Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT vs Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT Review

Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT vs Audio-Technica ANC700BT Review

So many wireless headphones, so little patience for reviews. Let’s get right to it. The snazzy, new SR50BT is selling at the same price as the older ANC700BT. But they’re nothing alike in terms of sound. My colleagues have written extensively about the SR50BT and the ANC700BT here and here. This comparison review is for folks who are familiar with at least one of these models but are reluctant to pull the trigger. So, what are the main differences between these two models, and which headphone is a better bang for your buck? Let’s find out in this Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT vs Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT Review.

Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT vs Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT Review

FIT

I’m a big fan of the SR50BT in this category. The earpads are more plush, and the cans feel more snug compared to the relatively austere and looser fitting ANC700BT. The headband on the SR50BT is a bit fatter and more padded as well. So, if you’re a sucker for luxury, the SR50BT is your Cadillac.

Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT vs Audio-Technica ANC700BT Review

DESIGN

In terms of sound isolation, both headphones are about equal. The “noise-cancelling” ANC700BT doesn’t reduce any more ambient sound than the “noise-reducing” SR50BT. So, if noise cancellation is your priority, either of these cans will work.

With respect to specifications, the SR50BT is a clear upgrade from the ANC700BT. The SR50BT employs a larger 45mm driver, and it uses Bluetooth 5 instead of the inferior Bluetooth 4.1 design of the ANC700BT. This makes a big difference in sound quality. That being said, both headphones offer the same hi-res codecs (aptX, AAC and SBC). So, no changes there. Bur you’ll also get a couple more hours of battery life on the SR50BT.

Both headphones employ a touchpad on the sides of the ear cups to control functions such as volume, play/pause, skip and call activation. And both seem equal in terms of ease of use. The only added feature that I preferred on the SR50BT was the button that allows you to quickly switch between noise reduction and ambient mode. Audio-Technica probably added this feature because using the touchpad to switch between the two modes is inefficient and takes some getting used to.

Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT vs Audio-Technica ANC700BT Review

SOUND

Overall Impressions: The clear and detailed SR50BT vs the bassy and warm ANC700BT.

Lows

These cans sound very different in the low end. If you can’t live without significant bass, then stick with the ANC700BT. The SR50BT is quite pale in the low frequencies, offering much less impact and punch when listening to pop. The ANC700BT also coveys a lot more warmth and weight. On the flip side, the SR50BT is much cleaner in this frequency range, and it makes the ANC700BT sound muddy in comparison.

Mids

In this frequency range, the SR700BT, again, has a much heavier feel, bringing out the low mids a lot more. The SR50BT is significantly brighter, favoring the high-mids over the lower frequencies. So, if you like a really meaty sound when listening to rock, you’ll prefer the SR700BT. But if you listen to a lot of classical or folk, and you want something on the lighter side, then the SR50BT is the way to go. In terms of clarity, the SR50BT is the undeniable winner. Acoustic guitar strums on the SR50BT had vastly superior transparency, resolve and separation. In fact, it’s hard to believe that these two models are selling at the same price point.

Highs

Listening to strings in this range, both headphones show a similar amount of clarity and detail. But again, the SR50BT offers a much brighter picture. And moving back to pop, high toned percussion instruments showed a lot more crispness and sparkle on the SR50BT, giving the music more snap and energy. On the other hand, for some, the highs on the SR50BT might be too forward. And if your ears are very sensitive to high frequencies, the SR700BT might be an easier listening experience.

Soundstage

Both cans do an equally good job in this department. Besides the added depth provided by the bass on the ANC700BT, both headphones convey a similar amount of dimension, spaciousness and sense of accuracy.

SUMMARY

Personally, I’d be willing to lose bass presence for tremendously improved clarity and detail. And this is coming from a mild bass-head. Comparing the skill sets of these two headphones, there’s just no competition. Noise-cancellation excluded, the SR50BT is a big upgrade from the ANC700BT. 

You can find these headphones for the best price at:

Audio 46: Audio-Technica ATH-SR50BT Wireless Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)

Audio 46: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT Wireless Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)

Amazon: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC700BT QuietPoint Bluetooth Wireless Noise-Cancelling High-Resolution Audio Headphones, Black

SPECIFICATIONS

ATH-SR50BT

ATH-ANC700BT

Driver 45 mm 40mm
Frequency Response 5 – 40,000 Hz 5 – 40,000 Hz
Sensitivity 98 dB 98 dB
Impedance 150 Ohms with Noise Cancellation / 32 Ohms Without Noise Cancellation 150 Ohms with Noise Cancellation / 32 Ohms Without Noise Cancellation
Battery Life 25 Hours 25 Hours
Charging Time 5 Hours 5 Hours