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Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 17 10.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 87 53.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 43 26.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 15 9.3%

  • Total voters
    162

chi2

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Did you hear the distortion with or without applying eq to the bass? At which approx. level do you normally listen?
 

rkt31

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I know people are stating the bass distortion is not audible with these but I can clearly hear it. I tried these out with a RME ADI 2 DAC FS and got rid of them for that reason alone.

Comfort was the best I've experienced next to the Sony MA-900 but I just can't get over its farty bass response. Yes I tried 2 thinking something was wrong with the first. An HD650 has pretty high bass distortion but it's no where near as audibly offensive as these (just sounds bloated).

At $349 I'd rather recommend a open box Edition XS for $420 direct from Hifiman which to me is like 95% of an Arya Stealth.
No audible bass distortion even with very heavy bass laden track. Bass distortion can be an issue only when listening at insane volumes.
 

Craigslue

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@Craigslue Here's how much amp you need. "Voltage needed" is the key value:
View attachment 200197

The Erish2 has a gain of 1x/6x.
With a 4.0Vrms XLR DAC and gain set to 6x, you will (theoretically) get 24Vrms output.
I say theoretically because in practice, some part of the Amp will run out of juice before you can reach 24Vrms output. Still, it'll be more than enough to power the R70x.

The Erish2 has 2W per channel @32Ω, but that is irrelevant as the R70x is a 470Ω headphone.
Yes I know it was rated at 32 ohms. Thats why I was asking and didn't know the math to figure the power requirments. Just getting into the headphone game. I've had an HD580 forever but it sat around not used bcause I never had anything with enough balls to make it sound good so it went unused in brand new shape. Ear cushions still like new but the head band cushion had deteriated totally flat so I replace the headband cushion and a freak accident jammed a pair of scissors into one of the drivers before I ever got to use the new Hart balanced cable I bought!! Been trying to get replacement drivers for it but they are never in stock online! Anyway I bought a Hifiman Deva Pro becaue it sounded like a cool headphone and I can use BT or wired and have enjoyed using them starting my new headphone journey. Bought some open box HD660S on ebay and should be here Tuesday. Just looking to acquire a handful of quality affordable and accurate headphones to enjoy.
 

Jimbob54

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I'm thinking of picking myself up one of these. Surprising how little info there is out there on these headphones. What I read seems contradicting. I read it has a small soundstage then I read it has a huge soundstage?! How much amp is really needed for these? I have a Geshelli E2 that I believe is 2W. BTW I believe you may be correct about audiphiles and the high end as an ex wannabe audiophile high end player but never really dabbled with headphones until now.

The E2 and r70 would be a terrible combo but only because the r70 is single ended and the E2 only has balanced output so you'd have to buy a new cable straight away.
 

Craigslue

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I know people are stating the bass distortion is not audible with these but I can clearly hear it. I tried these out with a RME ADI 2 DAC FS and got rid of them for that reason alone.

Comfort was the best I've experienced next to the Sony MA-900 but I just can't get over its farty bass response. Yes I tried 2 thinking something was wrong with the first. An HD650 has pretty high bass distortion but it's no where near as audibly offensive as these (just sounds bloated).

At $349 I'd rather recommend a open box Edition XS for $420 direct from Hifiman which to me is like 95% of an Arya Stealth.
Hmm. I have some deva pro's that I enjoy. I was orginally thinking some Sundara's then seen the XS. I was thinking of skipping the Sundaras and go for the XS's but all the sound demo's I've heard don't impress me. Been doing a lot of listening of demo's and yes I know that won't give an accurate sound but it is good for comparisons to other headphones. So far from what I've heard the Sundaras sound bright and the XS sound thin with little presence. I know both are suppose to be great headphones. One of my goals is to find some wide soundstage phones because I've never heard any that I can remember. I heard a demo of the LCD-X and wow that blew me away! Out of my price range though. Think I will checkout the Hifiman site. Looks like they are now $449. If I got one I would probablty get a new one for the extra $50.
 
