While this brand might be better known for audiophile-grade equipment, the ATH-A700 headphones show the gaming brands a thing or two. Astonishing audio quality balances out the lack of gaming-centric features, but you’ll pay for the privilege.
Unlike Sony and Sennheiser, Audio Technica isn’t a name that most Australian households associate with quality sound equipment. Yet this fifty year old company is the number one headphone maker in Japan. The lack of presence can be explained by the fact that Aussies had to wait until 2008 for a local distributor to start selling Audio Technica products down under. Since then the brand has built an extremely strong reputation amongst audio enthusiasts, and the A700 headphones ably demonstrate why.
Unlike many of the gaming brands, the A700 headphones arrive in very plain packaging, obviously aiming to keep prices down. Opening the packaging reveals a set of headphones and not much else — there aren’t any stickers, plugs, converter cables or carry cases included. The headphones themselves also look rather boring, with a relatively plain, closed-back design. Also known as a circumaural design, the large ear cups totally cover the listener’s ears, blocking external sounds while stopping sound leakage. The A700s are very large compared to other sets, and can get quite warm after extended listening. Despite the size they feel nice and light to wear thanks to their low weight, at just 290 grams. More importantly they don’t get too sweaty during lengthy gaming sessions.
There’s no way to manually adjust the headband as these headphones use Audio Technica’s proprietary 3D Paddle head mount system, with twin paddles that rest atop the user’s skull. We noticed that the paddles creak audibly when moving and the fit doesn’t feel quite as firm as some of the other brands. They’re still rather comfy, but certainly not the best in the pack.