Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7b

General Information

Link to manufacturer's product page.


These headphones are equipped with 45 mm True Motion Drivers with diamond-like carbon coated diaphragms to deliver distortion-free audio reproduction with extended frequency response. The headphones also feature Multi-layer Air Damping Technology that reduces unwanted vibration and controls the airflow for superior audio clarity. Completing the package are two detachable Y-type cables with A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors. One cable is equipped with a standard 3.5 mm 3-pole stereo mini-plug, and the other has a 4.4 mm 5-pole balanced mini-plug, allowing you to use the MSR7b headphones with the latest high-spec audio players.

The headphones, available in black (ATH-MSR7bBK) and gunmetal (ATH-MSR7bGM), are outfitted with memory foam earpads to ensure lasting comfort even during the longest listening sessions.

Type Dynamic
Driver Diameter 45 mm
Frequency Response 5-50,000 Hz
Sensitivity 101 dB/mW
Impedance 36 ohms
Cable Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable (3.5 mm 3-pole stereo mini-plug to A2DC); detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable (4.4 mm 5-pole balanced mini-plug to A2DC)
Accessories Included Carrying pouch

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very clean sound, can handle high SPL without distorsion, sounds very good without EQ
Cons: Plasticky cheap feeling, creaks every time you put them on your head, cable is microphonic
First of all, it is to be mentioned I am not familiar with the old MSR7, so I cannot do a comparison with that.

I bought this pair of headphones for the very good reviews in terms of reference sound signature and for the balanced cable (it is the first one I got with balanced).

The first feeling that I got was the headphones do require quite a bit more power than the very easy to drive ones (like the SONY MDR1-AM2).
While it's not what I would call hard to drive, it's a pair where the balanced cable does make sense to be there, unlike the above mentioned SONYs on which I never used the balanced.
So if you have a DAC/amp with not so much output power but a balanced output, this would be the perfect scenario to use it.

Ok, so let's summarize the cons: what I do not like about the MSR7b is the cheap plasticky feel and the fact they creak every time you put them on your head.
I mean for the price, I expect more in terms of quality: the much cheaper Senheiser HD 559 is of much better build quality for example.
Then it's the cables and the cups themselves: every touch on the cable in heard inside the cups if there is no sound or you are listening to quiet passages.
I think it's both the cable that is microphonic and how the connectors are fixed into the cups (without any rubber) that cause this issue.
So replacing the cable with a better one is unlikely to solve the problem completely.

In terms of comfort, I find them very comfortable: light, cups are almost large enough to cover the enire ear, but just barely.
While I can listen to the MSR7b for hours without disconfort, the Senheiser HD5xx/6xx are clearly much better at this aspect.
Then it's the leather cushions: my ears do get hot when the ambient temperature is higher.
Again, at this aspect I prefer the velour pads in the Senheisers or Beyedynamics (which will also last a lot longer).
These leather items will degrade and while the pads are available, I have not seen the headband for sale.

I mention all of these aspects, as despite the sound is indeed very good, those minuses do matter a lot for me,
especially the creaking and relatively small cups for my ear (the lobe of my ear does slightly touch the cushion).
So my 4.5 stars rating is only because of the very good sound quality, as this clearly outweighs the cons.

Getting to the sound quality itself, this is one of the few headphones I feel sounds good and relatively flat without doing any EQ on it.
I especially like the bass on it, it feels very natural, with a lot of body and impact and quite the right amount.
I do listen to EDM and similar genres and do like how the MSR7b reproduces the bass on these genres,
despite some might want a bit more, especially in the sub-bass region.
They do sound a bit bright, especially at higher volumes, but that's pretty much the only region where I would EQ them a bit (lower treble region).

It's one of the few headphones I own where applying some pre-made EQ in Equalizer APO (from referenceaudioanalyzer) does produce
a worse result than no EQ, especially on the bass. This EQ has a -6.1dB on 139Hz, which makes the bass sound dull.
If I move that to 0dB, or even a bit above, the EQ suddenly becomes better than without EQ.

