Audio Technica Ath-im70 Dual Symphonic Drivers In-ear Headphones


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Clear, warm, non fatiguing sound, good quality detachable cables, versatile across different musical genres, addictive sound signature.
Cons: Bulky, uncomfortables at times, can sound boomy on some sound sources, build quality can be a bit sketchy.
Rich, clear and natural sounding, these earphones are a delight to listen to, however, your mileage may vary depending on your hardware and how well this IEM fits you.
When I first tried them on, I was kind of disappointing. It sounded muffled and boomy. Soon I began to experiment with the different tips included in the package.
The Comply foam tips are comfortable and secure, but they do muffle the treble and tend to wear out and become soiled quite quickly. The stock silicon tips do a better job with the sound but I found them to be uncomfortable and quite difficult to get a proper seal. Thankfully I had some Sony hybrid tips lying around which not only provided improved comfort but also opened up the sound improving detail and and soundstage, giving a far more balanced and lush sound that made my toes curl.
Another point to consider is your audio source.
I tried these IEMs with my cheapo ZTE phone and my low end 4GB Sony Walkman and they both sounded boomy in the mid-upper bass region. However, when I tried them with my new Fiio X1 2nd gen, the boominess was gone. It appears that the IM70 is quite susceptible to its sound source.
Something to keep in mind as well, is the comfort... or lack of. These are not IEMs that you can put on and forget about them. They can only be worn in an over-the-ear fashion which may not be comfortable to everyone specially considering the size of these things. After a while I got used to it, but never to the point like my old Sennheiser CX3.00 which completely disappeared from my mind when I put them on.
The build quality can be a bit shabby at times. My first pair suffered from channel imbalance and quite horrendous driver flex. I returned them and got a second pair which although had no issues with balance, it still has some driver flex when I put them on with silicon tips. Also, while changing tips, I noticed the nozzle filter had fallen off the right side. Thankfully I was able to put it back in.
Make sure you keep your receipt in case you need to exchange them.
So bottom line. These earphones have a warm, forward vocal signature with rich, natural sound that is best suited for female vocals but also does a stellar job with almost any genre you throw at it (except death metal, IMO). You do have to keep in mind that you may need to experiment with tips, take the time to fit them properly and ideally use a fairly neutral sound source.If you align your stars and planets correctly, you will end up with an addictive pair of IEMs that will win you over with its smooth, honey dripping tones.


Pros: Soundstage (for an IEM), Price-to-Performance Ratio, Smooth Sounding, Detachable Cable
Cons: Stock Tips, Comfort, Dark/Bassy Sound Signature may not be for everyone, Detail Retrieval


For the average consumer, when shopping for a new pair of earphones or IEMs, many factors comes into place. The Price-to-Performance ratio must be just right, the usability and comfort must be adequate, and the sound, oh dear God, the sound has to suit you. Very rarely do we find one that fits all of the above, and the ATH IM-70 is an IEM that could have been that one, but falls short on several factors. This is a review where we examine what the IM-70 could have done right, and whether or not this is the IEM for you.

Background Information

When you look towards the industry of popular consumer audio, a few big names pop into your head. You think of what I would like to call the dark area: Beats, Bose, and SkullCandy, yet somehow you think of Audio-Technica as well, but they don't belong there. Audio-Technica belongs in a grey area, where their high-end products struggle to get into Summit-fi, and their low-end products are too good to be considered "crap". Since 1962 Audio-Technica has provided us with a whole selection of audio products, and in recent years, they released the IM-Series line of BA driver earphones. Now, this IM-Series line of earphones has extended to provide room for two additions in 2013, the IM-50 and the IM-70, both featuring "Dual Symphonic Drivers", a sudden change from the higher-end Balanced Armatures. These two IEMs took to the market extremely fast, and within months they became popular among the average consumer, some even hailing it as a the best earphone they've ever used.

Packaging and Accessories

Although I do not have any pictures to display, the packaging of the IM-70 is fairly simple and does not have much to talk about. The packaging is mainly made of cardboard and is one that you might easily find yourself throwing away after unboxing the product. Inside the box contains the earphone(cable connected), with 3 sets of small, medium and large stock eartips and a set of medium Comply foam eartips. Along with those comes the manual, warranty information and a small carry pouch. The manual also includes a diagram on how to insert the IEMs correctly, as they are over-the-ears. 

