Audio Technica ATH-SQ5 vs ATH-ES7??
Feb 18, 2008 at 9:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17


New Head-Fier
Feb 18, 2008
First of all, I've been browsing this forum for a while. Found a lot of useful information. I'm looking for an entry level headphone, and narrow my choice down to ES7 and SQ5 because of their look and their performance/price ratio based on what I read. I heard many great things about the ES7, and they look great, but I did a search and there isn't too much info about the SQ5, though the limited feedback I read is generally good.

So it really come down to price, I see that the SQ5 is going for $75 + shipping on ebay, vs ~$130 + shipping for ES7. I do prefer the look of the ES7 a bit more, but in terms of SQ, is the ES7 worth $50 more than SQ5?

I'm currently using MDR-NX1 earphones, so I'm sure either one will be an improvement over what I'm using. I also got a pair of JBL Reference 410 a few days ago and have burn them in for about 20 hrs in the past couple of days, but I'm pretty disappointed with its SQ. I'm going to return it. Hopefully these 2 phones will be better.
Feb 18, 2008 at 9:50 AM Post #2 of 17
Although I have never heard the SQ5s, I have previously owned ES7s and they are a great bargain and only thing that could be compared in that price range are Grado SR80s.
I doubt that SQ5s have the versatility or the value of ES7s. There are couple of reviews about them, but neither of them strongly recommends them as being a fantastic 'phones.

I would go with ES7 as it can cover almost all genres (except perhaps classical) very well. I've ordered my 2nd pair as I sold my first pair months ago and I still miss it.

IMO, looks of headphones are the least important part of headphone. My overall criteria for choosing portable headphones are:
Sound Quality>Comfort>portability>isolation>amp required>looks

I frequently use A900s as my semi-portable solution, even though it's far from being portable.

Welcome to head-fi, and sorry about your wallet!
Feb 18, 2008 at 2:27 PM Post #3 of 17
If it were me, I'd choose the ES7.

If you do get the ES7, remember to give it at least 300 hours of usage(or pink noise) before you judge 'em. They sound best after about 500hrs or so. Right out of the box, they sound muddy and bloated and lack their wonderful mids and sparkly highs which I love them for.

Welcome to head-fi, and sorry about your wallet!
Feb 18, 2008 at 5:29 PM Post #4 of 17
actually you can get es7s on for 100
Feb 18, 2008 at 9:40 PM Post #6 of 17

Originally Posted by evolution921 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for the feedback so far, you guys are right, sorry about my wallet, but I'm sure my ears will be happy.

How is the isolation on the ES7 for train ride and flights?

IT's really hard to cancel out train noise/flight noise - you might need IEMs or noise cancelling 'phones like ANC7 for that. It blocks out some noise, but you can still hear it.
Jun 1, 2009 at 4:36 AM Post #7 of 17
SQ5 is circumaural right... squareaural? (J.K)... i mean does it goes around the ears not on it?
Jun 1, 2009 at 7:07 AM Post #9 of 17

Originally Posted by cLy_eVo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
SQ5 is circumaural right... squareaural? (J.K)... i mean does it goes around the ears not on it?

