AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-ES7 HEADPHONES
It seems like only yesterday I was walking around in a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-Pro 700 headphones – the ones that come with a camouflage option that allow you to slip them on in the middle of a boring conversation and listen to your progress mixes while nodding politely to the unsuspecting dullard opposite. They’ve since been returned and I’m now walking around in a pair of closed-backed Audio-Technica ATH-ES7s, which are their visual antithesis: white with chrome bumpers, black ‘leather-like’ ear cups and a conspicuously white cable that shouts “Look at me, I’m walking around in public, confident that everyone is acutely aware there’s an iPod in my pocket!”
If you’re okay with this idea, then these headphones are worth considering, particularly for recreational use (although they also come in black). They’re blisteringly loud thanks to their low impedance (32Ω) and consequently power consumption misers when connected to devices like iPods. They’re also well built and comfortable enough to wear for extended periods without giving you a headache.
Their sound is clear and balanced without setting the world on fire with their super high frequency response (despite the published claim that they replay 5Hz – 30kHz!) but they do offer quite exceptional bottom end and fidelity thanks to their 42mm neodymium drivers, while never making you feel claustrophobic or boxed in. Listening to music through the ATH-ES7s is an enjoyable (and informative – if you’re listening to work in progress) experience.
I’ve been wearing these headphones everywhere lately, listening to music on my iPod (which is loaded with music via the Apple Lossless Encoder option in iTunes). I’ve done this for several reasons. Firstly the ES7s only have a mini-jack connector, so they’re obviously not particularly suited to studio or live production work, and given they possess an uncanny resemblance to the ubiquitous iPod, they’re obviously pitched at iPod users (and let’s face it, that’s just about everyone these days). So if you’re among this burgeoning throng, and looking for something a little more sophisticated sounding, power efficient, well-constructed and, dare I add, groovy, check ’em out. Otherwise just get the black ones. – Andy Stewart
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