Yamaha has a new line of Bluetooth products, and the L700A is their ANC over-ear headphone. With a $499 price point, it seems like Yamaha has a lot of faith in their new set of wireless headphones, so let’s see if they’re worth the while.
What You Get
- USB Type C power cable
- Carrying case
- 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable
- Flight adapter
Look & Feel
The L700A doesn’t have the look of a ton of Bluetooth headphones currently on the market. There is a sort of grey mesh covering the shell of the ear cups, and there are buttons at the bottom of the right one. Its design feels pretty luxurious, with nice leather earpads and a matching headband. As for the fit, the L700A is a comfortable enough headphone, but the swivel on the earcups is a little too stiff. Every time I put the headphones on, the earcups needed to be readjusted on my head each time to get the seal just right. After that though, the L700A can be enjoyed for a significant amount of time before your ears become fatigued.
Design & Functionality
Inside the L700A is a 40mm dynamic driver. Quite a large unit compared to what we’re used to seeing. They feature a good output of loudness with enough headroom to adjust to a comfortable gain. Noise-canceling capabilities are effective but have a definite hindrance to music quality. Other ANC headphones for less don’t feature this problem too heavily, so it’s strange to hear such a drastic difference when switching through modes. Yamaha’s companion app has a great interface to showcase its 3D and surround modes, but there is no EQ.
Connecting the L700A is easy, with fast pairing and Bluetooth 5.0 support. The highest-quality streaming CODEC available is Qualcomm aptX Adaptive.
Total playback time can vary based on a few factors like ANC and 3D modes, but either way, the L700A doesn’t quite have the battery life that I expect in this price range. ANC doesn’t quite drain the battery as much as other wireless headphones, but 34 hours is a little lacking, especially when the Sennheiser Momentum 4 offers 60 hours. It’s the 3D mode that really puts a damper on the battery life, only offering a total of 11 hours through continuous use.
Working my way through each of the L700A’s many 3D modes was a fun experience. Getting the right spatial response is key to your overall enjoyment of the soundstage. Without any spatial audio features, the L700A still holds up with an organized stereo image. For a pair of Bluetooth headphones, the L700A knows where to place each individualized sound element in a manner that is easy to decipher. It accomplishes this even with a tighter headspace, and a limited amount of width.
Nothing feels congested, and there is enough empty space for the soundstage to appear spacious. Now for the 3D mode. I mostly listened to the L700A with head tracking turned off. It’s cool as a novelty, but I don’t think the way it’s implemented here gives you the greatest impression of the L700A’s spatial capabilities. For most of my music listening, I found Audio ROOM mode to be the most fitting for most studio recordings. Using other modes like “concert hall” seems to add a lot of artificial reflections, and it makes studio recordings feel too spacey. However for live performances, especially from symphonies, this preset can be very effective.
Cinema mode worked best for most video content, especially films and video games. I tested this preset by watching scenes from the film “The Outwaters,” which uses many layers of aggressive otherworldly sounds. In cinema mode, the L700A is able to communicate these sounds in an expanded headspace. The sound design appeared properly distant here like the effect had a real origin.
There is a lot of impact to this bass response. It’s a heavy slam that persists throughout the frequency spectrum, but the lows have enough depth to not fog up the timbre in bloated resonance. The tone is thick and offers a ton of flavor to the sound signature. It has a clear form, with a strong foundation that lifts the bass up into an engulfing body of tone.
Not much can be deciphered from the midrange, as most of it is recessed into a v-shaped signature. This is the case with a lot of ANC headphones, but it is particularly prominent here. Low mid frequencies are prioritized over the fundamental range and it makes a lot of instruments feel undefined. Vocal ranges get a little better, but they don’t feature a ton of command in the mix overall.
You’ll definitely get a spike in detail here, as the L700A is able to provide some crispness to the highs. Sibilances are prevalent but have a slick sizzle that I found to be satisfying. It underlines vocals with an expressive tone that is easy to be engrossed by. Some of the upper highs thin out but still retain a nice ring to them.
There are a lot of neat features on the L700A, and the sound quality is really good. It has a few shortcomings though, like its weaker battery life, ANC sound deterioration, and lacking EQ. A more minor criticism is that I think there are just too many 3D presets. Only a few of them really change up the experience based on what you’re listening to. This is still a great pair of headphones in terms of natural sonic enjoyment and immersion, with gripping bass and highs mixed with an articulate soundstage enhanced by the right 3D options. The asking price could be too much as they are now, but if you happen to find a good sale I would definitely try to pick these up.
The Yamaha YH-L700A is available at Audio46.