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Audio Technica ATH-M70x Review

The Audio Technica ATH-M70x are an incredible pair of monitor headphones for both professionals and hobbyists.

October 8, 2017

/ by Tin Salamunic

Audio Technica is a notable brand among audiophiles, but my personal experience with their products has been limited to their gaming models, the ATH-ADG1x and the ATH-AG1X. I personally enjoy dedicated listening devices, whether it’s gaming headsets or audiophile headphones, but lately, I’ve been shifting towards studio monitor headphones for all of my media consumption.

Audio engineering has become impressively complex across video games, movies and television over the years that the need for specialized frequency enhancements is becoming less prevalent. It may seem strange to bring monitor headphones into a video game discussion, but considering that 4K and HDR are quickly becoming TV standards thanks to the popularity of next-gen consoles, it makes sense to want to seek out more precise audio equipment in order to fully enjoy your entertainment.

Audio Technica’s ATH-M70x are professional monitor headphones, and this is my first time testing one of the company’s studio models. The headphones retain the company’s sleek aesthetic, which makes them a great fit for tech enthusiasts who prefer minimalist design. Audio Technica has even included a sturdy, practical carrying case.

The build quality is solid, although the thorough use of plastic doesn’t make the best first impression considering the $299 price tag. After using SteelSeries headsets for so long, it’s a bit odd going back to something that feels so fragile in comparison. Having said that, the headphones still feel strong enough for regular, daily use, and thankfully, the sublime comfort makes up for the lack of premium build materials.

Spec Highlights:
Type: Closed-back dynamic
Driver Diameter: 45 mm
Magnet: Neodymium
Voice Coil: CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire)
Frequency Response: 5-40,000 Hz
Maximum Input Power: 2,000 mW at 1 kHz
Sensitivity: 97 dB
Impedance: 35 ohms
Weight: 280 g (9.9 oz), without cable and connector
Cable: Interchangeable cables: detachable 1.2 m - 3.0 m (3.9' - 9.8') coiled cable, detachable 3.0 m (9.8') straight cable and detachable 1.2 m (3.9') straight cable
Accessories Included: Carrying case, 6.3 mm (1/4") screw-on adapter


"The headphones retain the company’s sleek aesthetic, which makes them a great fit for tech enthusiasts who prefer minimalist design."

Since the ATH-M70x model has 35 ohms of impedance, I used Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster E5 Amp to get the most out of the audio. The sound is clean and natural. The lows and mids are vibrant and crisp, and it’s easy to make out minute details when focusing on individual instruments while listening to music. The neutral and balanced performance is perfect for getting accurate results across varying media. Since there are no audio enhancements, users accustomed to gaming or audiophile style headphones may find the bass on the weaker side, but with time, your ears will adjust and you’ll start appreciating the more accurate outcome.

The ATH-M70x are excellent headphones for measuring sound accuracy when recording songs or mixing tracks as a DJ, but since I’m not a musician, my tests mostly encompassed music listening, movie watching and gaming. For a while now, I used the HiFiMAN HE400S for all of my media consumption. They’re one of the best audiophile-grade, open type headphones under $500, and they’ve been my go to device for over a year.


"The neutral and balanced performance is perfect for getting accurate results across varying media."

After trying the ATH-M70x, however, I’m actually starting to lean towards Audio Technica’s method of audio engineering. I tend to listen to music at relatively high audio levels, and a lot of headphones have a hard time keeping all frequencies clean of noise when pushed to the limit. Thankfully, the ATH-M70x work like a champ. Extreme frequency shifts are handled with precision and clarity, and I haven’t encountered a single sound error in the 55+ hours of testing.

Primary tests are conducted using my FLAC music collection that contains samples from varying music genres. The headphones perform phenomenally. Quinine by Dessa sounds particularly sublime as the audio shifts from rhythmical beats and vocals to echoing orchestral bits that open the sound stage with their powerful interludes. Even with the subdued bass, fans of hip hop music or dance/techno will love the sound richness.


"The Audio Technica ATH-M70x are an incredible pair of monitor headphones for both professionals and hobbyists."

As mentioned earlier, the soundstage isn’t comparable to a high-quality audiophile model, and with a handful of songs, these shortcomings become slightly apparent. Many Florence and the Machine songs, for example, are recorded with a sense of scale thanks to the accompanying orchestra. Some of that spatial brightness is lost with the ATH-M70x, but to be fair, this is only noticeable when there’s a direct comparison. Overall, the ATH-M70x is unquestionably reliable when it comes to consistency when jumping between different sources, and the soundstage shortcomings are hard to view as a serious criticism.

The ATH-M70x also impress when gaming or watching movies. I normally don’t use audio software for enhancements, but applying the SBX Pro Studio Surround feature via the Sound Blaster E-Series Control Panel yields to some remarkable results. Playing through competitive multiplayers games like Dirty Bomb, Overwatch or The Division with this combination is extremely beneficial for gauging the precise location of incoming enemy fire. I’ve never been able to use this feature properly with other headphones, but when combined with the ATH-M70x, I’m completely sold on successful, simulated surround sound.

Conclusion: The Audio Technica ATH-M70x are an incredible pair of monitor headphones for both professionals and hobbyists. They look fantastic, they’re easy to transport, they’re comfortable during prolonged use, and most importantly, they deliver phenomenal sound that impresses no matter the source material. If you’ve got a solid amp and you’re looking for a high-quality listening device that’s both professionally accurate and practical for everyday usage, the ATH-M70x are an incredible choice!       

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