The evolution of the headphone has been an interesting journey, from their inception in the last century to aid telephone operators through to airline pilots. From recording, TV, and radio, they have developed at a fast pace. The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is an example of one of the places we are now in headphone design.
These days most people own a set in one of their various forms. Most are designed for specific purposes. They, therefore, have a build or sound platform to suit that purpose. Some are even designed for specific genres of music.
Some are designed for critical listening, others for pure enjoyment. Before we take a look at our Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Review, let’s remind ourselves of who Audio Technica are.
Founded in 1962 in Tokyo, it didn’t take long for the innovative designs of their products to become noticed. Headphones came first. And then other audio products. Their phono cartridges especially have become recognized as some of the best.
Especially for those looking for a cost-effective alternative. They are often selected as the cartridge of choice by other turntable manufacturers.
An audio-based range…
But it is not only their phono cartridges that receive attention. They produce a range of headphones, turntables, as well as wired and wireless microphones. They know what they are good at, and they ensure their products reach the required criteria of performance.
An impressive track record…
Sometimes a company lays claim to some impressive clients. Audio-Technica has provided products for the FIFA World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and every summer and winter Olympics since 1996. Not bad for a company that often flies under the radar of many people’s awareness.
So having established their credentials, let’s take a look at the ATH-AD700X headphones…
As we said earlier, many headphones these days are designed for a specific purpose. That can be said of the ATH-AD700X. These are not for running, the gym, or for the daily commute. Likewise, they are not for noisy environments or casual outdoor use.
These are for critical listening. And in that capacity, they are way above-average in terms of performance. They are well-built and comfortable and have an over-ear, open-back design. The headband is rather unique and will appeal to some and not to others.
In our opinion, we are more concerned about the performance than the visuals. As we have said, these are not a set of headphones for casual outdoor use. Therefore, what they look like is only in your own mind rather than the eyes of others.
Some may not like the design…
Having said that, we can see why some might not like the visual aspects and be put off before they have had a chance to try them. The ear cups, by contemporary standards, are quite large. The headband, shall we say, is different. We will look more closely at that design issue later.
We don’t think that Audio-Technica has sat down and tried to make a ‘pretty’ set of phones with the ATH-AD700X. These are functional. The only thing that might be eye-catching, if that is what you want, is the headband.
Let’s take a closer look…
The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is a fully open-air, over-ear design. They are wired and have no internet connection options. They are predominately plastic in construction, which means they are lightweight. At only one pound, they are not going to be noticeable to wear for any length of time.
Also contributing to the lightweight design is an aluminum honeycomb pattern on the outer of the earcups. That generates very good acoustic properties.
What are open ear headphones?
This is a design that allows air to pass through the ear cups. This has the effect of not blocking out external sounds as a closed-back design will. This, in turn, causes a lack of build-up of pressure on and around the ears.
This will give a more natural immersive sound experience. This is likely to be high-quality and more natural. They create the feeling of having a lot of space around you, almost like sitting in the middle of the musicians themselves. Of course, the open-ear design will leak sound and so are not suitable for some environments. They also have no noise-canceling options.
That lack of a headband…
Let’s return to the issue of the lack of a formal headband we mentioned earlier. Instead of a headband resting on the top of your head, there are wing supports. These sit inside the two arches that sit over the top of the headphones where the headband might have been.
They adjust to the size of your head and are designed for listening comfort. This will be subjective, of course, and is something a new user might need to adapt to. However, they do minimize any pressure on the ears. They also keep the headphones in place on the head.
Designed for a purpose…
We have already remarked on the designs of headphones reflecting their intended use. The AD700X headphones are not designed for physical activity, as we have said. They are not for sports or the gym and are likely to fall off if you run with them on.
They are fine for just listening but be aware that the cable does not detach. If you happen to catch it on something, it is likely to pull the phones off your head. Having said that, it does have a TPE sheath that will prevent tangles.
It is always good to throw out some observations about a product. Apart from the no headband design, there are a few things that people may not appreciate. There is no pouch or any other carrying options. They will fit in a backpack, of course, but are probably too big to be carried in anything smaller.
They don’t fold up, and neither do the earcups fold flat. The overall design of the lack of a headband makes them quite large and may be considered cumbersome.
Finally, this rather unique headband design has plenty of moving parts that may wear out with plenty of use.
Are they major design faults?
Not at all. These are for critical listening. You may not have to carry them around, and a pouch or case may not be needed. Folding up isn’t an issue for the same reason.
If you want a set of headphones for travel or sport, these are not the ones. If you use them for listening, then they are worth considering.
This is where the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X does score some points. They are not heavy, and the ‘wing supports’ exert a gentle amount of pressure on the head, holding them comfortably in place. The lack of any real pressure on the ears or head adds greatly to the comfort.
The ear cups themselves are large, circular and have an open-backed design. The outer is covered with a thin aluminum grille, as we have said. The cups themselves are well-padded with a soft cushion. They have a memory foam interior with a soft faux velvet covering. They feel good.
Lightweight, with soft ear cups, and no pressure in the fit all adds up to one thing. A comfortable listening experience.
Being well-built is important, as is being comfortable for long listening sessions. But the sound probably comes ahead of both in importance for most people.
These headphones punch way above their weight sound-wise. This courtesy of their large aperture 53mm drivers. They deliver a great balance of bass, mids, and treble, which don’t swallow each other up. The mid-range and higher frequencies are especially prominent, crisp, and clean. But there is just enough bottom end to deliver that great balance of the frequencies.
Cranking up the sound is not a problem either with CCAW voice coils that are bobbin wound. This delivers the ability to handle some power if you happen to need it. The frequency response is 20–20,000 Hz, and the impedance 45 ohms.
Not a great deal, it must be said, but the inclusion of a stereo gold-plated ⅛ inch connector with a ¼ inch adapter is a useful addition. The gold plating, of course, serves two functions. To reduce the potential for any corrosion on contact surfaces and to ensure contact is the best it can be at all times.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Review Pros and Cons
- Nice solid build.
- Open-air, over-ear design.
- Unique headband system that allows a comfortable fit.
- Good padding on the earcups.
- Not too tight with the fit on the head.
- Excellent sound balance with 53mm drivers.
- Attractive price point, given the sound quality.
- Good frequency response.
- Does not have a detachable cable.
- No wireless connections or noise canceling.
- The open-back design can leak sound.
Looking for Something Else?
Finding the right headphones has never been easier. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones with Microphone, the Best Headphones Under $200, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $200 you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our reviews of the Best Lightweight Headphones, the Best Running Headphones, the Best Waterproof Headphones, the Best Travel Headphones, and the Best Neckband Headphones currently on the market.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Review – Final Thoughts
The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X has been designed to deliver a good level of sound combined with a comfortable experience. The sound balances are good, even though some might think the mids can be rather too prominent in some situations. But they produce a sound that is way above the average at this price point.
We have already made this comment, but we feel it is necessary to ensure a fair opinion. Some headphones are built for a purpose, and some do not handle certain environments very well. This set is one of those – For critical listening, very good. But, for sports, running, etc., no good at all.
Excellent value for the money…
They are not the cheapest headphones you will come across. But the sound quality is good and equivalent at least to others costing much more. In our view, this makes the price point an attractive option.
They represent great value and are what can be described as a typical Audio-Technica product. Some may call it a budget set of headphones. We prefer to say a very good set of phones at a cost-effective price. Certainly one to at least add to your list for a closer look.
Until next time, happy listening.