Pros: Involving mids, Surprisingly clean bass, Open sounding, Very light & portable
Cons: Not the most resolving or analytical, Somewhat rolled treble and bass, Cable could use improvements
The entry-level open back on-ear market is not one that has an overabundance of choice, the most popular option for recommendations is to default to the legendary Koss Porta-Pro, but leave no other alternatives for people who wanted to try something different. I had an opportunity to buy the EP700 for relatively cheap and wanted to try it out just for giggles, and what I found was a musical on-ear that compares itself very well against the more expensive headphones/IEMs in my collection (that is to say, all of them).
As mentioned above, the EP700 is an open back on-ear, with small cups that place snugly on the ears, the velour earpads are relatively comfortable, but the headband might clamp a bit too hard for larger heads. The cable is fixed, terminates single-ended into a 3.5mm connector out of the left cup and is reasonably solid, if a tad thin for a headphone cable. What's perplexing to me is why the cable terminates backwards, which seems like a puzzling design decision to me. The cups can each rotate nearly 180 degrees, which means they can be stored flat when not in use, a lifesaver for backpack storage.
It is a very light headphone, with nearly no pressure coming from the well padded headband, those who loathe Audeze headphones for their weight can rejoice! Despite the light weight, the plastic and metal parts (in the headband) are reasonably well put together, especially given the price of these headphones.
Acessories? Uh there's a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, and that's it, what do you expect?
Given the lack of information out there on the EP700, I had zero expectations or ideas on what to expect from this headphone. What I found was a musical, involving tuning that is amenable to both newcomers and veterans to this hobby alike. All listening was done on the Hifiman HM650 (Balanced) with a mixture of 320 kbps MP3 and FLAC.
The first thing that hit me with this headphone was the quantity and cleanliness of the bass, having no experience with on-ears. The bass is nice and punchy, with a midbass hump that peaks at around 60-80hz to my ears, texture and tactility are reasonably good, I detect some noticeable rolloff from the midbass hump to the subbass, but it does not seem to be excessive and there's still some rumble detectable.
The party piece of literally every celebrated Audio-Technica headphone, and no exception here, somehow, vocals have this amazing ability to make vocals (esp. female) upfront, without making the presentation claustrophobic, due to the open sounding nature of the headphones. There's a smooth downward slope from the upper bass to the mids, which gives a sense of warmth and lends some musicality to the signature. The mids are not especially resolving here, especially coming from more expensive headphones, but the smoothness and musicality mean that they are still very enjoyable.
Compared to the bass and mids, the treble is somewhat laid back, but not overly so to detract from any airiness, as mentioned before, the headphones are relatively open sounding, this laid back but airy nature of the treble also means that the headphones are relatively forgiving with regards to sibilant recordings.
The sound stage of the EP700 is surprisingly large, belying the small appearance of the earcups, the staging is relatively spherical for a headphone, which makes it appear more natural, unfortunately, imaging within the stage isn't highly precise, which is no surprise given the price point and intended usage of these headphones.
It is often rather difficult to recommend newcomers to this hobby on what headphones to get for a strict budget, while the Porta-Pro & KSC-75 have admirably filled this space, the Audio-Technica EP700 should be considered as a worthy alternative, with its combination of musical tuning and portability, it gets a hearty recommendation from me as a starter headphone for newcomer audiophiles.