When we’re talking open-design headphones, you need to have a particular use in mind. As opposed to closed-back headphones being pretty suitable for most activities, open-back are here specifically for mixing and mastering music. However, you’re more than welcome to use them for everyday listening as well. You’ll just have to keep in mind that they’re open in order to allow some sound to escape the ear cups. If you’re on a bus, at the gym or merely anywhere else in public, the people around you will hear what you’re listening to unless the volume is lowered significantly. So if you’re playing that new Taylor Swift album and you want to be incognito, this isn’t the pair for you!
The reason open-back headphones are preferred for mixing and mastering is because it prevents sound build-up from accruing during your mixing endeavors. We learned this in Sound On Sound’s mixing with headphones article; you need an accurate, true sound, and closed-back headphones at times have sound build-up since they’re made to isolate sound and not allow any piece of noise to exit the headphones. But that’s not our place to say what’s right or wrong and comes down to personal preference. Lastly, the cables are not only dual-sided but are interchangeable as well, and dual-sided at that. That’s never a bad thing in our opinion.
At first notice of the specs, the drivers are up there in terms of being the standard 45 mm. But what’s most impressive of the ATH-R70x is the extremely wide frequency range; from 5 Hz to nearly 40 kHz will give you clear lows, mids and highs for mixing effectively. When we tried them on and listened to a few songs, the quality was very clear and sounded great; no extra compression or bass boosts like a lot of other popular ‘studio headphones’ out there. Granted we had time constraints and the room was a bit noisy, if you’re an audiophile reading this with a skeptical attitude, “but what about the sound quality!”, our answer is that it is good. A pretty thick sound and no spikes really found in any of the frequencies for that matter. It’s always hard to portray sound quality in words for somebody who hasn’t put their ears to the test of the model yet, but we are quite happy with how they’re sounding. If you are indeed planning on using these to their fullest potential, you may have noticed the whopping impedance in the specs list. You’ll definitely need a headphone amp to power the pair of cans up, so keep that in mind when figuring out your budget and whether you still need one or not.