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AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7

Rating:
4.28571/5,
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Killcomic
    When you need to have ALL the details
    Written by Killcomic
    Published Mar 6, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great build quality, beautiful detailed sound, well controlled bass with no mids bleed in, detachable cable (3 included), easy to drive.
    Cons - Treble may be uncomfortable for some, shallow pads, headband could use more padding, may ruin all other headphones for you.
    There comes a time when one realises that sound quality is not about bass quantity, and you start to search for clear, undistorted sound.
    While my ATH-M40X does a damn good job of providing me with sonic bliss, they are uncomfortable. And by uncomfortable I mean something close to passing a large kidney stone.
    So out I went into the world and searched for a new soul mate. This is how I met the MSR7.

    Build quality:
    Sturdy and refined, the MSR7 is made up mostly of Aluminium and plastic decorated with tasteful colour highlights.
    It dismisses the brash, loud designs of headphones today for a more conservative, elegant look that may not turn heads immediately but it will sure impress those who notice. These are good looking headphones.

    Sound Quality:

    Bass: Present, fast and well controlled.
    Let me make this clear. These are not headphones for bassheads as the MSR7 values quality in place of quantity.
    Bass is well articulated and at no point does it overpower the rest of the music.
    Basslines are aptly and accurately reproduced, however there's none of the bass heavy thrills you get with bass heavy headphones such as Beats or the M50X. That's not to say that the bass is not satisfying. EDM does sound very good and you get very tight, controlled thumps, but there's not a lot of it.

    Mids: Lush, extended and somewhat elevated.
    These are Japanese headphones made primarily for the Japanese market, and indeed, listening to Japanese music, specially with female vocals is an experience to behold. The sense of presence is palpable. Very natural and balanced.
    Some people feel the mids are a touch unnatural. They might be right, but considering how these cans turn female vocals into a toe curling experience, I couldn't care less.

    Highs: Extremely detailed, bright and effortless.
    Highs are a point of contention. They are extremely detailed, even to the point that bad recordings and mistakes become evident, so are poorly compressed files.
    Highs have a lot of energy, but don't think they are aggressive. They rarely feel harsh or piercing, and if they do, it's usually the fault of the recording.
    However, many people are treble sensitive and it can be too much for them.
    I recommend you audition this headphone before you commit yourself.

    Soundstage and imaging:
    Soundstage is fine for a closed back headphone but it's the imaging that impresses me. Very accurate. It gives you a good sense from which direction the sound is coming from.
    Not only does this make the MSR7 good for music but also for gaming.

    One very important point to consider is that these phones are very sensitive to the source and source material. That is to say that low bit rate MP3s will not cut it. Artifacts will become apparent and your listening enjoyment will suffer. I recommend lossless formats.
    Also, your phone may not be the optimal source for these cans. My DAP gives me much better audio quality than my Samsung Galaxy S5.

    So to wrap it up, the MSR7 offer terrific value in terms of sound and build quality.
    As always, your value may vary. They are light on bass and the treble can be too much for some. However, if you're on the market for an accurate, well balanced and extremely detailed headphone, the MSR7 is a winner in my books.
    1. audiophilefan
      Nice review man! I love reviews that are this concise! I had the chance to audition these some time ago and I agree with your impressions. I believe they are tuned to be very accurate studio monitors, much like the M40x, but better. I find the same character with my Shure SRH440s. They are extremely detailed and I very much like how bass is presented with studio monitors. It doesn't become apparent on every song (bass), only when called upon so that's accurate. :)
      audiophilefan, Mar 8, 2018
      Killcomic likes this.
  6. 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.
  7. LonghornTech
    Buy these for sound and beauty, not for comfort or accessories. Great overall value at $250
    Written by LonghornTech
    Published Mar 6, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent refined sound (Details, Soundstage, Clarity), Beautiful matte and chrome finishes, 3 cables
    Cons - Forward treble and mid can be fatiguing, bass could be more powerful, creaking plastic, comfort should be better, no hard case
    I wrote this on Amazon, thought I'd share it with you all. Please, ask questions. 
     
    Audio Technica has crafted a pair of headphones that might make you second guess your pair of MX50s, or any other headphone in this price range.

    Here is a guide to the ATH-MSR7's examining what they do right and where they fall short.

    Build/Appearance
    Pros:
    + Very "public" friendly (GREAT looking set of headphones)
    + Matte finish on the aluminum housing and nice colored accents as well as chrome touches in several places
    + Brushed chrome slider

    + Outward bulk is as minimal as it can be given the size, no strange gaps, stay pretty flushed to your head
    + Good durability and flexibility
    + They may slide a bit, but they stay on your head if you're walking, turning head quickly.
    + Aluminum casing around the drivers and metal headband look and feel impressive
    + Balanced weight, no manufacturing oddities
    + Earphones twist (the correct way, unlike QC25 which fold outwards if you are wearing them around your neck -.-)
    + Large adjustment range to suit different sized heads
    + Tolerances are all tight and flush
    + Cable has tight fit into left headphone

    Cons:
    - Strange decision to put (LEFT/RIGHT) on outside of headphones. Not that unappealing though...

    - Lots of creaking plastic when expanding headphones (everything except driver housing and slider is plastic)
    - Not foldable
    - Squirmy cable with large jack housing
    - Weight (290g) - not such a big deal
    - Adjustment slider is a bit stiff

    Comfort
    Pros:
    +Earpads are large, fit all the way around your ear
    +Earpad depth is DECENT, some might look for a little more breathing room - ears are VERY close to drivers
    + No sharp parts or anything like that
    + Just enough padding on the headband which wraps around a good portion of it

    Cons:
    - Earpads are not memory foam - they are soft, but why not make them even softer?
    - OK the headband. It's not curved correctly. Out of the box it pressed down onto the top point of your head. Flex it a bit, break it in. NO ISSUES
    - OK the clamping pressure. Again, out of the box it is a bit irritating. Because the earpads are so large, the pressure from the bottom of the earpads was getting to the top of my jaw after about an hour. Again, flex it, break it in, open it, close it, open it. *lots of creaking* It will work out. STILL, pressure is above average for sure.
    - Again, 290 oz is a good amount of weight on someone's head.

    Sound Quality - I'm going to try to keep this simple and unbiased
    + DETAILS. Lots of details.
    + Impressive Clarity, no muffling of vocals
    + Soundstage is impressively wide for a closed back headphone - all instruments and vocals have their own "space"
    + Natural and relatively neutral.
    + Reaches high and low: Good bass, mid and treble presence
    + Tight, focused bass that can drop fairly low

    Cons:
    - NOT a relaxing headphone. Ears seem to work hard with these on, focusing in and out to deal with those upfront mids and trebles especially at higher volumes
    - Bass is not for bassheads or for anyone who is looking for dynamic bass response
    - Because it is closer to neutral than most consumer headphones, it won't sound as full, rather music sounds more separate and clear
    - Flirts with sibilance in the treble - what's this mean? S's sound a bit raspy and sharp

    Neutral - Personal Preference
    = Vocals and treble are very much upfront
    = Mids are emphasized
    = Bass is only present when it needs to be
    =Treble is not smoothed out (more sharp than soothing)

    Isolation/Sound Leakage - A short summary
    - Not great. Isolation average at best. It muffles outside noise, but nowhere nears cancels it. Sound leakage is decent. Better than the QC25's, about the same as UE6000. It's what you expect, not spectacularly worse or better.

    Accessories
    = 3 cables: short, longer, longest. The short one is for your average consumer, comes with inline remote that comes with mic and ability to play/pause, NO VOLUME. Works on Android/iOS
    - Fake leather...Vinyl? well. It's a bag. And that's a shame. It should be a hard or semi-hard carrying case at this price point. It's a nice bag, feels good - the headphone fits fine, but it's still just a bag.

    Comparisons
    Sony MDR-1A ($300):
    Boy these looks similar. Well, the Sony is more comfortable by a long shot w/ memory foam earpads, lighter, smaller footprint and no clamping force/headband issues. (it's incredibly comfortable vs. mildly comfortable). The Sony is plastic all the way around though it is arguably better designed. Why? The cable is designed so that it does not run up on your shoulder. The cable has this neat twisting input and most importantly the plastics don't creak. That being said: The MSR7 is arguably more impressive to hold and look at with its matte aluminum driver casings and sturdy build. Sound quality is entirely subjective. They may look the same, but they act differently. Sony is less neutral, much smoother and more relaxing. It lacks the details of the MSR7 and the vocals are a lot more subdued. The bass is very present, and fairly well behaved. The treble and midrange are definitely not as upfront.
    Recommendation: Rap, Metal, R&B, Hard Rock listeners go with the Sony's. Classical, Acoustic, Alternative, Indie: Go with MSR7

    Bose QC25 ($300):
    Just to shorten this, we'll say that the QC25 is about as comfortable as the MDR-1A, they remind me a lot of each other (w/o having had both at the same time). All plastic again. Very light, memory foam, etc. Comes with semi-hard carrying case. Noise cancelling as you well know is very impressive (INCREDIBLE on a plane, not as good with ind. voices). The MSR7 has better clarity, better soundstage, more present mid range and treble. The QC25's are pretty well balanced, with a decent bass (close to MSR7, not as refined) and good mid and treble range, They are still much more relaxing a listen. They are a jack of all trades but a master of one.
    Recommendation: If you plan to wear your headphones in public a lot (loud places), get the QC25, no question. Otherwise, MSR7 sound is more detailed.

