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Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jan 23, 2023 at 12:58 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Jan 23, 2023 at 12:58 pm
Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Picture
8.2
Neutral Sound
3.7
Commute/Travel
5.3
Sports/Fitness
4.5
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.6
Wired Gaming
1.5
Phone Calls

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are this manufacturer's long-standing open-back option for audiophile headphones. They're lightweight, and the ear cups feature an aluminum honeycomb mesh housing to help create a natural and open passive soundstage. They come with some unique features like a 3D Wing Support head pad system designed to reduce headband discomfort, as well as a unique cable system that lets you use either cable in either driver while still getting the appropriate L/R channel. They have an impedance of 470 ohms (sensitivity 96 of dB) and need an amp to drive them. Although they're often compared to the Sennheiser HD 600 when it comes to their sound, they're worth considering if you're looking for lightweight mid-range headphones with an immersive sound.

Our Verdict

8.2 Neutral Sound

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are great for neutral sound. They have a warm sound profile that gives audio some extra fullness, as well as a well-balanced mid-range that accurately reproduces vocals and lead instruments. While their open-back design creates an open and natural-feeling soundstage, their small ear cups may not be the most comfortable if you have larger ears. Their high impedance also means you'll need a powerful-enough amp to get the most out of them.

Pros
  • Good passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Small ear cups, which may not be comfortable for users with large ears.
3.7 Commute/Travel

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x aren't intended for commuting and travel. Their open-back design lets in noise from engines and other commuters. They also leak a lot of audio, can't fold up into a more compact shape, and their carrying pouch doesn't protect against damage while on the go. They also need a powerful amp to deliver good sound.

Pros
  • Good passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation.
  • Leakage at high volumes.
  • Small ear cups, which may not be comfortable for users with large ears.
5.3 Sports/Fitness

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x aren't recommended for sports. They won't block out any noise in the gym and are unstable on your head during moderate exercise. Additionally, their cable can get caught on exercise equipment and damage the headphones. They need an amp to get the most out of them too, which adds an extra, bulky component to worry about at the gym.

Pros
  • Good passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation.
  • Leakage at high volumes.
  • Small ear cups, which may not be comfortable for users with large ears.
4.5 Office

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are bad for the office. They don't have a mic for calls, don't block out ambient noise and leak audio, meaning you'll hear people talking around you, and people around you will hear your audio. However, if you work from home or have your own office, they may be worth considering if you value sound quality.

Pros
  • Good passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation.
  • Leakage at high volumes.
  • No mic.
  • Small ear cups, which may not be comfortable for users with large ears.
4.5 Wireless Gaming

You can't use the Audio-Technica R70x wirelessly, and therefore, you can't use them for wireless gaming.

6.6 Wired Gaming

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are okay for wired gaming if you don't need a built-in microphone. Their open-back design creates an open and immersive soundstage with accurately-placed effects like footsteps in the stereo image. They're lacking a rumbly, thumpy low-bass, but on the upside, sound effects like footsteps and explosions still sound warm.

Pros
  • Good passive soundstage.
  • Consistent audio delivery.
Cons
  • No mic.
  • Small ear cups, which may not be comfortable for users with large ears.
1.5 Phone Calls

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x aren't suited for phone calls as they have no microphone. If you use an external mic, they'll still leak a lot of call audio, meaning people around you will hear your conversation.

  • 8.2 Neutral Sound
  • 3.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.5 Office
  • 4.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.6 Wired Gaming
  • 1.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jan 23, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Jan 13, 2023: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x come in one color variant: 'Black'; you can see our unit's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussion section below.

Compared To Other Headphones

Released in 2015, the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x have established themselves as one of the most popular mid-range open-back audiophile headphones on the market. They're unique amid Audio-Technica's lineup, as most of their headphones, like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, are closed-back and meant for casual or studio use. They feature an immersive passive soundstage and a 3D Wing Support system that eliminates discomfort on the top of the head. However, the ATH-R70x are much smaller than traditional audiophile headphones, like the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X, and may not be comfortable if you have larger ears. They still deliver more bass and are more comfortable than other mid-range audiophile headphones, like the Sennheiser HD 650.

If you're looking for more headphones like these, check out our lists for the best over-ear headphones, the best open-back headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.

