Audio Technica AD700 Heaphones Review: A Disappointment

We purchased the Audio Technica AD700 noise cancelling headphones eagerly when they came out, as we had already found Audio Technica to be a great manufacturer. The pair we owned first was the Audio Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC7 noise cancelling headphones. We bought the AD700’s with these in mind, curious to see how Audio Technica had improved its headphones and whether they, as a more affordable pair of headphones, were worth their price.
The improvements made to the Audio Technica AD700s were advertised as being better overall sound quality, a more comfortable fit with the new ear cup design, and a few more convenient design features, like an easy-access battery bay and cords of different lengths. The Audio Technica AD700s come with detachable cords in 1.6 meter and 1.0 meter lengths. The news release precluding the Audio Technica AD700s was also very descriptive of their sound, using words like “detailed”, “smooth” and “rich.” In the $200 range, the Audio Technica AD700 appealed to many people as an alternative to the $300 range Bose QuietComfort 15s and 3s. The following is our critique of the AD700s we tested.

First, we’ll go over some of the features. The Audio Technica AD700 headphones fold flat for easy storage in their protective carrying case, a 6.3 mm adapter, plus an airline adapter for entertainment during a flight. One of the high points of the Audio Technica AD700s is that, although they act as both active and passive noise cancellers, they will work without the active noise cancellation on without the need for the battery. Bose’s QuietComforts don’t work unless they have active noise cancellation on. Unfortunately, sound is somewhat muffled with active noise cancellation.

The Audio Technica AD700 headphones have a firmer fit than the Bose QuietComforts, but they’re not as comfortable, nor does the noise cancellation match up. Besides inferior noise cancellation, the Audio Technica AD700s also leak more sound. It’s somewhat surprising that they would leak sound at all, with their closed-cup design.

Sound, although advertised as being peerlessly good, is not what it should be for a pair of $200 headphones. The Audio Technica AD700 headphones’ treble is harsh and its bass dull; none of the sound offers much detail. In comparison, the Bose QuietComfort 15s are more open and detailed, with much better bass.

The Audio Technica AD700s just aren’t quite what we had hoped. We’d been looking forward to a possible rival to the Bose QuietComforts, particularly one that would cost less. However, the AD700s don’t offer much more than a lower price, and, considering their quality, we have to say they’re just not worth it. The Bose QuietComforts aren’t necessarily worth their extra $100, but they’re a really good pair of headphones.

You might find the Audio Technica AD700s more to your liking than we did, but we still doubt you’ll find much improvement over older Audio Technica models. They’re less expensive, that’s all we can say.

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