Audio-Technica is, at least within the DJ community, world-famous for their ATH-M50x, and the ATH-MSR7 we review here was originally supposed to be the successor to the M50x.
Ultimately, the MSR7 became a project of its own, completely separate from the more famous M50x. It is also slightly more expensive, but you can immediately tell where the extra money went in terms of finish and sound quality.
Design and Build Quality
The ATH-MSR7 is a closed headphone with new 45 mm True Motion Drivers that are hi-res compatible. This is also evident on the box as it´s adorned with the famous Hi-Res Audio logo. This means that the frequency of the MSR-7 drivers to go 40 KHz (and beyond?) - much higher than the average human ear can perceive - and the drivers should provide enough detail to do justice to high resolution audio. This may all be a bit of a marketing gimmick, but it´s nice to know that the headphones can handle sound with high resolution.
The design of the MSR7 is quite special, mainly because it still remains faithful to the values of Audio-Technica with very solid metal ear cups built with several sections to prevent resonance. At the same time it reminds us a lot of some of the newer Sony headphones, but I guess there´s only so much you can do and not too many directions to go if you want to give headphones a classic look.
Apart from the plain design we have nothing but praise for the construction of the MSR7. The ear cups are fitted with really nice pads of high-quality memory foam, a synthetic material that retains its shape well in this case.
In contrast to many similar headphones, the ear pads are thick and comfortable with no hard and irritating edges. The headband is also very well padded.
The ear cups sits on two hinges fixed to a bracket, which can rotate around its axis and is connected to the headband. The hinges are, in our opinion, very robust, thanks to the high-quality plastic. Even after weeks of intensive use, the hinges kept functioning smoothly and we´ve never heard any worrying sounds or noises indicating that they were about to brake. It would be nice to have a metal construction rather than plastic, but this would add some additional weight and possibly decrease the comfort, but nonetheless, the ATH-MSR7 is a very robust headphone.
It is certainly robust enough for portable use, while also having good sound insulation. Unfortunately there´s no way of folding the headphones (they can only be flattened), something that would be a nice addition when you travel or commute and want to store them in a bag or a case.
Of all the headphones we've tested recently, the MSR7 has been the biggest surprise. Although the sound is tuned for mobile use, with slightly more emphasis on bass and mids, these Audio-Technica's sound very mature, balanced and detailed.
The large 45 mm drivers really excel with electronic music, but also with pop, rock and metal, and after letting the MSR7's 'break in' for a couple of days we started feeding them all sorts of music. Compared to some other high-end headphones we miss some spaciousness and sparkle here and there with lead instruments and certain types of percussion like hi-hats and cymbals (typical for any closed design), but considering the relatively low price it´s just a minor remark. The somewhat restrained character was however well suited for voices and the controlled, but not overly present, basslines sound compelling, especially with beat-driven music.
Since the MSR7 are more balanced and doesn´t deliver as deep and powerful bass as some other mobile headphones (looking at you Beats), it may be considered a drawback for some avid bass lovers as they might find it sounding a bit too thin.
Obviously, the soundstage is not as big and airy as with open headphones, but those are on the other hand not as convenient if you want to listen to music in noisy environments. Don´t get us wrong, there is still plenty of spaciousness and air to imagine yourself standing in a concert hall.
Playing some high resolution recordings of classical music confirmed the need for more spaciality and a better ability to render instrument position and room acoustics, but if that´s what you want you´ll have to buy more expensive headphones. The ATH-MSR7 did however do an excellent job with the dynamics of this type of music and it always sounded natural and never sharp.
We´ve tested quite a few expensive headphones, and as a reviewer you sometimes forget that there are also cheaper headphones that perform well. The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 is clearly one of them.
Despite its portable nature, it has a nicely balanced sound and it offers a surprising amount of detail and resolution for its price point. Therefore, Audio-Technica's ATH-MSR7 is one of the best headphones in its class. These headphones does exactly what they should: provide excellent sound, at home and on the move.
GET IT ON eBay!
- Current Price: $214.99
- Ends: Nov 11, 2016 11:20:10 CET
- Current Price: $39.99
- Ends: Nov 9, 2016 9:13:05 CET
- Current Price: $89.99
- Ends: Nov 2, 2016 3:01:48 CET
- Newly designed 45 mm True Motion Drivers deliver Hi-Res Audio reproduction
- Multi-layer Air Damping Technology comprised of a layered aluminum/magnesium housing and triple-vent system reduces unwanted vibration and controls air stream for high audio clarity
- Ultra-comfortable, soft, memory foam earpads and headband
- Three detachable cables: standard 1.2 m (3.9') and 3.0 m (9.8') cables, plus 1.2 m (3.9') smartphone-compatible cable with in-line controls & mic
- Stainless steel acoustic mesh resistor provides improved high-frequency response, while bass acoustic resistor delivers accurate low-frequency response
- Includes carrying case
- Available in black (ATH-MSR7BK) and gun-metal grey (ATH-MSR7GM)
|Driver Diameter||45 mm|
|Frequency Response||5-40,000 Hz|
|Maximum Input Power||2,000 mW|
|Cable||Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') standard cable, detachable 3.0 m (9.8') standard cable, detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable with in-line controls and microphone for smartphones|
|Connector||3.5 mm gold-plated stereo mini plug, L-shaped|
|Accessories Included||Protective pouch|
|Frequency Response (Microphone)||50 - 4,000 Hz|
|Polar Pattern (Microphone)||Omnidirectional|