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Robbo99999

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No audible bass distortion even with very heavy bass laden track. Bass distortion can be an issue only when listening at insane volumes.
Or for sure with EQ. I know for a fact that I listen to some 104dB peaks (not RMS, RMS is -3dB on that) in the bass sometimes, because I measured it on my miniDSP EARS for some of my music tracks, and given this headphone is 10dB down on bass at 30Hz then I'd be looking to apply a +10dB peak filter at 30Hz to bring it up - so for sure I would be hitting close to the equivalent of the 114dB distortion line in this graph (because this is 114dB @425Hz and 30Hz is 5dB down on that, so I'd be hitting somewhere between the 104dB & 114dB distortion line in this graph for the bass - and distortion at 104dB is already off the charts and indeterminably way above 6 percent even at just 104dB......I think this headphone would be unacceptable for my usage when boosting this headphone to Harman levels of bass).

To put it in perspective, 104dB peaks at 30Hz is not particularly loud, as in bass heavy tracks the rest of the frequency range is sitting 20dB or more below that point. In headphones with low stock SPL in the bass then you for sure need to make sure 104dB is clean in the bass in Amir's graphs if you want to listen to Harman bass (EQ).

EDIT: (hold fire) @solderdude , I know you're the SPL expert, I'm confused though (and I need to check what I'm preaching in case I've made some incorrect assumptions), why am I hitting 103dB peak in the bass in the following track whilst the 0dBFS sine sweep in REW with the same EQ applied and same volume knob position is only hitting 93dB RMS in the bass....theoretically I should only be hitting 96dB peak in the recorded music track as a max?
Massive Attack Rising Son typical SPL.jpg

typical loud listening level 0dBFS sine sweep.jpg
 
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Craigslue

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The E2 and r70 would be a terrible combo but only because the r70 is single ended and the E2 only has balanced output so you'd have to buy a new cable straight away.
I'm aware of this. thats the case with all headphones and this amp. Thought I could get away with an XLR to 3.5mm adaptor but that cause's what sounds kind of like a very slight ground loop type buzz so I'm only looking at phones I can run balanced and I alreay have 3 different Hart Audio cables and have no problem investing a couple bucks into a cable.
 

Jimbob54

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I'm aware of this. thats the case with all headphones and this amp. Thought I could get away with an XLR to 3.5mm adaptor but that cause's what sounds kind of like a very slight ground loop type buzz so I'm only looking at phones I can run balanced and I alreay have 3 different Hart Audio cables and have no problem investing a couple bucks into a cable.
Annoying proprietary connectors at the cup side too. Can't remember if it's dual 2.5mm or 3. 5mm but you can't borrow a balanced cable from a pair of Hifiman etc
 

Craigslue

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Annoying proprietary connectors at the cup side too. Can't remember if it's dual 2.5mm or 3. 5mm but you can't borrow a balanced cable from a pair of Hifiman etc
Yep 2.5 locking connectors. Been thinking I could actually try to mod some 2.5 male to 3.5 female adaptors and be able to use some cables I already have. I have seen some adaptors that look like it would be doable. Where theres a will theres a way! lol
 
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gmoney

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Did you hear the distortion with or without applying eq to the bass? At which approx. level do you normally listen?
I didn't EQ these at all. Based on all the responses here I'm pretty baffled because it was immediately identifiable swapping between R70x/HD650/TH900.

Ignoring the farty bass, I still think an HD650 is a smoother and more refined headphone. The R70x biggest advantage is presentation since it delivers quite a bit more width/depth which is the HD650's biggest weakness.
 

solderdude

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Or for sure with EQ. I know for a fact that I listen to some 104dB peaks (not RMS, RMS is -3dB on that) in the bass sometimes, because I measured it on my miniDSP EARS for some of my music tracks, and given this headphone is 10dB down on bass at 30Hz then I'd be looking to apply a +10dB peak filter at 30Hz to bring it up - so for sure I would be hitting close to the equivalent of the 114dB distortion line in this graph (because this is 114dB @425Hz and 30Hz is 5dB down on that, so I'd be hitting somewhere between the 104dB & 114dB distortion line in this graph for the bass - and distortion at 104dB is already off the charts and indeterminably way above 6 percent even at just 104dB......I think this headphone would be unacceptable for my usage when boosting this headphone to Harman levels of bass).

