headphone for this price
    Written by Suraki
    Published May 18, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - detailed and balanced sound, 3 cables, all-purpose
    Cons - just average soundstage, heavier
    Pros:
    - Extremely detailed sound (if you want more, multiplies the price!)
    - Balanced sound with slightly mid/mid-high forwarded
    - 3 cables by default
    - It feels well built
    - Almost everything playing well
     
    Cons:
    - Lack of air (not the best choice for big orchestral compositions or other complex musical structures)
    - Little heavy (especially as portable device)
     
     
    P.S.
    Without burn in (a day or more) the MSR7 is a little sibilant.
  9. acain
    Reference Sound At A Reasonable Price
    Written by acain
    Published May 12, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Lot's Of Cables, Highly Detailed, Balanced Sound
    Cons - Shallow Pads, Pads Hard To Put Back On, Right Angle Plug Sticks Out
    This review is for Audio-Techinca ATH-MSR7(black). Let me introduce myself: My name is Adam I have been into audio equipment since high school. Mostly into full size speakers and car speakers, over the past two years I have been getting into portable audio and headphones and IEMs. One of the main reasons for jumping into portable equipment was do to the convenience and my job. My work requires me to wear ear plugs for 8 hours a day. I mainly use IEMs, unless my boss isn't around. I will throw a pair of headphones on. I was given the opportunity to review one of Audio-Technica's ATH-MSR7. The MSR7 is part of their SonicPro line up, and comes with their Hi-Res Audio stamp. All of their products that receive the Hi-Res Audio standard, their transducer frequency performance to at least 40kHz. More and more companies are trending towards Hi-Res Audio, from DAPs, headphones, IEMs, and streaming music. Audio-Technica needs no introduction. I am pretty sure everyone has heard of them. My first experience was probably back in the early 80's, using my brothers AT turntable scratching records like I was some kind of DJ.  There are other reviews of these on the forum, but the more the better. Hearing is subjective, so what I hear could be the total opposite of what you hear. If you're looking for a review with crazy audiophile terms and graphs, move on. I consider myself as an average consume,r and my reviews are written towards the average consumer. I like to keep my writing style simple for the average Joe to understand them, or maybe it's because I am a horrible writer. I started my journey to Head-Fi by researching the web for headphone reviews. Just about all reviews for headphones and ear buds will bring you right to Head-Fi. I don't consider myself an audiophile. I am just an average guy that has a crap load of headphones and IEMs. I guess some people would consider that an audiophile, or just crazy. There are even people I know that tell me "You're soooo stupid. How many pairs of headphones can you wear at once?" But if you're reading this, I bet you own at least two pair.  I guess I could call myself a collector of ear warmers, or ear canal expanders. Call my kind of people what you want, because we are growing at an unstoppable pace. Pretty soon we audio equipment lovers will be the majority, and not the minority. Okay, that's enough of me rambling on about me, and what ever else that was.
     
    Before I get into the review, I would like to thank Frank at Audio-Technica for sending me out the MSR7's to review. I am not an employee, or am I being compensated for this review. This review is based on my honest opinion and all the pictures were taken by me.
     
    Here is a link to Audio-Technica website to locate dealers. The MSR7 come in three different colors, and can be purchased for $249.95 (see link below.)
    http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/9f55d2de9afd8f31/index.html
     
    _MG_0017.jpg _MG_0018.jpg
     
     
    SPECIFICATIONS 
     
    Driver:                                                 Closed Back Dynamic 45mm
    Output Sound Pressure Level:           100dB/mW
    Frequency Response:                         5 - 40,000 Hz
    Maximum Input Power:                       2,000mW
    Impedance:                                         35 ohms
    Weight:                                                290g
     
     
    _MG_0026.jpg
     
    PACKAGING
     
    I won't go to much into details about packaging since there are other reviews. The MSR7's come in a nice box, with a very nice glossy picture on the front and side. There is also a picture of their "True Motion" Hi-Res Driver technology. The back lays out how the housing is assembled. Opening the box, there is another box holding all the accessories. Lifting the accessory box out, you will find the MSR7 presented very nicely. They are laying in a molded piece of plastic, draped with black fabric, almost like a headphone coffin. Very nice eye candy and gets your brain stimulated. I don't know about you, but first impressions get me excited and turns me into a little kid on Christmas again. That's about it. AT does a good job with boxing to ensure they won't be damaged during transport. The box is very eye catching, and for sure would catch my attention sitting on a shelf in a store.
     
     
    ACCESSORIES  
     
    1 Carrying Pouch
    Cable For Smart phone With Mic   (1.2m)
    Cable (1.2)
    Cable (3.0)
     
    MSR7's are advertised as portable headphones and come with three cables. That's right - three of them. One with smart phone controls, one without, and another one without that has a very good length to it. The shorter cable is the perfect size for on the go - it's not too long or too short. I really liked the length of the cables. Most of the time I find them to be in-between too short or too long. The longer cable is great for home use. You could sit pretty far away from your source, or even walk around a little bit. They also provided a protein leather drawstring bag, embossed with their name and logo. It's a pretty nice bag, although I wouldn't want to throw it into a backpack. A hard shell case would have been more functional, especially branding them as portable headphones. Overall, I was pleased with the three cables. They didn't include a 1/4 adapter. I guess since it's a portable headphone, and who doesn't own a bunch of them?
     
