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The Audio Technica ATH-AD700

A Review On: Audio Technica ATH-AD700

Audio Technica ATH-AD700

Rated # 31 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $83.00
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Pros: Detail, separation, transparency, value, price, uniqueness, comfort, musical tonality, soundstage

Cons: For private listening only, Lacks head-banging involvement compared to some other phones.

I have an impression of this headphone made in a blog somewhere on this site, but I will update this review here at some point with my impressions and opinions.

Basically, I've owned this headphone for over 2 years, and it has aged pretty well. Out of all the headphones I've had the time to listen to at leisure, these have been my favorite.

The grille is a royal purple, though not as dark to be definitely masculine I would say it is gender neutral and definitely attractive, but perhaps weird to see on a headphone. The silvery-champagne part compliments it nicely. The support wings and double overarching frame wires are unique. Overall, a very large headphone that looks well-considered, but would attract strange looks in public.

Fit and comfort are good, the pads fit better now that they're broken in, but comfort was always high. I imagine using a rubber band to connect the wings and increase tension would have it's benefits (as long as your hair doesn't get stuck in the band - perhaps a hair-tie would be better), but I haven't found it necessary. The ear pads press more on your jawbone and cheek than at the top of the ear, so it doesn't feel like a perfect or custom fit BUT improved with wearing in the pads. The velour feels like cloth, not silk or microfiber (hey that might be a cool mod...), but are pretty much the most comfortable ear pads I've used besides the Bose quiet comfort 2 (which was that phones' best quality, but my ears got hot quickly). Personally, my ears get hot very quickly in general, but not so badly with these headphones and I can & have worn these for 5-7 hour listening marathons. To get an idea of my head size, adjustable ball caps usually fit me best when the straps are evenly overlapped, & my head is just shy of 6" wide from ear to ear.

Now, the sound.
I've passed listening to a thousand different songs through these headphones, and I've set up a playlist of songs with a range of dynamics for critical listening, but I'll just refer to my general experience here. So, it's very good. I've "broken ear-ginity" for many of my closest friends with these phones, which have genuinely elicited ecstatic expression and even brought tears to a music performing major when he heard Nocturne No. 2, Op. 9 in E-Minor (always long, almost technical names for what can be such beautiful music). When listening, the much-lauded soundstage allows an atmosphere of the performance around the music, and the instrument separation let's one hear the melody AND the harmony distinctly, as music should be heard. Though not my most- listened to genre (which is alt-rock in the vein of Arcade Fire, Wilco, Radiohead, The Decemberists, Muse, and many other little gems), listening to a well-recorded classical piece is a real treat because you get to feel the concert-hall experience and depth, which can make songs with each instrument recorded onto it's own track & mixed later feel flat in comparison. The detail and texture of these headphones, though a touch gritty and dry, is very addictive - listening to Muse's "Undisclosed Desires" on any other headphones or speaker system I have access to makes me wish to replay it on my Ad700s, just for the energetic and textured bass at the beginning... most other speakers mush it together into a tone, while the AD700 lends it so much character and the buzz it's supposed to have.

My one criticism with these headphones is the occasional feeling that the music lacks impact. I'm no boosted-basshead and I don't feel that a lack off bass volume/presence is the problem as I have read others state, I think the headphones literally don't provide the feeling of air pressing air pressure (type that 5 times fast) on my ears and eardrum. That's just a guess though... This just comes from how much I was jamming to the entire "the Suburbs" album while listening with a borrowed pair of Sennheiser HD-202's in a noisy environment during work, and a somber feeling afterwards listening on my headphones at home when, despite the HD-202's obvious lack of refinement, cleanliness, extension, physical heat, etc., I just didn't find the music as involving on my AD700. This may be a sort of thing tied to what genres the headphones are suited for, and giving the cans more juice via volume and an amp to increase the current seems to improve that aspect, but I can't help thinking "if only the design was semi-closed, or maybe if Audio Technica made a high-ohm version, or if I had a better amp..."
That may just be upgradeitis though, so weigh it accordingly. Regardless, this still stands as my overall favorite headphone that I really enjoy with my music. smily_headphones1.gif


Nice review; thank you. I own three pairs of headphones that I like a lot (Beyer DT880, the Audio Technica ATH AD700, and Sennheiser 595) but I keep returning to the Audio Technicas. They pair very nicely with my amp (the audio engine N-22) and the sound quality is excellent with a wide variety of music. My observations are much like yours: they sound great, the fit is good, and they do lack a bit at the low end. They are also very easy to drive and sound good even with the audio out from my laptop.
I've had mine for a year now and am finally confident enough in their abilities to push them a bit with the volume and they sound just as great as they do at low volumes but more impactful. Next to the Koss Pro-4AA these are my favorite. Hooked up to my Onkyo TX-8555 they deliever plenty of balanced bass for non-bass lovers.
Yes the Sennheiser HD-202's are more bangy and great for bass type music. Still their lack of refinement with the details makes them less immersive then the Audio-Technica Ath-AD700 which brings out every possible emotion from me. The HD-202's are more for my destructive mood indulgences such as playing real time strategy and first person shooters where i prefer not hearing foot steps since thats just not realisitc after an explosion :D
Thanks for the great review :)
Thanks for the thoughts and comments!
To be clear... the amount and volume of the bass is right where I want it. I know what I don't like: tinny or brain-scattering. I think the AD700 is quite balanced and far from those extremes. What I was trying to say was that, from the WHOLE spectrum of sound, it's a little relaxed (laid back?) and sometimes my mind wanders and gets bored. Anyone heard the Fire Arcade album "The Suburbs" I mentioned in the review? Not exactly hip hop. But I had an impression of being more involved with the HD202 from Sennheiser (I think it was the mk I version, this was just provided at Panera for watching the training videos, and I kinda borrowed it one day I was working at the dishes), and when I got home and listened to the album on the AD700, it was the same files, milder emotional impact.
I may be on the road to a 2 can system... oh headphones. Can anyone comment on the HD448 as being similar in character to the HD202? Massive downstep from the AD700? Because as much as I love the purple individuality of the AD700, I'm not confident to take it to the school computer lab...
Also, alexj,
I've not had the luxury of hearing those other two cans, nor that audio engine N-22. I do enjoy my FiiO E5 though... maybe there is an E6 or even an E9 in my future? Or would you wholly recommend the N-22 based on synergy?
You sound like me, heh! IF I bump into you on Starcraft II, don't call me a n00b... I know I am already. I'll have to do a side by side comparison between my iPod touch, 5G iPod using a dock connector (headphone jack died a while ago, sorta started me on upgrading sound ;) ) and the E5, and the 5G iPod > dock > Yamaha RX-V367 (feel like I should've gotten a Denon... didn't know at the time).
what happened to the user blogs? I had written a couple posts on mine here, but I can't find them.
Hi Evshrug: I wasn't recommending the N-22 so much as just saying the synergy is there. The N-22 is a great amp, though, if you want to drive some speakers as well. It does a really nice job when paired with the P-4 speakers (and it could drive quite a few other speakers as well). But the N-22/P-4 combo makes for a very good nearfield set up esp. when combined with a dac; I'm using the HRT music streamer and I'm really happy with the set-up.
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