To put it in perspective, 104dB peaks at 30Hz is not particularly loud, as in bass heavy tracks the rest of the frequency range is sitting 20dB or more below that point. In headphones with low stock SPL in the bass then you for sure need to make sure 104dB is clean in the bass in Amir's graphs if you want to listen to Harman bass (EQ).

EDIT: (hold fire) @solderdude , I know you're the SPL expert, I'm confused though (and I need to check what I'm preaching in case I've made some incorrect assumptions), why am I hitting 103dB peak in the bass in the following track whilst the 0dBFS sine sweep in REW with the same EQ applied and same volume knob position is only hitting 93dB RMS in the bass....theoretically I should only be hitting 96dB peak in the recorded music track as a max?
View attachment 200295

View attachment 200296

Consider that music is not just bass and separate other frequencies.
It is an added signal so bass + other frequencies.
The mic picks up the signal + pinna gain.
That is what the 'meter' sees. The pinna gain for your setup is HUGE at 4kHz (+20dB).
You need to compensate the input signal and run that through the peak detection program. That way the numbers you will be getting are much closer to expected values.

Don't look at (use) raw mic values.
 

Robbo99999

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Consider that music is not just bass and separate other frequencies.
It is an added signal so bass + other frequencies.
The mic picks up the signal + pinna gain.
That is what the 'meter' sees. The pinna gain for your setup is HUGE at 4kHz (+20dB).
You need to compensate the input signal and run that through the peak detection program. That way the numbers you will be getting are much closer to expected values.

Don't look at (use) raw mic values.
Thanks, I'll work on that, I think I know how.......and that means I'll have to retract the spouting I've been doing re me listening to 104dB peaks in the bass! One thing though, I was worried about that 4kHz pinna gain, so I thought I'd try to rule that out by downloading a 30Hz -2dBFS tone and then playing that back through my headphones with the EQ at my typical loud volume whilst recording the SPL in REW - it came back with the "same" 102dB peak (Z)......I chose that because I wanted to be sure I was seeing it in the bass rather than that crazy 4kHz pinna gain of the miniDSP EARS. At that point this had convinced me that I'm seeing this 102-104dB peak (Z) in the bass.....not to mention the spikes seemed to occur with the bass line in the tracks I was recording too. I will do a calibration curve to knock down that peak.....I'll modify it to "convert it to GRAS"..........but I still don't get how I can see that 102-104dB with a 30Hz tone. I've certainly been thinking along the same lines as you, but I don't know how to explain away the 30Hz tone experiment? Will for sure try applying the "convert to GRAS" in my next SPL experiments though.
 

solderdude

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acc. to your measurement the 'measured' efficiency at 30Hz is 9dB above that at 400Hz.
Given that the K702 is 101dB/V at 400Hz your measurement will give 110dB @ 1V at 30Hz.
At 4kHz the 'measured' efficiency (not actual) = 120 dB/V.

If you really want to know the actual peak SPL you need to know the actual efficiency at all frequencies (so compensated optimum hifi) and measure the applied peak voltage.

I would use the HD600 to get a baseline (as that one does not have peaks and roll-off at 30Hz is known).
 

Robbo99999

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acc. to your measurement the 'measured' efficiency at 30Hz is 9dB above that at 400Hz.
Given that the K702 is 101dB/V at 400Hz your measurement will give 110dB @ 1V at 30Hz.
At 4kHz the 'measured' efficiency (not actual) = 120 dB/V.

If you really want to know the actual peak SPL you need to know the actual efficiency at all frequencies (so compensated optimum hifi) and measure the applied peak voltage.

