Pros:If you love BASS in a monitor headphone, these were built specifically for you.
Cons:If you want full range performance look to Sennheisser, Klipsch or Beyerdynamic
The Bottom Line: The Pro700 MK2 was designed for people who listen to Rap and Dub Step. Their bass reproduction is low, powerful and deafening regardless the volume.
BUILD QUALITY & COMFORT
Recommend this product?
Monitor headphones are designed to be worn inside a recording studio by pros who work with music. They are generally heavy, bulky and awkward. This day in age, however, the average person wearing “fashion” headphones is wearing monitors so they can a) stand out, b) drown out the world around them whilst listening to music or c) get maximum performance out of their otherwise unprofessional portable device. Monitors usually come in two flavors: circumaural – which completely enclose the ears to cancel noise or supra-aural – which press against the ears.
While I attacked the supra-aural Beats Solo HD for performance that didn’t match up to their price, they function well in general use - across the sexes – because they are relatively light and stylishly hip for trendsetters. They also included more features targeting smartphone users.
The Pro700 is not designed to be used for smartphones or for portable music players, but they can be used in that manner if you’re willing to put up with their bulk. These headphones weigh more than a pound and are as large as helicopter pilot headsets. The stereo drivers are 53mm (large) and the plastic frame covers and aluminum skeleton.
As far as build quality goes, these headphones are tremendously tough. They offer two thick plastic swivels which allow them to be folded up into a smaller package (such as a backpack) and thick foam pads on the ears and headband. The Pro700 also passes my cable test: these cables feel indestructible. You are given 2 thick rubberized cables: one coiled and one straight. Each cable screws into the headphone on one end and on the opposite end, there is a straight 3.5mm plug. It would be very difficult to snag this cable and if you did, it would more likely destroy the headphone port of your device before damage could possibly come to the headphones or cable. The end plugs are designed for professional use rather than everyday use with an iPod. The straight plug is long and the metal portion could possibly bend if too much force was placed on it.
I found these headphones comfortable to wear, but not for very long and definitely not in public. They are simply too heavy. Despite the wide amount of adjustments they can handle, my head and ears began to fatigue after 30 minutes.
Simply put: the Pro700 is probably the best stereo monitor I’ve used – so long as you are only observing bass performance. I listened to a number of new tracks on my iPhone5 which included:
2Chains - “No Lie”, TomandAndy – “Flying through the Air, Rick Ross – “Pop That”, Kanye West – “Clique”, 2Chains - “Hoodrich Anthem”, Hans Zimmer – “Dream is Collapsing” and various songs from Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack.
The Pro700 offers ridiculously powerful bass response regardless the volume level. Set the equalizer on iPhone5/iPod to bass booster, Hip Hop or Rock and the tone deepens enough to make the diaphragm feels as if it’s gyrating off the side of your head. These headphones have a sensitivity of 106 decibels/milliwatt and don’t require big devices or amplifiers to create seismic levels of thump. The performance in the mid-range and high-range could be a little better, but that would require more than just speakers designed for low frequency sound…you’d need tweeters in here with them. The current headphones being pushed by BEATS, Skull Candy and various rap artists know that the young crowd is looking for bass and that the current music places most performance in low frequencies. You wouldn’t get any complaints whatsoever from people listening to Dub Step, Rap, or electronic/Dance. However, for people who listen to music that focuses more on vocals and instruments, tweeters and mid-range reproduction is essential.
Because some people actually know how to use an equalizer, some of the shortcomings of the Pro700’s higher frequency reproduction can be overcome. The problem is, most smartphones and mp3 players are targeted towards a broad audience rather than the enthusiast. They are able to get away with sub-par earbuds and lackluster amplifiers. Like picking a wine that overwhelms the sweetness of your Penne ala vodka, these headphones are skewed towards the low frequency on purpose. The mid-range is a bit muted in some songs and the highs can be considerably dimmer. You wouldn't want to use these to listen to Metallica unless it was the S&M album.
My solution? You’ll need to opt for an affordable pair of Sennheiser HD. Perhaps a pair of Klipsch Image (especially if you want to use them for an Apple iPhone).
The Pro700’s thick pads are designed for passive noise isolation. With the music off, exterior voice-level noise has a hard time getting through, but exterior vibrations don’t. The Solo HDs did a better job of noise isolation by comparison despite their smaller driver cups. Turn the music on and suddenly that person in front of you whose trying to tell you what to do becomes a mute. With the volume above 50% on an iPod, these headphones can be noisy. Therefore, you may not want to use them if you commute on a bus and want to listen to abject profanities.
The Audio Technica Pro700 MK2 is built for people who demand serious bass when they listen to their music, but they will be incredibly awkward if you rely on public transportation to move around. These are best used while sitting still at a desk or in situations where exterior noise is excessive.
These headphones are roughly $200. There are less expensive choices you can consider which will be more forgiving in a public transportation situation. The Klipsch S4i earbuds come to mind. However, if you definitely need stereo monitors, for HD reproduction, I’d check with Sennheiser for a model with true 5.1 sound or consider the Beyerdynamic DT 770.