Audio Technica AD700 Review

Now that I have gotten the ergonomics and aesthetics out of the way, it is time to move on to review the sound of both headphones. The AD700 has one definite edge compared to most sub-$100 headphones. There are great headphones that can be had for the money, such as PX100-II, MS1, Grados, and Mike’s favorite AIAIAI; however, their soundstage is definitely on the small side when compared to real full-size headphones. The AD700 doesn’t stop at giving you a decent-sized soundstage; it gives you a really big one, which shows through even unamped. If you pay attention to the headphone drivers, you will notice that they are angled, which might partly contribute to this big soundstage. With the big soundstage, music seems more to revolve a little bit more around you, instead of playing strictly in the middle of your head. This soundstage is particularly useful for classical music or music that requires expansive ambiance. Even with the big and diffused soundstage, the AD700 still manages a good positioning and good spaces between the instruments. On the flip side, the overall imaging can be a bit soft and diffused, so some people can perceive them as a little fuzzy-sounding.

The HD668B also has a good soundstage in its own way. Size-wise, though still fairly wide, the soundstage is definitely smaller than AD700’s. What the HD668B loses in size, it gains in a clearer delineation between instruments and sounds. The soundstage is focused, with a more focused imaging than the AD700. The soundscape also maintains a clean and black background, enhancing the imaging. When I played a recording of an instrument playing against a quiet background, it was easier to hear the nuances of the instrument, and when it starts playing and when it stops, as the sound faded slowly into the background.

Already different in their soundstage presentation, the HD668B and the AD700 are even more different in their sound signature. Generally, the AD700 is a very open and airy-sounding headphone with an overall warm balance and a forward extended treble. The bass is light on impact. Quantity-wise, it is decent but the bass somehow dissipates rather quickly before it can deliver that punch down to the gut. The mid is colored, low mid is adequately represented; however, the upper midrange is comparatively laid-back when compared to headphones like Grados and my Beyerdynamic DT531. This resulted in vocals that tend to be on the warm side, but on the other hand, still has some of that ethereal airy quality contributed by the extended yet relaxed treble. The AD700 is not a neutral headphone; the transition from low mids-upper mids-treble is not very flat. However, if you are not aiming for neutrality and bass impact and just take the colored sound signature as is, the AD700 is still a very nice-sounding headphone at this price point. It also sounded good out of any setup I have tried. So, people concerned about the quality of their source or amp don’t have to worry much when using the AD700. To nitpick, the AD700 can sound a bit grainy when compared to better headphones.

Audio Technica’s AD700 does look more luxurious and grand under good lighting.


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27 Comments

  • Reply April 22, 2010

    odon

    are you sure the price of ad 700 was under $100?

    it seems under $200, ad 300 market price $70

  • Reply April 26, 2010

    Harlin

    Wait until you properly damped AD700 🙂

    It raises the bar even more…

    • Reply April 26, 2010

      Mike

      Hahaha.. I bet it is. 😀 Let me take a listen to it then! 😀

  • Reply April 29, 2010

    Joey

    Try adjust the headband of the superlux. You'll find a decent fit and they'll no longer press against your head after a while, the smaller your head is, the wider gap between the two rectangular things.

    I'm getting the AKG velour pads + stretching the headband to improve comfort. These bad bois would slaughter my V6 nicely.

    • Reply April 29, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Joey,
      Thanks for the tips. How do you exactly adjust the headband on these? I don't have the 668B with me right now, but as far as I remember, we couldn't find a way to adjust it.

      • Reply April 29, 2010

        Joey

        It's really hard to describe without pictures but I learned this from reading the instruction book. 🙂

        • Reply April 29, 2010

          Mike

          That's how you figured it out!
          I didn't get an instruction book. 😀

          • Reply May 1, 2010

            Joey

            🙂 mine come in a cardboard box (looked pretty badass for a <$40 pair of headphones)

            basically the two pads on top can be slide along the plastic parts that they're attached to.

            Value pair of headphones. Nice mids but after few days of using I find the bass extension a bit lacking (as you said, these needs a very warm amp), it's punchy and lean.

            The build quality is decent. What I like the most is the cheap plastic 😛 , making the phones so light to wear and carry around. Overall, perfect choice for college students, who wants to enjoy quality music in the library for a affordable price.

            • Reply May 3, 2010

              Mike

              Library huh? Don't they leak sound a bit? Or are you listening @ low volume?

  • Reply September 2, 2011

    FanBoy

    if hd668b compared with srh940, which one better (from it’s clarity, bass, soundstage)

    • Reply September 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Actually very comparable, though the SRH940 is less harsh, more refined, and maybe a tad more resolution. So clarity is about the same, bass is punchier on the 668B, soundstage is wider on the 668B, but better imaging and deeper on the SRH-940.

      • Reply September 3, 2011

        FanBoy

        what is imaging? i confused with that term :p
        hd668b will be nice if use the velour pad
        i want to preorder them from china

        • Reply September 3, 2011

          Anonymous

          Listen to a good live recording, and the headphone with the better imaging will recreate that live venue better.

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    Nessuno1234

    Hi. for RnB,Classic, Pop and Vocals,
    is better 
    HD668b or Ad700?
    HD668 costs 60 euros with the pads.
    AD700 costs 105 euros.

    I’ve already supelux HD660.I don’t like it. to close sound(claustrophobic), and too much bass.
     
    Thanks

    • Reply October 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Okay, you think the HD660 has too much bass? Then I suggest you go with the AD700, though personally I think the AD700 would be too far bass-light for RnB.

      • Reply October 24, 2011

        299792458

        thanks. do you think there is something better for 100-150€?
        I like femele vocal: alicia keys(acoustic version), avril lavigne, rihanna(california king bed, love her voice and this song)

        • Reply October 24, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well from what you said (you want a lighter bass and don’t want a closed sound) I would think that the AD700, or better yet the AD900 would be good for you. 

          Personally I would use something warmer like the B&W P5 for alicia keys, avril lavigne, and rihanna.

  • Reply October 24, 2011

    Duna21

    hi,

    how is this in term of mid performance to ath m-50? which is sweeter & fuller?

  • Reply December 19, 2011

    Billybobjoe

    Which one should I get for gaming and skype?  I don’t listen to music and I have a small head.  Is there something better for me?

    • Reply December 19, 2011

      Billybobjoe

      Also, how comfortable are they, and do they need an amplifier?  I don’t listen at high volumes and I am using an integrated sound card but will be building a new computer soon with a better integrated sound card.

      • Reply December 19, 2011

        Mike

        Billy,
        The AD700 seems pretty popular with gamers, though I don’t play  computer games so I can’t really verify that. It should be good with the integrated sound card too. 

        You need a microphone for Skype, by the way. I personally use a Logitech USB headset for Skype.

        • Reply December 20, 2011

          Billybobjoe

          Thanks for your help.  I have a microphone and I am getting these.

          • Reply December 20, 2011

            Mike

            You’re welcome.

    • Reply February 18, 2012

      furlonium

      Be sure to grab a Mixamp or something similar to power and process the DD output into Dolby Headphone, if you’re on a console that is.

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