AKG K712 PRO

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are slightly better for neutral sound than the AKG K712 PRO. the Audio-Technica have more bass overall and a more neutral midrange, resulting in a warm mix with clear and present lead instruments and vocals, which some users may prefer. The AKG, on the other hand, have a better-balanced treble range, so vocals and sibilants will sound crisp and detailed. However, their passive soundstage doesn't feel as natural and open as the Audio-Technica.

Sennheiser HD 600

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x and the Sennheiser HD 600 are very similar-performing audiophile headphones. While the Audio-Technica have a lower bass extension, the Sennheiser have more accurate treble delivery and a more neutral frequency response. However, they have a higher clamping force than the Audio-Technica, making them less comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. Their passive soundstage also isn't as wide and natural-feeling as the Audio-Technica.

Sennheiser HD 560S

The Sennheiser HD 560S are better audiophile headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x. The Sennheiser have more low-bass and a better-balanced treble range, giving the mix a fuller sound and crisper sibilants. They're slightly more stable than the Audio-Technica as well, but the Sennheiser's open-back build doesn't create as open and natural-sounding of a soundstage as the Audio-Technica.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are different kinds of audiophile headphones, and your preference for open or closed-back designs will determine which is best suited for your needs. The closed-back ATH-M50x have more bass overall, which will make EDM and hip-hop sound thumpier and more full. However, the mid-range isn't as well-balanced as the ATH-R70x, which also have better frequency response consistency. While the ATH-M50x have a sub-par passive soundstage due to their closed-back design, they block out slightly more noise and leak a lot less audio, making these more suitable for podcasts or casual listening. 

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

These are open-back headphones with a unique and lightweight all-black design. Rather than a standard headband, they come with Audio-Technica's 3D Wing Support system, which are two spring-loaded mesh pads that rest on each side of your head and adjust automatically to its shape. The front of each ear cup is covered in a black honeycomb-shaped aluminum mesh that features a small manufacturer's logo in the center.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.47 lbs
Clamping Force
0.6 lbs

These headphones are very comfortable. They're incredibly lightweight and won't put pressure on your head during long listening sessions. Their 3D Wing Support system rests comfortably on either side of the top of your head and avoids any pressure on the top of your head. However, support can change depending on your hair type. If you have thinner hair or hair with lots of volume, you may find them difficult to adjust or rest comfortably on your head. Additionally, if you have large ears, you may feel some discomfort, as the ear cups are significantly smaller and shallower than earcups on other audiophile headphones, like Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. Your ears may feel cramped and pressed up against the drivers.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
5.2
Design
Portability
L 8.7" (22.0 cm)
W 7.5" (19.0 cm)
H 3.5" (9.0 cm)
Volume 236.22 inยณ (3,871.00 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones have poor portability. They're over-ear audiophile headphones and aren't designed to be taken on the go. They don't fold into a more compact design, and while they come with a carrying pouch, it's only meant to protect the headphones from dust.

5.0
Design
Case
Type Pouch
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones come with a velvet pouch. It won't protect the headphones against damage during travel but can come in handy for storage.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have decent build quality. They're primarily made from aluminum and a carbon composite resin, which makes them feel sturdier than their minimalist design may suggest. However, the plastic used in the ear cup connectors and the Wing Support hinges feels flimsy and gives the impression that they could break after frequent use. The ear cup's hinges also have a short range of movement, and some users have reported them breaking during a short fall. Our model's ear pads are also slightly different sizes, which affects their overall fit and seal.

7.0
Design
Stability

These headphones are decently stable. They'll stay on your head during casual seated listening but will fall off with moderate movement, making these less than ideal for habitual headbangers. The Wing Support system also offers less stability than a traditional headband, so they move around a little with minor head movements.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-R70x headphones
  • Detachable 1/8" to 1/16" audio cable
  • 1/4" to 1/8" adapter
  • Legal information pamphlet
  • Purchase registration card
  • Quick start manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.57 dB
Treble Amount
-2.74 dB

These headphones have a fairly warm sound profile. Like most open-back headphones, they lack a lot of low-bass, which will turn off fans of heavier EDM or trap music, but they still have enough high-bass for audio to sound full-bodied. Vocals and instruments also sound very accurate and natural, making them a solid choice for genres like jazz and folk. That said, the dip in the treble range can hurt their detail while sibilants are dulled.

