Audio-Technica ATH-R70x - In-Depth Review & Impressions
Oct 18, 2023 at 3:42 PM Post #2,611 of 2,666
Hey guys, I haven't been on this forum in forever. My longtime companions the AD700s are on their final legs. I've gone through so many headphones on my 8 year journey back in the day, and the AD700 were one of the first two headphones I've bought that are still with me 13 years later. For me keeping them was less about how they sounded (they sound fine btw), but mostly about their comfort. I haven't found a headphone nearly as comfortable for super long wearing sessions. I could wear them all day without a break if I had to.

Anyways, since they're cutting out all the time, I figure why not look into a possible replacement like the R70x that's even lighter and seems to be as neutral as something as famously neutral as the HD600? Everything I've read and watched about the R70x seems to be perfect, except their earpads have me a little worried. The opening is small-ish, and I prefer a larger opening. I didn't care about the opening size with the AD700s because the way their earpads were designed, they were wedged inward so my ears simply rested on top of them, which didn't bother me at all because the AD700s have near 0 clamping force.

Can the same be done with the R70x's earpads, or do you really have to force your ears inside of the openings? What's the impressions from long time R70x users? I'm not interested in changing their pads either.
 
Oct 18, 2023 at 7:59 PM Post #2,612 of 2,666
Hey guys, I haven't been on this forum in forever. My longtime companions the AD700s are on their final legs. I've gone through so many headphones on my 8 year journey back in the day, and the AD700 were one of the first two headphones I've bought that are still with me 13 years later. For me keeping them was less about how they sounded (they sound fine btw), but mostly about their comfort. I haven't found a headphone nearly as comfortable for super long wearing sessions. I could wear them all day without a break if I had to.

Anyways, since they're cutting out all the time, I figure why not look into a possible replacement like the R70x that's even lighter and seems to be as neutral as something as famously neutral as the HD600? Everything I've read and watched about the R70x seems to be perfect, except their earpads have me a little worried. The opening is small-ish, and I prefer a larger opening. I didn't care about the opening size with the AD700s because the way their earpads were designed, they were wedged inward so my ears simply rested on top of them, which didn't bother me at all because the AD700s have near 0 clamping force.

Can the same be done with the R70x's earpads, or do you really have to force your ears inside of the openings? What's the impressions from long time R70x users? I'm not interested in changing their pads either.
if you are looking for neutral AT with good comfort levels I would recommend the AD1000X if you really need big pads.

That being said having used the R70X for about 5 years now I would say they have minor clamping force but its not something notable and can be used for hours on end without fatigue. With reguards to the tilted mount the R70X has them as well but its quite minor since they want your ears near the driver. For me personally its completely over ear but as you can read from the thread its a ymmv thing so the best way is to go demo if possible or buy from a place with a good return policy.

Not sure how well the schiit stack powers the R70X but at lest on my system its quite different from the AD line. There is very nice slam and texture and only very minor boosting of the upper mids to give that signature AT vocal but with a full body backing to it. Not sure if its what you want if its a AD700 replacement. One thing that is nice about the R70X though is that even though there is near 0 sparkle there is very good treble extension and cymbals and crystal bells are very clean and well heard. The one downside with the R70X imo is that doesnt have the best dynamic depth/micro detail but all is forgiven with how organic it sounds.

Granted its because I have a extreme bias against the way HD600 voices vocals and the dip in in lower treble after the boost in upper mids really annoys me, The sennheiser I would compare it to would be a better extended HD660s.

If you do get it do let us know how it fits for you.
 
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Oct 18, 2023 at 9:46 PM Post #2,613 of 2,666
I'm not too terribly concerned about driving them or in-depth sound qualities. I have the Jotunheim that can dish out enough juice, and the Ether2 when I want to listen to music.

I'm mostly looking for comfort (mostly in the form of light weight and low clamping force), and then neutrality in that order. Technicalities can go by the wayside. Great neutrality and midrange timbre would be highly welcomed when I have to edit videos.

I guess what I'm mostly asking is how close are the pads and clamping force to something like the AD700? My ears rest on top of the pads on the AD700 and I'm not bothered at all because of the low clamping force, plus those earpads are very concaved which allow this to happen.. Are the pads on the R70x similarly designed to the AD700, or do I actually have to try to fit my ears inside the holes? I wish I had a store near me that had them in store to audition. The best I'll be able to do is order from a place with a good return policy.
 
