Audio-Technica ATH-R70x - In-Depth Review & Impressions
Oct 27, 2023 at 7:40 AM Post #2,626 of 2,666
Hi guys,

One question...

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

Thanks!
I actually like them best for movies but they also sound good with music and games. The sound profile is very nice and natural on these and sound quality feels premium when watching movies on my OLED.

Most other headphones I've tried (Ananda Nano, beyer DT 700) sound very unnatural with voices and everything else.

The Ananda Nano would actually clip badly and pop badly with the movie interstellar during loud scenes (I'll never buy another hifiman product) while the r70x handles loud scenes perfectly.
 
Oct 27, 2023 at 7:47 AM Post #2,627 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


I have brainwav hybrid pads that I tried on these and they made them sound pretty awful. The closest I would compare them to is closed headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT 700 x but worse since the relatively tame highs on the r70x are made even more tame. They totally killed the neutral presentation and everything sounded real honkey and cupped with a nasty bloom. Probably lost about 5db as well. Voices sounded highly unnatural.

I wondered if the velour pads would be better since the stock r70x pads seem out of stock with ATH.

The stock pads suit me fine and I don't have much comfort issue. The brainwav pads are maybe like 20% more comfortable but the sound quality is terrible.
 
Oct 27, 2023 at 7:03 PM Post #2,628 of 2,666
Day1 of trying to improve the sound of the Brainwavz Velour XL pads. I tried differing layers of felt, both with and without small holes in the center of them. Much to my surprise, the holes were the worst variations. What ended up being the best was 1 layer of 2-ply TP applied inside each cup. 1 layer of felt didn't do much to alter the sound, while 2 layers showed a general change to more warmth, but was a broadband change that not only affected the entire midrange, but did nothing to change the spikey nature of the treble around 8khz. One layer of 2 play TP surprisingly reduced the treble more than 2 layers of felt, and actually attacked the 8khz treble spike nicely, while keeping the lower midrange untouched. The Brainwavz Velour XL with 1 layer of 2-ply TP is no doubt a dark sound, but it's at the very least very smooth unlike without the TP, and I think it sounds way better. It's a 15db tilt from mid-bass down to upper-treble, but the transition is for the most part linear, and I can think of countless of worse offenders with way harsher frequency response in the market of hifi headphones.
I've gone back to stock pads for now, and will further explore additional pad options in the coming days.

feltcomparison.png

tpcomparison.png
 
Oct 30, 2023 at 1:12 AM Post #2,629 of 2,666
Ok guys last post with measurements for a long while, I promise. It seems as though the R70X uses some very capable drivers and the enclosure/earpad interaction looks to have very minimal ringing, so it makes a good candidate for EQ. I'm generally against EQ as it can ruin the timbre characteristics of a headphone real quickly if not done carefully, but I decided to give the R70X with the Brainwavz Velour XL pads a try. These pads are way too comfy to not give them a chance.

I spent several hours tonight going back and forth between minute tweaks in Equalizer APO (windows-wide equalizer plugin), measuring on my EARS, and also subjectively listening for any faults in the sound. I arrived with something that I would consider to be 70% R70X and 30% HD800. The resulting sound has a little more bass extension than the stock R70X (mostly thanks to the pads), a warm-tilt to the midrange of 3-4db from 200hz to 4khz, and a little more 6khz energy than the stock R70X, which was a little depressed in this region. The sound is ever so slightly more v-shaped than the stock R70X, with slightly more treble and bass. Just as with the stock R70X however, the treble never peaks above the lower midrange, making for a fatigue free sound. There's about 2-3db less energy around the upper midrange, making the natural null around 5khz the R70X sound a little smoother. I did try to EQ the 5khz region up to completely neutral, but the resulting sound was too splashy and didn't sound right. I think the R70X is just going to have to live with this dip as it's a natural characteristic of its driver. Most people would be accustomed to this anyways, as tons of high-end headphones have a depression centered around 4-5khz. I can't really get rid of the slight null around 10khz, so it seems as though there's a small amount of ringing there. Upper treble sounds smooth and well balanced however. The very minute elevation around 600-1khz was done to counteract any subjective muddiness that might come from the inherent rise in mid-upper bass that the R70X has. Overall I think it's a very lively and well balanced sound.


xleq.png


If anybody is using the R70X with Brainwavz Velour XL pads and is interested in EQing them with Equalizer APO, you can message me in this thread or in PM and I'll see if I can do something about uploading the config file.
 
Nov 3, 2023 at 9:56 AM Post #2,630 of 2,666
Nov 25, 2023 at 7:07 PM Post #2,631 of 2,666
good r70x report from rtings, including measurements and comparison to similar cans.

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/audio-technica/ath-r70x
That review is weird regarding comfort. Earcups are similar in size to Beyer or Grado, so they sit on-ear if you have big ears like me. But the headband is so flexible that it feels like zero clamping force, and the wings keep the weight off your head.

Meanwhile, I made a little 11/11 purchase: a not at all fancy balanced cable (Black Friday discounts are pretty similar, knocking the 2m price down to the same as the 1.6m).

