Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 Review
The ATH-AD700; an entry-level set of open-backed cans from Audio-Technica with a rather unique design.
Meet the ATH-AD700, an entry-level set of open-backed cans from Audio-Technica with a rather unique design. While they aren’t the best-performing headphones we’ve seen from the Japanese headphone company, these are solid entry-level cans at a great price. If you’re looking to begin your home audio journey without spending too much coin, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s are a great starter pair of headphones.
Comfort Design & Features
Comfortable, but fragile
When you first plunk the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s down on your head, you’ll notice that all the weight of these cans seem to disappear, and it’s very easy to forget that you’re wearing them. Audio-Technica loves this band design, it seems, as it appears on many of their “audiophile” branded headphones.
The speaker of the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 element is guarded by a very thin mesh, and encircled by a rather oddly-shaped ear pad. This is removable, but a gigantic pain to put back on. The cable of the ATH-AD700s is 9.84 feet long (3 meters), and relatively boring, as there are no in-line accessories, which is a positive for durability concerns as there are fewer potential sources of potential breakage.
Because these headphones have an open-backed design, you should be wary of taking them anywhere that isn’t your computer or home setup. Why? Because open-backed cans let the open air touch the exposed speaker element, any flaws in the wiring could potentially cause a short and ruin your headphones, and the risk of this is much higher in humid or dirty air. Additionally, the band has a bunch of moving parts, adding another point of possible failure. While these are impressive cans for the price, they won’t last too long without some TLC.
Some blemishes, but great overall quality
When listening to these cans, you may notice a rather sharp emphasis of higher-end cymbal crashes and sibilant sounds (f, s, sh sounds) that won’t exactly be very consistent, due to the wild swing in emphasis near the 10kHz mark. It’s certainly an oddity, but Audio-Technica is hardly the only headphone company to emphasize frequencies in this range to add the illusion of definition to higher-pitched instruments via emphasis of quieter sounds.
Despite having a few extremely minor blemishes in its response, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s have maintain an even reproduction of sound all along the frequency spectrum. You won’t hear the shifts in channel preference from left to right, even if you know what to look for.
All-in-all, the ATH-AD700 had a fairly strong core audio performance, and its shiniest test score came with its low level of distortion. Granted, this distortion hits 3% if you absolutely crank up the volume past what your average iPod can output, but that's a more academic concern.
Not bad at all
Considering their price point in conjunction with their sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s are a fantastic buy for novice audiophiles, or anyone looking for a good set of headphones for their tablet or computer at home. Additionally, they have a low enough impedance to work across a range of devices, but have a load capacity that will allow you to amplify your headphones if you so desire.
They aren’t perfect, however, as they do show some rough edges in the evenness of the tones it covers. Still, for the price you’d pay, their excellently low distortion, decent tracking, and decent sensitivity make for a great set of entry-level cans. It doesn’t hurt that they’re super-comfortable, either.
While they’ve been on the market for quite a while now, they’re still a relevant and interesting model of headphones for young or entry-level buyers. While their looks aren’t for everyone, their performance should satisfy many.
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