Sony has released two solid musician’s IEMs. There are already a few reviews out there about both, the M7 and the M9. So, this comparison review is for the kids who are familiar with at least one of these earphones, but are still hesitant to seal the deal. The M7 and the M9 are separated by about 700 bucks. What are their differences in signature, and how much better is the sound quality on the M9? Let’s find out in this Sony IER-M7 vs Sony IER-M9 Review
Sony IER-M7 vs Sony IER-M9 Review
The fit on both IEMs should make you a happy camper. They’re easy to pop in and provide a great seal that cuts out a freqload of crap. (Maybe the M9 even more so than the M7). And because the M7 and M9 share the same ergonomic shape, I doubt you’ll find any difference in comfort between these two buds.
The M7 employs four balanced armature drivers, while the M9 sports five balanced armatures, adding a super tweeter to the mix. Both IEMs share the same cable design, though the colors are different. The silver-coated copper cables have silk braid insulators, and the plugs on both cables feel super solid. Both IEMs also come with balanced 4.4mm cables to bring your sound to the next level if you choose.
But the housing differs. The M9 uses outer magnesium housing, while the M7 seems to only employ inner magnesium housing. So, in terms of longevity the M9 is a safer bet, especially if you’re the kind of musician who throws TV’s out of hotel windows.
Both IEMs share the same sensitivity and only vary slightly in impedance. And when comparing the two models, the volume required minimal adjustment. But note that they do take a little more juice to drive than the standard IEM. The M7 and the M9 also have the same frequency range at 5 – 40,000 Hz.
Overall Impressions: The dynamic M7 vs the well-balanced M9.
If you’re looking for a little extra oomph in your low end, you might gravitate towards the M7. Listening to pop, it showed just a bit more punch and depth. That being said, they share around the same sub frequency response. The M7 seemed to keep up with the M9 in terms of transparency and resolve as well. Perhaps, I heard just a touch more texture in string instruments on the M9. But the contrast is insignificant in this respect.
There’s a slight difference in balance here. The M7 is the more dynamic of the two IEMs, with vocals sitting a tad forward in the mix. The M9 feels flatter in this range, with the upper mids less emphasized. So, you should getter a more complete picture of the mix from the M9. Listening to guitar strums in the lower mids, the level of separation was equal. But in terms of transparency, the M9 yielded a little more detail and timbre when testing out some cello tracks.
Playing some violin solos, you’ll hear a more detail and natural tone from the M9, while the lazier M7 smooths outs some of the fainter nuances. And listening to pop, percussion had just a touch of added crispness on the M9. This could be due to the extra speed displayed by the M9 or the super tweeter. But at the end of the day, the high frequency extension is similar on these two IEMs.
The soundstages on these IEMs are similar in that they both offer a great deal of depth. And in terms of sense of spaciousness, the M9 doesn’t particularly outshine the M7. However, distant instruments display more richness and separation on the M9 while the M7 conveys a fainter and less defined sound. As a result, the M9 has a more colorful and multidimensional quality.
If you’re looking for the IEM with the most neutral balance, then go for the M9. But if you want a little extra energy in your sound signature, the more dynamic M7 is the way to go. Of course, paying more for the M9 will give you extra clarity and speed as well. Does the M9’s added skill justify paying another 700 bucks? If you’re a stickler for detail and excellence, then maybe. That being said, the M9 is not a gigantic jump from the M7 in terms of talent. And if you just need a solid and reasonably versatile IEM that checks all the boxes, then I would stick to the M7.
You can find both IEMs for the best price at:
Audio 46: Sony IER-M7 In-Ear Headphones
Audio 46: Sony IER-M9 In-Ear Headphones