Oct 19, 2023 at 5:00 AM Post #2,614 of 2,666
I'm not too terribly concerned about driving them or in-depth sound qualities. I have the Jotunheim that can dish out enough juice, and the Ether2 when I want to listen to music.

I'm mostly looking for comfort (mostly in the form of light weight and low clamping force), and then neutrality in that order. Technicalities can go by the wayside. Great neutrality and midrange timbre would be highly welcomed when I have to edit videos.

I guess what I'm mostly asking is how close are the pads and clamping force to something like the AD700? My ears rest on top of the pads on the AD700 and I'm not bothered at all because of the low clamping force, plus those earpads are very concaved which allow this to happen.. Are the pads on the R70x similarly designed to the AD700, or do I actually have to try to fit my ears inside the holes? I wish I had a store near me that had them in store to audition. The best I'll be able to do is order from a place with a good return policy.
I cant compare with AD700 because never listened to them.
R70x are essentially on-ear headphones, and like all on-ear HPs after long session they need slight adjustments it position on ears (to change pressure points), which is very facilitated by their low weight.
By my opinion: for video editing R70x are good choice for the price and is suitable as main tool, as it allows evaluate of music content overall sounding; for mixing R70x is also suitable as additional tool along with others.
 
Oct 19, 2023 at 9:33 AM Post #2,615 of 2,666
Ok thanks for the replies guys. The best comparison I can find is Rtings's objective reviews of the R70x and AD700x-- which should be similar to the AD700-- it looks like the clamping pressure is very similar, and earpad style also somewhat similar.

I'll go ahead and give these a shot and report back on them.
 
Oct 21, 2023 at 3:55 PM Post #2,616 of 2,666
Very first impressions of these!

They are exceptionally compact and lightweight. Featherweight if you will. I've been so accustomed to my AD700 and over monstrously large open planars over the past several years that these feel like a toy by comparison.

Their build quality and appearance gives off a quality of anything but a toy though. They are very utilitarian looking, and I appreciate the sleek metal black honeycomb grills over the driver enclosures and the rudimentary steel headband. I have read/watched reviews of these giving negative impressions of their build quality, but I have no worries myself. My equally plasticy AD700 has endured me 13+ years now, and have been tossed around and stepped on multiple times over, and the only things that are showing signs of wear on the mare the metal grills which have become dented over time. The cable is also finally cutting out, which led me to discover the R70X. The supposed fragile looking wing sysetm has on the A700s has held up exceptionally well too. The wings themselves get popped out of their sockets every now and then, but snap back in with ease. I expect no difference in robustness and longevity from the R70X, and perhaps more since its cable is modular.

I bought these with long-term wearing comfort in mind first and foremost. I was worried my ears would feel rather bunched up in the tiny earpads, but it seems as though the the pinna rest comfortably behind the earpads and sit between the pads and drivers. While I would never call these headphones uncomfortable, out of the box, the R70X had a gentle clamp to them, but it was enough to make the tips of my ears slightly rub against the driver coverings. I gently bent the steel headband slightly outward near the wing attachments on either side, and my ears suddenly had more room inside the earpads and didn't touch the drivers anymore. Comfort seems to rival my AD700 now for listening sessions up to 30 minutes to an hour. I'll go ahead and give these some super extended gaming sessions to see how I like these when wearing them for several hours on end. I will say I think they might have the potential to 'disappear' on my head even more than the AD700s, since they're lighter still.

I wasn't concerned about the sound qualities of the R70X too much, but the thought of having a super neutral headphones was very enticing to me. I've been out of the headphone 'game' for several years now ever since settling on the combination of the Ether2 and AD700, but I'll go ahead and give some impressions of the R70X's sound as well:

Superbly full sounding with inherent inner warmth to all of its notes, thanks to its open-backed nature and robust lower midrange presence. Unlike many planars however, it retains its full bodied midrange without sacrificing on the upper midrange and lower treble presence region around 2-5khz. With a neutrality that extends well into presented presence region, the R70X brings the proper balance of breath to female vocals, the scream of violins, the percussive transients from the snaps of snares and the plucks of strings. The transition from lower-mid treble does seem a little subdued, but I rather experience a slight recession here to take the sibilance out of vocals rather than contend with fake detail spikes that can make music sound harsh. I feel as though the R70X is airy enough and open sounding enough, and I don't find myself yearning for more sparkle. Upper treble seems to be in the proper balance. Listening to a familiar recording right now and I'm picking out some new artifacts that I never realized were there before. I don't think the R70X is lacking in detail whatsoever.

