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Choosing a monitor headphone to complete your studio might be challenging, but if you're on a tight budget, we suggest the OneOdio Monitor 80.
Audio Technica is a well known audio company. Their headphone offerings from the ATH-MXX series have been among the most recommended headphones. The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 combines pro-grade sonic skills, a premium design, and also boasts new audio technology. They are a great headphone designed for listening both at home and on-the-go. In this review, I cover the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7GM’s design, comfort and fit, audio quality, and its package and accessories. I also do a comparison of the ATH-MSR7 to the Takstar Pro 82, M50x, and Sony MDR 1A, among other headphones.
Driver Type: Dynamic
Driver Size: 45mm
Headphone Type: Closed-Back
Impedance: 35 ohms
Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW
Frequency Response: 5 – 40000 Hz
Maximum Input Power: 2000 mW
Headphone Connector: 3.5 mm mini-plug
Color Options: Black (BK), Gun Metal (GM), Red Limited Edition (LTD)
Cables: 1.2 m, 3.0m, and 1.2m with mic for smartphones
Headphone Weight: 290g
The design of the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 strickly resembles the Sony MDR-1A. However, the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7 is more refined, and the build quality and material selection are top-notch. The ATH-MSR7 is a closed-back over-ear headphone. The ear cups are large, and the padding material has a great feeling to it. The headphone is constructed from metal and plastic parts.
The build quality is consistent, and when handled, the headphone does not feel loose or creaky. The headband looks like its stitched cleanly and feels secure as well. The backs of the earcups are made with aluminum, which gives them a high-end headphone feel of quality at this price range. Apart from the metallic out cups, most of the earcup features thick plastic parts, which is hard to distinguish from the real metal.
It is also worth mentioning that Audio Technica uses the ” Dual-Layer Air-Control Technology” in the ATH-MSR7. This means that the earcups have two metal chambers after the driver. This, according to audio Technica, helps reduce unwanted resonance and controls the air stream for better audio clarity.
Like the ATH-50x, the MSR7 comes with a detachable cord. The headphone uses the popular 3.5 mm stereo plug on the headphone’s side. The 3.5mm connector is located on the left earcup. The connector has no locking mechanism, but the cable does well to stay in place.
The ATH-MSR7 is available in two colors ie, black and gun-metal that is part of this review. A third color, red, which is a limited edition, is also available but in selected countries. Overall, I find no fault in the design and build quality of the headphone. Though nothing from the headphone stands out, it is hard to complain about anything.
A soft protein leather material fully covers the headband. It is lightly padded on the sides and grows in thickness as you approach where it sits on the head. The padding material does not appear to be memory foam and can get a bit uncomfortable after long sessions sitting on top of your head. The clamping pressure is also too high when the headphone is first used. However, the metal bands seem sturdy enough to be bent to lessen the clamping pressure.
Metallic bands hold together the headband to the earcups. The metal bands also allow the earbuds to be adjusted to fit most head sizes better. Both sides can be adjusted either up and down, and a lock-in mechanism with groves ensures it does not move once set up.
Apart from going up and down, the earcups also rotate sideways. This makes it a great portable option because when not in use, you can just hang them around your neck and let the earcups lie on the chest comfortably.
The ATH-MSR7 is an over-ear headphone, and the earpads signify this very prominently. The earcups are big, and a decent oval opening should fit most ear sizes out there. The depth, however, is not that great, and I found my ears touching round the edges, which gets a bit uncomfortable after a while. The earpads are plush and soft to the touch. They are padded with memory foam-like material, which improves the overall comfort levels of the headphone.
The ATH-MSR7 is closed, and the noise isolation is above average. This is due to the quality and size of the earpads, the metal housing, and a firm headband. It is great to keep out outside noise, and the sound leakage is very minimal. It would take a person sitting very close to you to hear what you are listening too. This, of course, applies to a decent volume level.
The ATH-MSR7 has good attributes in the design and build quality. However, does it live up to its good looks? The MSR7 does not disappoint. Overall, the ATH-MSR7 boasts a well-balanced sound signature with a slightly bright treble response.
The bass is present and very well rendered, but it is slightly low in quantity. This headphone is not for bass heads. However, do not get me wrong, the bass is there, but it does not have the heavy bass thrills you get with bass-heavy headphones like the M50X. For bass-oriented genres, it can get very tight and controlled thumps but don’t expect too much of it.
The midrange remains clear and is undistorted. Female vocals and other instruments like violins, guitars, and trumpets are forward and very natural. This might be attributed to the rising upper-mids section.
