We take a look at the latest from one of our fave headphone manufacturers – it’s our review of the amazing Audio Technica’s ATH-R70x’s
The ATH-M70x headphones from Audio Technica have been our reference headphones since testing them a few months back and these are the open- back version. Open back means that less of the sound is directed towards your ears and more dissipates to the outside world, which means that people on a train will hear more of what you’re listening to.
They do, however (and we must add the word ‘arguably’), give a wider feel and a more immersive experience with your environment. For critical mixing and mastering, though, we’d prefer closed-back headphones, as more of the output is actually aimed at your ears, so fine tuning of a mix makes more sense. It also means that closed-back headphones can be driven at less volume, as all of the energy is going in – good for long mixing sessions.
This was very noticeable with these phones when we compared them side by side with the M70s. The R70s simply needed to be played at about a 35% higher output level to achieve the same volume. But once there, the quality is exceptional and there’s very little to tell the M and R apart. The R70s produce the detail and breadth, and are more immersive, although this is not as noticeable as expected.
There is no obvious colouration anywhere across the frequency range, nor are they tiring, something that might happen with accurate headphones. Indeed, overall we were surprised at just how great they sounded compared to the Ms. We expected to lose some of the accuracy outwards, but it’s all there.
If you share your mixing environment, then you’ll want to go for the Ms to spare your fellow mixers your sound, but the ultra light weight of these – a shade over 200g – makes them especially comfortable. The only negative? They were ridiculously hard to get out of the bloody box…
● Type: open-back reference
● Driver diameter: 45mm
● Frequency response: 5Hz to 40kHz
● Max i/p power: 1,000mW at 1kHz
● Sensitivity: 99dB
● Impedance: 470ohms
● Weight: 210g
● Cables: 1.2m coiled and 1.2m/3m straight