Headphones, headphones…. Everybody uses them in certain fashion but no one wants to give you some aid in choosing them. You can find, of course, a few types: throughout the ear as well as on the ear, either available or closed back types, and the type used mostly for mobile applications, ear buds and ear-canal.
The ATH-A700 is a within the ear closed right back style. Although lightweight (290 grams) and comfortable for longer term monitoring or editing chores they simply will not work with mobile because they have actually a 10-foot non-recoiling signal cord. The “wing support mechanism,” a couple pads that remainder on your head, does help comfort as the phones fit perfectly plus don’t wiggle or slip during long haul listening. Further, the “leather-like” ear pads are comfortable and don’t cause perspiration in reasonably warm conditions.
How do they sound? Pretty darned good, especially at background levels that are listening. By background I mean at lower listening levels (elevator music), softly recorded programs and for monitoring and editing where hearing the most minute details is essential. The closed-back style helps here as well. The ATH-A700 has roughly 10-15 dB of background attenuation (about half as much as my David Clark 100/dc over the ear or Etymotic Research ER-4S in-ear phones; both with 25 dB attenuation). You are able to nevertheless hear the telephone band but home that is normal studio or workplace ambient noise levels are well paid.
Put another way, moment sounds sometimes well hidden within the background, are completely audible. While this is important for monitor work it implies that reverberation, like that added to Suzanne Vega’s voice on “Tom’s Diner,” sounds somewhat exaggerated. Perhaps the light reverb included with Joe Williams’ “Dimples” by the recently departed recording hero John Eargle, while not exaggerated, is more obvious than you will hear on speakers.
Further, using the ATH-A700s it is more straightforward to hear the artifacts of information reduction with XM radio that are not often obvious with the Delphi SKYFI3 Premium Audio System or playing in the system in your car. The same thing will be real along with your mp3 productions, therefore a good monitor phone like the ATH-A700 will allow you to in selecting information rates.
Having said that, the ATH-A700 has extended bass that is low but upper bass and lower midrange sometimes lacks a little body or warmth. This characteristic also means that the 88-note piano track on ProSonus’ Studio Reference Disc over-emphasizes the sound of the piano action. But instruments that are sometimes acoustic in particular brass, tend to lack body. Nonetheless, for many of this range, the phones sound accurate and natural.
Spatial rendition is, well, best over the ear headphones for working out -like. Center pictures are situated towards the back of one’s skull and sometimes maybe not completely created. Left and right images have a tendency to find in the remaining and right ear cups and there’s no frontal level to your sound stage. There is lots of “envelopment” but only in the side and rear sense. Quite simply, you will get the impression that you’re in a large space but standing in the doorway looking of the space.
Dynamically the ATH-A700s will play lightly recorded programs to a realistically loud level but programs with wide dynamic range also tend to sound compressed–meaning that the loudest sounds do not increase in loudness as much as the softer sounds. It) the ATH-A700s give you the fundamental tones but they cannot give you the tactile sensation that comes with the material played on speakers as I said, on program material with true deep bass (only movie sound tracks, nature recordings such as thunderstorms, niche stuff such as locomotives and subways, bass-head CDs and organ recordings have.
Therefore, should you consider these phones at $299? Well, let me put it this real method, they truly are a much better device for long term monitor work than my David Clark 100/dc. They’ve a more natural tonal balance, the same limited spatial rendition, similar dynamic capabilities and more limited noise attenuation, but the comfort factor is much better. The Etymotic Research phones have a more natural balance that is tonal are far more difficult to make use of because of the brief cable and digging out the in-ear plugs for restroom trips.
I would consider the Audio-Technica for everyday monitor use if I had to make the decision again after 10 years. But because I don’t do that much, and I’ve already spent $300 for the Etymotic, I’m standing pat. But if you’re a heavy duty mp3 downloader I’d definitely recommend that you consider them because of the low level detail property.