Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by lalala6, Oct 17, 2014.
  1. tolis626
    1. Yeah, I know the pads WILL affect the sound (unless you have some of those crazy electrostats that play well with anything), I'm just hoping that maybe these specific ones don't affect it TOO much, or maybe even improve the sound a bit. That's wishful thinking on my part, probably, but I'd much rather experiment and fail with a set of barely 15$ pads that I can keep as a spare (provided they fit) than a pair of 50$ ones. Not to mention that some of those more expensive pads are so gloriously comfy that I might even be tempted take the hit on sound quality. At least the stock pads are nice enough when the clamp is tamed after a while!

    2. You got me wrong, I know the Magni has enough power to drive the MSR7. Hell, even the Q1 has more than enough power, and it's a portable tiny amp that's not very powerful even by portable tiny amp standards. What I'm asking is how the MSR7 play with moar powah! I certainly don't need them (or want them) to go any louder, I can use them as small ~0.2W speakers with the Q1 as it is at its loudest settings. But I guess if the bass improves and the presentation of the sound is smoother/less edgy, then it's a good pairing, because those are the MSR7's weaknesses, a slight lack of bass and a slight harshness to the sound sometimes. Or maybe that's because of the dac, I dunno (isn't the AKM4490 supposed to be more musical sounding and less analytical that the ESS DACs? Is the regular Modi 2 even using that?). Still, you answered my question and gave me your approval, so thanks for that!

    3. You got me curious, you mentioned modding your MSR7. What sort of modding? And to what end? What were the results? Let's say you piqued my interest now... I've read some people online remove the felt ring around the driver housing on the M50x with some success. Maybe something similar?
  2. ModiHiFi
    Dude.. It's me! We emailed one another about my mods a little while ago. :grinning:

    OK. The MSR7 play very well with the Magni 3. You can keep turning it up until your ears explode and the cans will keep pumping out your tunes in the same clarity - just louder. The Magni are like Vidar amps, but for your headphones. Heaps of clean power with no distortion whatsoever. If any distortion comes it will be from the MSR7 just before they melt.

    Sound quality is better across the board with my cans anyway. Again, it's a nuanced step up with the better bass extension and treble clarity. I haven't converted my cans back to their original design, so I can't say too much about the way they sound as bought (my apologies). I guess I can do that if you really, REALLY need to know.

    On a side note. If you want more bass out of your MSR7 you need to buy bigger pads (such as the HM5) and let your ears adjust to the change by just listening to them for a little while. They'll sound a little anemic at first but my experience is that your ears will adjust and you'll find out how good they can really sound. You just need to take the leap of faith and buy something different and give them a go. You'll need a treble filter for the highs but the bass and airy soundstage will come into their own.

    Just do it! You can pull the trigger on $50 and if you don't like them then at least you've given it a try. What's to lose. $50 or the possibility of a step closer to audio nirvana. What's more valuable to you?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
    tolis626 likes this.
  3. headwhacker
    Among my closed back headphones, the SE is turning out to be better overall.

    I have the Aeon, while I appreciate it's CIEM-like clarity it is thin-sounding and lacking body compared to MSR7-SE.
    The THX-00EB is fun sounding with it's V-shape curve, but it sounded a bit compressed against MSR7-SE.
    The original MSR7 is like the Aeon but a step or 2 lower in terms of Clarity and stage width/depth.

    The SE on the other hand is the original MSR7, a touch warmer and smoothed highs. It gives a good body pleasing and clear sound. Very comfortable and better at listening for very long hours. So far the best over-ear headphone on the go.
    Luminance and ModiHiFi like this.
  4. ModiHiFi
    Thank-you! I now have to find AU$500 somewhere as I'm buying myself one of these for sure.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  5. headwhacker
    The SE seems to sound better on quality sources. It sounds good M1. But the best I hear it so far is with the Hugo. Clarity goes up a notch as well as stage size. Low-end also get a more solid thump.
    ModiHiFi likes this.
  6. tolis626
    Oh god, sorry mate! That's what I get for messing around in forums while I'm tired and at work. Epic brainfart on my part. Didn't even stop a moment to process who it was that posted the comment. :face_palm:

    I see... So the MSR7 do scale with power. This got me thinking, how would they perform if they were higher impedence? Maybe I'll buy a 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter that increases impedence by like 75Ω (or even 150Ω because I hate myself sometimes) once I get the Magni and test it out. I know it's an imperfect solution but meh, at least I'll get to try that out.

    Regarding the pads, it's not only the 30-40€ that I'd pay for the HM5 pads that gets to me. It's the fact that if I don't like the sound with them I'll definitely consider getting other similar pads and I know how easily one can spend a lot of money on stupid impulses all too well. I'm on the lookout for an open set of cans for use at home, so I'd rather the money go there than to pads for experimentation on the MSR7. 15€ isn't as bad, but still falls under the same category, just... Meh, dunno. Maybe I'll pull the trigger at some point, throw some 2-ply tissue on the driver or some foam or somesuch and see how it goes.

    Thanks for your input again pal, much appreciated! :)

    PS : I got the urge to listen to Opeth yesterday and oh my god do they sound great on the MSR7. There's something about the sound of the recordings (or maybe the quality of them?) that makes the MSR7 shine. Gone is the need for more bass, it's all there and it's all clear and punchy and it's great. And the details... AH! As much as I love metal music in general, 98% of metal recordings range from utter crap to the better side or mediocrity. Albums that are actually well recorded are rare but they make all the difference in the world sometimes... Same can't be said for the songs from Mors Principium Est that I'm listenint to right now. Even in FLAC they sound meh. Which is a shame, because their music is actually good. Dead Winds Of Hope is a great song, but it kind of hurts to listen to it...
    ModiHiFi likes this.
  7. ModiHiFi
    No worries! Hope you find what you're looking for.

