Technics’ marketing department describes the T700’s sound as following:
Enjoy wideband sound reproduction from the latest high resolution music formats. Hear every sound in outstanding clarity, thanks to the new 2-way drive (2″ (50 mm) dynamic driver & 1/2″ (14 mm) super-tweeter).
The drivers look very impressive with the angled tweeter but the impact on the sound isn’t there as much as I expected. I own a more than average amount of high end headphones and I know how they present treble and the Technics EAH-T700 doesn’t really sound special treble-wise.
The overall sound signature of the EAH-T700 is on the slower and warmer side with a smooth delivery. The sound stage is very wide and we get excellent separation with a spacious and airy presentation. Layering is quite good but the depth isn’t as impressive as the width is. The Technics EAH-T700 is an easy to listen to headphone fatigue-wise but at the same time I don’t find it natural sounding either mainly because of the vocals and parts of its treble.
Bass is more than neutrally present and it has a good slam to it. Bass however isn’t the tightest or fastest but it does has nice layering. It doesn’t have that rumble down low like a lot of other closed headphones have though. While a lot of headphones show bigger bass, the Technics EAH-T700 makes bass in your music sound big and airy, so it will always sound like it has a lot of impact. Some people might like it but when listening to music, this wasn’t always a pleasure to my ears. It’s very nice however when watching movies as it makes you experience the movie more intensely.
The Technics EAH-T700’s mids are detailed and clear, still with a good amount of body. Separation and layering are good. The mids sound clean and rich and these are what I like most when listening to this headphone. When you build a headphone with a separate super tweeter everyone expects treble to be extra super special and this where the Technics EAH-T700 kind of disappoints. While treble is extended and has a lot of detail, it isn’t fully natural sounding with peaks and an unnatural result in return. This is especially so when listening to music where some recordings even can sound harsh. Again, this is perfectly fine for watching movies or series but for listening to music to, the T700’s treble doesn’t check my boxes.
The big question as a result is if the Technics EAH-T700 can compete with the similar priced audiophile headphones such as the Sennheiser HD800, the Audeze LCD-2, the Beyerdynamic T1, the Hifiman Edition-X, etc
In short, I don’t really think it can. The T700’s sound quality is good and it is clean and detailed but at the same time it’s a little warm with a special kind if bass and moody treble. Now if Technics had priced this headphone a little lower I think the price quality ratio would have been more correct but as it stands now, it to me, sound wise isn’t up there with the big boys.
The Sennheiser HD800 ($994) still is my preferred high end Senn and it sounds completely different from the T700: it is very detailed, wide and deep sounding with incredible precision, speed and dynamics. It is an open headphone but it does everything in a more neutral and natural way even despite the little treble peak that some people seems to bother. It’s a whole lot lighter than the T700 as well but it does need a really good amplifier to make it sound its best where the Technics can be used with any source.
The Audeze LCD-XC ($1799) still is one of my favorite high end closed headphone. It also sounds completely different than the Technics as it’s an orthodynamic headphone with sublime deep/layered bass, rich precise mids and easy treble. It is harder to drive and quite a bit more expensive but the end result to me is more natural and coherent compared to the EAH-T700.
Beyerdynamic’s T1 ($1099) is more neutral and has a brighter presentation compared to the fuller and warmer sounding T700. In one way I could say the Hifiman Edition X ($1299) comes closest to the Technic’s signature as they’re both warmer, detailed, smooth and easy to listen to. The Hifiman has a more realistic timbre though, especially when listening to music.
In brief: you can see I don’t feel the Technics EAH-T700 is up there with the big boys. It certainly isn’t bad either but saying it has a reference level for audiophiles is a bit high fetched in my opinion. I would rather position it at the higher mid-fi level myself.
Sources & Amplification
A big advantage the EAH-T700 has is that it is very easy to drive with its 28Ohm impedance and 102dB/mW. Samsung S6, AK KANN, Cayin N3, my 1991 Kenwood receiver, Auris HA2-SE, Box Design Head Box, they all have a very easy job driving the Technics.
I personally would suggest pairing it up with a very clean and natural, neutral sounding source. Something like the Cayin N3 and the Head Box is recommended in example. For the Technics EAH-T700 I would stay away from bass heavier, darker and warmer.
+ Great build quality: top quality materials
+ Design: Eye for detail
+ Double driver technology
+ Power: Easy to drive
+ Sound: Really nice for movies
+ Sound: great mids
– Price: Price/quality ratio on the lower side
– Sound: Not audiophile level compared to the competition
– Sound: Bass presence / loose bass
– Sound: Forward vocals and peaky treble
– Few accessories at this price level