Review: ATH-FC700A On-Ear Headphones

Lightweight, portable headphones in four colors. (August 31st, 2009)

Electronista Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Audio-Technica U.S., Inc.

Price: $119.95 US

The Good

  • Lightweight.

    Attractive.

    Multiple colors.

    Extension audio cable included.

    Case included.

The Bad

  • Ear cups have tight grip; uncomfortable after a while.

    May get warm after extended use.

Audio-Technica, a leading source of audio products established in 1962, makes a wide variety of Macintosh and iPod compatible audio products. In July, Audio-Technica released a range of headphones, including noise cancelling, in-ear, and on-ear fashionable models. MacNN tested the on-ear ATH-FC700A portable headphones. The lightweight design includes an adjustable metal headband partially enclosed in black plastic. The black ear cups include an out-facing decorative acrylic piece in your choice of four colors, red, purple, white, and black.

ATH-FC700A portable headphones


The Sound

The sound comes through clearly even at very low volumes. Bass is clear and distinct, but depending on the quality of your audio files, the mid-range can sound muddy at times. I tested them with a variety of music, including Portishead, Mos Def, U2, The Beach Boys, some classical and older pop music, and MacNN's audio file suite. The headphones offer a 10 to 24,000 Hz frequency response using 40 mm neodymium drivers, even though most of us can only hear frequencies from 10Hz through 20kHz. The clarity through the frequency range was clear and precise, although I did have to turn up the volume to hear the lowest bass ranges. The higher range sound came through better.

Earpieces

The leatherette earpieces fit snugly against the ears, but do not cover them. They clamp against my head a little too tightly and the slight pressure bothered me after an hour of use. Another tester also complained about the pressure, but the tight fit helps reduce outside noise. I've also seen comments on various forums that they warm up after extended use, although I didn't have that problem.

If the on-ear cups didn't grip so tightly, these headphones would be extremely comfortable, because they are so lightweight. The adjustable headband is barely noticeable. The ear cups also rotate and fold in to make a small portable package, which fits neatly into the included vinyl drawstring pouch.

ATH-FC700A portable headphones


These are not noise-cancelling headphones, but the earpieces block ancillary noise to some extent, so they minimize distraction from outside noise. While walking, I experienced no thumping or other noise transferred through the wires. The inclusion of the 3' extension cable allows you to hide your music device anywhere on your person or in a bag.

Mobile Phone Accessory

You can also use these headphones with your iPhone or other mobile phone when you add the $40 AT-MP100 Music Phone Headphone Adapter (http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/accessories/14657fdf36269d0c/index.html), The adapter includes a microphone, volume adjuster, a control button to switch between music and phone calls, and a 2.5 mm adapter.

Bottom Line

I really like the sound of the ATC-FC700s, but the head grip is just too much to bear, and I have a small head. I stretched them out a bit, which helped, but didn't solve the problem. While the list price seems steep, you can find discounts on most online retailer sites.

Specifications

  • Driver: 40mm Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 10 - 24,000 Hz
  • Maximum Power input: 500 mW
  • Impedance: 40 ohm
  • Weight: 4.6 oz (130g) without cable
  • Plug: 3.5 (1/8") gold plated stereo mini-plug
  • Cord/code length: 0.5m (Y type) 

  • Accessories: 3.3 ft (1.0m) Extension cord
  • Pouch

by ilene hoffman, reviews editor


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