Technics EAH-T 700 Headphone Review

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AT A GLANCE

Plus

  • Two-way design with super tweeter
  • High sensitivity makes it ideal for use with portable hi-res music players
  • Handcrafted in Japan

Minus

  • No padded storage case
THE VERDICT

The Technics EAH-T 700 sounds sweet at home, and its high sensitivity makes it ideal with high-resolution portable players.

Remember Technics? They made turntables, right? Yes, they did, and now they’re making them again. The brand’s history dates back to 1965 when it debuted the Technics 1 monitor speaker. The brand went on to create a wide range of components, including a tube amplifier in 1966, and in 1970 the world’s first direct-drive turntable, the SP-10. Many other products followed, but the Technics name faded from view a few years ago and then roared back to life in 2015 with a couple of stellar speakers and a new line of electronics. This year, Technics showed an all-new SL-1200 Series turntable and these remarkable headphones, the EAH-T700.

These crisply styled beauties feature finely crafted aluminum earcups and deliciously thick padded ear cushions and headband; pictures fail to convey how it feels. These headphones look like they can shrug off a little rough handling with ease. The EAH-T700 were designed and made in Japan, precisely because Technics engineers want to maintain the strictest quality control standards.

Peer inside the EAH-T700’s earcups, and you’ll spot something unusual: In addition to a 50mm main driver, there’s a 14mm aluminum super tweeter. The 50mm is set in an angled aluminum baffle, as is the super tweeter, to better direct ultra-high frequencies precisely to your ear. The drivers are compliantly decoupled from the earcup to reduce resonance. Technics claims the tweeter’s response extends all the way up to 100 kilohertz to fully resolve the bandwidth of today’s ultra-high-resolution recordings. I can hear some of you muttering that human hearing doesn’t go much past 20 kHz, but even so, headphones that reach to 100 kHz might have audible benefits at the upper range of the frequencies we do hear.

You get two sets of oxygen-free copper headphone (4N) cables, one 4-foot one and a 10-footer. The cables are terminated with 3.5mm plugs with sleeves that screw onto the earcups. A 3.5mm-to-6.3mm adapter plug is provided, but I was surprised to note that Technics didn’t include the sort of classy storage box that comes with other flagship headphones. They do provide a basic drawstring pouch for storage and travel, however.

These closed-back headphones weigh a little over a pound (16.6 ounces), but I still found them a pleasure to wear. The luscious earpads and supple headband are largely responsible for the EAH-T700s’ comfort. The pads also do a great job sealing out external noise, so I took the EAH-T700s out to a local park with my Astell & Kern Jr high-resolution music player. That turned out to be a great pairing because the EAH-T700s are more sensitive than any other flagship headphones I’ve tried, so they played louder and were more dynamically alive than the other ’phones with portable players. Pumping up the volume to “11,” the bass slam was truly visceral on my LCD Soundsystem albums. So if you do a lot of listening on the go and crave audiophile sound quality and maximum dynamics, the EAH-T700 would be a great choice.

Back at home, I compared the EAH-T700 with another pair of two-way full-size headphones, the EnigmAcoustics Dharma D1000 ($1,195), with my Oppo HA-1 headphone amp, and the differences between the two headphones were clear cut. The EAH-T700 had a sweeter tone and richer bass, but the D1000 is more see-through transparent, so I could hear “deeper” into the music. Fingers sliding over strings and singers’ breaths were the sorts of details that the EAH-T700 glossed over. Ah, but maybe that’s why the Technics managed to breeze through some of the harsher-sounding contemporary albums in my collection. Still, the EAH-T700 is very much a high-resolution device, though other headphones dredge up even more detail.

With so much happening in high- end headphones, you might think there’s nothing new to offer, but even a quick listen to the Technics EAH-T700 will prove otherwise.

Specs:

Type: Closed-back, over-the-ear

• Drivers: 50mm dynamic driver, 14mm aluminum super-tweeter

• Impedance: 28 ohms

• Sensitivity: 102 dB/1 mW

• Weight (Ounces): 16.6

(soundandvision.com, http://goo.gl/vxCqDa)

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