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January 22, 2015
Original: $419 USD
June 2022: $299 USD
1.2-3m (coiled cable)
3m (straight cable)
1.2m (straight cable)
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x has been on the market for a while now, and it’s not quite as expensive as it used to be, but standards and features have shifted a lot. Is a $300 USD pair of headphones with no bells and whistles (or any additional features at all) worth it? We spent a week with the ATH-M70x to see how a favorite from yesteryear holds up.
Hey, this review was changed!
This is an update to an older review. We originally reviewed the ATH-M70x years ago, but seasons change and so do our standards. Given how much our testing and review procedures have changed, we’ve decided a full rewrite was in order, with new charts and everything!
- People who like don’t want any gimmicks to distract them from the listening experience will enjoy the focused experience of these headphones.
- Anyone who doesn’t mind paying a pretty penny for decent sound will be attracted to the ATH-M70x.
What is it like to use the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x looks just like a lot of the headphones Audio-Technica puts out. Much like the ATH-M50xBT2 or ATH-M40BT, this features the same big black headphones with shiny Audio-Technica logos on the sides. These headphones feature more metal than a lot of the cheaper Audio-Technica headsets, however, the ATH-M70x strikes a good balance with the various plastic elements, which keeps the weight reasonable.
The headphones are pretty comfortable with soft leatherette ear pads and a padded headband that has enough tension to feel secure but not overly tight. However, while the ear cups are plenty wide, they’re a little shallow. It’s comfortable to me, but my ears aren’t terribly large and they make contact with the drivers when I wear the ATH-M70x—if your ears are on the larger side, you may find it pretty cramped.
Using the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x is simple—there’s really nothing to it. This is a pair of wired headphones, with no on-ear or inline controls to speak of. You plug it in and it makes sounds, and that’s it. The headset’s cord is detachable, and it comes with three of them at various lengths, though. It also comes with a carrying case for the headphones and one for the cables.
How do you connect the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x is a wired pair of headphones that connects either through 3.5mm or 1/4 inch ports. The headphones come with a three-meter-long 3.5mm coiled cable that sports a threaded tip for screwing on a 1/4-inch adapter, as well as two 3.5mm straight cables, a three-meter option and a 1.2-meter option. While not the headset’s main use case, you can use this for gaming if you pair it with a good boom mic or USB mic.
Does well the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x isolate sound?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x doesn’t feature active noise cancelling of any kind, which means you have to rely on the headphones’ passive isolation for all its attenuation. Attenuation performance like this isn’t bad, with notable drops in external noise from 200Hz onward. Basically, this will help reduce the din of incidental noise at home like the clatter of dishes, or even the screech of tires while walking around outside—if you’ve got a mobile device with a headphone jack, of course.
How does the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x sound?
Audio-Technica headphones have a reputation for being decent entry points into the world of music production, and while they may well work for that, you won’t find the kind of neutral-leaning low end of a pair of studio monitors with the ATH-M70x. In fact, if you ignore the bump around 100Hz, this frequency response matches up quite neatly with our in-house consumer-oriented curve, at least up to around 3kHz. High range sound is considerably emphasized, and while that usually sounds good, it’s occasionally a little uncomfortable.
Highs, mids, and lows
Music of all genres should sound pretty nice coming through the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x, though the high range emphasis can complicate the instrumental experience a little. Polyphia’s latest guitar vehicle Playing God comes through exceptionally clearly, with the intricate nylon-stringed lead and rhythm guitar parts standing up very well against the bass guitar and drums. However, while nothing gets lost, a lot of the guitar picking, and hi-hat hits can feel rather piercing, even at moderate volumes, which is definitely due to the treble emphasis.
Music with more of a low-end focus actually benefits from the headphones’ treble boost, though. The psych-rock stylings of Do You Want Some Magic by Marco Benevento sounds great, and while the bass guitar sounds expansive and loud compared to other instruments in the song, it doesn’t overwhelm anything—in fact, a lot of the subtler background accents, like the high pitched flute and keyboard parts, come through very clearly.
Should you buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x is a very good pair of headphones, but it’s also a pretty spartan device. If you’re fine with paying the asking price, you’re in for a treat with the ATH-M70x—it’s comfortable, it sounds great, and the multiple cord options are a very nice touch.
What should you get instead of the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x?
If you’re on the hunt for a straightforward pair of headphones, you don’t need to break the bank to get them. Something just as tried and true as Audio-Technica’s wired headphones is the Sony MDR-7506. These wired headphones don’t offer a detachable cord, but they also ring in at a third of the price and have a sound that’s well regarded in the production industry. There’s also the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, which feels a little cheaper, but costs a lot less than the ATH-M70x and sounds great.
Music producers, or those looking to become music producers, may want to consider something with a little less bass emphasis. The Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X sounds great, with a neutral-leaning frequency response, the big velour earpads make it comfortable for long listening sessions (even if wear glasses).