Thursday, May 30, 2013

Audio- Technica ATH-PRO700mk2 Review

Audio Technica ATH-PRO700mk2's
The sturdily built Audio- Technica ATH-PRO700mk2's are a pair of bass centric over ears aimed at the relatively crowded "DJ" headphone market. They feature swiveling, folding and rotating ear cups, above average passive noise isolation (largely due to the clamping force) a fully adjustable, notched and numbered headband as well as a durable plastic construction. While they can often be found for much less, the $230 dollar retail price point makes these headphones a relatively expensive choice. In many ways the ATH-PRO700mk2's price point is justifiable, however there are few ways in which the $230 dollar price point isn't warranted. The ATH-PRO700mk2's are another one of those extremely subjective headphones that produces a very polarizing sound characteristic.  People tend to absolutely love the sound signature or absolutely despise it. I am unfortunately the latter, but in my extensive listening to the PRO700mk2's I have tried to get past my personal preferable sound characteristics and truly get a feel for what the PRO700mk2's bring to the table.

The ATH-PRO700mk2's are packaged in a sufficiently protective box and include a nice faux leather drawstring carrying pouch, 1/4 inch adapter and two cables, one very short straight cable and another coiled cable.  The ATH-PRO700mk2's do have detachable cable functionality, so the inclusion of two cables is a very nice addition.  The coiled cable is threaded on the end allowing for insertion of the screw-on 1/4 inch adapter.  Both straight and coiled cables screw into the PRO700mk2's left ear cup resulting in a secure fit so that the cable can't be pulled out of the headphones by an accidental yank or snag.  The overall build quality is fantastic, with a durable plastic construction and beefy joints.  The PRO700mk2's even surpass my Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's in terms of construction quality and overall ruggedness.  Both cables are a relatively thick gauge with plenty of insulation insuring cable durability for years and years of listening.  The headband is thick and provides ample clamping force.  The ear pads are a bit disappointing as they are extremely thin (more on that later) and the adjustable headband is a bit too resistant to well... adjusting. Aside from a few issues, the build quality is pretty much top notch as far as durability is concerned.  I think the aesthetic design is ok, I just don't understand why Audio Technica didn't accent the Audio Technica logo on the side of the ear cups with a different color (silver maybe?).  I suppose that Audio Technica was trying to go with a more simplistic, non-flashy design with the PRO700mk2's but I really wish that they had emulated the legendary Audio Technica ATH-M50 aesthetic design more.  This is however only a minor personal gripe that has nothing to do with the most important factors when choosing a headphone: comfort and sound quality.

Housed within the PRO700mk2's ear cups are absolutely massive 53mm driver units, that would be much more impressive if they weren't jammed so close up to your ear!  The drivers are not recessed into the ear cups like many headphones and the ear pads are so thin that part of your ear literally rests on the metal grille that protects the driver.  This provides for a very uncomfortable listening experience.  I honestly cannot fathom why the ear pads are so thin. In addition, a hefty amount of clamping force is present, that wouldn't be so bad with some decent ear pads but is exacerbated by the thin ear pads. While the sound quality of the PRO700mk2's is somewhat debatable, the comfort is absolutely not.  All Audio Technica needs to do is slap some thicker, comfier ear pads on the PRO700mk2's and the problem is solved!  The ears also do tend to get a bit hot and sweaty during extended listening sessions due to a lack of breathability from the ear pad material.

PRO700mk2's and included accessories
Ah, the sound quality.  This is the most sensitive subject in regards to the PRO700mk2's.  The main issue that I have with the PRO700mk2's sound quality or rather sound signature, is that it only performs well with very selective genres.  I was initially alluded to this fact after reading several peoples reviews claiming that the Audio Technicas were bass heavy headphones.  They are indeed bass heavy and the bass is one area where I am able to appreciate the PRO700mk2's massive 53mm driver units.  The bass extends low without significant roll off until the extreme (and I mean extreme) low end is reached.  I wouldn't classify the bass as being controlled because it simply isn't, but it isn't particularly muddy either.  The bass is relatively punchy but can sometimes be a bit slow and by that I mean that in faster, more complex tracks the bass feels like it lags behind ever so slightly. The mid range is quite honestly a fail in every sense of the word with these headphones and like the comfort it is an area that was obviously overlooked by Audio Technica.  I now feel nostalgia from when I wrote my Sony MDR-XB700 review, what was the word that I repeated a hundred times in that review? Oh yes, I remember now, it was RECESSED!  The mid range is very badly recessed and disappointingly so. In this fashion, rock and acoustic music becomes near unbearable to listen to with these headphones. Medium range vocalists also suffer due to the recessed mids.  The treble is a tad too sparkly for my tastes and I would say that its verging of sibilance most of the time and does become sibilant at the extreme upper ranges.  Overall blending between frequency ranges could be better, but this issue is likely due in part to the aforementioned lack of mid range clarity, definition and detail and its subsequent recessed state.  If only the mid range where much more prominent and the upper range was toned down just a bit, these headphones would be just perfect.  They perform very bad with any genre thats not bass centric.  This is unfortunately the case with many similar DJ headphones, but I was hoping for the ATH-PRO700mk2's to break the mold and this apparently is not so.

Portable ball configuration
The PRO700mk2's have received mostly rave reviews from most of the folks who have bought them although many have stated the same issues that I have in this review.  The ATH-PRO700mk2's will suit the type of listener who prefers bass centric music and isn't a "genre switcher" like me, who can go from trance to classical, to jazz to hard rock in one listening session.  I can assure you that if you prefer comfortable headphones and or listen to music that is not bass centric or even if you are treble sensitive, the ATH-PRO700mk2's will not suit you in the slightest.  The bass is impressive, but that and the build quality (not comfort) are the only areas where I was impressed.  Their is a headphone out there for everyone, this particular pair however, is not for me.  I will give credit where credit is due and sum up with this: the build quality durability wise is fantastic, the comfort needs much improvement, the sound quality, while subjective, provides good bass response but mediocre to poor mid range prominence, clarity and definition, the upper range is almost their but it is just a tad bit too sibilant in the extreme upper ranges.  I implore anyone considering the ATH-PRO700mk2's to, if possible, audition a pair and listen to them for yourselves whether its at your local audio/ headphone source or a friends pair in addition to considering what my review and others have stated in regards to sound quality in particular.  Be sure to check out the links below!

CLICK HERE for Audio- Technica ATH-PRO700mk2 Product Page
CLICK HERE for Audio- Technica ATH-PRO700mk2 Amazon Product Page


  1. hi,
    I'm a rather bass-loving person and am struggeling to find the right pair for me.
    would you recommend the ath-ws77 over the pro700mk2?


  2. I would recommend the ATH-WS77's over the Pro700mk2's any day in terms of sound quality. Of course, you may need to consider that the Pro700mk2's do have certain features that the WS77's don't, such as a detachable cable, swiveling ear cups and just a better overall build quality.

  3. They are not so large to cover the ears completely fine, but when you put it on, you go to another planet!

    Look this !
    Zomo HD 2500