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256804183900981.html

Soft nylon woven fabric, a tiny bit microphonic if you make an effort (as is the OEM cable).

And, wow! Running it out of the 4.4mm balanced output of my VE Megatron, instead of the 3.5mm, is a major boost -- more bass, more space. I don't know if that's different EQ in the Megatron or just more power from a balanced output, but just saying...if my fellow ATH-R70X enthusiasts want to experiment, I think it's worth it.
 
Nov 26, 2023 at 8:47 PM Post #2,632 of 2,666
Can anyone test a song for me, maybe give me peace of mind, listening to “You got me” by Liv East in her first lyrics of the song around 20 seconds her vocals sound overly compressed and almost have a ringing/resonant effect to them that only these headphones I can pick up. I just wanna make sure they are fine as my other gear won’t reproduce this sound.
 
Dec 9, 2023 at 11:37 AM Post #2,633 of 2,666
Which balanced amp or dac/amp under 500$ would you recommend for low volume listening and a very immediate, lively, fast and bright sound?

Do you have experience with balanced cables from china compared to quality cables?

Thanks!
 
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Dec 11, 2023 at 12:39 PM Post #2,635 of 2,666
Has anyone compared the AT R70 X to the Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X. Im trying to decide between these two.
The Beyer 900 X is not natural sounding and a bit congested. Dt880 and 560S are much better. R70x is even better because it is more natural and more realistic sounding with exceptional speed, immediacy and imaging. Dt880 600Ohm has more resolution and air and is brighter but slower, less immediate. But i prefer the R70x and I will try to get more brightness and resolution out of it with cabling and electronics.
 
Dec 11, 2023 at 1:30 PM Post #2,636 of 2,666
I never expect i would be impressed by 300dollar headphone. It can even compete with some 2000 dollar headphone in term of tonality. I am not kidding. Sometimes when i am tired i just love listening to my r70x compared to my ZMF or GM. It is that good. This headphone is a hidden gem but there is a problem. Dont use the included cable and give this HP a power. I bought balanced cable and use the balanced out of any of my amps and this HP dude.... This HP blew me away. The sound improved by 2 times. Use balance to give this HP power it will increase the bass ,the musicality, the thickness of notes and the soundstage by a lot. A lot of audio friends i ask to try it scratch their head how nobody never mention this headphone. It is so amazing. But...dont expect details from this HP its not for gear reviewing. It is for music enjoyer.
 
Dec 11, 2023 at 1:40 PM Post #2,637 of 2,666
I never expect i would be impressed by 300dollar headphone. It can even compete with some 2000 dollar headphone in term of tonality. I am not kidding. Sometimes when i am tired i just love listening to my r70x compared to my ZMF or GM. It is that good. This headphone is a hidden gem but there is a problem. Dont use the included cable and give this HP a power. I bought balanced cable and use the balanced out of any of my amps and this HP dude.... This HP blew me away. The sound improved by 2 times. Use balance to give this HP power it will increase the bass ,the musicality, the thickness of notes and the soundstage by a lot. A lot of audio friends i ask to try it scratch their head how nobody never mention this headphone. It is so amazing. But...dont expect details from this HP its not for gear reviewing. It is for music enjoyer.
Exactly. I compared the ZMF Auteur Classic to the stock R70X in a Hifi store. The ZMF had nicer timbre, soundstage and resolution, but the R70X was more immediate sounding and much lighter in weight. I bought the R70X and now I want to get it brighter and more detailed sounding.

Would you recommend a specific kind of Aliexpress cable for this headphone, a specific amp and dac, in order to make it faster, brighter, more detailed?
 
Dec 11, 2023 at 3:13 PM Post #2,638 of 2,666
Can you please tell me how the R70X compares to the HD660S2? What would be better if, in addition to classical, chamber music and jazz, I also listen to rock and electronics? I plan to use it with FiiO K9 on balance, is there enough power?
 
Dec 11, 2023 at 3:16 PM Post #2,639 of 2,666
Dt880 600Ohm has more resolution and air and is brighter but slower, less immediate

My DT-880/600 is easily the brightest, most snappy and sparkly headphone in my collection - usually in a good way, though I can think of a couple recordings where that treble crosses a line.
 
Dec 11, 2023 at 8:35 PM Post #2,640 of 2,666
Exactly. I compared the ZMF Auteur Classic to the stock R70X in a Hifi store. The ZMF had nicer timbre, soundstage and resolution, but the R70X was more immediate sounding and much lighter in weight. I bought the R70X and now I want to get it brighter and more detailed sounding.

Would you recommend a specific kind of Aliexpress cable for this headphone, a specific amp and dac, in order to make it faster, brighter, more detailed?
IMO cable wont change much of the sound you need brighter and more detailed amplifier for that. But aliexpress cable are cheap and more than enough. Any cable will do but with balance to draw more amp. But if you insist some cable theory is
Longer= more resistance
Thinner= more resistance
Copper = more resistance
More resistance = tame down treble.
So the opposite will be your goal.
I use mine with AnK HB1 balance out. HB1 are quiet technical so it help R70x. But if i remember correctly high impedance headphone will benefit more from high impedance output amplifier. Havent tried high impedance out amp like tube.
 
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