I have been a fan of Audio Technica headphones for years now. I always appreciated their level of aesthetic detail, especially for the price. However, the Audio Technica ATH-SR9 takes a step up in price and I’m curious. Is it worth the extra $200? How does it compare to the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7, my favorite Audio Technica headphone in the range below it? Today I’ll administer an Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 comparison review.
Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 Comparison Review
First, let’s look at the objectives:
|Audio Technica ATH-SR9||Audio Technica ATH-MSR7|
|Impedance||47 ohms||35 ohms|
|Type||closed-back over-ear||closed-back over-ear|
|Drivers||45mm, dynamic||45mm, dynamic|
|Sensitivity||97 dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz||100 dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz|
In the Box
|Audio Technica ATH-SR9||Audio Technica ATH- MSR7|
|detachable 1.2m standard cable (with A2DC connector)||detachable 1.2 m standard cable (with 3.5mm connector)|
|detachable 1.2m cable with remote and mic (with A2DC connector)||3 m cable with remote and mic (with 3.5mm connector)|
|Hard-shell carrying case||protective pouch|
There are many similarities between the designs of the Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and Audio Technica ATH-MSR7. If the colors were the same, you may not be able to tell them apart. Both of their ear pads and headband cushions are coated with a soft pleather material. Somehow, the SR9’s is softer than the MRS7’s but other than that, they are quite similar. The ear cups are the same size, not too bulky, but big enough to create a nice seal over the ear. Both of them have plastic ear cups and a metal headband, which makes them feel durable, but still lightweight. They are both comfortable to wear and agree well with my head shape and size.
First, one major difference between the Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 is their cable. The ATH-SR9’s cable uses A2DC connectors which fasten to both ear cups. By contrast, The ATH-MSR7 uses a 3.5mm cable that connects to just the left ear cup.
The other major difference is inside the ear cup, at the driver level. The ATH-SR9 features a system known as the Midpoint Mount Technology. This technology assures that the space between the diaphragm and the housing is consistent and secure. As a result, the driver is able to utilize the entire space inside the housing, letting the driver react more truthfully and push more air for low frequency support.
When I first began listening to these headphones, I just plugged them both straight into my phone and began playing music. I could hear some differences but they sounded almost indistinguishable. The biggest differences came once I started driving them both with an amp. Once I included some light amplification using the Dragonfly Black, I started picking up on some interesting differences.
In general though, both headphones have a similar sound signature. They both have a broad boost around 80Hz. Their mid-ranges are clear and react well to all genres of music. Their high-end frequencies favor 10kHz, giving cymbals and other instruments with a lot of high frequency information extra vitality.
As I mentioned before, the biggest differences between the Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 is exposed when using a headphone amp. The ATH-SR9 feels more reactive to changes in dynamics in the music, making them more articulate and emotionally literate.
Additionally, there is a clearer sense of air in the high frequencies which makes vocals, acoustic guitars, strings, and cymbals glisten delicately. This and the extra clarity in the low frequencies gives the ATH-SR9 a greater sense of height than the ATH-MSR7. It feels like there is also more space in the mid-range on the ATH-SR9.
Both the Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 are great headphones. I’d recommend the ATH-MSR7 to those looking for a less expensive headphone that doesn’t require an amp. There is less dynamic truthfulness in this headphone, but for taking on-the-go, it is an easier choice that also sounds great! For those looking for that little bit of extra detail, I’d recommend checking out the ATH-SR9, but be sure to use an amp with it. Even it is just a $99 Dragonfly Black, it will make all the difference for you. Is the SR9 worth the extra $200 at $449.00? It is if you are an audiophile listening in a quiet environment and driving it properly. If not, you’re better off saving the money.
Both the Audio Technica ATH-SR9 and Audio Technica ATH-MSR7 are available for the best price here: