The Audio-Technica ATH-M range is a popular series of headphones. From the budget-minded entry-level options to the more expensive premium choices. In the review, we check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x. A set of headphones geared for studio use.
While these headphones are officially in the ATH-M range, they have a different focus. And a noticeable range of changes from other models in the line. Check out the quick hits below before we go into more detail.
I’m a fan of the ATH-M range, so I was eager to see what the more studio-focused ATH-M70x had to offer. Below we take a closer look at how these headphones stack up.
Audio-Technica has positioned the ATH-M70x as their option for professional monitor headphones. It’s a departure from the rest of the line that leans more DJ and consumer-friendly in design and sound.
On the surface, these offer a more neutral and linear response than other models in the line. The sound profile is clean and transparent with low levels of distortion. This makes them a reasonable option for studio use.
The ATH-M70x features a wide frequency response.
The highs come across a little bright but retain plenty of clarity and accuracy. Sharper than other Audio-Technica headphones but not to the point of causing ear fatigue over extended sessions.
Likewise, the midrange is clear and precise. Instrumentals and vocals hit with generous tonality. But at no point does it comes across as muddy or hyped. These are a bit forward-focused in this band, and I’m not sure whether this is due to a conscious decision or the weaker bass profile.
And in the bass region is where the bulk of the issues lay. Compared to other Audio-Technica M series cans, these are noticeably lifeless in the bottom end. I was expecting a more restrained and accurate low-end as these are intended for studio applications. But even compared to other studio headphones, the bass profile was disappointing.
These do feature a frequency range of 5Hz-40kHz. So they can hit relatively high, even beyond the natural scope of human hearing. It goes a long way to explaining why the top end is so crisp and detailed.
Soundstage and imaging are reasonable, and on par with other studio headphones you can buy today. But, since they are closed-back cans, they will naturally exhibit a more cramped in your head sound.
When taking everything into account, these are decent headphones. The sound profile is a little lifeless in the low-end but accurate enough for studio use. Not the most incredible set of cans out there but equally nowhere near the worst either. But at this price point, it does face some stiff competition.
The ATH-M series of headphones from Audio-Technica offers a high comfort level, and the ATH-M70x is no exception. But as with many elements of these headphones, there are some notable changes from other models. And in general, for the better.
First is the padding on the earcups. It’s noticeably more comfortable than other models, squishier, and relaxed. The quality is also a notch above. Durable and effective at providing a comfortable fit.
The ear padding is comfortable and durable.
The headband features a reduced amount of padding. But this reduction doesn’t result in a noticeable drop in comfort levels. Clamping force is also a little lighter than other headphones in the series.
These are designed with longer sessions in mind. Even the breathability of the padding is above average for closed-back studio headphones. A comfortable set of headphones that you can wear all day without issues.
Aesthetically the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x offers a sleek and sharp appearance. They are not as bulky as other ATH-M series headphones. They also feature a greater balance between black and silver. The color scheme is well-executed and doesn’t appear too showy and in your face.
Styling is simple and refined. A professional-looking set of headphones that also doesn’t look out of place for casual use. A nice balance between design and function.
Detachable cables are superior to hardwired options.
Beyond appearance, these headphones also offer detachable cables. I’m all for choice when it comes to cables. Everyone has a preference, and I appreciate it when a company allows you to choose what you prefer.
You’ll have access to three cables. The short 3.9′ (1.2 m) is great for on-the-go listening. There is also one longer 9.8′ (3 m) straight cable and one 9.8′ (3 m) coiled cable. This selection is more than enough to cover most potential applications.
At 35 ohms, these are easy to drive and won’t demand a powerful headphone amp. Connecting to a smartphone or laptop also won’t dramatically reduce performance.
Sensitivity comes in at 97 dB, which is loud enough for most people. But there are headphones out there with more headroom.
One notable difference worth pointing out is that these don’t collapse like other ATH-M series headphones. The earcups do lay flat for a more slimline profile. But these are not as portable as other choices in the line.
Another element worth highlighting is the below-average passive isolation. The combination of lighter clamping force and different ear padding lets a fair bit of sound in. However, sound leakage is relatively low, making these a decent choice for recording sessions.