    Audio Technica MX50 (~$160 at time of review):
    Here we go. The younger brother (kinda). This one is tough. Well they are similar in many ways. The MSR7 has slightly improved earpads (softer). Clamping force is a little stronger on MSR7. Otherwise, comfort is pretty similar. Build is similar, except you have aluminum instead of plastic, frankly the MSR7 look a lot more "grown up." Weight is similar. The MX50's fold up (That's nice.) MX50 cord is a little better (who cares at this point?). OK, sound: MX50 has more bass, MSR7 has a little more detail and better soundstage. While the MSR7 bass is a little more refined (less boomy) the MX50 bass gives a much more dynamic, better overall impression. MX50 mids and treble not as forward as MSR7, so more relaxing listen.

    Logitech UE6000 (Discontinued, available for $115)
    UE6000, again, is more comfortable. Less so than the Sony's and Bose headphones, but the lighter weight body makes the difference here. Clamping force is also a relief. Overall, the sound is worse than the MSR7. It's not as detailed and much less clear. The bass is just a tad bit more pronounced, but given the lack of clarity, well, it's not worth that loss. Build quality is good...it's plastic again...fabric carrying case (not a bag), comes with headphone slitter which is nice. I should say came with it, these are discontinued.

    Others to recommend in similar category:
    Sennheiser Momentum 1 ($188 at time of review) and Momentum 2 ($350) and Wireless ($500)
    Bowers and Wilkins P5 II ($300) and P7 ($400)
    Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay H6 ($400)
    NAD VISO HP50 ($300)
    Denon AH-D600 (~$300)
    V-Moda M100 ($300)
    and many more...

    Summary: Beautiful design and nice matte black aluminum finish marred by some creaky plastics. The comfort level is a notch below "good" because of the weight (290g), clamping force, and headband pressure. Accessories are OK, 3 cables of varying length and just a cloth bag. Sound quality is excellent, though not relaxing. The mids and treble are very forward and border on fatiguing, especially at higher volumes. That being said, details are excellent, soundstage is impressive, bass does a good job, and nothing sounds unnatural. Isolation and sound leakage are nothing special.

    No point to recommend these to you, because I do not know who "you" are. Facts are facts and preferences are preferences. But these are good headphones. They do a lot of things well. I hope if you read this, you know which direction to go in.

    Here are some other things:
    ***These headphones were tested on a Dell XPS 13 (2014) and LG G3. No amp. Various sources (Google Music, Soundcloud, Youtube, "Hi-Res" audio, Surround sound tests, bass tests, etc.)

    Please feel free to comment and ask questions. I really do hope this helped. If it did, please give me some credit for this exhausting review.

    *EDIT: I will add compatibility with glasses wearing folks in the future...and whatever anyone else would like.

    Longhorntech
      nimnz and JuSOCOM like this.
    1. Jeff Y
      I had both this and the NAD Viso HP50 and gave this one to my friend as  a birthday present. HP50 is the same price but overall I think it gets rid of all the cons you have there plus the soundstage is bigger.
      Jeff Y, Mar 7, 2015
  8. twister6
    High Resolution audio in Style!!!
    Written by twister6
    Published Feb 15, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - smooth reference sound, excellent build and beautiful design, 3 sets of replacement cables
    Cons - no hardshell case, some microphonics, clamping force
    Before I start my review, I would like to Thank Audio-Technica US for proving me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.
     
    Based on the amount and the content of headphone reviews I posted in the last few years it's not hard to guess that I'm not a big fan of full size headphones.  A lot of it has to do with a fact that I prefer a portable music setup where I find full size headphones to be too bulky even if they sound good or the other way around - headphones looking cool to wear outdoors while having a subpar sound quality.  As a result, my IEMs (ATH-IM03 and ATH-CKR10) get more outdoor mileage in comparison to full size (ATH-M50x) which usually spends more time at home.  If you catch my drift you see that I'm a big fan of Audio-Technica headphones, so when I heard about ATH-MSR7 announcement I couldn't wait to test these and to see if they're going to restore my faith in portable use of full size headphones.  Here is what I found.
     
    Arrived in a rather large box, and just like with most of the other products from AT, you have to take your time with a tour of an exterior packaging to appreciate what awaits you inside.  I'm not just talking about the high res glossy image of MSR7 in gunmetal/brown tone of the model I received or a detailed pictorial description of 3 detachable cables as well as complete Specification list down to microphone spec.  I'm talking about a very detailed walk-though of their 45mm "True Motion" Hi-res Audio driver design down to every single component and a complete description of Dual-layer air-control venting technology inside of earcup.  This goes beyond of showing a high level of pride AT has for their product, they actually want you to understand how it works - something any headphone enthusiast will appreciate greatly.  Going through details of their exclusive "True Motion" driver design with a highly responsive diaphragm and lightweight voice coil, special dual acoustic resistors for a more balanced audio reproduction, and their dual layer metal construction with a triple-venting acoustic airflow design really opens up a "black box" to make you appreciate more how much work went into this high resolution pair of headphones.
     
