January 23, 2011 – A new year, a brand new product review! Audio-Technica was kind enough to send me a set of their DJ headphones, the ATH-PRO700. I’ve been itching to try out a good set of headphones since the ones I’ve used to mix and listen with for the past 10 years, have begun disintegrating.
Because I check my mixes with a couple sets of in ear monitors, one of them being the Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi I reviewed last month, I haven’t been in a rush to replace my old headphones. When the ATH-PRO700’s arrived, however, I was eager to see if they would be a good replacement.
It helps to know that the ATH-PRO700 has been categorized by Audio-Technica as for DJ’s. As I’m sure you know, DJ’s are pretty rough with their headphones and need something that can withstand the punishment of gigging professionals. When I picked up the ATH-PRO700’s I was surprised by their weight. I normally look for the lightest set for comfort but I was surprised at how beefy these headphones are.
The headband is especially thick and feels like it could take a bullet. The closed ear capsules both fold and rotate completely which means that the headphones are easy to store (they come with a vinyl bag for storage) and are more likely to rotate than snap when put in an awkward situation; definitely a plus. I’ve heard that some have had issues with the swivel portion of the headphone cracking, but since I haven’t had the headphones for that long I can’t comment on that; they seem pretty well-built to me so far. The ear cups isolate the sound well, but a bit more foam would be nice as. For me at least, they pressed on my ear a bit.
The audio wire only comes off of one side which makes it more convenient to wear, especially when monitoring each ear separately. It’s a decently thick gauge, with an eighth inch stereo plug (a screw-on quarter inch adapter is included). The cord is sufficiently long for personal listening, but you might want an extension if you’re the dance-while-dj’ing type.
Ok, so how does this set of cans sound? Super bass flavour! These things have a tonne of bass, and pretty decent treble as well, although I found the mid-range lacked a bit of clarity. The ATH-PRO700 also get plenty loud, and with the good isolation from the cup design (although it could be improved even more with increasing the padding size as I stated before), these things are great for a noisy club environment.
The soundstage was distinct, though not as wide as I would have liked in some situations. Would I use these to mix on? Probably not, as the frequency range is boosted for a DJ’s ears. I would definitely use them to reference on when creating dance or hip hop music. These two genres are what the ATH-PRO700 are clearly designed for and while classical music might not sound great through these, dance and hip hop do.
The bottom line is that DJ aren’t necessarily worried about the same things as an audio engineer or audiophile; they want a loud, and great sounding set of headphones and the ATH-PRO700 delivers on those counts. DJ’s also want something that is rugged, and the ATH-PRO700 seem to be pretty well built. As some others have had issues with the headphones breaking, I will update this review if anything happens to my set, but so far they’re working out great. With a very affordable street price of around $115, I’d definitely check them out if you’re in the market for a set of headphones for dance and hip hop.