This is one of the few headphones I've tried that with a fully fleshed out midrange that retains a natural sounding timbre quality to its presentation that doesn't tend towards shouty and/or honkey sounding like some AKG or Focal phones I've tried in the past can sound like.

The spectacularly alive but warm and accurate sounding midrange reminds me of the HD650. The HD650 was one of those headphones I really liked upon renting for a couple weeks, but I never liked its insane clamping force and lack of low bass extension. Memory is vague how the R70X truly compares to the HD650, but I don't seem to find myself yearning for sub-bass nearly as much with the R70X. The balance of bass is good enough to enjoy many electronica.

Some reviewers have mentioned that the R70X has perhaps a bit too much mid-upper bass to it, which can perhaps muddy its presentation a small amount, but I don't really notice anything of the sort running the R70X out of my Jotunheim, which is known to be a neutral to slightly bright amp with a very aggressive quality to its sound. The Jotunheim also pairs well with my Ether2, which many can consider to be a dark headphone.

Soundstage is very respectable, throwing an image just outside of my head, but the star of the show is the very open imaging the headphone has. The headphone's sound has plenty of room to breath and doesn't sound 'grounded' like you'd get with many closed headphones.


I'll get back to you guys later on with super long term comfort impressions.
 
Oct 25, 2023 at 11:37 AM Post #2,617 of 2,666
If anyone is looking for a portable source for r70x, gryphon is a good option. It has enough juice though balanced out to do r70x justice. Its laid-back multibit dac is complimentary to relaxed, mellow sound sig of r70x. And there's analog bass boost available to increase thump if desired.

20231025_112849.jpg
 
Oct 26, 2023 at 4:53 AM Post #2,618 of 2,666

3. Air Filter Mod

It is more thicker than the original one but the pore and other else almost the same as the original one, I'm worried it will damping too much.

I cut 2 circles and then make it a donut so It wont covered the driver, a bit hard to attach the ear pads since the inner foam a bit thick but with perseverance I manage to attach the earpads.
from ATH site.


Its testing time..

Oh my god, the sounds I can say a bit better than the stock R70x.

The low just have more texture and clearer.

The mids become really vivid and more articulate.

The treble a bit tame but it doesn't affect the soundstage and imaging..

I can say that it is almost sounds like the tube amp, everything a bit slow but still can handle busy track and pinpoint quite precisely.

Yup, I manage to save my R70X, and make it better (for me)..

Hope this one help if you looking for inner foam replacement, and by the way sorry for not so good english:)
Hello. I have the same problem with my R70x. While I was going to clean my earpads, the inner foam ring got disintegrated and crumbled into dust, exactly like you've experienced. This is just within a span of 3 years after I purchased this headphone, so I agree that Audio-Technica could've done better, especially with this headphone's price range, and used a more durable material.

I did your mod using a foam filter used in aircons (dunno if I'm using the same type as yours; will post a pic if needed), and I have a question. Did you used any glue/adhesive on the foam rings you made or you simply put them between the driver and the earpads?
 
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Oct 26, 2023 at 2:09 PM Post #2,621 of 2,666
Hi guys,

One question...

Are these headphones good for watching movies? Soundstage is good?

Thanks!


I think their soundstage is rather average-- just slightly outside your head. Imaging however is fantastic. Sound decays in such a natural and airy way without exaggerated emphasis on upper treble. Instruments sound 'free' and 'lifted.'
 
Oct 26, 2023 at 2:30 PM Post #2,622 of 2,666
I think their soundstage is rather average-- just slightly outside your head. Imaging however is fantastic. Sound decays in such a natural and airy way without exaggerated emphasis on upper treble. Instruments sound 'free' and 'lifted.'
I'm looking for open back headphone for watching movies. I want something slightly warm, fatigue free headphones.

