Whats up Jerry!! Wow a blast from the past.. (Droid X days, or was it the Galaxy Nexus..?) Isn't it nuts choosing a headphone around a smartphone....r u kidding me...lol, luv it. Have the original set of the M50 and they are decent, wanted the Philips X2 , then decided on the Senhieser 650, now I'm wondering about these guys you just posted.. First World Problemas...gotta love it!!
Well Jerry, I've owned the Audio Technica ATH-MSR7NC for a month and half and I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed. I was fortunate enough to get B&H to let me have them for the Xmas season price of 219 which makes them a really sweet deal as opposed to 299.
My first comment is in regard to whether or not pay the extra 50 dollars for noise cancellation. I think it's worth it but it depends on your needs. The Noise Cancellation is not as aggressive as Bose QC25/35, however I prefer it that way. It cuts out most of the low end whir and whine of trains and planes but I still hear some voices without the music playing or with quiet music. When I tried them at B&H it cut out most of the shopper crowd noise but again I could still hear some talking. I actually like being able to hear my surroundings somewhat especially in New York City. The other nice thing about the noise cancelation is that the audio quality doesn't change noticeably when switching them on and off. The only difference would be if you plugged them into the V20 with NC off so that the DAC is in low impedance mode.
As far as the sound quality goes.... these cans are unbelievable. I hear stuff in my music that I never heard before and my hearing is not the greatest after all those years running sound at live shows. These phones have a very bright clean sound and while the bass is good and clean, I would not recommend them for bass heads who are fans of mud. However, a little EQ can go a long way to make the bass more visible. The left and right separation is superb, however what really stands out is how distinctly I can pick out all the different instruments, vocals, and other sounds. Live performances are incredible but be prepared to enjoy more mistakes as you can hear them distinctly. Studio performances feel more alive as well.
I compared these to the V-Moda crossfades and the MSR7NCs outperformed them except for bass. I would still like to compare these to Beyer Dynamic Custom Studios, however I couldn't find them locally. I would definitely recommend these headphones to anyone looking for great sound and a little bit of noise cancellation. If you can get them on sale even better, but right now they seem to be holding at 299.
With specific regard to the V20, they trip the high impedance mode with NC active so its nice to get the full output of the Quad DAC though normal mode may be adequate for most people.