Review: Audio Technica ATH-AD700 Headphones

athad700I did a lot of research looking for a great pair of headphones to listen to rock music with, and settled on the ATH-AD700 by Audio Technica. That turned out to be a fantastic choice. The problem I’ve found with headphones is that most are designed with hip-hop or pop in mind. In fact, I’d be willing to bet most headphones are manufactured with the intention of trying to keep a good quality sound when somebody’s over-doing the equalizer settings. Most of the high quality or “audiophile” headphones I had listened to sounded way to bass-y and really mudded up rock music. The ATH-AD700 on the other hand, sound incredible, clean, and 100% true to the intended sound.

The first couple things you notice when you put these on are that they’re very light, and very big. I have what I consider to be a big cranium, and they felt big on me. It wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling; it was just one of those odd feelings like when you make a drastic look change—it’s only weird at first until you get used to it. The headphones are over-ear obviously, and the pads are velvet, even though they barely touch your skin anyway. Unlike traditional headphones, these have spring-loaded wings for an automatic fit instead of having to slide up and down till you find the right spot. Because they’re open-air, they’re very light and they almost feel like they’re not there. The best part though, is the sound. I can’t say enough about it, and I wish there was a way to describe it, but it’s just clean and clear. You’ll hear things in music you didn’t know where there, right down to the tiniest detail. Even for the occasional rock music that does have a lot of heavy bass in it, you don’t lose out on it with these. They also crank loud enough to be “speakers” when they’re not on your head, and without losing any quality at all.

There are only a couple drawbacks to these headphones. One is that because of the open-air design, there is a lot of sound leak. In fact, there is really no way to hide what you’re listening to. So if you’re like me and have a wife that might not appreciate listening to Bloodsimple cranked to 11, you may consider something else. However, if she can stand it, or you can stand holding off on the loud stuff for times when she’s not around, the natural sound of the open-air design is really worth it. Honestly, the only other drawback is that they’re a little too loose. The way the ATH-AD700 sits on your head, it’s really light and you really don’t even know that they’re there. Because of that though, on more than a few occasions I’ve gotten into some music and headbanged the headphones right off my head. Not that big of a deal, and I never thought I’d wish for headphones to be snugger, but in this case maybe a smidge more would be okay.

The bottomline is that if you listen to rock music primarily (or any other non-rap/pop genre really) and don’t mind people around you hearing it, these are the headphones for you. Full specs are available at the official site, but you can get them for around $75 through Amazon (MSRP is $160).