    Out of the packaging sleeve, when you open black carton box and remove inner accessories box (with cables and storage pouch), you get a rather dramatic presentation of MSR7 sitting inside of the form-fitted plastic mold covered with a loose bunched up layer of synthetic material.  It definitely has a WOW! factor, especially a gunmetal finish of earcup details mixed with a brown pleather earpads and headband.  Another available finish is a more traditional black/black and also a limited edition red, but from what I understand AT US will only carry Black and Gunmetal versions.  I was very pleased with looks of MSR7 model I received for review, especially since this is a first time I had full size headphones with other than "black" finish.
     
    Unboxing pictures.
     
    ath-msr7-01_zpsiq4unysz.jpg
     
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    As I mentioned already, accessories include 3 sets of detachable cables and a storage draw string pouch.  Even though it has a quality nylon on outside with a soft inner layer to protect headphones from scratches, I have to admit of being a bit disappointed about lack of hard shell case.  As a spoiler alert, M70x comes with a great hardshell zipper case which I would have love to see with MSR7, but unfortunately that case is not compatible with MSR7 due to a thinner headband design of M70x.  Obviously it's not a showstopper since you can probably find an aftermarket case to fit MSR7, maybe even something for a flat storage since earcups rotate 90 degrees, but still it would have been cool to see the original case design from Audio-Technica similar to M70x model. 
     
    With cables, you get a pleasant surprise of a standard 3.5mm connector on each end, no need for a proprietary lock mechanism with 2.5mm plug going into earcup.  You get 3m straight audio cable with straight connectors on each side, 1.2m audio cable with right angled connector toward audio source, and 1.2m cable with inline remote/mic and right angled connector toward audio source.  All 3 cables have a matching brown rubbery outer shielding (sturdy build, but rather a cheap feeling) which is flexible and not too thick or too thin, and a nice strain relief where both 1.2m versions have a matching plastic gunmetal connector housing.  There is also a noticeable microphonics when cable rubs against your cloth.  Smartphone cable with remote was cleverly designed with a single universal multifunction button for Play/Pause/Call (single click) and multi-click for skip next/prev - all of which should work with either Android or iOS phones.  Mic is on the opposite side of that remote with a rather cool small mesh screen somewhat resembling earcup air-vents, and with a decent sensitivity performance to pick up your voice.
     
    Accessory pictures.
     
    ath-msr7-08_zpsjndzzi7e.jpg
     
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    ath-msr7-10_zpsuigpd7tj.jpg
     
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    When it comes to the actual design, MSR7 looks and feels stunning!  Build quality is really good, it feels very solid with no creaks whatsoever.  It has a very tasteful combination of metal and thick plastic materials where sometime it's hard to distinguish until you touch different parts to feel the cold of aluminum/magnesium alloy used on the back of earcups or bi-color plastic rim on the outer  earcup edges, as well as plastic used in y-fork and headband joints.  I really like the red accent in the design which creates an illusion of red led glow - very cool effect!  A bit surprised they chose to have Left/Right label spelled out above y-fork joint instead of showcasing "MSR7" which is hidden inside.  Headband has a stainless steel metal spring and a nice click-action height adjustment.  The padding is rather thick with plenty of foam on inner part to rest comfortably on top of your head.  Unfortunately, clamping force out of the box was pretty strong, and you will need at least a few days to loosen it up.  I kept it on a soccer ball and after 3 days noticed an improvement.  Earpads are plush and soft with a nice memory foam and a decent oval opening, very comfortable for my average size ears.  Combination of soft earpads and a decent clamping force contributes to a good sound isolation with a passive noise filtering, though it's not completely dead silent - thanks to a noticeably large air-vent at the bottom back of earcup cover.
     
    Design detail pictures.
     
    ath-msr7-15_zpsaigyl6if.jpg
     
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    ath-msr7-17_zpsiuosi8v5.jpg
     
    ath-msr7-18_zpskscjvcpo.jpg
     
    ath-msr7-19_zpso9rip6jw.jpg
     
    ath-msr7-20_zpsjeet5zxk.jpg
     
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    So the big question is if MSR7 sound quality lives up to its looks?  And the answer is definitely YES!!!  After a proper 50-60hrs of burn in and using Cayin N6 as a source, listening to MSR7 was like a deja vu of my not so distant review of ATH-CKR9 and CKR10.  Believe it or not, but MSR7 sound signature reminded me a lot of combination with lows/mids from CKR9 and upper mids/treble from CKR10.  Overall sound has a well balanced signature with a smooth reference quality.  I want to be clear that I didn't find it to be bright analytical, but rather a smooth high resolution reference with a good retrieval of details.
     