All in all, I do love these headphones and use them on a regular basis.
What I like the most is the very clean and crisp sound, a very good frequency response even without EQ (can be better with as mentioned above)
and the fact they can handle pretty high SPL without distorting (I like listening loud).
For the price (170euros at local retailer when writing), I think it's a pair definetely worth getting, despite the cons.
Last edited:
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I use a Lotoo Paw Gold Touch to power these balanced. It's 500mw/32ohms. They sound great on this source.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: High Resolution, High Detail, Source Revealing, Lightweight, Very good comfort
Cons: Bass texture a hair too smooth and rounded, would prefer harder edges and slam
I have kept this little closed gem from audio-tehnica around for many years. The MSR7B is a competent headphone in all aspects.

The timbre is unique to me.

It is as if you took the typical audio-technica female vocal forward and slightly bright soundsignature - remove any hint of grain - and then dipped it in a bucket of Fostex/Denon Biocellulose warmth. I assume this is a feature of the DLC coating of the driver.

It has a sort of crsystaline clean sound, but there is no hint of brittle or grainy texture, it is always smooth, and can extract a lot of detail especially in busy passages of music without ever losing composure.

The bass is a little warm, compared to the predecessor has more space, but it feels a little too mellow to me. In the bass region I would prefer a more stepped texture with more punch. But it is still very enjoyable.

Low mids are a touch down, then rising to the high mids, treble has endless zing and resolution without harshness. Can feel even smoother with a DAC on slow roll off filter, or a hair more splashy on a fast roll off filter. Beware it is very sensitive, and can be driven of anything. BUT can sound quite different depending on the source. For some reason the apple dongle doesnt do it justice in the treble despite driving it easily to loud levels. On a desktop setup it really shines.

It has SOME decent imaging and soundstage (more height than width) but overall a more direct sounding headphone. But not overly in your face at all.

If you are soundstage fan I would highly suggest the WP900 wooden cup headphones from AT. Those sound very spacious.

the MSR7B is more about bringing up detail while being very musical and engaging.

To me this headphone is warm yet bright, and can be very source revealing aided by it's technical abilities.
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It's amazing how we all have unique preferences. More bass slam would ruin the experience for me.
LPGT pairs beautifully with ATH-MSR7B, balanced.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Excellent detail, clarity, imaging and good soundstage
Cons: I feel the bass is a bit lacking in presence or forwardness
Just a little background before I start with the HP review... I'm essentially an amateur musician (electric guitarist by choice, keyboardist by default role) and have been playing from small-medium sized venues.
Before the MSR7's, I've had on-ears.. the last one being Thinksound On1.

Review Start:

I've had the ATH-MSR7b for a year now. I bought them from Audio46.
Pros: Excellent detail, a lot of highs and mids and I can pretty much imagine where instruments/singers are singing from. It's also a joy to hear all those micro details in musical instruments and the trailing audio from vocals [reverb]
Cons: There is a tendency to want a bit more of bass

Audio Sources (on iPhone XS and Dell G3 3579):
Spotify (High Quality)
Deezer HiFi

DAC: FiiO Q1Mk2
I listen through FiiO's 2.5mm (using a 4.4mm -> 2.5mm adapter) using MSR7's balanced 4.4mm cable

General Impressions:
When listening to tracks, I just love how these HP's reveal the little nuances in the instruments and voices. I just love the amount of detail there. In fact, my "novice-ness" (if I may use the term) has me listening to the same track 3-5 times over and focus on different details at a time. It's just so clear!

I would do 30min-4hr sessions on these and they wouldn't even bother me. Well, the HP's do get a bit warm but never any more than that even at longer listening sessions. Comfort is ace!

What I have noticed however is that compared to live performances of tracks I'm very well acquainted with, I find the bass present but not as powerful/impactful as it should be. I mean, the thump and details are there but I feel they need to be a bit more forward.

Oh, on Spotify High Quality, I have noticed in tracks like "Call Your Name - Hiroyuki Sawano", the bass doesn't seem to be as present when comparing it against the Deezer HiFi version (I've done the A/B on separate occasions and days... and my ears tell me the same thing)

The same phenomenon goes for the highs. There is a tendency for Spotify's tracks rich in high frequencies to pierce my ears whereas listening to the same track via Deezer HiFi doesn't hurt my ears at all.
NOTE: There is to this date (Jan 27, 2020) no localized pricing for Tidal in the Philippines.

Overall, I just love these cans (but am now looking to upgrade to the next Closed back cans-- or I could probably upgrade DAC first...)
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I am wondering if the Sony NW-WM1Z's slamming bass would match well.


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