This could be it?
 
Oct 26, 2023 at 4:20 PM Post #2,623 of 2,666
So a handful of days ago I ordered some Brainwavz Velour Memory Foam XL pads after reading some suggestions on them when it came to improving the comfort of the R70X. I received them today and promptly put them on my R70X to listen-- and feel-- them.

First thing's first, their comfort is out of this world. The combination of the insanely light weight R70X, its wing system, their now very low clamping pressure after I bent them slightly, and then the super plushiness and roominess of the XL pads makes for bar none the most comfortable experience I've ever had with headphones, now firmly topping my AD700. Every so often I read the expression 'I forget they're on' for headphones. This has never held true for me, but the R70X with the Brainwavz XL Pads on them might just be the very first headphones I've had on my head where I could say that I'd forget they're on my head.

Coming into this I knew that the sound of the R70X would most likely change. Based on prior experiences with pad swapping and reading up on what different pads do to various headphones I kinda had an idea on what changes to expect. For example, switching to pads with a smaller ear-opening on Foster headphones would bring forward the midrange and lower the treble. Larger openings in general tend to raise treble on all headphones, and the LCD-X have a dramatic dip in its upper midrange when it had memory foam pads, which got alleviated some when Audeze made the switch to regular foam for its earpads. With that prior knowledge in mind, I expected more treble and less upper midrange out of the Brainwavz Velour XL memory foam pads.

Upon first listen I noticed a sound that was slightly less airy and had a more prominent mid-bass to it. There was a noticeable treble sizziness around 8khz to my ears, and it became especially apparent on some brightly mastered pop recordings with female vocals. I noticed myself having to turn the volume up to get a more full sound, which made the treble spike even more apparent. The lower midrange sounded more luscious, which was perhaps evident of a combination of upper midrange suckout and mid-bass that started creeping into the lower mids.

After about 5 or songs of subjective listening, I went ahead and placed the R70X with new pads on my EARS to measure:


First and foremost, here are my measurements for the R70X with stock pads: incredibly linear from 70hz through 4khz.

r70xrl copy.png




Here is the R70X with the Brainwavz XL pads. A very noticeable hump in the mid-bass, a huge drop in the upper midrange, and a spike to the treble at 7-8khz, which sounds very apparent when you turn up the volume to compensate for upper midrange depression.

xlpads.png




Here are the two graphs overlaid for better comparison:
r70xpadcomparison.png




The R70X goes from an extremely linear headphone to a v-shaped headphone more akin to an Audeze LCD-X and closer to my Ether2 with perforated pads. It's safe to say I vastly prefer the sound of the stock pads, but I also vastly prefer the comfort of the Brainwavz XL pads. Considering that these headphones I bought were primarily for long-term comfort, I'll play around with the new pads for now and see what kind of additional mods I can do to make the sound more linear. I'm pretty sure cutting out a small hole in a layer of foam the size of the original earpads' opening then putting it inside the earcups will help reduce the treble spike some, which would go a long ways in making these sound smoother.

As for the upper midrange depression, I'm willing to bet some of it has to do with the usage of memory foam in the new pads. I'll see if there are other options available that use regular foam instead.


The sound of the new pads isn't necessarily bad once you get accustomed to the new sound signature, but it's definitely not ideal. I'll update the thread again with some more measurements after I do some additional experimenting. If anybody knows of some other pads that can fit the R70X and don't use memory foam, let me know!


Edit: just for funsies, look how close the R70X with Brainwavz XL pads gets to the Ether2 with perforated pads:
ether2vsr70x.png
 
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Oct 26, 2023 at 5:05 PM Post #2,624 of 2,666
I'm looking for open back headphone for watching movies. I want something slightly warm, fatigue free headphones.

This could be it?

Yes they are slightly warm and have a non-fatiguing treble.
 
Oct 26, 2023 at 5:54 PM Post #2,625 of 2,666
Anyone with long term use have that under foam breakdown also? I recently got mine but seeing someone mention it in here that there’s did. Is this avoidable, like storming them properly? Is there a replacement part they sell for it?
 

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