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Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by lalala6, Oct 17, 2014.
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  1. sejsel
    Yes, this link is the particular link of the review of the MSR7,


    and to my ears, I really do disagree with number of statements made in it. Again, to my ears, and that's just me, but I have read so many reviews as headfi that almost unanimously give an entirely different impressions of this can.
  2. theaudiologist
    anyone feel that whathifi's reviews are way too positive? they give pretty much everything 4+
  3. sejsel
    which possibly implies that MSR7s truly suck, given the hardly 3 star review and more negatives than positives given under the headline.
    Incredible how much their review deviates from user experiences voiced time after time in very detailed reviews at both headfi and elsewhere.
  4. WilliamLeonhart
    Well anything with less than 4 stars on Amazon very much falls into "suck" with me. So I don't think Whathifi is alone in "over-positive-ness".

    But what differs is that Whathifi stars do not reflect a collective experience. My only concern with the MSR7 is that the clamp might be too much for some people and when the leather wears, it looks terrible (which is also the case for V-MODA and a few other brands). Other than that, I think it's the closed back, mid-range version of the AD2000.
  5. tolis626
    Hi guys!
    Been out of here for a while (not that I was a particularly active member to begin with. I had only crappy gear and didn't have the budget for anything worthwhile, so I stayed away to avoid feeling jealous :p ) but I'm waiting for my MSR7s (used pair from e-bay, bought them for 104€ at an auction!) this week and wanted to ask a few things.
    First thing is, what kind of DAC/amp would you guys pair these with? From what I've gathered, these go better with warmer sounding amps rather than very analytical ones. I do want to get the Dragonfly (preferably Red if I can afford it, but most probably I'll get the black), but people seem to think it's quite analytical sounding and I don't know if it'd make a good pair with those. I'd prefer something I can use on the go, but I guess these can make do with a smartphone too. Budget would be 200€ max, but preferably in the 100€ range. I've contemplated risking it with some of the chinese brands, but all of them seem to come with their own set of issues. I liked the SMSL idea, but it's got issues with Android. Then there's the Centrance DACport slim (not chinese, I guess, but for me still falls under the same category) with its heating issues and stuff. Then I saw on Massdrop the Zorloo ZuperDAC that comes with an ESS9018 and people say it sounds good, but the quality's flimsy and many people had theirs break (althought for 55$ I guess it's good enough). I was also thinking about going Fiio (Q1, E17k or E18), but except for the Q1 their prices seem somewhat jacked in Europe and I don't know if the Q1 is a worthwhile investment. I will mostly use these at home with my PC, but I bought them for the added portability, so I can take them with me when traveling or to the library and stuff. Still, I'm open to ideas about desktop DAC/amps if they're worth it. Same budget applies.
    Second, would you change the pads on these to HM5 ones? I'm seriously thinking about it, especially considering the clamping pressure. But 30-40€ on top is getting somewhat pricey and I'd prefer spending that as extra for the amp, especially considering that mine are gonna be a used pair and are probably gonna be a bit broken in.
    Finally, would you say the MSR7 sound good with metal music (like, 95% of my music listening is to metal music)? I'm torn, because on one hand the strong highs may get fatiguing, but then the detail is gonna make the instruments sound good and detailed, the bass is not gonna be overwhelming and I think these are supposed to have a good attack, so I guess they may suit metal? I dunno, I'd like some feedback on this.

    Thanks in advance! I'm thrilled to be joining the club! :D

    PS : I hope these sound quite a bit better than my BeyerDynamic Byrons. I mean, they're a 50$ pair of IEMs, but MAN do they sound great. Bit bassy and warm (which I like), but detail's there and the sound is generally awesome. I love these things. And they sound good driven by about anything I've tried them with.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  6. Coop
    I listen to metal with my MSR7 quite a lot, no big problems so far, only minor annoyances that I could work around with some EQ'ing. I mostly use my Astell & Kern AK70 as a source, occasionally my Hidizs AP60. And in the past a 1st gen Fiio X3. If I feel like additional amplification is needed, I usually grab my Headstage Arrow.

    But when I hook them up to my computer, it is usually through a Dragonfly v1.2 set to line level and using the Headstage Arrow (the amp is not needed, but I like having a physical volume control). This works well with the MSR7, especially in the office.
    tolis626 likes this.
  7. tolis626
    Oh, that's great! Thanks a lot for your reply Coop!
    When you talk about EQing, I suppose you mainly add bass? Or do you also lower the highs a bit?
  8. Rhyzak
    So I just brought the ATH-MSR7 and after un-boxing them and seeing them for the first time... I kind of had a bad feeling these were going to be way to small for me.

    Sadly they are. They are basically on ear headphones for me as they scrunch up my ears the edges of the pads and feel uncomfortable.

    Before I return them I was wondering if there are any pads that I can buy to go with these to fix the problem.
  9. Coop
    Depends on the music I'm listening to, I forgot to mention that I rarely have to use EQ. The MSR7 is often described as being light on the bass, but IMHO it really isn't, it only seems that way when compared to mainstream cans (which usually are bass-oriented). It might take a little getting used to the fairly neutral sound signature, but once you do, you'll notice how poor a lot of other cans sound :)
  10. tolis626
    Have a big head, don't we? :p
    Well, these do fit the Brainwavz HM5 pads (and for that matter most, if not all the pads that fit the M50x and its siblings, like the Dekoni pads) so I'd give it a try. I don't know if it's worth it comfort-wise, and that's why I was asking in my post above, but I will probably try it down the road. The less comfortable they are, the sooner I'll get the other pads and try. But yes, there are alternatives, so don't return yours if you like the sound.

