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Comfortable, but fragile

When you first plunk the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s down on your head, you’ll notice that all the weight of these cans seem to disappear, and it’s very easy to forget that you’re wearing them. Audio-Technica loves this band design, it seems, as it appears on many of their “audiophile” branded headphones.

While these are impressive cans for the price, they won’t last too long without some TLC.

The speaker of the element is guarded by a very thin mesh, and encircled by a rather oddly-shaped ear pad. This is removable, but a gigantic pain to put back on. The cable of the s is 9.84 feet long (3 meters), and relatively boring, as there are no in-line accessories, which is a positive for durability concerns as there are fewer potential sources of potential breakage.

Because these headphones have an open-backed design, you should be wary of taking them anywhere that isn’t your computer or home setup. Why? Because open-backed cans let the open air touch the exposed speaker element, any flaws in the wiring could potentially cause a short and ruin your headphones, and the risk of this is much higher in humid or dirty air. Additionally, the band has a bunch of moving parts, adding another point of possible failure. While these are impressive cans for the price, they won’t last too long without some TLC.

Some blemishes, but great overall quality

When listening to these cans, you may notice a rather sharp emphasis of higher-end cymbal crashes and sibilant sounds (f, s, sh sounds) that won’t exactly be very consistent, due to the wild swing in emphasis near the 10kHz mark. It’s certainly an oddity, but Audio-Technica is hardly the only headphone company to emphasize frequencies in this range to add the illusion of definition to higher-pitched instruments via emphasis of quieter sounds.

You won’t hear the shifts in channel preference from left to right, even if you know what to look for.

Despite having a few extremely minor blemishes in its response, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s have maintain an even reproduction of sound all along the frequency spectrum. You won’t hear the shifts in channel preference from left to right, even if you know what to look for.

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All-in-all, the had a fairly strong core audio performance, and its shiniest test score came with its low level of distortion. Granted, this distortion hits 3% if you absolutely crank up the volume past what your average iPod can output, but that's a more academic concern.

Not bad at all

Considering their price point in conjunction with their sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s are a fantastic buy for novice audiophiles, or anyone looking for a good set of headphones for their tablet or computer at home. Additionally, they have a low enough impedance to work across a range of devices, but have a load capacity that will allow you to amplify your headphones if you so desire.

They aren’t perfect, however, as they do show some rough edges in the evenness of the tones it covers. Still, for the price you’d pay, their excellently low distortion, decent tracking, and decent sensitivity make for a great set of entry-level cans. It doesn’t hurt that they’re super-comfortable, either.

While they’ve been on the market for quite a while now, they’re still a relevant and interesting model of headphones for young or entry-level buyers. While their looks aren’t for everyone, their performance should satisfy many.

The makes for a great entry-level set for the aspiring audiophile.

A fairly even response curve.

For most of the range of audible frequencies, the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s actually keep a fairly flat response. Unfortunately, they do have a rather huge range of underemphasis from 700Hz to 8kHz. Thankfully, the underemphasis isn’t as severe as it could be, but it's enough outside of our ideal limits that it negatively impacted its score. You may notice that some notes sound anywhere from 3/4ths to 1/2 as loud as they should be.

The had a strong performance in this area.

These cans have a super-low distortion measure, and shouldn’t leave you with any audible distortion. If you can hear distortion, you may need to do some troubleshooting with your setup at home.

Additionally, listeners who like to bump their tunes very loudly might be excited to hear that the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s can output sound at 114.3dB without hitting a 3% level of distortion. Still, we advise all readers that listening to anything at this volume for extended periods of time is a bad idea.

By design, the can't be good at isolation.

such is the reality of open-backed headphones: they let in almost every frequency sound virtually unimpeded. Keep in mind that if you’re in a noisy room, you’ll be able to hear just about anything that’s going on around you. The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700s also leak a lot of sound due to the open backs. Be careful to listen at a low volume around other people, because they will get annoyed fairly quickly.


In an ideal world, the right and left channel would be exactly the same, moving and sounding in lockstep. However, as the frequency of sound Approaches 7,000 Hz, these headphones start to favor the right channel. It should be noted, that the tracking issue did not really cross the audible threshold of 3dB.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging


A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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