With the redesigned ATH-MSR7b, Audio-Technica eliminates the aesthetic “flaws” of its predecessor. Above all, the sound image has been refreshed, making it the top model in its price class among all headphone disciplines.
The ATH-MSR7b targets the demanding listener. Its stylish and timeless matt black finish, which is further enhanced by a chrome bevel and the contrasting metallic blue on the shells and the bracket suspension, speaks for itself. The manufacturer does without any eye-catching branding, so that the Audio-Technica logo only shimmers out like a partial varnish on the two matt shells.
Except for the retractable, snap-in metal extension brackets, Audio-Technica uses plastic materials, but this in no way diminishes its high-quality and robust appearance. The plastic used even pays off by offering a light weight of 237 grams. Audio-Technica gives the headband as well as the circumaural capsules a luxurious black leatherette upholstery. The cable routing is Y-shaped and thus symmetrical. The enclosed straight cable, unfortunately only 1.2 metres long, is docked to the two capsules with special A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors.
At the other end, too, Audio-Technica is breaking new ground with a 4.4 mm five-pin connector. Unfortunately, only headphone jacks on selected devices “listen” to this connector, which means that the headphones are positioned more in the high-end direction. In order not to put “normal” listeners out, a second cable with mini jack plug is included, but not an adapter to a 6.3 mm jack. A black neoprene bag completes the scope of delivery, which at least protects the headphones from scratches, but not from knocks or falls.
Given that, I’m not a fan of ear-closing headphones, which are usually too bulky for me, but the ATH-MSR7b is convincing. Thanks to its low weight, it sits light as a feather on your head. You can hardly feel it, and can even forget that it’s there during long listening sessions. This is also ensured by the extremely soft padding, which cushions the moderate pressure on the head and ears. The optimum fit of the shells is ensured on the one hand by the metal clip extensions, which engage strongly in ten steps, and do not shimmy out even in the smallest setting. This is true even with violent head movements as the earpieces readily adapt to movements with a 90-degree Y-axis flexibility, as well as 30-degree freedom of movement at the X-axis. The large oval shells provide additional support by surrounding the ear with their driver opening, all without constriction, and offer plenty of room even for large ears. The ATH-MSR7b fits perfectly and extremely comfortably!
The new 45 mm dynamic drivers provide a high-frequency response range from 5 Hz to 50 kHz. This not only reads well on paper, but it also sounds exceptionally good. Its transparency literally takes a close look at the sound to ensure that all the details make an equal appearance. Compared to its predecessor, Audio-Technica has kept the highs under control so that they are no longer exaggerated, but are still razor-sharp and crystal clear. The precisely reproduced transients of “Westchester Lady” by Bob James are a testament to the capabilities of these headphones, while the electronic hi-hat elements of “Heimcomputer” by Kraftwerk are delivered with real power. Well-rounded mids serve lead sound elements and vocals well, keeping things altogether clean and uncomplicated. Even minor sounds such as the gentle stroking of strings are present and audible. In the lower frequency range, things are once again a treat for the ears. The bass is pronounced and punchy, with the beat delivered with a crisp and confident edge. Frequencies falling below 50 Hz blend well with the overall sound image, while also serving to bring essential warmth to proceedings.
Not only does the all-encompassing fit of these headphones ensure superior delivery of audio to the ears, but the closed and well-dampened design means that sound doesn’t leak out and your listening isn’t contaminated by ambient noise. Completely shielded, you are immersed in the extremely deep and spatial sound image. Instruments, as well as acoustic elements in radio play productions, can be located incredibly precisely. A relatively high output of 101 dB/mW and a low impedance of 36 Ohm means these headphones from Audio-Technica can comfortably compete with low-power headphone amplifiers, such as those found within mobile devices.
You have to love the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7b. Stylish and timeless in its design, it delivers an impressive sound. On the warm sub there is a powerful and grippy bass. In addition, detailed mid-range images and crystal-clear highs, clearly reduced in comparison to its predecessor, form a high-resolution, homogeneous sound image which, together with its very pleasant wearing comfort, invites you to hours of listening sessions.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 50.000 Hz
- Impedance33,95 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)101,55 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head473,5 g
- Weight with cable253 g
- Weight without cable234 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- 1.2 m cable (3.5 mm 3-pin to A2DC, both ends)
- 1.2 m cable (4.4 mm 5-pin balanced jack plug) to A2DC
- Carrying pouch
- available in black and grey