Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC Headphones Review

Updated Sep 12, 2017 at 02:23 pm
Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
6.5
Mixed Usage
7.6
Neutral Sound
6.4
Commute/Travel
6.1
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.5
Wireless Gaming
7.2
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Call
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling Yes
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC are well-built and sturdy headphones with a well-balanced sound. They're comfortable and do not leak much at high volumes. However, they don't block a lot of noise despite being noise canceling headphones, so they're not the best option for traveling or commuting. They're also a bit too bulky for sports, but they deliver a good audio reproduction for critical listening.

Our Verdict

6.5 Mixed Usage

The MSR7NC are decent mixed usage headphones with a good sound. They won't be the ideal headphones for commuting despite being noise canceling headphones and they may be a bit too bulky for sports. On the upside, they have a good sound, a great build quality and a polished design that will appeal to casual and serious listeners.

7.6 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral listening. They're comfortable enough to wear for hours and have well-balanced sound. Their bass extends into the lower frequencies, which gives a good kick without being overpowering, so you can still clearly distinguish instruments and vocals. However, there's a slight bump in the high-mid/low-treble that may push instruments a bit too forward on some tracks which could sound a bit harsh. They also do not have a wide soundstage due to their closed-back noise-canceling design, but overall they sound good enough for both casual and more neutral listeners.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.4 Commute/Travel

Mediocre for commuting. They have a comfortable fit but a mediocre control scheme and a subpar noise cancellation performance., They may be able to mask some noise if you're playing at high enough volumes, but they won't be the ideal headphones for loud environments.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
6.1 Sports/Fitness

Mediocre for sports. They have an easy to use but limited control scheme. Unfortunately, they're a bit too bulky and cumbersome for sport. They also create a pretty good seal around your ears which means they won't be the most breathable headphones to run with.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.6 Office

Average for office use. They do not leak much, so they won't distract you colleagues at higher volumes like some of the other over-ear headphones we've reviewed. However, they do not block a lot of noise so they may not be the best headphones to use in a lively and noisy office environment

See our Office recommendations
7.2 Wired Gaming
6.3 Phone Call
  • 6.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.6 Neutral Sound
  • 6.4 Commute/Travel
  • 6.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 5.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.2 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Call
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Low leakage.
  • Sturdy and comfortable.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation especially for noise canceling headphones.
  • Slightly bulky design.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 9/28/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here

Check Price

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Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The MSR7NC have a similar look and feel to the rest of the ATH-M series but are considerably better built. They look high-end and feel sturdy when you pick them up. They have a decently thick headband and large circular ear cups that are amply padded. If you liked the designs of most of the ATH-M lineup, then the MSR7NC will look even better thanks to their more premium appeal. However, they still have a somewhat studio vibe, so they won't be a flashy fashion statement to go with your outfit.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.7 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

The MSR7NC are comfortable over-ear headphones. They're bit bulkier than the typical M series lineup, but they're not uncomfortably heavy. They have thicker padding and deeper earcups than the ATH-M70x or ATH-M50x. However, the headband does not extend far enough so they may feel a little tight on some heads.

5.7
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control Yes
Talk-Through
No
Additional Buttons No

The MSR7NC have an average control scheme that's easy to use but lacks volume controls. They only have one button on the inline remote for calls, pausing and playing audio as well as track skipping. On the ear cup, there's an on/off switch for the noise cancellation. The buttons are quite responsive and straightforward but the lack of volume controls feels limiting.

6.3
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.3 C
6.0
Design
Portability
L 7 "
W 6.3 "
H 2.5 "
Volume 110 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required N/A

The MSR7NC are decently large over-ear headphones which unlike some of the other headphones in the ATH-M series, do not fold into a more compact format. The ear cups lay flat to save a bit of space, but they're too bulky and cumbersome to comfortably carry around on your person without a bag.

6.5
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

Comes with a cloth pouch that will protect the headphones against minor scratches if you put them in your bag. Unfortunately, the soft pouch won't shield them from drops impacts and water exposure which is disappointing given the price range and level of care put into the design of the MSR7NC.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The ATH-MSR7NC have a great build quality that feels durable and high-end. The headband is thick and reinforced with a plastic and metal frame. The ear cups are dense and won't get damaged from accidently dropping the headphones. The cables are also thick and detachable, which means these headphones should be able to withstand regular wear and tear pretty well.