8.2
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.36 dB

These headphones have great frequency response consistency. There are minor deviations in bass and treble delivery due to fit, seal, and positioning. Our unit also has slightly different-sized L/R ear pads, which impact the headphones' placement on-head. However, once you achieve a good fit, you'll experience more consistent audio delivery.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.4
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.51 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
69.24 Hz
Low-Bass
-6.94 dB
Mid-Bass
-1.14 dB
High-Bass
1.74 dB

These headphones have decent bass accuracy. Like most open-back headphones, they have underemphasized low-bass and lack the thump and rumble found in EDM and hip-hop music. However, the bump in high-bass helps balance out the range with a touch of extra warmth and boom.

9.5
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.61 dB
Low-Mid
0.26 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.66 dB
High-Mid
0.07 dB

These headphones have outstanding mid accuracy. The entire range is even and neutral, so if you're using Donald Fagen's song I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World) as a reference track, you'll hear the horn section and backing vocals in the chorus clear and present in the mix.

7.3
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.07 dB
Low-Treble
-1.43 dB
Mid-Treble
-3.22 dB
High-Treble
-10.46 dB

The Audio-Technica R70x have decent treble accuracy. Vocals and instruments are veiled and lacking in detail. Sibilants, like cymbals, sound dull and lispy, which in turn contributes to the upper range feeling veiled overall.

7.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.36 dB
Dips
1.01 dB

Their peaks and dips performance is very good. There's some mismatch between the L/R drivers throughout the bass range, resulting in the right driver producing a little more thump, punch, and boom than the left. However, this may be due to our unit's L/R ear cup padding, which causes slight deviations in bass delivery. That said, the rest of the response is well-matched. A peak in the high-bass adds warmth to their sound, while a peak in the high-mid makes lead instruments sound a little harsh. Sharp peaks and dips in the treble range make sibilants, vocals, and instruments sound bright, then veiled.

8.3
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.19
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.55
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.45
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.05

These headphones have great imaging performance. This manufacturer is known for having good ergonomics and quality control. The entire group delay falls below the audibility threshold, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also very well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, which is important to accurately place objects like voices and instruments in the stereo image. That said, imaging can vary between units.

8.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.69 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.24 dB
PRTF Distance
13.98 dB
Openness
9.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.0

These headphones have an impressive passive soundstage. Their open-back design lets in ambient sound to mix with your audio and create a wider, more natural-feeling soundstage. The soundstage also feels very spacious and more open than similar audiophile headphones, like the Sennheiser HD 600. Audio seems like it's coming from speakers placed in the room around you, as opposed to earbuds which tend to make audio feel like it's coming from within your head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.1
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.214
WHD @ 100
0.093

These headphones have great weighted harmonic distribution performance. Most of the range falls within acceptable limits, which results in clean and pure audio reproduction. There's a small peak in the low to mid-treble, but it won't be very noticeable with real-life content.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x. The results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
1.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-2.25 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.13 dB
Mid
0.86 dB
Treble
-7.52 dB

These headphones have a very bad noise isolation performance. However, this is normal as they're open-back audiophile headphones and are designed to let ambient sound mix in with the headphones' audio for a more immersive soundstage. It's best to use these headphones in a quiet room away from loud noise sources to better hear your audio.

2.7
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
59.05 dB

These open-back headphones have very bad leakage performance. They leak a lot of audio from the high-mid and low-treble range and aren't ideal for use at the office or anywhere where leaking audio can bother those around you.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 10.24 ft (3.12 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a detachable 1/8" to 1/16" audio cable. In a unique design from other audiophile headphones, both 1/16" L/R connectors automatically detect which ear cup they're in, ensuring proper stereo orientation each time you plug them in. They also come with a 1/8" to 1/4" TRS adapter so that you can connect them to your audio interface.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones don't have a mic and only support audio when connected via analog to your PC.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones only support audio when connected to your PS4 or PS5's controller via analog.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones don't have a mic. You can connect them to your Xbox console by plugging their 1/8" TRS cable into your controller's AUX port.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock