April 21, 2024
TEST: AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-R70X

TEST: AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-R70X

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x is a rare beast with many parts that are impressive, innovative and solution-oriented. As soon as the box arrived, we jumped in with enthusiasm to explore these aesthetically and technically pleasing headphones. During the course of the test, we made several discoveries, both good and bad. It turned out that the ATH-R70x’s strengths are also largely its weaknesses. Follow along so we do it all one step at a time.

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x suspended

Overall ATH-R70x

The contents of the box were about as expected: a carrying bag, a 3 meter detachable cable with 6.3 mm adapter and of course the headphones themselves. The ATH-R70x are open (open-back) and compared to many other headphones in the same niche, they are extremely open. Unforgivingly open, one could put it as. It’s almost as if you’re not wearing them, you hear so much from your surroundings. The advantages of this are of course extremely good ventilation around the ears, while the disadvantage is that the area of ​​use is also limited. You must sit in an absolutely quiet environment so as not to be disturbed by the slightest sound. No refrigerators, no cars passing by and by all means click a little softer on the keyboard – you hear everything.

The design is stylish and discreet. So discreet that it takes a moment to put them right. The small, black letter that guides you to the right page is extremely difficult to perceive in dim lighting.

The weight is an impressive, to say the least, 210 grams (!) and you notice it when you put the headphone frame on your head. Märks is a poorly chosen word as it is almost the complete opposite; if it weren’t for the sound coming out and the earmuffs gently pressing around the ears, you’d forget they’re there. The ATH-R70x has an innovative dual-wing suspension (which we’ve seen before in the editors ‘ favorite ADG1X ) that adjusts around your head, making them fit on the first try.

In contrast, the ATH-R70x are a pair of real heavyweights when it comes to impedance. They offer a full 470 ohm resistance and the sensitivity doesn’t help you either with its 99 dB. This makes them difficult to use. Your cell phone doesn’t go far. Your toad, with his breath in his throat, will probably make it but without any major margins. You therefore need a DAC, a headphone amplifier or a beefier sound card to do the ATH-R70x justice. The frequency range is on the fairly common 5 – 40,000 Hz and the elements measure 45 mm.

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x headband and ear cups

Comfort

In the initial stage, the wing system – together with the light weight – makes the headphones extremely comfortable. However, gradually they slide down, out of position. Enough for them to rest on their ears. The suspension of the wings is not strong enough to compensate for when you move and when the cord through gravity pulls on them. So after a while they rest on the ears again, which in the long run becomes extremely annoying. The comfort therefore unfortunately loses much of its initial impression after a period of use.

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x close up caps

ATH-R70x – The sound image

High frequencies (High-range)

The ATH-R70x does not provide the expected clarity in the absolute highest frequencies. The treble is somewhat dull and the desire to use an EQ to increase clarity quickly arises. It becomes a somewhat nasal experience, where the ears desire more clarity, more sting. And it’s hard to shake off.

Intermediate frequencies (Mid-range)

If high frequencies didn’t quite impress, the middle registers show something completely different: You get to experience a spaciousness and width that is palpably impressive. The ATH-R70x provides such a breadth that the music actually sounds different than usual. New sounds, loops and little effects pop up continuously in music you thought you knew before. We are prepared to go so far as to say that this extreme width is not for everyone. At least not for all musical rooms. Hans Zimmer – Buyer Beware becomes exceptionally effective where breadth becomes a powerful companion. If, on the other hand, you switch to something that requires a little more tightness and core, such as Tower of Powers – Soul With A Capital ´S´ , then the width becomes the opposite. It becomes too broad and the music loses focus.

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x inside earmuff puffs close-up

Low frequencies (Low-range)

The bass, like the midrange, is a pleasure. Powerful and precise. The wide soundstage gives the bass a unifying and heavy role. It becomes like an anchor that holds all registers together and creates a particularly pleasant whole. The low frequencies deliver lively bass notes as well as heavy and vibrating bass loops. This should not be misunderstood as the ATH-R70x being bass-heavy. Not at all, but they certainly have the capacity, which gives it a good rating.

The overall sound image

No matter how you twist and turn, the weakness of the treble becomes something that lowers the experience. You lack crispness and richness of detail. The overwhelmingly wide soundstage works unbeatable in some situations, but becomes a weakness in others. But to be clear, the sound is still outstanding. Just not in all situations. John Powell’s – Once There Were Dragons , with its many variations gathered in one song, gives the ATH-R70x several chances to show off its right side. And then it shines perfectly. But Armin van Buuren’s – Beautiful Life requires more substance, and then it falters.

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x full screen portrait

The content – ​​ATH -R70x

The ATH-R70x is thus, as mentioned, a rare beast. They are an excellent pair of reference headphones, but the extreme features of the headphones make them somewhat difficult to use. At the same time, the extreme features are also something that impresses, in the right situations. The innovative suspension is an initially excellent idea, but unfortunately means that the headphones do not stay in place and you are forced to adjust them time and time again.

The problem the ATH-R70x face in this price range is that they have plenty of competition from worthy alternatives. The alternatives may weigh a little more, but otherwise they offer better possibilities for use with more balanced openness, significantly lower impedance and this at a lower price. So choose carefully, because the ATH-R70x comes with demands as high as the quality they deliver.

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