Having auditioned the Audio Technica LS50 a few days ago, I’m excited to take an extended look at its sister model, the ATH-LS70. But at $129, what kind of sound are we looking at? And how does it compare to its more affordable counterpart?
Audio Technica ATH-LS70 Review
The LS70 comes with five pairs of eatips and a soft carrying pouch – pretty much all you need with a decent earphone.
Utilizing a hard plastic shell, the earpieces feel solid, if also a little bulky. However, those earpieces sport an angled design that hugs the contours of my ears. This design, coupled with the wealth of eartips, offers a superior level of comfort I won’t soon forget.
The removable cable measures 4 ft (1.2 m) and uses an A2DC connection. Ending in a right-angle 3.5mm audio plug, this cable oozes durability and confidence. A solid built-in mic and remote compliment the sturdy cable, offering support for most smartphones.
Frequency Range: 5-26,000 Hz
Impedance: 24.3 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 101 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): NA
The specifications reveal a headphone with a fairly standard frequency range, albeit with a bit more room in the low end. A low nominal impedance of just 24.3 ohms will pair well with any portable device, while the 101 dB Sound Pressure Level ensures decent volume. Total Harmonic Distortion, while not provided by Audio Technica, still seems low – somewhere around the <0.3% mark.
With good detail and bumping bass, the low end on the LS70 instantly reveals itself to be a powerhouse. Ample control keeps bleed at an imperceptible level, and a lack of compression or distortion results in a fairly pristine listening experience.
Like the lows, the mids offer a decent amount of detail. However, unlike the lows, the mids house slight compression – specifically, in the upper mids. While not a total debacle, this small hiccup won’t impress many critical listeners – but the LS70 still provides enough detail in the midrange for casual enjoyment.
Sightly bright, but more relaxed as a whole, the high end on the LS70 offers a refined listening experience. At once smooth and detailed, the resultant sound never comes close to piercing or uncomfortable – and yet it still nails the high highs.
Like most earphones, the ATH-LS70 suffers a poor sense of placement by virtue of its design. However, there’s still plenty of depth in these earphones. So, while not incredibly realistic, that soundstage is still roomy enough to offer some amazing listening sessions.
Like the LS50, the LS70 offers a fairly dynamic listening experience. The mids are a bit more detailed on the LS70, though, resulting in an overall more-improved sound.
These ‘phones excel anywhere that the intense lows and highs can be put through the paces – rock, hip hop, or even electronic music tracks sound golden. The particularly clean and detailed lows are especially well-suited for rock music utilizing plenty of instrumentation – such as math rock or progressive rock.
If you’re searching for a mid-heavy listening experience, the LS70 may not be your best bet. I would instead recommend the less expensive Grado iGe for $99. While the iGe’s remote is not universal, the earphone does offer better midrange performance.
For dynamic sound, though, the ATH-LS70 presents a clear challenge to any would-be competitor. It’s definitely a step above the $79 LS50 – enough so that I would recommend serious listeners skipping the cheaper model and splurging a bit on the LS70. The vastly improved sound is well worth the extra money.
With hard-hitting lows and highs, the $129 Audio Technica ATH-LS70 presents a formidable listening experience. Despite some compression in the mids, this earphone still offers a mesmerizing listening experience – especially where a grand, dynamic sound is preferred.
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