6.5
Design
Stability

The MSR7-NC are tight enough to be stable during casual use but won't be the ideal headphones for running or working out. The earcups sway a lot during physical activities and may slip off your ears. On the upside, the cable is detachable, so it will disconnect if it gets hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC Headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" Adapter
  • Airline adapter
  • Audio cables (x3)
  • Manual
  • Carrying pouch

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.76 db
Treble Amount
-0.42 db
5.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.19 dB

Sub-par consistency performance. The Bass Range response is susceptible to consistencies due to head shape/size and also the presence/absence of glasses. Our human subject who wears glasses loses 3dB of Bass starting at 300Hz which is quite significant. The Treble Range consistency is also mediocre, with a deviation of +/-3dB at 3KHz.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.9
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.54 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
12.97 Hz
Low-Bass
-2.2 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.31 dB
High-Bass
1.86 dB

Excellent Bass Range performance. Low-bass is extended down to 13Hz, which is great. However, low-bass, which is responsible for thump and rumble is lacking by about 2dB. Bass is well-balanced and nearly flawless. High-bass is over our target by about 2dB, adding just a little bit of boominess to the sound. Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

8.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.25 dB
Low-Mid
-1.16 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.46 dB
High-Mid
2.78 dB

Very good Mid Range performance. Low-mid has 1dB of dip around 400Hz, thinning out vocals/leads. But at 1dB, the effect will be barely noticeable. Mid is reproduced nearly flawlessly and is within 0.5dB of our target. High-mid is overemphasized by about 3dB, adding excess intensity and projection to vocals/leads.

8.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.03 dB
Low-Treble
2.13 dB
Mid-Treble
0.83 dB
High-Treble
-2.93 dB

Very good Treble Range performance. The 2dB bump in low-treble, which is the continuation of the high-mid overemphasis adds to the detail and articulation of vocals/leads. Treble is within 0.8dB of our target, but the peak at 10KHz could make them slightly sibilant to those with overly sensitive ears.

7.4
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.7 db
Dips
1.2 db
7.8
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.18
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
2.02
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.19
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.83
6.0
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.69 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.02 dB
PRTF Distance
16.47 dB
Openness
4.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.0
8.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.113
WHD @ 100
0.054
Isolation
5.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-14.67 dB
Bass
-4.56 dB
Mid
-8.14 dB
Treble
-31.34 dB

Sub-par Isolation. The noise-cancelling system of these headphones kick-in at around 50Hz and are effective up to 1KHz. They achieve about 5dB of isolation in the Bass Range which is sub-par. In the Mid Range, the reduce the outside noise by about 8dB, which is about average. However, in the Treble Range, they achieve more than 30dB of isolation which is good.

7.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
35.85 dB

Good Leakage performance. The significant portion of Leakage sits between 400hz and 7KHz, which is a relatively broad range. However, the overall level of leakage is quite low.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-line
Yes
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
N/A
6.1
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
472.58 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
1.46 dB
HFE
2215.77 Hz
Weighted THD
0.14
Gain
22.04 dB
6.7
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
18.77 dB
Active Features
8.1
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
27 hrs
Additional Charges
0
Total Battery Life
27 hrs
Charge Time
2.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

These headphones have up to 27 hours of continuous playtime at average volumes, which is great for long flights or road trips. Unfortunately, they take quite a bit of time to charge and they do not have any battery saving features like an auto-off timer. On the upside, they can be used completely passively when the batteries die and can charge while continuously playing audio.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
N/A
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
N/A
Playback Control
N/A
Button Mapping N/A
Surround Sound N/A

No compatible app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A

Wired connection, negligible latency.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.1 ft
Connection 1/8" TRRS
Wired Latency
0 ms
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
N/A
USB Input
N/A
Line In
N/A
Line Out
N/A
Optical Input
N/A
RCA Input
N/A
Dock Charging
N/A
Power Supply
N/A

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC Price

Black ATH-MSR7NC
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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