Build and Comfort

This is where the IEM both shines and dies. The build quality of the IM-70 is not "premium" but it is a sensible build that is made to last. The outer case is made of a hybrid between hard resin and aluminium and feels good to the touch. When knocking against each other or laid to rest on a hard surface, the IEMs make a sound similar to that of marble, giving you further assurance that it is made indestructable. The cable itself is nice and thick and doesn't look like it would break at the slightest tug. Storage into the small carry pouch doesn't cause the cable to "memorise" the way it was kept in, but you do need to wound the cable tightly around your hand to compact it small enough to fit in the pouch. Overall the build quality of the IM-70s is highly rated and I personally feel that no matter the abuse, the IEM will always be in working condition. (Please do not test it, however, by hammering it with all your might :D)
Without any prior experience to over-the-ear IEMs, you are probably going to get it wrong the first time you put it on, but when you get it right, it feels snuggly and comfortable. However, as the day progresses and the longer you put the IM-70 on, the more your outer ear starts to ache. The strange, un-ergonomic design of the IM-70 makes it difficult for long duration usage, as it slowly cuts into your outer ears and present fatigue only a good ear massage can subside. Unfortunately, this is prevalent in the entire IM-Series, be it the cheaper IM-50 or the amazing sounding IM-04. This is easily solved by a mod, proudly presented by the Head-Fi community, over at this page. In-case the link does not work, the mod works by cutting off the base of any used eartip, leaving a ring-shape silicone to act as a stopper for whatever eartips you are planning to insert on the IM-70. This helps by letting you insert the IEM deeper and relieving your outer ear of pain and fatigue. 

Soundstage and Sound

Soundstaging and Imaging:

Most IEMs of this price range struggle to get out of the head. The sound usually feels two dimensional and lacking in width and layering. The IM-70 and IM-50, however, has almost no trouble in this category. While you will never feel that the music is as wide as an open set of headphones, the spatial imaging and frequency layering of this IEM is fantastic at this price. It's almost as if they have a specific driver for the bass. When listening to a variety of genres, it feels like the bass is playing closest to you, followed by the warm, smooth sounding mids, and then you hear the forgiving highs tagging behind everything. Do note that changing the eartips on the IM-70 impacts the soundstaging very heavily. Stock eartips are slightly narrower and more focused in bringing out the mids, whereas wide-bored eartips like SpinFits or the UE-100 eartips expand the soundstage and give it a better picture.
The Lows
The bass is where the IM-70 excels in performance. It is nice and punchy, yet not too controlled, allowing a little boominess to leak into the midrange. However, that boominess is not a bad point in the overall sound. Instead, it adds to the smoothness of this IEM, making it never fatiguing to listen to. Personally, I have used the IEM to travel to my institute and I find myself enjoying the rich warmness and smoothness of this IEM, sometimes falling asleep with no difficulty in my long journey. This is not to say that the bass is overexaggerated or over-powering, just a little north of neutral.
The Mids
As the boominess of the bass leaks into the midrange, you might wonder if the vocals are too "honky" or overpowered by the bass. Good news, as the IEM does a good job of separation and the boominess only adds to the warmth and dark sound signature of this pair of earphones. Mids sound intimate and filled with a large body, never too sterile or too bright. The mids hardly disappoint, but are not the best in this price range and in the IM-Series. In more complex music like metal and rock, the mids began to get slightly buried, and this is where you wish you could have just a notch up for the mids, maybe a dB or two.
The Highs
When looking at frequency response graphs of this IEM, it looks to be a standard "fun sounding", V-shaped sound signature, but the highs tell a different story. They are slightly recessed and are not pushed at all. Highs are never fatiguing and dare I say that it is a little rolled off? Not the most resolving IEM around, especially at this price, but subtle details do get revealed. It feels like there is nothing wrong with the highs, but your inner treble-head cannot help but ask for more. 

Comparisons and Closure

Comparisons drawn between IEMs in this price range, brings the Shure se215 to mind. Although I do not own one of these, I have, at times, auditioned them at conventions and events in my country. The se215 triumphs in comfort, but when it comes to sound, the IM-70 takes the cup. Compared to the se215, the IM-70 has a much more natural and engaging sound signature which the se215 shies away from. 

