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Review: Audio Technica AD700 'Air' (Comparison to HD580 included)

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I purchased these a few weeks ago, and have only now got round to reviewing them and showing my impressions.

Presentation and Build

The box is awesome looking, as you can see. It's glossy and is very minimalist looking, with a simplistic white background and purple images. I personally like it very much. It's doesn't look like some crappy cheap toy.

The front part of the box can swing open (attached via Velcro) to reveal the headphones shown through a see through window.

The inside of the swinging panel details the '3D Wing Support' system and shows cross-sections of he cups themselves. Very nice.

The opening mechanism of the box is really really cool. You pull back two tabs to allow the sides of the top part to open and enable access to the headphones. It's hard to explain, but its a nice touch.

And then there's the headphones! They are very nice looking in my opinion. The purple and the gold is nice and different, a move away from the black and silver of everything these days. The purple grilles are nice and shiny, as is the gold parts. One negative about the gold parts is that they are plastic, which gives it a bit of a cheap feel. This is partly because of how light they are, but it also feels rather fragile, and creaks when picked up. I wouldn't want to throw it anywhere, although I'm sure it wouldn't break. It just seems a bit fragile.

There is a small bump on the left cup, which is very handy for putting the the headphones on without having to look at the writing.

The cable is nice and seems to be made well. Audio Technica has made the plug well too with its shiny metal exterior, and it has a screw on 1/4 inch adapter that, when applied, is completely unnoticeable.

Overall, I like the presentation of the box alot, and the gold and purple of the headphones themselves is very nice. They just seem a bit breakable and they creak alot.


Quite simply these are the most comfortable cans I have EVER worn. Granted, I haven't worn many but I wouldn't be surprised if these are the most comfortable cans EVER. The 3d wing system works extremely well, and manages to put pretty much no pressure on the top of the head. Clamping is not an issue at all, as they are very light. The pads are soft and rest nicely around the ears. Everything about them is comfortable. The only complaints that I would have about the comfort is that the pads heat up the ears a bit, but this is also a plus on those cold winter days


Now for the most important bit! So what, they look good, and they're comfortable but if they sound like a set of fartcans, that's all irrelevant. Luckily, fartcans these are not.


The soundstage in these is pretty much unlimited. If you look closely at the previous photo, you will find that the drivers are angled, which is probably partly what helps with increase the soundstage. Things can sound like they are completely outside your head.

But it also manages to be quite up front. They are far from the HD580's laid backedness, but the soundstage that they have ensures they are not grado-ish. Sounds can appear in your head as well as outside your head.


Not much here. They do severely lack bass, mostly due to the extremely open nature. It extends deep, but theres no weight or punch to it. Basshead cans these are not, but if your a fan of the ER6i's you should be right at home.


The midrange is ever so slightly more recessed than I would want, but its still quite nice sounding and sounds gradoey.


These are slightly bright cans, not as bright as grado's but not as dark as senns. The treble is nice and present, but if I really think about it, its slightly 'grainy'. Not sure if that's the right word here.


No complaints. Ety's they are not, but they're not too undetailed by my ears. They're very very punchy and fast.

I would think these headphones suit rock well, but they also do well with Jazz and Classical, thanks to the soundstage. Rap and Hip-Hop fans are not suited to these at all due to the lack of bass. They have a certain 'Airyness' that makes them sound really nice though, something unique to these headphones I believe. Because of this they also leak like CRAZY and have absolutely no isolation. Not to be used in public.

Comparison to HD580's

The HD580's are a helluvalot darker and warmer. They sound more natural to my ears, but also slower and more boring. Soundstage on the AD700's bests the HD580's by alot. Bass however, carries way more weight on the HD580's than the AD's, which manage to make even the 580's sound bassy. Comfort wise, the clamping of the 580's is just too much. No comparison here.

Oh another thing, the AD700's need no amping at all to sound good (much like the 580's), and the improvements when amped are quite subtle, if anything.

Overall, both these headphones serve there purposes well. The senns would be better on classical IMO, but everything else I would probably prefer the AD's. I'm no audiophile however, and sometimes I think my ears are missing things that other people's ears aren't. This comparison is my opinion only. And my opinion is that these headphones are very nice, especially for the price. You get the fast punchyness of Grado's and the soundstage of, and better than, Senns. The best of both worlds.

Hope you enjoyed my review!
post #2 of 40
Good review thanks
Philips Hp1000 and this one really do look alike.
post #3 of 40
Nicely done.
post #4 of 40
Let's see, do I agree with you?

SoundStage! All In Your Head
post #5 of 40
glad you enjoy them. they were my first 'expensive' phones after my koss porta pro that i fell in love with in 1994 or so.

however, in 2004 when i bought them, i immediately thought of who can i find to sell them to. firstly, my head is extremely narrow. i look like the side of a frizbee from the front. they slide right down my head and the wings? well, the end up just above my ears and the wiring gets the top of my hair. the phones around my neck do however make for a great stage.

if they can sit still (meaning i don't even breathe) then they are well comfortable if a little heavy. the ad900 are like the ad700 but much lighter. my mate has them and i had the ad700 and we compared them many times. i think they sound quite similarly but the build on the 900 are swedish miles ahead and even on my head fit well.

i can enjoy the sound but i think AT do not make phones for electronic as well, japan is like usa: rock or nothing. they are nice phones but just way too big for my head and i prefer the stage of the dt880.
post #6 of 40
Hehe, yeah they look ridiculous when I wear them too since my head is pretty narrow as well. I've gotten quite a few strange stares when I wear them while working at uni ^_^ I've got both the AD700s and HD600s, and have to say even though the AT's are incredibly comfortable, the Senns make up for the 3d tilt design on the AD700s with their immense snugness.

