Audio-Technica ATH-LS70is

General Information

The 8.8 mm Dual Symphonic Drivers of the ATH-LS70iS “Live Sound” in-ear headphones let you move through your day with the sonic realism of a live concert filling your ears. The two 8.8 mm drivers are serially situated within each housing and driven simultaneously to reduce diaphragm distortion and generate a balanced sound with deep, rounded bass and clear mid and high frequencies. The drivers’ diaphragms are also carbon-coated to add power and precision to the bass and extend frequency response.

The housings are constructed of durable ABS resin that helps to reduce unwanted resonance, and the eartip posts are angled to provide a comfortable, sound-isolating fit. Within the posts are specially designed acoustic sound pipes, fashioned from stainless steel and high-durability resin, to guide the music to your ears with improved high-frequency response.

The ATH-LS70iS comes with a detachable 1.2 m cable with A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors at the headphones for exceptional durability and audio performance. The cable is equipped with an in-line mic and controller for handling phone calls and music and video playback. The flexible memory cable loops around the ears for a custom fit that is enhanced by the four sizes (XS, S, M, L) of included eartips.

Type
Dynamic

Driver Diameter
8.8 mm

Frequency Response
5 – 26,000 Hz

Maximum Input Power
200 mW

Sensitivity
104 dB/mW

Weight
6.5 g (without cable)

Cable
Detachable 1.2 m with A2DC connectors

Connector
3.5 mm gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-shaped

Accessories
Silicone eartips (XS/S/M/L), protective pouch

Latest reviews

Pros: Fun IEM, satisfying warm sound, impactful yet controlled bass, non-sibilant detailed highs, clear mids, comfortable, detachable cable.
Cons: Can get too bassy on some tracks, not for critical or analytical listening, no carry case included, only a bag, proprietary cable connector.
For a few months I had been using my ATH-M40x as my daily driver. They are really good cans but also large and bulky.
I decided to get myself an IEM.

After much research and consideration, I decided to get the ATH-E40.
So I popped into Minidisc in Sydney and walked out with the ATH-LS70is.
So why did I snub such a highly regarded IEM like the E40 in favour of the LS70?
Well, the LS70 made quite the impression on me. In fact, it put big stupid grin on my face as I was demoing it.

Okay Let me start with the package.

Package:
Not much to write about. The usual high quality boxing you get from Audio-Technica.
Unlike previous generations of IEM, you don't get comply tips, only AT's usual rubbish hard silicone tips, although the new casing design makes this a tad more forgiving.
The cable is OK I guess. It's detachable which is an essentail for me as I kill cables just by looking at them. The only problem is that it uses a proprietary design instead of MMCX. You can find cables in eBay, but you have to be mindful to buy the right connector.
This new cable also doesn't inspire as much confidence like the one included with the ATH-IM70. It feels a tad cheaper and not as robust, but it does include a microphone and in-line control, which works a treat with my Fiio X1 2nd Gen.
I can't attest to the quality of mic as I haven't used it.
Unlike the ATH-E40, you don't get a carry case, only AT's little pleather bag which doesn't do much to protect your investment.
Really AT, throw in at least a cheap plastic case.

Comfort:
If you've used previous AT IEMs, you know they are big, bulky chunks of plastic designed for alien ears.
Well, I'm happy to report that the LS series, at least for me, are far, far more comfortable. A lot lighter too!
My old ATH-IM70 was so heavy that it would constantly pop out as it was dislodged by its own weight.
This issue is gone now, and because of the lighter weight, the included silicon tips are actually bearable now.

Sound:
After listening to the ATH-E40 (Which didn't impress me. Too much mids distortion), The LS70 was a bit of a shock.
It sounded very warm and bassy. However, after the shock passed, I noticed how smooth and clean the sound was.
The sound comes across like a quality dark chocolate. Smooth and rich but with a sharpness that helps definition.

Okay, I was always on the fence with burning in headphones. It kind of makes sense but I was sceptical over its benefits.
I tried it anyway, and after leaving the LS70 overnight with about 8 hours of pink noise, the bass settled and mids took presence. A significant improvement.

So, after 8 hours of pink noise burn-in and using Sony hybrid tips....

Bass: Deep, impactful and well behaved. It's doesn't boom and it articulates well. However, on some tracks it does fill a tad loose.
Some people may find the bass too much and I totally get it. I liked the bass on the ATH-E40 better. Regardless, it's not bad. There's quantity and quality here. It all makes for a fun listen, specially with EDM.

Mids: Good but not great. Not much in the way of distortion. It's clean and detailed but nothing to write home about. Voices feel a bit (just a bit) distant.
They articulate well, but there's a slight feel of thinness or even hollowness. I think this was done on purpose to stop the mids distorting with bass bleed-in.


Highs: Smooth, well extended, detailed and polite.
The highs feel a lot like my ATH-M40X but without spikes that drill into your head. All the detail is there but it's not thrown in your face.
There's no distortion or sibilance that I could detect. Very nice and non-fatiguing.

Soundstage and imaging: Wide soudstage without much in the way of depth.
That's not say depth is non-existent, there are some funky 3D effects you get every now and then but for the most part is sounds like you're on stage with the band instead of being in the audience.
Imaging is good. Listened to Daft Punk's Lose Yourself To Dance and the voices were all around me moving about with good transition. Perhaps not as good as my M40X but it does get the job done.

Modding (of sorts):
Should you find the LS70 too bassy or muddy, I would strongly suggest to ditch the stock tips and try others. Sony hybrids noticeably cleaned up the sound while Comply foam tips made it sound veiled and far too muddy.
I also removed the nozzle filters and replace them with HiFiman RE400 filters which are far more transparent. This opened up the treble without being sibilant or spiky. Simply delightful.

Conclusion:
So what's the deal with the LS70?
It's very coloured and the bass is boosted.
I can see a lot of people snubbing the LS70 as mainstream trash that plays to the unwashed masses. The audio gods will be angry.
So why did I pick it over the E40?
Well, while I'm out and about or in the office, I can't sit there analysing every little sound. I want a comfortable, fun sounding IEM that can work with any genre you can throw at it. The LS70 does this with style.
Another product that shows that the guys and gals at Audio-Technica really knows their stuff.

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