Pros: SOUNDSTAGE, Bass, warm, musical
Cons: Bass Guitar, highs drop off the top, huge, solid wire cable
DISCLAIMER: I don’t have ‘golden ears.’
Strong points: Some isolation. Bass/energy. Soundstage is GREAT. Good attack/delay on notes. “Fairly” controlled bass. Nice non-forward mids and crisp upper mids-lower highs. REALLY easy to drive ,you can plug it into your iPad (with an adapter) and it sounds good. It scales with a good amplifier, naturally, but not as much as the HD650 or others.
Weak points: Treble extension. Minor sound leakage, isolation from outside sound is low. Large. Not as large as the MDR R10, but only a little bit smaller than the DRM XB1000. Bass guitars dominate this headphone. You should also baby the cable as it handles like solid-strand copper. Overall, more of an at-home headphone, while useable at work, it would shine in a quiet environment while being decent in a noisy one.
Recommended Use: At home. Or dorm room, given the sound signature of this headphone. It would be right at home at a code monkeys desk with techno pouring out through it. It’s not really a work phone due to poor isolation. It’s not at all a mobile headphone.
THAT'S IT?; A bit of detail
Soundstage: Amazing. (for a closed headphone) The HD650 sounds a more open, but then again, it IS a bit more open.
Bass: Lots of energy. Pretty well defined, and it doesn’t overpower the mids/vocals, but it feels like it has a lot of energy to it. I chose these over Denons older & newer D- line. (I wanted a closed bass headphone.) It manages bass very well, with one caveat. When there is a bass guitar that is mastered “forward” to take a large part of the song, the headphone takes that bass guitar and makes it the star of the show. It doesn’t destroy the synergy of the other instruments, but it certainly eclipses them.
Mids: Good. Not as comfortable, or as warm as the HD650, but on songs with less bass and more mids, the mids on the phone present themselves well. Guitar-only tracks (acoustic) sound lush and full. In part because the lower notes really get a lot of energy from the lower spectrum.
Highs: Listening to the same electronic track on both the HD650 and the DX700, parts of track came across a bit shrill on the HD650, while I didn’t notice it at all on the DX700. This is both good and bad. On songs with sibilance or if you notice these things (the T1 was always a bit to shrill for me until I got the WA2) it can be good. The downside is that I feel it drops off the highs. They are present, but not to full extension. You wouldn’t listen to this for complex pieces of orchestral work.
Isolation/leakage: Poor. Not as bad as open headphones, but don’t use it in a quiet environment without expecting someone else to be able to guess what you are listening to. Also note… it sounds best in quiet environments due to low isolation.
Comfort: Not bad. Not great. The MDR-1R is more comfortable, as is the T1. They aren't as heavy as the LCD'2, and they have less clamping force than the HD650. In short, they are huge-leather padded headphones that you can wear for long periods, but you'll never forget that you have large leather-padded headphones around your ears.
Verdict: Great for Rap, electronic, bass heads who want a bit more refinement, guitar pieces. Non-complex songs with mids/highs, or well-mixed music that caters to energy/bass for the conveyance of emotion in the song. I wouldn’t pay $700 for it, but then again, I didn’t.
I think the Mad Dog Alphas might be worth it over these. As much as I enjoy the DX700, I would probably trade it for the Alpha… unless you are really into bass, then check those out! Because of some of the newer headphones that are out, for the average consumer, I would put the value of this headphone at a good deal around $400. (I like the wood, and the soundstage is great.)
MORE BLAH BLAH: (more words to say the same thing)
More on isolation: Isolation from outside noise when music is playing is ‘decent’ but if your turn off the music you’ll hear 90+% of the noise around you. At a moderate volume, with some outside noise someone standing within 2-3 feet of you will hear hints of what you are listening to at a low volume. In a quiet office, this might bother co-workers. So the ability to hold the music inside the cups isn’t that good if you want it in a quiet environment.
DX700 VS HD650 (and others): The DX700 is more immersive, more vibration/impact/energy, removes high-pitch sibilance while the HD650 is more airy, better instrument separation with all genres (though the DX700 is better on clear tracks with carefully mastered lower ends and less going on), and the HD650 hits the highs with more sparkle. Essentially, the DX700 has the characteristics of what you would expect from a closed can, but with a wide soundstage. The HD650 has that trademark musical mids, while the DX700 has great bass energy without resembling the messy rumble of a jet engine that Beats made their first headphones to resemble.