    _MG_0034.jpg _MG_0040.jpg
     
     
    BUILD AND FIT 
     
    Let me start off by saying I have an abnormally large head sitting on my shoulders. At first look of the MSR7's, they look mostly made of plastic, but it actually has a lot more metal than I thought. The housings are made from an exclusive aluminum and magnesium mixture. AT states these materials reduce unwanted resonance, and to enhance the texture of the sound. The cups contain three vents, with two of them visible for the drivers to breathe. If you look at the picture on the back of the box, there is a lot going on inside these housings. The MSR7's ear pads and headband are both made of protein leather. Both sides can be adjusted up and down with grooves to lock in place for people like me with large heads. You can also rotate the cups to lay them down on a flat surface. They also pivot on a hinge to form to the side of your face. The headband is made of some kind of metal, and can be manipulated to the width of your head. The pads can be removed to replace them or to clean. Myself, I found them hard to get back on.
     
    _MG_0064.jpg _MG_0066.jpg _MG_0070.jpg
    _MG_0067.jpg _MG_0073.jpg _MG_0078.jpg
     
    Now to the cables. They are all made from the same material: a nice soft supple rubber with gold plated connectors. On the ends, there is a piece of rubber for strain relief. The part that plugs into the headphone is straight. The other end that plugs into the source or phone is a right angle plug. This is one of the biggest things that I didn't care for. The right angle plug sticks out pretty far for a portable headphone. Also the angled connector is two parts: the inside is partly plastic and rubber, with a plastic housing snapped over it. The first time I unplugged the right angle connector, I felt the housing lifting up, and you can actually feel it and see it. I don't think it will break. It just feels a little cheap. It does look nice, and is a very unique looking plug, but it doesn't feel right. The cable with the mic and remote is placed perfectly just below the chin line. It's a one button function for all controls, with a mic on the other side for taking calls.
     
    Overall, the MSR7's have a very eye appealing look to them, with their electric blue accents, and their shiny beveled edge on the cup. They will catch many people's eye with their modern appeal. I have read other reviews saying they were a little heavy. I actually thought they were kind of on the lighter side for over the ear headphones. Their clamping pressure is a little snug at first, but what headphones aren't? Personally, I would rather have them tighter than loose. Headphones will always loosen up over time. The fit was very comfortable for me even after extended use,. The headband is very soft and forms to your head, without a lot of pressure. I did find the ear cups to be a little shallow with my ear, almost touching the driver housing. The driver housing also sticks out slightly like a speed bump. But overall, they are very comfortable and very compact for outdoor use.
     
    _MG_0071.jpg _MG_0059.jpg _MG_0062.jpg
    _MG_0050.jpg _MG_0058.jpg
     
    SOUND
     
    I guess this is why you're reading this. So, how did they sound? They sound good, thanks for reading. Just kidding! The MSR7's are very easy to drive. I used all Hi-Res files when listening to them. Most of my listening was done on my AK100II and Fiio X1, stacked with the Fiio E07K. The MSR7's sounded GREAT from first note, even before racking up hours on them. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would have to be BUY these. Sorry, that's two words, isn't it? Frequencies extend in both directions of the spectrum nicely. Some reviews have stated that these are on the brighter side. I would have to disagree. The MSR7's higher frequencies for sure stand out, but I think it's more because it brings out the higher notes that you have been missing from other headphones that can't reproduce them like they should be.
     
    AT's MSR7's low end is very smooth and detailed. I wouldn't recommend them for a bass head. They are not lacking bass at all. Mid-bass is more present than sub-bass, both being very well controlled, and without taking over the rest of the music. I have read a couple of other reviews saying the mids sound recessed or veiled. I have to disagree with this also. The mids are not upfront or set back to my ears. They are balanced, sound lush and highly fluid, especially with live recordings. You will be able to hear every breath taken, to every mouth bump on the microphone from the performer. That's how detailed the mids are reproduced with the MSR7's. The higher frequencies are where these stand out with out, being bright, unless you crank the volume up. But what headphones don't sound bright when turned up loud, when you're getting the clarity and clearness like the MSR7's do. The upper frequencies separation of different instruments is the best I have heard in this price range. I honestly haven't heard cymbals sound so real from an other headphone in this price range, and others priced much higher. Imaging and separation are the MSR7's strong points, and for being a closed back design, that's really impressive.
     
    One thing is, the MSR7's are not forgiving with bad recordings. They will pick your music apart, and put out what you put in, which in my opinion is a good thing. I listened to mostly hip-hop and 90's music, and the MSR7's sounded good with every kind of music I listened to. They will sound their best with live music, and with real instrumentals. You could say they are a reference sounding headphone. Making phone calls worked as expected with great sound quality on both ends.
     
    _MG_0090.jpg _MG_0099.jpg _MG_0100.jpg
     
     
    FINAL THOUGHTS
     
    I would highly recommend these for anyone to purchase without a second thought. Their build quality is top notch with great looks. You will be hearing things you have been missing from other headphones. These are a great pair for critical listening. You can even use them for making phone calls. With everybody going portable, you might as well use a high quality sounding headphone for phone calls. At this price point, I can't think of any other headphone that will offer this kind of clarity. Some people might find $249 a lot for a headphone. Some think $40 is a lot. If you're in the same hobby as I am, you will think it's a bargain. Thanks for reading. I hope this helped any one interested in purchasing these.
      arvinm21, benny e d, Rish732 and 15 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. earfonia
      Great review with very nice pictures!
      Agree to this:
      "One thing is, the MSR7's are not forgiving with bad recordings. They will pick your music apart, and put out what you put in, which in my opinion is a good thing. "
      It is actually both audiphile and professional headphone in a cool and stylish design :wink:
      earfonia, May 14, 2015
    3. jmorgan127
      Side Question... What headphone stand is that?  I am in the market for one and like that,
      jmorgan127, May 15, 2015
    4. Beagle
      no bass
      Beagle, May 17, 2015
  10. AsnOtk
    Great headphones for $200 range
    Written by AsnOtk
    Published Mar 10, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful sleek design, beautiful treble, tight bass present but not too much
    Cons - Comfort requires getting used to, slightly "creeky" headband
    I purchased these headphones and burned them in for 1 week with the "sine wave" file available on the head-fi forum. This isn't a detailed review after years of use - simply a first impression after few weeks of use.
     
    MSR7 as a portable Headphone (general)
     
    I find these design amazing. These are pretty bulky, but they look amazing on one's head (at least mines). Although a big headphone for portable use may seem unsuitable, I feel that these "look" amazing for outside use - as it also fits in great when hung around your neck.
     
    However, although this headphones are advertised as "portable" headphones, I don't think the sound signature is the best for those use. The treble is really beautiful, crisp and clear, but it can go to the extent that it may be a bit too sharp for outdoors use as you tend to use louder volumes outside where there is background noise..However, the sound has softened up after burning it in, and I only burned them in for 2 days so perhaps it will soften up even more after more use. Also, there is slight noise isolation, however it is not the best. The surroundings won't be able to hear what you're listening to, but you can hear them. This makes it an "ok" isolating headphones, and I feel that they could've improved it considering the size and clamping force.
     
    MSR7 as an indoor headphone
     
    Sound in general
    I think that the MSR7 suits more as an indoor headphone. The treble is so crisp that it makes vocals stand out really clearly. I love listening to genres such as J-Pop because this headphone makes the bass present but not to the extent that it is in your face - and all the different instruments support the vocals extremely well, heightening the listening experience. Classical music are also extremely great because the soundstage in this headphone is decent for a closed headphones, and make every instrument clear and distinct. The mid-range centric frequency response are also really suitable for many classic music. - This is why I love Audio Technica, the sound signature is typical of Audio Technica, overall pretty neutral but having a really strong, clear and distinct mid-range.
     
    However, as I said in the portable section, this sound can be slightly sharp and sibilant. This can make bad recordings really stand out and to the extent that it can be irritating. Because this headphone has a wide frequency range, and every range is so clear, small "unwanted noise" can really stand out when listening using these headphones. If the recordings are recorded in a poor environment, and white noise, hissing noise, excess background noise, it is probable that they will be irritating to your ears.
     
    Although the treble are slightly forward, in general these are a pretty neutral headphones, so I feel that these will also be compatible for mixing use.
     
    Comfort
    These are not the most comfortable headphones out there. The clamping force is strong, headband isn't the softest out there either, and it is really bulky and heavy. There is a force applied onto your ears as well as on the top of your head, but both of these forces are extremely strong making them slightly uncomfortable after prolonged use. I like to take them off for around a minute for every 3-4 hours of use recently.
     
    Build quality
    I really feel that this headphones are a sturdy beast. It looks sturdy and I am not worried about it breaking at all. HOWEVER, the materials used in the inside of the headband makes it creek when stretched out. There is probably a slight stress in the material, which is clearly a design or production failure. I would have expected them to fix such an obvious "faultiness" in these headphones for this price-range. Although it can be irritating at the start, I will not be worried about it "breaking" or anything as long as you treat them decently.
     
    Cable
    The cable is really standard, so you will be able to plug in cables that came with your other headphones unless they are the "abnormal" ones. However, the cable that came with these headphones are also good. They are not coiled, because they are meant to be "portable", but they are thick enough to be durable but not thick enough to the extent that it can be annoying. The rubber coating is really thick and I'm sure that this can protect the wires inside as long as you treat them normally.

Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!