    Starting with lows, it extends down to sub-bass with a modest quantity which is still noticeable but not on the same level as M50x.  I do hear a nice sub-bass rumble with a focus to support a fast mid-bass punch rather than to add weight to low end.  Bass is well controlled with a clear separation from mids.  Mids do have a nice full body, and feel not too warm or too bright but still very clear and detailed.  Vocals, either male or female, sound organic and smooth, a typical Audio-Technica "house" sound.  Treble has a great extension, also very detailed, bright, and crisp, and no signs of sibilance.  I do have to add that my N6 settled in after many hours of playback, and I consider it to be a rather neutral/balanced source, thus sound analysis is based on that reference.  For a smoother and more organic sound you probably better off with a neutral or warmer source, where using brighter sources (like AP100) made upper mids and lower treble sound a bit harsh.
     
    When it comes to soundstage, I found it to be above average in width/depth.  MSR7 has a rather good layering and separation of instruments/vocals that doesn't feel congested, and definitely a good positioning/imaging.  It wasn't exactly on 3D level, but still convincing to my ears.  Also, as you can guess, these headphones are designed for a portable use, and I had no issue driving it directly from my Note 4 or laptop, and didn't require amp driving it from my DAP either.  Can it benefit from amping?  Perhaps if you want to add some more character to a sound, but I enjoyed it as is.  As a matter of fact, MSR7 is among a few headphones I can listen to straight from my laptop without USB DAC and still find them quite forgiving even with subpar low res recording.  I guess that goes along with my earlier comment about "warmer source" benefit which is what I find my laptop to be.
     
    Considering huge popularity of ATH-M50/-M50x, I'm sure a lot of people will have a question how these models compare.  Even so M50x is labeled for monitor/studio use, it has a fun signature with balanced warm sound and enhanced bass, especially sub-bass which is higher in quantity in comparison to MSR7.  Also, M50x sounds warmer and a little thicker in mids and with less retrieval of details in comparison to MSR7.  Furthermore, M50x doesn't have the same level of treble extension as MSR7.  In my opinion, these two headphones target a different audience where if you want more bass and planning to use headphones for an extended period of listening - M50x will provide that with its more comfortable fitment and warmer and smoother sound sig.  Otherwise, to step outside in a style while enjoying a great detailed reference quality sound - MSR7 is the way to go!
     
    Overall, I would seriously consider MSR7 to be my new favorite pair of full size headphones with a design, a style, and a sound quality which hits a sweet spot in my book.  For a very long time M50x was my all around pair of headphones for everyday use with my laptop, but it was lacking a level of details I needed for a more critical listening.  For that I used to switch to HP150, which also required USB DAC/amp, and perhaps moving forward its place will be taken by M70x (more in the upcoming review).  MSR7 is bridging a gap between my "fun" and my "critical" listening needs, allowing me to use the same pair of headphones for any music style I'm in mood for, and to enjoy it if I'm either doing a casual listening or watching a movie or working on some music production.  Also, they are not too bulky to wear outside.  If you take into consideration an excellent sound quality, a great solid build, a very bold luxurious design, and a convenience of portable use with fold-flat earcups and detachable cable (including smartphone control) - MSR7 is one heck of a value!  Definitely gets my high recommendation mark!
     
    A happy AT family: M50x, MSR7, and M70x
     
    ath-msr7-26_zps7y6lgfvi.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. reddog
      Thanks for the great review.
      reddog, Feb 20, 2015
    3. technobear
      I've just bought a pair of these after hearing them at the Bristol Show. I too am a long time M50 user (as my travelling 'phone with a laptop and an Arcam rPAC) and I agree with every word of this review. I was also looking for a bit more resolution and top end air than the M50 can provide. The MSR7 is a very nicely balanced headphone that is fun to listen to and at the same time satisfying to listen to. I find them just as comfortable as the M50 - I forget I've got them on. Rainman26 asked about leakage. There is none. Mine are breaking in face down on a dining chair 10 feet away and I can't hear them at all. Isolation is good too.
      technobear, Feb 22, 2015
    4. Nekrosov
      Great review!
       
      Can you compare HP150 to MSR7, please?
      Nekrosov, Jul 29, 2015
  9. earfonia
    Gorgeous design with great sound!
    Written by earfonia
    Published Dec 22, 2014
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very nice design, modern and elegant with premium feel. Sounds great with matching amplifier.
    Cons - Sound signature is sensitive to pairing with different amplifier or player. Careful pairing to get matching amplifier or player is recommended.
    Last October 2014, Audio Technica Singapore informed me about their plan for their new products launch. When we met, i had the chance to test the new ATH-MSR7. Connected it to my iBasso DX90, I was immediately impressed with it. Sounds good looks good. Probably one of the best looking AT headphone from modern design perspective, MSR7 is simply gorgeous and elegant. The housing is made of a mix of aluminum and magnesium, and some plastic parts. Build quality is excellent with premium feel. MSR7 is available in 3 colors, Black, Gunmetal, and Red for the MSR7LTD. The MSR7LTD with red colour and gold accent must be Tony Stark favorite headphone. 5 stars for the design.
     