I’ve owned pairs of Audio-Technica headphones for years, and they have always impressed me when it comes to quality. They are robust headphones that can handle the rigors of frequent use.
The ATH-M70x is reasonably robust, but a few changes are of concern. Gone is the metal headband frame and in place is plastic. Despite this, the headband feels rugged and dependable.
The ATH-M70x features a solid plastic headband.
I’ve read reports online from people who have had issues with the hinges. Upon closer inspection, the hinges seem a bit more flimsy than other M series cans. Studio headphones can be a little delicate, so I would suggest treating these with care to prevent accidental damage.
The rest of the components are of high quality. The cables are excellent, and the included hardshell case is rugged. The 45mm drivers are also well-constructed.
If you tend to be rough with your cans, these may not be the best choice. And it is a little disappointing considering how good the rest of Audio-Technica’s lineup is.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x does come with a great range of inclusions. The selection of three cables adds a lot to the value proposition. Many headphones will come with just a solitary cord.
The hardshell case is fantastic. Highly durable and the best way to protect your headphones from dust and water. It makes taking them on the road simple and convenient. A second pouch is also included for storing the cables.
The hardshell case is great for travel and storage.
But these are not cheap headphones. And at this price bracket, there are several appealing alternatives. Especially if you prefer warmer bass or a more analytical sound profile.
The reduction in build quality from other ATH-M series headphones is also a drawback. Even more so when considering the increased price point.
Despite some issues, these are capable headphones with great accessories. But not the most budget-friendly cans out there.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x has received mixed reviews from both customers and professionals. Beyond the handful of reports highlighting the hinge issue, many criticize the restrained bass profile. But some of this could be due to expectations based on the sound profile of other headphones in the range.
Keeping Things Tidy
One of the challenges of working in the studio for long hours is maintaining focus and clarity. There are many ways you can keep focused on the task at hand.
One often-overlooked element is the amount of clutter on and around your workspace. This can be both a distraction and a demotivating aspect when attempting to start work.
Headphones with detachable cables can help keep your workspace tidy.
Keeping your area tidy will help you focus. Plus a clean space is more inviting than a cluttered mess. Headphones can add to this mess, especially if you have several pairs or multiple cables.
This is where accessories like cable pouches and detachable cables come to the forefront. Between sessions, you can pack things away neatly. Flexibility in cable choice can also make a workspace more streamlined. Depending on what you are doing, you can choose a suitable cable and leave the rest packed away.
Headphone stands are also a good option, but a dependable pouch or case is another good choice. Keep your area tidy, and you’ll likely find yourself able to work longer and more often.
There are several worthy alternatives to the Audio-Technica ATH-M70x. Below we highlight three pairs of headphones you should check out before buying the ATH-M70x.
AKG K271 MKII Review
If you want a cheaper pair of headphones, the K271 MKII from AKG is worth considering. It offers a decent sound profile that is capable of studio work.
- Clear and precise mid-range, much like the ATH-M70x but at a lower price.
- Plush padding combines well with the headband to create an ergonomic fit.
- Much like the ATH-M70x, the bass response is a little underwhelming.
AKG K271 MKII
Shure SRH840A Review
Moving further down in price, the SRH840A is also worth considering. The sound profile is more balanced, making them a good choice for recording and for music producers.
- Neutral audio profile that is balanced across the entire frequency range.
- Firm and secure fit that provides an impressive level of passive isolation.
- The tight fit is not ideal if you have a larger than average head.
Neumann NDH 20 Review
If budget is not a concern, the Neumann NDH 20 is a premium pair of closed-back headphones to add to your list. Impeccable detail in sound and build quality, these headphones will not disappoint.
- The fantastic sound is both detailed, clear, and exciting. Great for studio work but also excellent for casual listening.
- Super tough build with high-quality components throughout.
- The included pouch doesn’t match the premium quality of the headphones.
Should You Buy?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M70x is an above-average set of studio headphones. The emphasis is on studio use, and in that regard, they are a decent performer. And a notable upgrade from many cheaper studio headphones. But if you are coming in expecting that familiar Audio-Technica sound, these will not deliver.
Despite a few shortcomings, these still tick plenty of the right boxes. A solid step in the right direction but by no means exceptional.