Audio-Technica have gone all out with this year’s new releases of headphones with a number of well-deserved upgrades to classic models. Further to this, the presentation of the ATH-R70x sees their return to the world of openback reference headphones. This is one area of headphones that a lot of manufacturers tend to steer away from as it generally has a limited range of uses. After all, the open-back design not only allows environmental noise to enter your listening space, it also allows the music you are listening to escape into the environment. Not ideal when you are sitting on a crowded train listing to One Direction at loud volume. Expect a few odd looks when you take these out into the real world.
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
The concept behind the ATHR70X headphones is to provide a reference quality studio headphone that can be used for mixing and mastering applications. Of course, Audio-Technica are not saying you should do away with your studio monitors, but you should have a great pair of headphones to work together with them as a point of reference. As a closed-back headphone can allow for certain frequencies to get trapped and build up within the housing, the open-backed design allows for a more natural reproduction of your music. Air pressure can naturally escape from the cans with the changes in dynamics and allow for the drivers to work more freely. You don’t get any low frequency build-ups and the result is a smooth audio reproduction that allows for extended listening sessions without fatigue.
The lightweight design of these headphones is driven by the desire to deliver a comfortable listening platform for the user even after long periods of use. Everything has been though through with these, even the packaging is an engineering marvel, if only slightly difficult to get open to begin with. Two free-floating spring mounted pads rest atop of the head to offer comfort and support, with the ear pads themselves happily resting over the ears without any discomfort. I am not a fan of lack of labelling for stereo orientation, a big L and R on the cans is always helpful I find, but beggars can’t be choosers and the design team clearly don’t share my passion for signage. As a reference headphone, Audio-Technica have delivered a great product in the ATH-R70X. They may not be the most popular headphones for general listening purposes, but that is not what they were designed for. That said, I couldn’t see any problems with using these at home for some quality listening in a quiet room alone.
Hits and Misses
Extremely comfortable and lightweight
Very open and natural sounding
Perfect for long listening sessions
Unclear Left/Right orientation for stereo listening
• Type: Open-back reference
• Driver Diameter: 45mm
• Frequency Response: 5 - 40,000Hz
• Maximum Input Power: 1,000mW at 1 kHz
• Sensitivity: 99 dB
• Impedance: 470 ohms
• Weight: 210 g (7.4 oz), without cable and connector
• Accessories Included: Protective carrying pouch