    http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/9f55d2de9afd8f31/index.html
    http://www.audio-technica.com.sg/node/799
     
    Discussion thread:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/738758/new-audio-technica-ath-msr7-and-ath-msr7ltd


     
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    Curious how's MSR7 performs, I borrowed it from AT Singapore for review, together with the ATH-M50LE & ATH-M50x for comparison.  
    Our perception of what we consider as natural tonal balance, tonal balance that we perceived as having balance composition across the audible spectrum of frequency, might be varied one to another. Beside influenced by personal preferences, the way we perceive tonal balance of a pair of headphones also depend a lot on the recordings we use for evaluation. So, in my opinion, 'perceived natural tonal balance' is not something exact like measured frequency response, but to be understood with some degree of variation in mind. Comparing the 3 models, MSR7, M50x, and M50LE, though having different sound signature, their tonality is more or less still in the range of relatively balanced tonal balance. Each has slight different emphasize on certain frequency regions creating different sonic characters. I would say, sound quality wise they are about in the same league. Truly great performer headphones from Audio Technica. They also have similar size. Comparing the three, it is not about which one is a better headphones, but which one matches better with ones personal preference and their system. Since many might be familiar with M50LE and M50x sound signatures, it would be easier to describe MSR7 sound signature, using the older models as comparison. Design wise, MSR7 is distinctively different (subjectively nicer) from the professional look of M50LE and M50x. But sound signature wise, they are complementing each other to accommodate various individual preferences.
     
    03P1240958.jpg
     
    04P1240950.jpg  

     
    Pros:
    Very nice design, modern and elegant with premium feel.
    Metal aluminum/magnesium mix housing, for lightweight and rigid housing structure.
    Very reasonably priced for the sound quality and build. Excellent value!
     
    Cons:
    Sound signature is sensitive to pairing with different amplifier or player. Careful pairing to get matching amplifier or player is recommended. May sounds analytical with moderate level of sibilant when paired with analytical sounding amplifier. Warm sounding amplifier, such as tube amplifier, is highly recommended for MSR7.  
    Suggestions For Improvement:
    To adopt 4 pins / poles connector at the headphone end to separate ground wire for the left and right drivers.
    Slightly deeper and more spacious ear pad for larger ears.
     
     
     
    Sound Signature
     
    As good as it looks, MSR7 doesn't dissapoint. It sounds relatively balanced with some emphasize on clarity. Wide frequency coverage, good low bass and upper treble extension, with mild emphasize around the upper mid area (around 3-4 dB @ 3 kHz). It leans more towards clarity, and may close to borderline of analytical sounding when paired with analytical sounding amplifier. With some extra clarity, MSR7 loves tube amps and other smooth and warm sounding source such as my Centrance DACport. Also tested, that MSR7 pairs wonderfully with Audio Technica AT-HA22TUBE amplifier. With matching amp, MSR7 sounds balanced and natural, and I don't consider it analytical. But clearly not for those looking for warm and intimate sounding headphone.
     
    I learned that MSR7 sound signature may varies greatly with different amplifiers and players. This is one factor that MSR7 is quite different from M50LE and M50x, that MSR7 is more sensitive to pairing, while M50LE and M50x are relatively more amplifier friendly. During the review, the pairing factor is significant enough to make me dislike it, or like it. For example, I don't like MSR7 to be driven directly from my ifi iDSD Micro headphone output, rather analytical, edgy, and the upper mid hump sounds too obvious. Both are excellent products, but they simply don't match. When MSR7 is driven by DACport or AT-HA22TUBE, MSR7 sounds wonderful & pleasing, music to my ears. So don't give up too quickly when you try MSR7 and it doesn't sound very good, probably it hasn't met the right partner. Do consider to try it with warmer sounding amp or player. Choosing the right amp or player for MSR7 should be seriously taken into consideration when testing or buying MSR7. Impression in this review is based on the setups that sound good to me, mostly with my DACport and Yulong DA8. My Fiio E12DIY with AD8599 Op-Amp + LME49600 buffer also matches MSR7 sound signature quite well. In the recent Audio Technica product launch event in Singapore, the setup of AT-HA90USB (DAC) > AT-HA22TUBE (Amp) > MSR7, really amazed me. 
     
