Okay guys, this is weird. I got a loaner pair of ES700's from Audio Technica Australia.
This is going to sound like my usual AT fanboying, but I am really surprised because the ES700 does not sound like the ES7 successor. It's not a fun sounding can like the ES10 is. It's the most grown up, neutral sounding of the ES series I have heard so far. It also has the best build quality of the ES series I have seen so far. (I have the ES10 and ES88 on hand to compare with).
This is actually what I always wished the MDR-1R was: flatter, more linear bass, less plasticky reverb. And made of an actual metal. (Stainless steel in this case).
They have a dry, slightly grainy tone that sort of reminds me of AT woodies I have heard.
Unfortunately comfort isn't up to the MDR-1R's level, but I suspect this could be remedied by getting the leather pads from the ESW9. Soundstaging is also more intimate than the MDR-1R's lovely natural field.
It's early days (I have 2 weeks with them) but it's pretty obvious that the ES700 can join the table that the Momentum, ES10 and MDR-1R are eating at. I am surprised that people aren't all over this thing already, but maybe they are and I just never step outside this thread.
Edited by veyrongatti - 6/27/13 at 10:36pm