Comparing to my past IEM purchase, also from Audio-Technica, the CKN-70s, the CKN-70s fails to fight the IM-70 in soundstaging and naturalness, but makes up for it with bright treble that brings out good detail. Since my old CKN-70s broke due to a light tug on the cables, the IM-70's build quality absolutely destroys the build quality of the CKN-Series of earphones.
If I were asked "How do these sound like?", I would reply with "Dark, Natural, Smooth and Spacious." I use the IM-70 as my daily drivers and these do not disappoint, but it often leaves me wanting for more. To recommend, if you are looking for an IEM that does not destroy your wallet and you love a smooth, dark sound, then this is the IEM for you. 
I agree with your opinion in regards of its comfort. The comfort is IM70's major problem. It requires frequent adjustment. The memory wires often aches my ears. I find the nozzle is too long, as the result the earphone protrudes far from my ears. Lastly it requires patience in finding the right ear-tips - I am stuck on Sony hybrids, medium sized,  after dozens of different ear-tips I've tried, including the mods.
Did you know the same Chinese's knock off, KZ-ATE, follows the same IM50/70 design? (and for 1/8 fraction of price)
Yes the disappointing part about the ring mod is that it extends the nozzle from the eartips, and it does make the earphones protrude out of my ears, making it impossible to lie on the side while listening.

I never knew about the KZ-ATE, but seeing how it is a chinese knockoff at the price, it seems difficult to judge if they sound good or not, especially since we'd need to buy one to test it out. Since the chassis is literally a carbon copy of the IM-Series, I'd reckon they suffer from the same comfort issues as well.
This has been succeeded by the Audio Technica E40 which retails for $99.
Its better in every aspect. 


New Head-Fier
If you really want to know about this earphones read if you care buying.
Caution : Please do not use this earphones while driving car / bike, etc.

Before buying this earphones , i recently bought Sennheiser Momentum in ear, before this i had Sennheiser CX 400 ii. very big fan of sennheiser earphones best in quality.
As i came to know about this IM70, i bought this too, and I got this today morning. i played all my fav music using this IM70 , i felt like to threw away in dustbin, because it sounds like 100rs headphones lol. sennheiser cx 400 ii and momentum sounds way too too much better than this IM70, no competition at all.
BUT WAIT !! , let me read IM70’s user manual , as i read it and it teached me how to put it in your ear perfectly. and i follow the instruction and then played same music . I closed my eyes and i felt like i'm into different world . Thats music. Guys you all won't believe i literally sold my both Sennheiser cx and momentum in ears on OLX and Quikr. i can’t stop listening music, you bloody listen any kind of music any genre music , this in ears gives 100% positive result.

Pros :
Looks average, bulky. but material quality is very good, power cord is awesomely strong. Yes it will last long if you properly care.

Let's talk about SOUND, this earphones gives perfect sound. Perfect sound i mean it. All balanced. not like other earphones if bass goes high then mid goes down , if bass goes up vocals sound distorted .NO. it gives balanced sound. because it is engineered perfectly.
Based on Clarity i rate : Bass - 10/8, Mids / Highs - 10/9, Vocals - 10/10.

No matter you walk, walk fast or jog ,cable sound won’t disturb you. I purposely went to crowded noisy area i did not hear a thing Noise cancellation is fine.

Cons :
Not that comfortable as i told its bulky , people with small ears will hate it wont fit their ears they won't get the quality sound and they will sure put bad reviews everywhere.

Carry case pouch is very bad won’t last long. bad quality material used. cheap made. Also it comes with premium foam bud , for me they are of no use. useless . gives bad sound.

Few things for confused buyers : Guys if your budget is around 6k to 8k and confused buying between brands like Shure, bose, beats, sennheiser and Audio technica. TRUST ME choose Audio technica. but still you can lastly compete Shure with Audio technica, because shure are more comfortable. sound quality is same though .
Thank you.
@seanwee I found the midrange clarity to okay, not class leading in this price range. the treble as you stated is on the darker side. calling it rolled off maybe going too far, and it's got decent extension. so it doesn't sound totally congested. @nikmenikit I think you might be in the honeymoon period. you might need to give yourself a bit more time with them. I like them too but I will be the first to admit that I was quite amazed when I first heard them. with its very nice holographic imaging. its quite good! but their not exactly balanced PER say. as the bass is quite boosted around the upper bass to lower midrange, making them quite thick and warm, causing a bit of smearing. but the treble is pulled back to allow them to play at higher volumes (hence, probably why you find the isolation good). if you turn up the volume higher naturally you drown out more noise around you. isolation I found is just average for low to moderate listening volumes
I'd have to chip in to the discussion and say that as good as they are, they don't deserve high points in clarity and highs. The deal about these little scarlets are the deep, and wonderful separation of bass and the overall imaging.

Also to note, apparently rolling tips with wide bores REALLY open these things up. The difference between stock/comply (provided) and wider bores like the UE600 tips and Spinfits.