    With regard to a very good pair of open cans, I'd recommend the DT1990. They've been the best sounding open pair that I've auditioned in recent times. If you're serious about getting a good pair be sure to have these at the top of your list. My advice is to give any pair that you get to listen to around 4 or 5 songs so your ears can adjust to them. Don't put on a new pair and judge them after 30 seconds. Have fun!

  8. Quadfather
    I use a Hirosys Audio cable and it did improve the sound.
  9. arteom
    My personal experience has been that the MSR7's don't play well after a certain volume threshold. Their bright nature takes over if you turn them up loud, they play best at moderate volume levels. This going to through a dedicated dac and amp, not a phone.
  10. tolis626
    It improved the sound how? Because I have 3 cables other than the ones the MSR7 came with, and I can hear no difference, be it for better or for worse.
    Well, I understand what you're saying. They tend to sound very harsh at higher volumes. But, and that's a big but, it really changes with time. Running them from my PC (mediocre sq at best, but enough-ish power for the MSR7), they used to get very harsh at 50-60% volume when new. Now, a couple hundred hours of use later, they don't get harsh before they are unbearably loud anyway. And that's from my PC's sterile, analytical output (Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC or something like that). Throw a warmer sounding amp/DAC at it and it gets better. They also tend to not forgive bad quality recordings or highly compressed files. Your file's clipping (talking about digital clipping)? Damn, you're out of luck with the MSR7, it's gonna destroy your brain if you get it even moderately loud. But feed it FLAC files with proper replay gain tags and ooh, smoooooth.
  11. Quadfather
    The treble isn't quite as sharp and it seems like the bass is a little better controlled and not so boomy. I use Lotoo Paw Gold Diana and Questyle QP1R. They are divine on the QP1R.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  12. Quadfather
    If you want butter smooth cans, the Shure SRH1540 is quite nice.
  13. headwhacker
    Some cables measures deliberately high (2 to 6 Ohms), combine that with high OI source could result in audible difference like an EQ.

    As expected, low volumes can make any peaks more tolerable. But, sometimes if you listen to a can for a long time your ears could adjust and make you like them like your reference. Then if you switch to a more laid-back cans, you will think the cans sound muddy because it is lacking treble. Do the same thing as the other can and repeat. This is what I observed. It's like our eyes when going to a dark room, at first you can't see anything at all, then after a few minutes you start to see a bit of your surroundings.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
    ModiHiFi likes this.
  14. tolis626
    Well, at some point I'm gonna pick a "high quality" wire just for the sake of trying one. I'm probably gonna pick one that I just like how it looks, but still, I'm curious to see what difference it may make. Although I suspect it doesn't have much to do with the quality of the wire itself, but rather with the wire having deliberately higher resistance so that they affect the sound somewhat. Once I get a Magni or similar (no point trying with the Q1 methinks) I'll probably also get one of those impedance adapters that just add like 75 ohms of resistance to the whole mix and see how that affects things. It's gonna be like 10-20€, so no biggie to satisfy my curiosity. With all that said, though, even with the Magni+Modi I'm probably getting, I still am nowhere near to the level of your equipment, so I guess your rig is more equipped to reveal differences.

    Regarding the Shure 1540... Meh, most people seem to think they are kinda boring. Not bad by any stretch, just you know, better for critical listening and mixing than for fun. That and I'm not really looking for closed cans. One pair of closed cans are enough for now. Once I start a collection (which means once I start getting a higher pay) I will add more closed cans to my collection, but until then the MSR7 are all I wanted and more. If I'm honest with myself, I didn't really love these cans right away. They seemed too edgy and harsh and light on the bass. Not bad per se, just not my cup of tea and not for the music I listen to (which is like 95% metal music of all sorts). Now, I don't know if it's the fact that they're properly broken in or if it's my ears that are used to the sound (I suspect it's both, but something like 20-80, not 50-50), but I've grown to love these things. They are balanced, they have details for days, they sound lively and can play from any source. Like, farts can power them. Not properly necessarily, but I can make do with my phone for a while if need be.

    My greatest pleasure with these is when I went to an audio show in Athens last month, where they had all sorts of crazy stuff. You want 6 figure electrostatic speakers? Check. Stax etc? Check. Focal Elear, Clear and Utopia? Check (only liked the Utopias from the bunch, but just because they were somewhat different, didn't wow me at all). Master and Dynamic MW40? Tried those too. My favorites were the Audeze LCD-X among the stuff I tried. After all that, I feared that I'd come back home, listen to the MSR7 and think they're garbage in comparison. Not at all. They were as much of a pleasure as they always were. :D
    I see what you're saying... As I wrote above, I may experiment with this stuff at some point, but probably not now. If I'm to spend money on the MSR7, it's probably gonna be for pads. Also, I want another set of cans for strictly home use (I'm probably getting the Monoprice M1060 because I really want something planar after I tried the LCD-X. They're not gonna be LCD-X, sure, but if I get 70% of the way there I'll be happy. Plus, mods), so that probably is a priority compared to experimenting with a headphone I'm perfectly content with.
  15. honeybee123
    I just got my fiio e10k. Paired it up with my msr7's and I must say that sound quality got a lot better on the PC, before it wasn't that lound on 50% but now its real loud on 2nd knob level. And the bass boost thingy, works real good. As for gain I used it for a bit on high, but since I only use level 2 on my knob, decided to stick with low since there is no need for it. In the end I would like to say that change is very subtle, but if your soundcard is **** (my story) you will listen to a completely new pair of headphones. Best 60 euros ever spent

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