Today we’re checking out the flagship model of AudioTechnica’s M series professional monitor headphones, the M70x. This is not by any means paid content, and I personally own the product for review.
A few months ago, I reviewed the highly popular M50x which is widely used by professionals and enthusiasts alike due to its excellent sound output and build quality. A step up from the M50x is this, the M70x. First released in January 2015, the M70x was originally priced around $420, but these days you can get them for less than $300 on Amazon. At about double the price of the M50x, the question now is is it twice better?
The M70x has a design reminiscent of the M50x, and that’s probably as far as the comparisons go because they are completely different. Although it has a relatively flat frequency response, the M50x has a little bit of color to it which makes it excellent for both casual listening and studio monitoring. However if your focus is more on professional audio production and monitoring, that little bit of color can make a huge difference. This is where the M70x comes in.
Aimed towards professional use, the M70x has a very flat frequency response at a range of 5 to 40,000 Hz which is what you'd want for audio production. Compare that to the 15 to 28,000 Hz of the M50x and you’d know that you have much deeper bass, and much higher highs. To the untrained ear, they may sound a bit tinny because of the extended frequency range. It is highly recommended to use a DAC or headphone amplifiers to bring out its full potential but it can just be driven by your smart phone, computer, or other sound devices.
I’ve had these for over 4 months now and I’ve been using them regularly for both casual listening, production, and monitoring. Listening to high quality lossless music, you can hear much more separation between instruments and overall openness. In layman’s terms, you would actually hear the music as the sound engineers intended. For audio production, the extended frequency range enables you to hear all the intricate details of your audio, which gives you the proper reference as to what sounds right or wrong with the audio you are working on. That quality makes it a perfect tool for audio mastering.
The lows reach down to 5 Hz which sounds really deep but not exaggerated. The mids are flat out flat which makes it excellent for monitoring and mastering, however some music mixes have boosted mids as this is the frequency range of vocals which in turn makes it sound a little bit exaggerated when listening with the M70x. The highs are clear and once again well defined because of the extended frequency range of 40,000 Hz which is well beyond the human hearing which again makes it extremely useful for monitoring and mixing.
In terms of build quality, I expected a little bit more metal or more premium materials considering its price tag. The overall design looks sleek, and even formal if I could call it that. The ear cups have a matte plastic finish accentuated by the metallic logo which is padded with a very soft synthetic leather. The ear cups do a very good job of sound isolation, however they tend to warm the ears up quite a bit especially for me who's living in a tropical country. The headband is much lighter and more flexible but does not feel loose at the same time. This is a good improvement considering how tight the M50x felt after extended use. The ear cups can be swiveled 90 degrees, however it does not have the same foldable design of the M50x.
The M70x comes with its own padded bag, a cable bag, and 3 sets of cables which are exactly the same as the ones that come with the M50x’s.
Overall, the M70x is an excellent pair of professional monitor headphones. The extended frequency range and flat response make it one of the best headphones for music production at this price range. So now for the question, for twice the price of the M50x, is it twice better? Yes and no. Yes, if you intend to use it for professional audio production. Absolutely. If you intend to use it for more casual listening purposes, then no. Like I said, for untrained ears, the M70x would sound either tinny or harsh, and the M50x would be more tame and pleasant. Both are excellent products with completely different purposes.
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