Completely agree on the soundstage aspect, with the 700s you're almost enveloped in music whereas the Senns are almost constantly reminding you that you're wearing headphones.
post #7 of 40
I agree with some of what you have stated, the ad700s are a great pair of headphones. I loved mine when I had them. I think Audio Technica makes the closest thing to all around headphones that you can get. The ad700s score well in every type of musical genre but they don't excel in any genre.

The recessed midrange is what made me sell mine. I listen to alot of female vocals. The ad700s while decent just couldn't cut the mustard when it comes to midrange and female vocals even when I compared to cheaper cans like the hd555 (although overall ad700>>>hd555). I even liked the sr80s midrange better for female vocals. The recessed midrange also made the large soundstage somewhat boring for me especially for jazz and classical.

I also don't think they are a good rock can. They didn't strike me as being particularly fast.

I know it sounds like I didn't like them but it was quite the opposite, I absolutely loved them. They convinced me sell my HD555s and my DT880s (sorry Beyer fans I just don't like them). The problem was I bought other headphones that did things better in particular genres. Goldrings for rock, hd580s and k501's for female vocals, classical Jazz. Thus I never picked my ad700s up anymore. However, my next pair of cans will be either the ad1000s or ad2000s. Audio Technica is just too good to ignore and everyone should have at least one pair of their cans.
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Oh also, I found that for people who have a problem with the 3D wing design being too loose or falling down their head, you can just put a rubber band between the two wings and loop it a couple of times to make the wings tighter.

I had no problem with this so I didn't need to do this mod. Yes, they do look big so you shouldn't wear them in public.

Yeah, the recession in the midrange and the bass are the only two issues I have with the sound. But apart from that I like them. So I'm not sure what I will do.
post #9 of 40
great pair of gaming headphones but nothing special
post #10 of 40
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by asuka10456 View Post
great pair of gaming headphones but nothing special
I disagree.

IMO, while the soundstage is great for gaming, the lack of bass takes away from the experience. Explosions and gunshots just aren't the same.

I much prefer it for music IMO.
post #11 of 40
haha, an elastic band to fix the head problem? you mean i could have kept them?!

i put the label 'rock' on them as i don't listen to rock and they did not fit my needs for trance...

well, they are comfortable and with the 'elastic mod' (funny) i could have kept them...
post #12 of 40
Originally Posted by fraseyboy View Post
Oh also, I found that for people who have a problem with the 3D wing design being too loose or falling down their head, you can just put a rubber band between the two wings and loop it a couple of times to make the wings tighter.
Oh yeah! I have a small head and the rubber band mod works wonders. I had to use a rubber band that has low tension though. I used a high tension rubber band a first and I almost squeezed my brain out of my ears.
post #13 of 40

If the AD700 touches your ears

If the AD700 touches your ears, you can fix this too. I’m using black, tubular foam used to insulate pipes which I cut into 1/3’” donuts and score with scissors so they fan open and stay together. I gently place these between the fabric covering the drivers and the fabric on the back of the foam pads. I needed to fiddle with this until I got it just right. This turned out to be two scored donuts at the top and bottom of the drivers. Another nice thing about this phone is the cord. It’s long, substantial and doesn’t curl easily. The AD700 is easily driven. I’m listening now to Beethoven piano sonatas played by John O’Conor on Telarc powered by the HP out of my Sony X222ES CD player and the AD700 sounds superb. With classical music the AD700 has deep and well controlled bass. The AD700 compares very favorably with my other good classical phones (see my profile) and I would gladly recommend it to anyone who wants to know what would be a classical phone that's good enough so they would never need to come back here again looking for advice on what would be an excellent classical budget phone.
post #14 of 40
These are the cans I've been very interested in since first starting to read about headphones. I actually started getting interested in them because of my PC Gaming and I wanted some good positional audio, and I was eventually led here to head-fi

I never used to listen to Classical music, mostly just Rock/Punk/Hardcore with a little bit of whatever thrown in for good taste, but I think I'm starting to get interested in EVERYTHING now that I'm getting interested in audiofile sound. For gaming, classical and jazz music, these seem like they would be amazing headphones.

I somewhat agree with fraseyboy, if you're looking for a fun headphone while gaming or watching a movie, you'll want some bass. But when you're playing semi-competitively, you probably want little bass so you can hear those footsteps coming without straining too hard. That's why these headphones have quickly become a favorite for gamers

BTW: Great review fraseyboy! I've been drooling over these headphones for a while, and you were no help to break me of it
post #15 of 40
I have done a mod similar to that on my AD700s; I can attest that makeup sponges work incredibly well for this application. They are made of a dense, tight-cell foam that is VERY soft but still maintains its shape.

It's also interesting to note that the bass of the AD700 increases substantially when properly amped. Running them directly out of my PC's sound card or my A728's HP out equals rather anemic bass. But out of my VHP-1, while not head-crushingly bassy, they have a lot more punch.
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