The Sony IER-M7 is a compact in-ear reference headphone and its main purpose is to support professional artists on stage with their sound during a performance when standard over-ear headphones wouldn’t suit them. However, as for quality of work, they are comparable to other models on the market.
The Sony M7 and the Sony M9 are extremely similar. They look almost the same and they both have four balanced armatures, the same set of accessories, and almost exactly the same shell design. IEMs cable has a great build quality and noise cancelation. These headphones are made for stage use. I have to wonder if there was an actual decision here but at a $500 price point, I’m not expecting something so small.
Here is a review of the Sony IER-M7 headphones.
Table of Contents
Frequency Range: 5-40,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 24 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 103 dB
IEMs tend to feel sterile or boring, but the M7 isn’t like that. It’s neutral-toned The audio quality of this speaker is great, which means that it can play beautifully with the vast majority of musical genres. I only have one complaint: the crossovers are too loud and noticeable. The earphone has a bass-heavy sound but can still keep up with vocal clarity, making it ideal for checking out new music. Sony’s latest BAs have a distinctive sound and the transitions aren’t always seamless.
In addition, the mid drivers make the sound of a high-definition piece of art that is only enhanced by the introduction of the bass drivers to complete the M7’s sound. I listened to the out-of-production M7 next to the current M9. The M7 is actually a bit dark and “borderline.” But after hearing it again, I didn’t have that impression at all. While not my ideal tuning, it was still plenty enjoyable.
The low-end BAs are probably the most interesting drivers in the M7 and M9. They’re designed with a unique firing mechanism that’s typically not seen in other audio components. There’s no way to accurately describe the sound of this speaker because it is so good. The M7 has a BASS that would make even a bad dynamic driver sound like a good one.
It’s easy to hear the rumbling sub-bass in the M7 for a more natural sound. The M7 doesn’t lean as much towards being boomy, making it easier to hear what’s coming out of it.
The bass is elevated and bleeds into the mids. The bass can sound a little soft, but it’s rounded off despite the boominess. I found that the leading edge could be more defined because right now, the notes in the bass sound a little soft.
The M7 is a powerful machine and sounds amazing. It can get a little muddy at times due to the relative lack of definition of the sound it produces.
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If you’re looking for a warm-sounding tone that’s less forward, the M7 might be the headphones for you. Acoustic instruments, like guitars and guitars, have a clear tone with a welcoming mid-range that sounds excellent for unplugged setlists.
Sometimes the mid-BAs have an engaging quality to them. But when the track goes from a mid-focused acoustic passage to bringing in booming drums, there is less clarity to the sound. The M7 has a well-balanced upper mids and laid-back nature. The vocals have never been harsh or fatiguing to listen to, nor is there any issue with sibilance.
The lower treble output from the M7 is impressive. It smooths out the attack in cymbals and hats at the lower frequency range. The sound of the treble is present but not overwhelming. I felt like there was a surprising level of treble extension and focus where it mattered.
I listened to the audio tracks and I was surprised by how much airiness there was in the instrumentals. I thought they lacked presence in the treble and wasn’t able to bring out the shine from the hats and cymbals. In addition, they didn’t have enough space in the upper register of vocals.
Overall, I found the treble of the M7 to be tastefully done for what they were going for. The timbre is not perfect but there are no glaring weaknesses here.
One of the highlights for me was the soundstage and imaging. The M7 has a large soundstage that feels natural to me and a solid image sensor so it will be easy for me to feel like I’m in that recording studio when I’m listening to music. The wide upper midrange does give the sense of open space, however, I wish there was a bit more bass and treble clarity to balance out the occasional low production.
In general, the instrument separation on these IEMs is quite good and their resolution is a step up from other <$200-range IEMs.
The M7 has a pretty presentation. The speaker sounds well enough and the camera can just about focus on what you’re looking at, but it won’t always be the most seamless experience for audio or video. It’s hard to shake the feeling that the M7 is something greater. That the M7 feels like it’s a sort of a first draft for an entity.
I’m being facetious here, I know that’s the M9. The sound quality improvement is pretty sharp if you’ve got the chance to compare it to other phones.
Would it make sense to buy this?
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At its MSRP of $500, the M7 has a bit of an overpriced price tag for me. On one hand, I quite enjoyed my time with these headphones and found myself reaching for them again and again during this review. However, the choice to seemingly cheap out on the build quality irks me. And that sense of “almost there but not quite” does stick in the back of my mind.
With the price tag that Sony is asking for the IER-M7, I’m not sure if it’s worth recommending. If you find a used one for about $250 or less, the sound quality will be enjoyable and the compromises are worth it. It might be a good option until you can get into the best options.