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    With various amplifiers, players, and DACs I've tried, MSR7 sound quality would be ranging from 3.5 to 4.5 stars. 4.5 stars is for setups with very well matching amplifier or DAC, like the AT-HA22TUBE and Centrance DACport. I strongly suggest for MSR7 user to try AT-HA22TUBE. From all the setups I tried, MSR7 sounds best with AT-HA22TUBE, they seems to be designed to compliment each other. The pair sounds wonderfully musical! MSR7 bass sounds so good and full bodied, stronger than when paired with other system. Vocal sounds fuller and smoother with nice clarity. ATH-MSR7 + AT-HA22TUBE simply sounds a few times their price. When you plan to buy MSR7, spare some budget to buy AT-HA22TUBE as well. Trust me, it's worth it. [​IMG]
     
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    MSR7 is relatively easy to drive, but the 35 ohms needs a little more voltage than average IEMs, and does benefit and scales well with proper amping. Though generally smartphones will be able to produce enough loudness, but they won't be able to show the true potential of MSR7.  
    When comparing with the older model, the well known M50LE, MSR7 has around 3 dB less bass, and 3 dB more upper mid than M50LE. While M50x has slightly more V shape tonality, with slightly more bass and sparkling treble than M50LE. The slightly less bass and higher upper mid on MSR7 make it more forward sounding with higher perceived clarity than M50LE. Acoustic guitar recordings for example, sounds fantastic on MSR7, as well as other instrumental recordings.  
    Using EQ (Reaper ReaEQ) to adjust the tonality of the MSR7 to make it closer to M50LE tonality, here is what I got:  
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    Please note, the above EQ doesn't make the MSR7 sounds like M50LE, only to bring the tonal balance of MSR7 closer to M50LE. The difference is only around 3 dB on some frequency regions, not much.  
     
    Some simplified comparisons between the 3 models:  
    Perceived linear tonal balance, more linear to less linear:
    M50LE
    MSR7, slightly more upper mid and less bass.
    M50x, slightly more V shape tonality, with more bass and sparkling treble.  
    Perceived clarity, higher to lesser:
    MSR7
    M50x
    M50LE  
    Bass volume, more to less:
    M50x
    M50LE
    MSR7  
    Presentation, Forward to Laidback:
    MSR7
    M50x
    M50LE  
     
    Although from the comparison above, some might concern that MSR7 doesn't have enough bass, MSR7 is definitely not bass anemic. But also clearly not for basshead. My personal preference for bass level is closer to M50LE, but I don't consider the MSR7 bass is lacking either. 3 dB different is not much. Especially with AT-HA22TUBE, bass sounds full bodied and musically engaging. MSR7 bass level is good and natural, with good detail, texture, and rich low bass extension, but MSR7 tonality is rather emphasized more on clarity than bass.  
    Midrange sounds natural, and as mentioned above, rather forward sounding. Those who prefer Audio Technica forward vocal might like MSR7 vocal, while those who prefer laidback vocal will most likely prefer the M50LE vocal.  
    The mild hump on the upper mid brings up a little the lower treble region as well. Pretty good for instrumental, but the lower treble emphasize makes MSR7 sounds a tad less airy than M50LE and M50x, especially on classical orchestra.  
    Level of detail, dynamic, and imaging, on those 3 models are pretty close, and about in the same league. Very good level of detail, engaging dynamic, with reasonably spacious imaging for closed dynamic headphones. Noise isolation is excellent, most probably due to firm headband, good quality ear pad, and rigid metal housing.  
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    Design and Comfort  
    Similar to M50LE and M50x, MSR7 can be folded and stored flat. This is a very useful feature, especially for traveling, to make it less bulky and takes less space in a bag.  
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    The headband clamping force / pressure is quite firm, more or less similar than M50LE and M50x. The MSR7 stays firm on head with very good noise isolation. The headband pressure level doesn't cause discomfort to me even after long period of wearing. But some people, especially ladies, might prefer lighter pressure headband. So for those sensitive with headband pressure, be sure to try it before buying. Please take note, similar with other closed headphones, proper fit is crucial for optimum bass response. Leaks by improper fit will reduce bass level.  
    Ear pad size is quite similar to M50LE and M50x, but slightly shallower. It mildly touches my pinna (outer part of the ear) when I wear it. I do prefer larger and deeper pad.  
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    The drivers are angled toward the ears, again, similar to M50LE and M50x.  
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    Cable
    MSR7 cable is detachable. It uses common stereo 3.5 mm stereo mini plug for connection at the headphone's side. But not any cable with 3.5 mm stereo mini plug can be used, it requires stereo mini plug with beveled step, for proper insertion. Stereo mini plug without beveled step cannot be properly inserted. I tried Oyaide HPC35 cable that I use for my Philips Fidelio X1, with MSR7. While Oyaide HPC35 matches really well with Fidelio X1, the slightly bright character of the cable doesn't match well with MSR7, a bit too much emphasize on clarity. For MSR7, I would prefer to use a more organic sounding cable rather than the analytical one.  
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    19P1240644.jpg With Oyaide HPC35 cable.
     