While it is, understandably, not as good as the T1/Woo WA2 combo it DOES have more energy on the bass side of things. The soundstage also is closer to the T1 than any other aspect of the headphone. Compared to the Lyr/LCD2, I actually prefer the soundstage on the DX700. For me, the Lyr/LCD2 doesn’t always hit that itch that I want to scratch when I reach for the LCD2… the bass. I actually feel it has better (or the same? This varies on the genre due to the soundstage of this 'phone) instrument separation than the LCD2 on clean tracks with less 'going on' in lower frequencies, though that is debatable. (Feel free to debate it. It may just be the soundstage playing tricks on me. Beautiful beautiful tricks.) I’d say the DX700 sounds similar but with more emphasis on bass. The bass is well controlled and impactful, but it’s brought forward. It sounds deep and resonant. The LCD2 is a better headphone, but it doesn’t have as much energy to the bass, and the DX700 beats it when it comes to soundstage.
Parting shots: The DX700 has lots of flavor, lots of color. It pairs well with Electronic or Rap with tight well mastered bass. The phones tend to bring out all the subtle inflections of a singers voice, but this can be masked if the song is mastered a certain way. The phones bring the bass up a notch. The bass overshadows the mids when the bass is ‘flowing.’ Not because it’s poorly controlled, but because “THE BASS MUST FLOW!” (So said some Japanese engineer when making these phones.)
SONGS; using the AQ Dragonfly with the H650s’ bundled ¼ adaptor
RECORD - Crosby, Stills & Nash by Crosby, Stills & Nash (Remastered, 96,400 24bit)
TRACK - “Marrakesh”: While it sounds good the bass is really brought forward. The highs and cymbals are crisp, but the voices sound a bit recessed in comparison to the bass. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on the sound sounds a bit veiled.
TRACK - “Helplessly Helping”: sounds great with wonderful separation between the vocals. Perhaps due to the lack of bass the song feels more alive and snazzy.
RECORD - Dr. Chesky’s Sensational, Fantastic, and Simply Amazing Binaural Sound Show
TRACK - “Storms Are On The Ocean” (sung by Amber Rubarth): Ms. Rubarth sounds rich and velvety in this song, mixed in with the Chello and Violin, but what really steals the show is the vibrancy of the cello. When it starts to play, most of the energy is taken up by the cello. It doesn’t overpower the others, it is simply very present. The soundstage of the headphone coupled with the Binaural recording makes for a very immersive experience.
TRACK - “Pamafunk” (by The Brooklyn Funk Band): Wow. The bass here makes you feel like you are in a carpeted cave. A cave filled with vibrant bass, clear trumpet calls, and an excited electric guitarist. The bass in this song is like an ocean upon which the other instruments play upon. The trumpets really set sail on the fullness of the booming sound set up by bass guitar and drums. Due to the placement of the trumpets and the consistent nature of the bass in this song, the trumpets come out really forward and clear, taking the center of the stage as they were meant to. The bass guitar is a little fuzzy at times, making the whole thing very bassy and warm to listen to.
RECORD - Freedom Calling by Jake Hamilton (MP4 iTunes… yes, I know)
TRACK – “War Drums”: I like to use this song to judge the bass control on a song. Using this song as a baseline between the DX700, HD650 and T1, the mids come through but the mastering on the bass guitar in the mix really takes charge. There is a bit of fuzz on the extreme low end of the guitar, while all the drums come through distinctly. The hits on the rim are less sharp than on the HD650/T1.
I’ve had this pair since February and thought I’d write a brief review. I picked up my pair on sale in Akihabara while passing through Tokyo. They were on sale for about $480 for some reason. (The sign was in Japanese, perhaps they were clearing out old stock? They have a small ding on the left wooden cup, perhaps that’s why.) I demo’d them in the store along side the DX1000 (which was not on sale) but even with the comparison I preferred the sound of the DX700 over the DX1000. Actually, a little solid-state Audio-Technica amp at the store had the best synergy of anything I’ve since plugged them into. I wish I had written down the name of that little amp…
I mostly use the DX700 at work because I have the T1 and LCD2 at home. I put them through at least 70+ hours of break-in before I started using them. The other pair of headphones I keep at work is the Sennheiser HD650. Due to sound leakage, I don’t get to use them often, as usually I have people in the cubicles around me. The dac/amp at work is currently the Fiio E17, E9, and AQ Dragonfly. (limited space) At home I’ve used it with the Audio_Gd NFB 3.1 plugged into the Schiit Lyr/Woo WA2. (Both have some nice tubes in them.) At work the line out path is USB, at home it’s optical. Files are Flac/MP4, with JRiver Media Center 18. (Which I found out about at Headfi. Like I did with almost every piece of audio gear I own. Thanks guys.)
EDITED: 2013/11/22 Edits are underlined. Because the DX700 seems to have good seperation most of the time, but gets jumbled in some genres, especially with lots of lower frequency energy going on, I made some erroneous statements. This is fixed.