    Well, I'll probably find those perfect, because my current cans, a crappy old pair of AKG K514 MKII, aren't just bass light, but the bass it totally absent. Like zip, nada, they probably don't make sounds lower than 500Hz. I don't really like too much bass, but I do like it being tight and punchy, so that things like drums sound nice and dynamic and like something is actually hitting something else. And from what I've gathered, the MSR7 are EQ friendly, being somewhat flat and all, so I guess I can make them work regardless.
    Thanks again man!
  11. ModiHiFi
    I've had a similar problem with the MSR7 pads too. I read a few comments from others who have looked at buying something better and after reading what had been written I went ahead and bought a pair of HM5 leather pads. Now, this fixes one problem (much better ear comfort and listening longevity), but unfortunately it introduced a few changes to the MSR7's sound signature. A change in a headphone's ear pads will often change the way they sound to some degree. In this case it made them sound somewhat more open and airy, but they also accentuated the high end while also weakened the low end giving the MSR7's an overall anaemic sound. Not by a great deal mind you, but there was a difference in their sound signature. Personally I didn't care for the change in sound that the new ear pads made. I quite liked the way the MSR7 sounded as originally intended. That was until I did some serious research and modifying with various types of acoustic filters.

    To cut a very long story short, you need to get some of the following material that will (as was my experience) both lessen the high end emphasis while boosting and enhancing the low end register. The material I chose out of dozens that I tested and re-tested was a fabric fleece - Vlieseline low loft batting volume fleece 248. You may want to try various other volume fleece materials that are available (and there are a few), but for me the low loft batting volume fleece was the best choice. With this type of fleece cut to shape and incorporated into the back of the HM5 leather pads was to my ears quite astonishingly good with the end result (if you include by Fixomull Stretch mod too) possibly being superior than the original headphone's sound signature. I highly recommend that you make the time to incorporate this particular fabric fleece (or something similar) into a new pair of HM5 pads to make your MSR7 sound their best.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  12. tolis626
    So, I received my MSR7s a few days ago, and they arrived just before (like, an hour before) I left for a 3 day trip. Having no portable amp, I thought I'd use them off my phone, an OnePlus 3, as they're sensitive enough. I was excited to try them, so I got on the bus waiting to put them on, I press play AAAAND... crap. The sound was horrible. And by horrible I mean almost no bass and highs that felt like they were piercing into the deepest parts of my soul to torture me. I started messing around with Viper4Android in case I could make them bearable and the only thing that helped them was enabling AnalogX (a kind of convolver that tries to emulate a warmer source of sorts), which killed the highs somewhat, compromised detail, made everything sound artificial, but was at least bearable. In fact the experience was so bad that I was convinced that I had bought a fake (the box having Japanese lettering didn't help either) and, having gone through a bad day, I was ready to message the guy I bought them from and ask for a refund.

    Somehow I stayed calm and decided to give them another chance when I got home. So I connected them to my PC when I returned home, fired up Spotify and OH MY GOD, am I wearing the same headphones? Sure, highs are bit harsh still, but I got some bass (just the right amount, even though I'd like more of it) of great quality, the mids came alive and they became a joy to listen to. Still, couldn't listen to them for more than maybe 30 minutes, as they got too fatiguing with those harsh highs. Since then, I've been leaving them playing music every morning and I swear they are already better, even though I'm not a huge believer of burning cans in. And because I got scared of how bad they sounded connected to my phone, I also took them apart and verified they're the real deal (thanks Iancraig10 for the images!).

    With all that said, even though my PC has more than decent onboard sound, it's still onboard sound (at least it has a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC and a passable TI amp, but isn't well isolated and there's a ground loop somewhere causing interference...), so I ordered a Fiio Q1 so that I have a portable little DAC/amp that complements these well and use that at home too until I build myself a better setup. I was also thinking of buying a pair of HM5 leather pads, but most people say they ruin the sound and I decided against it, even though I could use some more comfort with the MSR7. Maybe down the road I will try them with some fleece between the pad and the driver, like ModHifi suggested, but until then I'm waiting for the Q1 so that I can enjoy my cans. With how source-dependent these turned out to be, I hope they will sound as good as I expect out of a properly amplified source. I had thought that the sensitivity would negate the need for a seperate amp. Nope. Oh well...
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  13. iancraig10
    I’m glad that they turned out to be real! I must admit, reading your first description of the sound almost mirrors exactly what I felt with the fake and I instantly thought that you might have one.

    I have a real one now and it’s really not like the fake which is actually ..... how you described it!!!! :wink:
    tolis626 likes this.
  14. tolis626
    Well, it's your posts that had me scared I'd gotten a fake actually. :p

    But yeah, super picky these cans. Out of my phone they sound like they want to kill me. Out of the PC it's MUCH better. The sound signature is alien to me, as I prefer warmer cans and it's all I've had over the years, but I keep wanting to go back to songs I've been listening to for over a decade to listen to them again. And I always find details I'd been missing all this time and they all sound more... Alive. I find myself just falling back and just listening to the music, impulsively air-drumming like an idiot. Best one yet was a live recording of Iron Maiden's Fear of the Dark. MAN I got goosebumps!

    I hope the Q1 makes them sound ever so slightly more mellow... They'll be perfect then!
  15. iancraig10
    I often use a Fiio A1 with mine and that works well.

    The fakes look really good. It surprised me. Since then, I also got hold of a fake Sennheiser Momentum in ear and made a video comparing them with the real thing, It is quite amazing how similar the copies look to the originals.

    The MSR7 can be a bit picky and like you, I like a warmer signature but I have found that the Fiio tend to be a bit warmer and that helps the Audio Technica be less gritty.
    tolis626 likes this.
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