     
    The MSR7 unit I tried is a demo sample, without the box and complete accessories. According to Audio Technica website, 3 cables are provided, one with microphone for smartphones use.  
    I actually prefer a separate ground wire for each left and right driver. Stereo 3.5 mm plug for connection to the headphone side doesn't separate the ground wire for the left and right drivers. Single shared ground wire for both drivers causes high level of crosstalk. I did some test and recabling for my ATH-M50 a while ago, to show that it is important to separate the ground wire for each driver, to reduce the level of crosstalk:
    http://www.head-fi.org/t/484744/crosstalk-on-audio-technica-m50#post_6601078  
    I believe that Audio Technica implemented 3.5 mm plug on the headphone side of MSR7 is simply for practical purpose. Easy for user to get replacement cable when the original cable is faulty. But single shared ground connection is not the best implementation for maximum sonic performance. 4 poles / pins connector that separate the ground wire for each driver is the better approach. Hopefully in the future Audio Technica will adopt 4 pins / poles connector for the headphone end, to separate the ground wire for each driver.  
     
     
    Summary
    ATH-MSR7 is a great performer from Audio Technica, with natural sound signature that inherited the clarity from Audio Technica house sound. Gorgeous design that simply looks good and sounds good. Kudos Audio Technica!  
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    Features and Specification:  
    45mm ‘True Motion’ Hi-Res audio driver
    Unique Dual-layer Air-control technology controls the air stream in the housings
    Triple-venting acoustic airflow design
    Layered metal structure to reduce unwanted resonance
    Soft memory foam earpads for long-term listening comfort
    Available in black (BK), gun metal (GM) and limited edition red (LTD)
     
    Driver Diameter: 45mm
    Maximum Input Power: 2000 mW
    Frequency Response: 5 ~ 40,000 Hz
    Sensitivity: 100 dB 
    Impedance: 35 ohms
    Weight: 290g
    Connector: 3.5 mm gold-plated stereo mini plug
    Cable: 1.2 m, 3.0m and 1.2m with mic for smartphones
    Accessories Included: Pouch
     
     
    Equipment used in this review:
     
    Audio Technica AT-HA22TUBE: Very good sounding tube amplifier. Warm yet detailed.
    Audio Technica AT-HA90USB: Mini desktop DAC with MUSES Op-Amp.
    Audioquest Dragonfly v1.0c: DAC + HeadAmp combo. Marvelous little DAC. Transparent, airy, and powerful. Slightly lean to analytical sounding.
    Centrance DACport: DAC + HeadAmp combo. Very organic and musical sounding. very smooth sounding treble, pretty close to AD8599. Always match very well with bright or analytical sounding earphones & headphones.
    Fiio E12DIY with AD8599 Op-Amp + LME49600 buffer: Portable headphone amplifier. One of my favorite portable headphone amplifier. Quiet, black background, clean and powerful sounding. AD8599 sounds smooth with good depth and spacious imaging, slightly dark, very smooth treble with very good and powerful bass. AD8599 is one of my favorite Op-Amp.
    iBasso DX90: Portable player. Natural sounding, not warm and not analytical. Good dynamic, detail and resolution.
    Yulong Sabre DA8: DAC + HeadAmp combo. My reference DAC beside my Mytek Stereo 192-DSD. One of the best DAC + HeadAmp combo I've ever heard. Very spacious, detailed, smooth, full bodied, realistic dynamic, and very musical.
    Samsung Galaxy S4
     
     
    Some recordings used in this review:
     
    Albums2014-121000px.jpg  
     
     

    Disclaimer: I'm not working for, or affiliated with Audio Technica.
     
     
     
    2015-10-08 Update:
    After using MSR7LTD for a longer period, I increase the rating from 4 stars to 4.5 stars.
    ATH-MSR7/LTD is really a great headphone, superb detail and resolution with good dynamic. Very transparent and revealing. Excellent for Pro Audio monitoring. Despite the rather bright tonality and strong headband clamping force, this model is actually an excellent headphone for Pro Audio, and those who like detail and transparency. It grows on me as I realizing, more of its potential, therefore I think it is deserve a better rating.



      Bas72, w357, getclikinagas and 9 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. earfonia
      @Vatikus I have no idea. Never tried it.
       
      @tlotlo22 What tube amp does is usually adding the tonal density around the mid and bass, without actually adding the bass loudness. We hear like the bass and mids are more intense and full bodied. Tube amp also generally smoothen the treble. So overall impression might sound like more bass, but actually not. The taming of treble is the more important aspect of tube amp for MSR7.
      Sorry, I cannot help you with the 2nd question. 3rd question, though I haven't pair them directly, but I think HA22TUBE will perform well with AD1000X.
       
      @Pokemonn Welcome to the club!
      earfonia, May 14, 2015
    3. blackmondy
      This cables that comes with it are abysmal. I got someone to make me a good cable and the sound intsantly became much more airy.
      blackmondy, Jun 10, 2015
    4. chekock1
      Hi, Can somebody answer me a question, How is the durability of these headphones?
      chekock1, Oct 3, 2015
  10. 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