Personally, I have been using them extensively until I have enough cash for an upgrade, and they do fit the bill for being a good travel IEM - not too expensive, with decent sound and an indestructible build quality.
The Audio Technica E40 is quite a step up in terms of SQ compared to this and it retails for only $99 lol !!! It does not have the bass quantity of the IM70s but it has "80% CKR-9LTD bass quality" said someone who demoed them on the E40,50,70 thread. You guys can go check it out.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great, detailed mids and vocals. Quite impressive and detailed mids for the price. Great bass and soundstage. Detachable cable.
Cons: Not the most comfortable. Low mids are a bit recessed compared to IM50.
These are definitely a significant upgrade from IM50. The mids are more in balance with bass and treble. Mids are a bit recessed compared to its sibling IM50 but still forward but more balanced and more detailed. I heard much more detaiIs in songs with these which I was missing when listening to IM50. It has also more sub-bass and treble quantity. Soundstage is also bigger on IM70. Only con; the low mids seems a bit recessed which sometimes makes male singers sound a little bit unnatural compared to IM50 but it is still great.
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nice review. still waiting on my im70 ordered it 3 weeks ago today :)
Thank you. I hope you will like it as much as I do:)
Great Review. Thanks. How does it compare with Vsonic GR07BE? Love to hear your thoughts. Thanks