I would use the HD600 to get a baseline (as that one does not have peaks and roll-off at 30Hz is known).
I still don't know how a 30Hz -2dBFS tone can produce a 102dB peak (Z) whilst at the same time a 0dBFS sine sweep is showing only 93dB RMS in the bass at that point - with the same EQ applied and similar volume knob position (the following measurement is with EQ applied, same one that I showed earlier)
typical loud listening level 0dBFS sine sweep.jpg
I really don't get how that can be possible. I'll do a GRAS conversion calibration file to use in my miniDSP EARS for the next SPL experiment I do.
 

solderdude

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And on top of that GRAS conversion do a Harman correction (minus the boosted Harman bass so optimum hifi) and use that as input.

You cannot use raw measurements (neither EARS nor GRAS nor any other HATS with pinna) as input for SPL measurements unless they only have to be valid at 400Hz, 500Hz or 1kHz).
Below 200Hz and above 2kHz the efficiency numbers will appear to be higher.

I based my remarks on the frequency plot you posted where it is easy to see 30Hz level = +9dB opposite 400/500/1kHz.
 

Robbo99999

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And on top of that GRAS conversion do a Harman correction (minus the boosted Harman bass so optimum hifi) and use that as input.

You cannot use raw measurements (neither EARS nor GRAS nor any other HATS with pinna) as input for SPL measurements unless they only have to be valid at 400Hz, 500Hz or 1kHz).
Below 200Hz and above 2kHz the efficiency numbers will appear to be higher.

I based my remarks on the frequency plot you posted where it is easy to see 30Hz level = +9dB opposite 400/500/1kHz.
Hmmm, I think we've got a "logic mismatch" between us, I don't know why you're not directly answering my observation I made in my prior post re how a 30Hz -2dBFS tone can trigger a 102dB(Z) peak, whereas a 0dBFS sine sweep at all the same EQ & volume settings is showing only around 93dB at that same 30Hz. So I don't understand why you're bringing up other points. There's some kind of logic mismatch happening between us - either I'm not understanding the relevance of your points you're making or you're not understanding my description of the little 30Hz tone experiment I did vs sine sweep.
 

solderdude

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Are you saying when you play a 30Hz sine at 0dBFS you measure 93dB SPL (and thus 96dB peak) but when you play a 30Hz at -2dB you are measuring 102dB peak ?
Both measured using EARS and the same program ?

The measured 102dB is that a pure sine at -2dBFS or is that a music signal with 30Hz content also in it versus a sweep ?

I am merely commenting that using the EARS without compensation the shown dBSPL levels are not the actual ones on your head (based on the K702 plot you provided)

The raw signal of the EARS can not be used to determine (Peak) SPL (unless using a sine between 400Hz and 1kHz). Music and other frequencies will not give accurate readings. Your own ears will get less peak SPL as the EARS indicate in such case.

Let me define this differently. Use your K702
Your HP is say 102dB/V (@ 400Hz)
Your DAC (2V out) is fed 400Hz with volume setting lowered to -6dB.
You are using an amp with 0dB (1x) gain.

EARS should be indicating 102dB SPL. I would assume peak = 105dB SPL.

Now you play some music also with the volume set to -6dB. What peak levels do you measure (raw with EARS) ?
 
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Robbo99999

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Are you saying when you play a 30Hz sine at 0dBFS you measure 93dB SPL (and thus 96dB peak) but when you play a 30Hz at -2dB you are measuring 102dB peak ?
Both measured using EARS and the same program ?

The measured 102dB is that a pure sine at -2dBFS or is that a music signal with 30Hz content also in it versus a sweep ?
I don't know what happened before actually, as I re-ran the 30Hz tone and I didn't get the 102dB peak this time, regardless of whether I was using the RAW calibration file or the miniDSP to GRAS calibration file I created, (therefore apologies that was my mistake or there was somekind of anomaly last time I ran this experiment):


RAW calibration file (30Hz -2dBFS tone):
30Hz (-2dBFS) tone at typical listening levels with just RAW calibration file.jpg


miniDSP to GRAS calibration file (30Hz -2dBFS tone):
30Hz (-2dBFS) tone at typical listening levels with GRAS calibration file.jpg

So I think the above results are in-line with what I expect from the following sine sweep done at 0dBFS:
K702 0dBFS sine sweep with EQ.jpg


Let me define this differently. Use your K702
Your HP is say 102dB/V (@ 400Hz)
Your DAC (2V out) is fed 400Hz with volume setting lowered to -6dB.
You are using an amp with 0dB (1x) gain.