That really depends on how big your head is and how big your ears are. Try and try it out first if possible before buying. But from what I've read, quite a few people have found them circumaural - but only just
Jun 1, 2009 at 7:43 AM Post #10 of 17
SQ5 loses to the ES7 anytime of the day in terms of sound quality IMO. Definitely worth the $50 extra. But try to look around for cheaper deals like people are mentioning.
Jun 1, 2009 at 10:15 AM Post #11 of 17
From what i read, the SQ is mediocre, maybe SQ5 means 5 out of 10 in term of SQ... lol. But SQ5 is definitely pleasent looking... would make a very good birthday present for a girl... especially the pink one...^^
Oct 7, 2010 at 3:06 PM Post #12 of 17
bumping this thread for people who want a comparison between the es7 and the sq5. since the es7 was discontinued, people i think people may want to be informed on these. mine are only burnt in for a day, so this may change.
sq5 mids are less forward. vocals are less prominent. by a small factor. whether this is good or bad depends on the listeners preferences. in the beginning, the mids on the es7 were TOO forward for me. after 80 hours of listening, i wouldnt have it any other way. so this is a negative IMO.
bass is louder, but but less extended, less precise, and less tight. the detail isnt there, but you can hear it more. with the es7, you can feel the initial hit of the bass more, but the sustain isnt as prominent. the ratio of hit/sustain in the sq5 is much smaller. ( = more sustained but less punch.) also they dont extend as low, but this may just be caused by the fact that they are brand new. iono how much the 40mm driver will loosen up.
soundstage is wider on the sq5 (they are circumphones) so they are less intimate, but is less accurate IMO. it is hard to pinpoint where everyone in the band is. it sounds like you are watching a concert, but sitting in your chair backwards (everything is behind you)
they also seem less detailed. less small, "hidden" sounds can be detected, like they could in the es7.
on the up side, however, separation is still pretty dang good. overall, they sound good. pretty dang good. and they are COMFY. and i bet they will get even more comfy when the pads are worn in. i wear glasses. if anyone has the es7, they know that glasses = tears if you are going to listen to the es7 for any great length of time. ti can barely feel these things in comparison, and there is NO pain or discomfort.
i think if some blue putty was put in these things they could sound hawt. i might try that, and recable them. i wanna throw some silver in these and putty them up, and see how close they sound do the es7 after that. i bet they would do some damage. it'd be impossible to get them to sound exactly the same though, as the driver is 12mm smaller.
Nov 30, 2010 at 1:52 AM Post #13 of 17
Sorry to once again bump this thread, but I figured more than one comparison couldn't hurt.
The SQ5s are most certainly the lower quality headphone of the two, but when you look at the prices it's apparent. Then again I suppose prices will be all over the place, but I picked up the SQ5 for $45 so I didn't think much of it.
Overall they aren't a bad little set for the price if you can snag them cheap, but I would definitely get the ES7 for the few extra dollars if you can afford it. The vocals on the SQ5 seem recessed, almost distant and somewhat muddled compared to the ES7's crisp, clear mids. You can still here the less noticeable details, but they are not as prominent. The bass on the SQ5 is a bit louder, for sure, but it just doesn't sound as loses details in the mix of things. I'm not sure if this is just me, but for some reason I feel like the music is always slightly behind me rather than balanced around my ears. The SQ5 also sounds a bit more open, most likely due to the fact they are around-ear rather than on-ear.
Unfortunately, the SQ5 also feel extremely cheap...they are very light, and have a very plastic-y feel to them, and as such feel cheap when in hand. The ES7, on the other hand, has a very solid feel, feels well built, and has a good weight to it. The SQ5s also do not look nearly as good in real life as they do in the pictures online, at least for the white model. The cup itself is an odd, yellowed off-white and it really ruins the overall look in my opinion.
On the plus side, the comfortability of the SQ5 blows the ES7 out of the water. I can wear the SQ5 for hours on end no problem, but the ES7 starts to bother me after two hours or so. I can also wear sunglasses with the SQ5, but if I'm wearing the ES7 then sunglasses are absolutely out of the question, it just plain hurts.
So there's my 2 cents. Fairly similar to Skoobs' impressions, but oh well.
Also, here's a picture comparing the two for those who are curious:

Nov 30, 2010 at 8:04 AM Post #14 of 17

Skoobs said:

bumping this thread for people who want a comparison between the es7 and the sq5. since the es7 was discontinued, people i think people may want to be informed on these. mine are only burnt in for a day, so this may change.

The ES7 have been discontinued? Here in Japan they are still sold in all electronics stores, just like the other phones in the ES series: ES55, ESW9 and ES10...
Dec 1, 2010 at 12:34 AM Post #15 of 17
my apologies, i believe they were just in short supply for a little while. they seem to be back now. i guess everywhere in the US just ran out of them for a little while. amazon was sold out, and google shopping returned no results except for very expensive pairs.

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