1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Great value for the money. Engaging sound signature. Natural and engrossing soundstage with great depth and height. Detachable and upgradeable cable.
Cons: Comfort could be an issue for those with smaller ears. Stock tips veil sound somewhat.
I've always heard great things about the Audio Technica brand, and had often seen fans of the brand lauding their products. When I had a chance to get my hands on their IM series in a trade with a fellow Head-fier, I jumped at it and got the IM50. I was impressed with the way it presented vocals and how fun it was to listen to, so I wanted to see if I could find the same type of signature with a more refined sound. Enter the IM70. Several head-fi veterans sang the praises of the IM70, even over the VSonic GR07, my daily driver. With such a claim, I certainly had to test it out so I immediately ordered the IM70. I wasn't disappointed.
Opening the nicely packaged box, the usual IEM fanfare is waiting inside. Small, medium, and large replacement tips, as well as a pair of Comply™ foam tips and a vinyl carrying pouch. Nothing too fancy, but then, accessories don't make the headphone. 
The IM70 have a modern design, but also evoke memories of 1980s electronics for some reason. I personally find it rather appealing in its aesthetics. The dual symphonic drivers are housed in a hard hybrid plastic that looks quite sturdy and feels hard as a rock. The fire engine/Ferrari red color is very slick and stylish. The detachable cable starts with a thick 2-pin connector attached to a flexible memory wire. While I've heard quite a few complaints over the memory wire, it hasn't been a problem for me once I got it initially set into a comfortable position. The cable comes with an adjustable chin slider and terminates in a well relieved and sturdy 90° L plug. Overall, the cable isn't anything to write home about, and a bit on the bulky side, but seems very well made and strong. 
As far as comfort is concerned, the IM70s have a negative profile design, which is slightly larger than average. I've read a few complaints about fit, but to me they're just fine and I can wear them for hours on end. If one has smaller ears, however, do take note of the size. There's no problem with driver flex or any such thing. 
Overall, the IM70 has a very warm, natural, and engaging sound. It features strong bass (though not a basshead earphone by any means), natural mids that take center stage, and a smooth, yet quite detailed treble. One thing to note is that the stock tips can muddy up the sound a bit. If you like things smooth and darker, this is fine, but to bring out the details and energy, I'd highly recommend finding a thinner, wider bore tip. For this review, my IM70s are fitted with the Auvio hybrid tips, available at RadioShack in the US. Also, these IEMs are quite sensitive and require no amping. They should be easily driven from just about anything. 
The lower register of the IM70 is quite prominent, but gets out of the way when it needs to. It has some boom to it, but never feels like it bleeds into the midrange, and remains in control despite a softer impact. It's not as regimented and precise as a GR07 or a balance armature, but whether it's rapid fire double bass drums in Metal tunes, steady beats in rock and pop, or deep beats in EDM and Hip-hop tracks, the lower range will bring a smile to the face of anyone who likes a nice, warm, and controlled low end. Drums have a realistic weight and texture and bass guitars sing from the upper bass register. Basses can be a bit forward but balance well with the midrange, thus only rarely and on poorly mixed tracks do they become an issue. 
This is where the IM70 truly shines. The midrange is somewhat recessed in the lower mids, but comes right back up to meet the listener when it reaches vocal territory. Male voices sound powerful and balanced with the low end, and female vocals sound wonderfully ethereal and well placed. Guitars are full and have that chunk when they need it, and heavenly plucks when they don't. Instruments sing as well as the vocalists do. Everything sounds sweet and pure, in a way that really has to be heard to be believed. 
Treble is very detailed and extends well while remaining smooth and inoffensive. Like the rest of the signature, it never comes across as artificial and snare drums and cymbals sound uncannily realistic. Even in low bitrate recordings, sibilance rarely comes through and there is no treble fatigue. Coming from VSonic IEMs, the treble seemed overly smooth to me, but after the initial ear and brain adjustment period, I fell in love with it. Small details like pick scrapes, piano hammers, and cottonmouth come through clearly and bring a smile. 
Soundstage and Image
The soundstage of the IM70 is quite realistic in its 3D presentation. It’s by no means the widest, but has excellent depth and height for an IEM (not to mention a sub $100 one). It’s not at the level of an amped Havi B3 Pro 1, but provides a wonderful stage with splendid separation and imaging for the listener. 
Test tracks 
(Admittedly, YouTube isn't the highest fidelity audio, but these sound just fine for frame of reference purposes)
Tom Waits - Walking Spanish
This track shows off the naturalness of the IM70. Close your eyes and you can imagine sitting in a room Tom Waits’ growling voice in front of you. The bass thumping and clicking on one side while the mids and treble response of the acoustic guitar on the other. Behind you, the pop of a snare drum in the depths of the stage. 
Dire Straits - Money for Nothing
This song starts with a synth echoing throughout the soundstage and Sting’s voice trailing off into the depths. When the drums come in, each drum moves from once channel to the other and Mark Knopfler’s finger plucks pop and crackle into your left ear. The snare drum can sound overbearing in a few places with certain headphones. The IM70 with its smooth treble has no such issue. One of my favorite tunes to listen to on these headphones. The full bassline is also wonderfully replicated. 
Aldious - Ever Since (Metal Version) 
The bass drum at the beginning should echo into forever and feel like someone pounding into your chest. The guitars are back in the stage until they need to fill in phrases, then come forward. The dynamic female vocals showcase the IM70s mids. Everything is almost too much, yet, somehow, all this chaos stays well balanced and nothing takes over anything else.
David Grisman and Tony Rice - Swing 42
Just a guitar and mandolin. Words won’t do it much justice, but this tune is all about texture and depth. It’s a great display of these characteristics in the IM70.
W. A. Mozart - Zoltán Kocsis and Dezső Ránki - Sonata for Two Pianos in D, K448 I: Allegro con Spirito 
A great piece and a great test of the dynamics and soundstage of the IM70. You should be able to hear reverberation coming off from all around, as well as the room’s ceiling. When you can hear the height of the room, an IEM is doing something right. Also listen for the dynamics of the pianos. 
Ludwig van Beethoven - Herbert von Karajan - Symphony No. 9 
As if to prove it doesn’t have a dual symphonic driver for nothing, the IM70 can also hold its own in symphonic music. Though not the widest stage, the depth and 3D presentation do a very nice job recreating the size of the hall and the dynamics of the instruments. Not too bad at Classical music for a fun and warm IEM. 
The IM70 is a real winner. A natural (have I said that word enough in this review?), engaging IEM that can do just about anything you need it to. It competes with the likes of the GR07, a head-fi classic. It can handle anything you throw at it from Rock to EDM to Jazz, and even serviceably handle Classical. Its sweet mids, impactful bass, and 3D soundstage make it a great option for film and video games as well. At $85 this Audio Technica offering is a no brainer.
Thanks a lot for the positive reception and the front page hype, guys! Glad you found it helpful and interesting. 
senorx, the "symphonic" driver is just what AT calls their in-line dual dynamic driver. I don't think there's anything particularly special about it, but it certainly sounds good. 
From Kjk1281 : "The ATH-IM50 and IM70 models sport dual 8.8mm dynamic drivers, which the Japanese company dubs the "dual symphonic drive" system. The major difference between the two models is the partial use of aluminum in the housing of the IM70, while the IM50's housing is entirely plastic."
And from Tomscy2000 : "They're made by Aipon (parent company for MOE Audio), so they're from the same folks that brought us the JVC FXT90, FXD80, FXZ200, etc. Like I mentioned, they're in an isobaric configuration."
You know what else is "symphonic?" My french onion soup. mmmm so good.
How does this compare with XBA-H1...I have XBA-H1 and I really liked it...but it went bust...I want a new headset and I am seeing if I can move to IM70