EARS should be indicating 102dB SPL. I would assume peak = 105dB SPL.

Now you play some music also with the volume set to -6dB. What peak levels do you measure (raw with EARS) ?
I did this last experiment that you suggested, and got the following with a stock K702 (no EQ) whilst at -6dBFS (therefore 1V output), got 121dB peak with music playback:
With RAW calibration file:
solderdude exp RAW cal.jpg
With GRAS conversion calibration file:
solderdude exp GRAS cal.jpg
(Late EDIT: actually the Leq values are different though, so the calibration files are having an effect, albeit not on the peak values)
You can see that the peak values are the same, so the calibration files put in herecal files.jpg are not affecting the SPL meter readouts, even if they are affecting the recorded values during a sine sweep (maybe):
K702 0dBFS sine sweep with EQ.jpg

Do you know where I can put in a calibration file in REW to affect the SPL meter readouts, because now I'm assuming those massive LzPeaks I'm seeing are due to the crazy pinna gain at 4kHz (edit: probably wrong on reflection)? Or actually I've probably been misunderstanding what LzPeak actually is and the calibration files have been properly applied to the SPL Meter (edit: I think this is right and I've been misunderstanding LzPeak)? LzPeak is the max recorded loudness of all frequencies of the music combined at any one point in time? So it's possible to have an LzPeak that is significantly/massively higher than any maximum point in a sine sweep?

EDIT: I think the upshot of all this is that I'll have to revise what I've been telling people re the level of bass I've been listening to in terms of relating it to distortion measurements, I had thought it was around 102dB which have been the LzPeak I've been seeing in the graphs (which I've been misinterpreting), but going on the sine sweep K702 0dBFS sine sweep with EQ.jpg I think it's clear that it's at 90dB in the bass with EQ, but because that's with a +9dB EQ in the bass & 1kHz is at 85dB there, then this would relate to around 94dB stock measurement (no EQ) when it comes to relating to distortion measurements done at stock. So I think that's my conclusion on that point in terms of relating it to distortion measurements done by people like Amir. (In terms of safe listening levels I think I'll use my GRAS conversion cal file and use A-weighted whilst keeping an eye on Lzpeak).


So going back to the topic of this thread which is ATH R70x, I think I'll revise what I said to @rkt31 earlier - I'd said that for sure you need to make sure that 104dB distortion test done by Amir is clean, but given my updated conclusions from this post, then for me I'd say the 94dB distortion test done by Amir is the most relevant when it comes to relating to distortion in bass - which puts the ATH R70x in a better light for me than it did before, although still that is quite high distortion for that headphone at 94dB, not a huge issue but not ideal.
 

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rkt31

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I didn't EQ these at all. Based on all the responses here I'm pretty baffled because it was immediately identifiable swapping between R70x/HD650/TH900.

Ignoring the farty bass, I still think an HD650 is a smoother and more refined headphone. The R70x biggest advantage is presentation since it delivers quite a bit more width/depth which is the HD650's biggest weakness.
Incidentally r70x is slightly better in treble distortion than hd650. I had both at one time and after getting r70x I instantly liked it better than hd650 in everything. Hd650 can sound more refined due to less treble dominance. R70X is flatter and more linear in fr as well as sound right from bass to mid to treble. I am not exaggerating but with mojo 2, r70x can be the end game music system, at any price it is so so good. Just EQ tiniest bit with mojo 2. (+ 1 click 20hz, +1 click treble shelf, -1 click 20khz )
 

Craigslue

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I picked up a pair of these factory refurbished for $208 free shipping and no taxes. Just got them today. Still playing around and experimenting with placement. Haven't had much time. Can't say I hear this bass distortion. I may have had them on backwards sometimes since the backside of the pads are thicker and left/right markings are hard to see. They are definitely light. BTW the headphones I got were made in Japan. So far I have to say I like them.
 
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