Audio Technica ATH-AD700

Audio Technica ATH-AD700
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Pros

  • Brilliant highs, incredible definition, quick tight bass

Cons

  • They leak?

Bottom Line

As a classical headphone, nothing in this price range comes close. For other types of music, you will still find yourself hard pressed to better the AD700s. Bass-heads need not apply

Would you buy this?

Many people underestimate the differences between closed and open headphones, pegging both models in a certain series as having a similar sound. Audio Technica produces a both a closed and open variant of each model (the A900 and AD900), and whilst they definitely have a trademark sound across the range, often other elements couldn't sound more different.

Take the AD700 for example. Many people would simply look at the model number and slot it somewhere between the A500 and A900 in terms of sound quality - big mistake! The AD700 has a noticeably lighter sound that really lends it a different sonic signature altogether.

We would describe the AD700 as the perfect classical headphone in this price bracket, but it is also wonderful for jazz, acoustic guitar and piano pieces. It is an open model, which means bass tends not to be as booming and powerful, (on a closed model there is room for echo) so on heavy metal and dance tracks, bass fanatics will probably miss the extra punch. That said, the bass is incredibly quick and tight on this model - a case of quality over quantity - so it really depends how you like your music to sound.

The upper mid tones and highs are the real strengths of this model. The AD700 has some of the most exquisite detail and separation you will hear without spending several hundred dollars more. Instruments flow from one to the other with a beautiful layering effect that brings out the full sound of a large performance (eg: Orchestra). Some people will find the highs a little too bright for their tastes, but we absolutely adored the sound.

The mid range was rich and slightly warm, with a lovely, smooth texture. Our acoustic guitar rock, songs such as Patience by Guns and Roses sounded simply amazing.

The other real strength of this model is the soundstage. To put it simply, we haven't heard anything as immersive as the AD700. The power and positioning of the individual instruments is mind boggling, surpassing pretty much everything we have seen in this price range (including the A900). Soundstage is paramount to a proper listening experience. If you can close your eyes and visualise the sound in the appropriate place it goes a long way towards creating that spine tingling feeling we strive for when listening to our favourite tunes. The massive soundstage is also perfect for positional audio. We'd venture that in terms of un-amplified headphones, it doesn't get much better for games than the AD700s.

The AD700 sports the classical Audio Technica Design that has served them so well with this series. Large cups padded with velour and supported by two padded wings that rest on the top of the head. Stretching over that are two thin strips of plastic which appear quite flimsy but feel strong to touch. All of Audio Technica's headphones are incredibly comfortable, and this model is no exception. As an open headphone, the AD700's cups merely rest against the ear, rather than enclosing it, which made it easy to listen to even during sessions of up to six hours. They are however rather large, so wearing them around the streets will earn you the odd confused stare.

The open design of course leads to the inevitable problem of sound leakage. The AD700s do not isolate well, but that is to be expected. If you plan on using these in an office, ensure you invest in some ear plugs for those around you.

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