NAD VISO HP50 vs Audio Technica ATH-MSR7
Jun 29, 2015 at 10:47 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

wilfred2211

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Hello there, I have recently saved up 430 dollars to buy a pair of headphones, however, I don't want to use them with a poor source, so I'll need a DAP as well. After a few weeks of research, I have narrowed it down to two options:
 
NAD VISO HP50 paired with a Fiio X1
or
Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 paired with a Fiio X3ii
(Both with a pair of Brainwavz pads for max comfort)
I am also open to suggestions.
 
Now, I listen to a lot of rock (The White Stripes, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, etc) and also a bit of rap/rock (Hollywood Undead, Flobots), all are either 320 kbps MP3's or ALAC's. I would like forward mids and nice, unobtrusive bass that has good impact. My ears aren't sensitive at all, so fatigue really isn't a problem. And I would love if they were comfortable. And I blast my music relatively loudly. 
 
I currently use this: Mac Mini>SMSL SapII (this is where the X3ii's DAC feature would help out with my desktop use) and also my Moto X 2013 for portable use. 
 
So, if anyone has a 430 dollar DAP + Headphone combo, I would love to hear it. But I really want to know what would be the best for me. Also, they must be closed back headphones.
 
PS, I want to upgrade from my AE2's, as I bought a pair of Grado SR80e's a few months ago and have now dipped my foot in some fantastic audio.
 
Thank you
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 12:18 PM Post #2 of 11

cel4145

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These two reviews are by the same guy and could help you to compare them:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/i-love-these-headphonesthe-nad-viso-hp50
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/incisive-audio-technica-ath-msr7

The Fiio X1 should be able to drive either of those headphones to very loud volumes. You might want to check out some of the other headphones on Innerfidelity's wall of fame: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelitys-wall-fame-full-size-sealed
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 2:53 PM Post #3 of 11

wilfred2211

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These two reviews are by the same guy and could help you to compare them:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/i-love-these-headphonesthe-nad-viso-hp50
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/incisive-audio-technica-ath-msr7

The Fiio X1 should be able to drive either of those headphones to very loud volumes. You might want to check out some of the other headphones on Innerfidelity's wall of fame: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelitys-wall-fame-full-size-sealed
I have checked those out multiple times and Innerfidelity actually exposed me to those headphones haha! And I realize they have different sound signatures, but I feel like I'd enjoy both equally, so I'm wondering which would plain out sound better. Also, I know the Fiio X1 can easily drive both, but I was wondering if the X3ii would still sound better with low impedance headphones
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 3:08 PM Post #4 of 11

cel4145

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In that case, you should order both from places that have good RMA policies and return the one you like least. It's worth the $10 to $12 shipping return fee to demo them in home and decide for yourself.

If the X3 would not be a burden to you, I say get it. Then you'll have the extra headphone amp power should you later decide to get a headphone that is not quite so easy to drive. However, I would not get the X3 over getting the headphones that you want.
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 6:36 PM Post #5 of 11

wilfred2211

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Unfortunately, I don't have enough extra cash to buy both at the moment. And I see most reviews of the X3ii saying sounds like an X1, but slightly more detailed and refined. Will I REALLY notice the difference using low impedance headphones?
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 8:08 PM Post #6 of 11

cel4145

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Unfortunately, I don't have enough extra cash to buy both at the moment. And I see most reviews of the X3ii saying sounds like an X1, but slightly more detailed and refined. Will I REALLY notice the difference using low impedance headphones?


That's a difficult question to answer. You might notice a difference, but IMO, it would not be significant.
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 1:15 AM Post #7 of 11

Jeff Y

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Go with the HP50 if you want nice mids. Easy answer is: MSR7 is bright. HP50 is more neutral and has better sound stage. (relatively of course)
I have had both and they're both not bad but the HP50 is more linear all around than the MSR7 because the MSR7 has that "audio-technica house sound" which is not as neutral as the NAD because of the more extended treble which some people find to be a bit artificial.
That being said, MSR7s may seem to have more detail at first because of the extended treble but over time, I found the HP50 to be more natural and having good amount of detail at the same time. As a result, the HP50 is more versatile with different types of music.
hth.
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 1:34 AM Post #8 of 11

wilfred2211

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That's a difficult question to answer. You might notice a difference, but IMO, it would not be significant.

Thanks, now I am leaning more towards the X1
  Go with the HP50 if you want nice mids. Easy answer is: MSR7 is bright. HP50 is more neutral and has better sound stage. (relatively of course)
I have had both and they're both not bad but the HP50 is more linear all around than the MSR7 because the MSR7 has that "audio-technica house sound" which is not as neutral as the NAD because of the more extended treble which some people find to be a bit artificial.
That being said, MSR7s may seem to have more detail at first because of the extended treble but over time, I found the HP50 to be more natural and having good amount of detail at the same time. As a result, the HP50 is more versatile with different types of music.
hth.

Thank you! The thing that really attracted me to the Grado's is how natural they sound, so I think the NAD's are for me. 
 
Before I pull the trigger on buying something, does anyone have any other recommendations? If not, I think I'll get myself some HP50's and an X1!
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 1:48 AM Post #9 of 11

cel4145

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Thank you! The thing that really attracted me to the Grado's is how natural they sound, so I think the NAD's are for me. 


Grados tend to have a very forward, in your face sound. The NAD's are what I would describe as more natural, but I think you could enjoy them very much. Just give yourself a chance to listen to them for a while. When I've been listening to Grados, at first, other less aggressive sounding headphones don't sound very good. Takes my brain some time to adjust :)
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 2:13 AM Post #10 of 11

Jeff Y

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Before I pull the trigger on buying something, does anyone have any other recommendations? If not, I think I'll get myself some HP50's and an X1!

There is no DAP that competes with the X1 at its price at all imo so go for it ! :D
and you'll like the HP50 too. One thing that I find weird is HP50 was $249 when I got them from Amazon but they're $299 now. It seems like amazon prices for everything went up the last few months. Still, it's a good deal for $299.
 
Jul 1, 2015 at 5:18 PM Post #11 of 11

wilfred2211

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Grados tend to have a very forward, in your face sound. The NAD's are what I would describe as more natural, but I think you could enjoy them very much. Just give yourself a chance to listen to them for a while. When I've been listening to Grados, at first, other less aggressive sounding headphones don't sound very good. Takes my brain some time to adjust
smily_headphones1.gif

 
  There is no DAP that competes with the X1 at its price at all imo so go for it ! :D
and you'll like the HP50 too. One thing that I find weird is HP50 was $249 when I got them from Amazon but they're $299 now. It seems like amazon prices for everything went up the last few months. Still, it's a good deal for $299.

Then Ok, the HP50 and X1 it is! Thanks!
 

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