Friday, July 5, 2013

Audio- Technica ATH-AD700X Open-Air Review

Audio Technica ATH-AD700X
The Audio- Technica ATH-AD700X's represent Audio- Technica's newest revision to the AD series over ear headphones.  Simply put, the ATH-AD700X's are the newer version of the original AD700's, with the X representing the revised version.  The AD700X's sport some impressive credentials such as the massive 53mm driver units, open back design, low impedance, the extremely comfortable velour pads and  my favorite part about the AD series: the super comfortable floating headband design.  The combination of comfort, design and specifications made the AD700X's a headphone worth looking at, especially at the $200 dollar full retail price point.

Similar to the Audio- Technica ATH-AD500's that I have reviewed earlier (I will provide a link to that review at the end of this one) the first thing that one notices about the AD700X's is how truly massive they are.  Included with the AD700X's is a 1/4 adapter for connecting your headphones to a professional audio source, amplifier or any device that requires the bigger plug. No carrying pouch, case or bag is included nor any other accessories. The build quality of the AD700X's is more than sufficient for the price, although the honey comb metal grille that covers the drivers is prone to denting, these aren't headphones that you will want to be taking out of the house due to their size and open backed nature. As long as you treat them with care, they should fare well.  The headband was able to easily withstand the various stress tests that I put it through, which included stretching the headphones to extremely wide lengths as well as seeing what interesting contortions and shapes I could create with the head set.  The construction is primarily plastic with the exception of the aforementioned honey comb aluminum grille that adorns the driver housings.  The only area of the build that doesn't feel absolutely rock solid is the "head paddles" which are attached to the self adjusting arms by a small screw.  They have however fared well thus far, but only time will tell how well they hold up to years of usage.  While not terrible, I was a little disappointed in the quality of the cord.  In Audio Technica's original, non revised AD series, the cord was extremely well constructed and was extremely malleable. The new cords on the revised X series headphones however, are extremely rubbery and resistant to change, i.e. they like to hold the form that they were in when packaged in the box. Aesthetically, I really quite like the design of the AD700X's.  They look and feel like a piece of truly professional audio equipment and also look like a much more expensive headphone than what they actually are.

The comfort is absolutely the best area of the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X's.  I have yet to wear a more comfortable pair of headphones.  The floating head band design provides absolutely no discomfort while evenly distributing the weight of the headphone across the head.  The "head paddles" also don't mess up the wearers hair as much as a traditional headphone headband.  The extremely soft velour pads lightly rest upon the sides of the wearers head.  The ear cups are so large that the listeners ear only touches the soft pads themselves ever so slightly.  In addition, there is absolutely no clamping force whatsoever, because the entire weight of the headphone is supported by the aforementioned "head paddles".  Despite this lack of clamping force however, the floating headband design ensures that the headphones don't slip off easily.  At least in my case, the headphones stay on even when I tried shaking my head to get them off.  However, some issues have been reported with the AD700X's slipping off people with smaller heads than mine.  No matter what the size of your head, the AD700X's are extremely comfortable and wont slip off as long as you are sitting in a stationary position.  The comfort of the AD700X's receives an absolute A+ in my book and it is one of the biggest upsides of the AD700X's.

Now the sound quality of the Audio- Technica AD700X's is a truly interesting topic.  To be perfectly honest, I am not a fan of the AD700X's sound signature. The mid range is probably the best part of the AD700X's. it is very accurate, precise and balanced. The upper ranges are a tad too prominent for me and sibilance likes to frequently accompany the treble.  Similar to the Audio- Technica ATH-AD500's, I found the bass response to be entirely lacking.  These headphones are extremely bass light.  Many audio purists will probably dislike what I have to say next, but what these headphones really need is some equalization.  By giving the bass a significant boost and by toning the treble down just a bit, I was able to tailor the stubborn sound of the AD700X's into a signature that suits me perfectly.  The bass is now much more full and provides far greater impact and presence. The upper ranges are now far less sibilant as well.  The AD700X's  are very resistant towards distortion which allowed me to boost the bass significantly with no distortion whatsoever, even at extremely loud volume levels.  While the unequalized sound signature likely suits many listeners with its mid range accuracy and crisp treble, I personally didn't care for it.  Unequalized, the AD700X's provide a relatively boring, yet accurate representation of music.  They aren't warm or dark by any stretch of the imagination.  What the AD700X's do provide is absolutely stellar stereo separation as well as an immensely deep and wide sound stage that I found, makes these headphones extremely well suited towards gaming as well as well recorded and produced tracks that are very good at displaying sound stage.

I wouldn't recommend these headphones to anyone who is looking for immense amounts of bass nor for folks that are treble sensitive, but for those who are looking for a very accurate representation of sound and can deal with the inherit lack of bass and treble sibilance the AD700X's may just suit you perfectly. While I know that equalization is not preferable to having headphones with a sound signature that suits the listener without equalization, I can thoroughly enjoy the AD700X's by boosting the bass and lowering the treble.  The AD700X's provide an excellent mix of comfort, build quality and decent if not a little bit analytical sound signature at a respectable price point.

CLICK HERE for the Audio- Techica ATH-AD700X Product Page
CLICK HERE for the Audio- Technica ATH-AD700X Amazon Product Page
CLICK HERE for my Audio- Technica ATH-AD500 Review

1 comment:

  1. I am about to buy these but I cannot really gauge weather to buy them with the AudioEngine D1 now or at a later stage. I will be listening to a lot of music and for some gaming. Will the DAC really change my experience in this regard? Also wanted to get the DAC now so the total upfront cost for purchasing Speakers + DAC later on is not that steep.

    Any suggestion, comments or/and advice would be much appreciated.