The treble response of the ATH-MSR7 is slightly bright and the man of the show here. The ATH-MSR7 frequency is slightly boosted from the upper midrange up to the lower treble. Because of this, the headphone sounds a little bright, but overall well controlled. For people who are treble sensitive, this might be too much for them. I would encourage you to audition the headphone first before you decide to buy and keep it.
For a closed-back headphone, the soundstage of the ATH-MSR7 is fine. However, the imaging is what impresses me about the ATH-MSR7. It gives a good and clear sense of the direction the sound is coming from. This makes the ATH-MSR7 not only suitable for music, but gamers will also like it.
The headphone arrived in an excellent big box package. Inside, when you get out the cable and a storage pouch, the headphone sits in a form-fitted plastic mold, which is covered by a loose black nylon cloth. Aside from the storage pouch and the three headphone cables supplied by Audio Technica, there is nothing else that comes with the package. The storage bag is nothing fancy, and unlike the hard shell bags, it will not protect the headphone in case of a fall or an accident. However, it is still suitable for portable use and will protect the headphone from scratches and other minor accidents.
Audio Technica includes three detachable cables with a standard 3.5mm connector that goes into the headphone side. Because the ATH-MSR7 is advertised as a portable headphone, one cable comes with inline remote/microphone for cell-phone use (1.2m), one without (12m), and the third is long (3m). The cables are all made from the same material and insulated in nice soft rubber material. All are gold plated connectors. However, the quality of the cables is not that great and feels a little cheap, especially on the connector part.
|Audio Technica ATH-MSR7||35 ohms||100 dB||5 – 40000 Hz||290g|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50x||35 ohms||98 dB||15 – 28,000 Hz||285g|
|Sony MDR-1A||24 ohms||105 dB||3 – 100,000 Hz||225g|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M40x||35 ohms||98 dB||15 – 24,000 Hz||235g|
|Sennheiser Momentum 2.0||18 ohms||113 dB||16 – 22000 Hz||260g|
The build quality of the Audio Technica ATH-M50x is good. However, when compared to the ATH-MSR7, the metal parts, and a feeling of the thick plastic is better. Apart from the build quality, the MSR7 has better earpads, which make it better for long sessions. The clamping force of the ATH-MSR7 is also stronger at first than the M50x. The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 is advertised as an outdoor while the ATH-M50x is advertised as a studio headphone. Isolation is better on the MSR7. The sound quality of these two headphones is different. ATH-MSR7 lacks the low-end, and the treble is more pronounced. However, for the ATH-M50x, the bass is powerfull and lacks the treble extension offered by the MSR7. Overall, if you want a fun headphone with more bass, the M50x should be your choice. Otherwise, the MSR7 is more detailed and offers a more reference-quality sound.
The Sony MDR-1A is a close rival of the ATH-MSR7, probably due to the looks of both headphones. Starting with the build quality, The MDR-1A is lighter, and the build is made out of plastic. They seem durable, but overall, the MSR7 has done an excellent job on the material and build quality. The comfort of both headphones is good, but better on the MDR-1A. Overall, the Sony MDR-1A looks good, but the build quality goes to the ATH-MSR7. Soundwise, the MDR-1A excel in the bass. The mids are present, and despite a boosted bass come out with details but sound a lot more subdued than the MSR7. For treble, it is not upfront like the MSR7 but has a decent level of details like the mids.
First, the price difference between the ATH-M40x and ATH-MSR7 is huge. The MSR7 is twice as expensive. However, for the price, the Audio Technica ATH-M40x does a great job both on the build and sound quality, but purely on quality, the MSR7 wins by a lot. The M40x is quite uncomfortable, and I would not recommend them for long sessions unless you get some decent pads. The sound quality of the M40x is more neutral with good bass response. If you prefer a balanced sounding headphone, go with the M40x. For a slightly brighter headphone, the MSR7 is your pick.
The MSR7 and the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 are legendary in this price range. Both of these headphones have earned a lot of respect and positive reviews by users. The Sennheiser Momentum has a simple yet excellent build quality. The overall build and design of the Momentum 2.0 is just better than the ATH-MSR7 — the Momentum 2.0 feature real leather pads, unlike the pleather pads on the MSR7. However, if you have big ears, the MSR7 is a better pick. The earpads have smaller openings compared to the MSR7. The sound quality of these two headphones is different. The Momentum has more bass and laid-back treble response.
See The Audio Technica ATH-MSR7