Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 Headphones
- ‘Proper’ Audio Headset with widespread acclaim
- Separate microphone lead, Reports of low bass.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 Headphones
A review by Draadnor
Every gamer spends money on a decent video card but not everyone spends money on decent sound.
Games have evolved to not only look great but to sound great too with developers putting in a lot of work on getting the sound / ambiance right.
This wasn't always the case and I've had a variety of cheap (and not so cheap) headsets over the years.
I play FPS games mostly so need really good positional / surround sound. This wasn’t always the case and I’ve had a variety of cheap (and not so cheap) headsets over the years. I was using my Sennheiser HD435 Vegas 2-speaker headphones for a while but because my current motherboard came with 5.1 surround outputs I bought a 5.1 headset called the Medusa 5.1 from the UK. These were definitely a step up from stereo headsets but the band broke a while ago just above the swivel joint (had to glue it together) and just recently it completely died. Didn’t even get 2 years out of them!
It was time to get a new set, but what to get? Should I get another 5.1 or look into this seemingly miraculous 2-speaker virtual surround sound? I wear glasses while playing so the headphones have to be comfy - I also have a big head (most hats don’t fit well either ). I prefer to be able to hear what’s going on around me in the house (kid crying, phone calls, pager, wife yelling etc) - Medusa was poor for this due to the closed style. Also need a microphone. I generally won’t be using them for music or movies. At this point I thought of spending about AU$120 - $150.
My motherboard is an ASUS P5E and has a Supreme FX 5.1 surround sound card (ie., 4 x 3.5mm connectors, Mic, Front, Middle, Rear) using the Soundmax Blackhawk drivers. Also running Vista Home Premium 64.
these were the ones I gave some consideration too
It was time to Google, and these were the ones I gave some consideration too - even if they don’t fit all the criteria:
Zalman ZM-RS6F+M $45
PRO’s = Seems ok. Also cheap. Plugs into current sound.
CONs = Heavy - 318g
Plantronics Gamecom 777 $75
PRO’s = All-in-one solution, Has Dolby Headphone, can plug into normal sockets.
CONs = Known for the band breaking / cracking.
Logitech G35 $132
PRO’s = Has Dolby Headphone. Happy with other Logitech devices I own / had.
CONs = Report of being tight on the head, Closed design.
Razer Megalodon 7.1 $175
PRO’s = Has Razer Maelstrom™ Audio Engine (similar to Dolby Headphone?), Open design
CONs = Over expected budget.
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 + Zalman ZM-MIC1 $158
PRO’s = ‘Proper’ audio headset, widespread acclaim
CONs = Seperate microphone lead, Reports of low bass.
Well it was obvious I had to go to the forums to get advice. This is where I learned about Dolby Headphone and CMSS by Creative. Both technologies used to simulate surround sound on 2 speaker headphones.
I now had a dilema, my current sound card (really a form of onboard sound) didn’t have either of these technologies. Looks like I either went with a 5.1 headphone, or I was up for a sound card as well (despite not having had a sound card since very, very old Soundblaster days). Thanks to ‘subtle’ encouragement from Drac and Phatfred I went down the soundcard route and selected the Asus Xonar DX for AU$102 as it has Dolby Headphone (although I also considered the Xonar DG until I found out it was PCI – and I intend for this soundcard to go into future PC’s). In for a penny in for a pound – ordered the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 (AU$149) + Zalman microphone ZM-MIC1 (AU$9).
• Type: Open-air Dynamic
• Driver Diameter: 53 mm
• Magnet: Neodymium
• Voice Coil: Copper-clad aluminum wire
• Frequency Response: 5 – 30,000 Hz
• Maximum Input Power: 500 mW
• Sensitivity: 98 dB/mW at 1 kHz
• Impedance: 32 ohms
• Weight: 280 g
• Cable: 3.0 m (Single/Hybrid-PCOCC)
• Connector: 1/8” (3.5 mm) mini stereo, gold-plated
• Accessory Included: Detachable 1/4” (6.3 mm) adapter
• Sensitivity: -40 ± 3dB
• Impedance: Max. 2.2 ㏀
• Standard power supply: 2.0 V DC
• Current consumption: Max. 0.5 mA
• Sensitivity reduction: Within-3dB at 1.5V
• S/N: More than 58dB
• Directivity: Omnidirectional
I got the Asus Xonar DX first and after removing the old soundcard and deleting drivers got it up and running. What a difference, even with my old Sennheisers it was amazing how much clearer it was. After fiddling with settings it was time to try it in game so I loaded up Left for Dead 2 and checked that the audio options were set for 7.1 speakers and started a game. WOW I could hear so much better than ever before and in ALL directions including up and down. Definitely recommend a seperate audiocard to the standard onboard sound.
it has added a new level to the game.
Shortly after my Audio-Technicas turned up and it was better again. They seem to have a wider space sound to them. Difficult to describe really – think this is what ‘Soundstage’ means when I read other reviews. Very comfortable to wear – even with glasses on. Has a long cable (3M) that easily reaches the back of my PC. Also tried playing Deadspace with them (a game I’ve played through twice before ) and it has added a new level to the game. There is much more clarity and you can hear more. Sounds you hear, like kicking a can at your feet, really sound as though your kicking a can at you feet. The ambient sounds throughout the ship are just so much better – tinkling of metal contracting, scabbling of claws in ventalation shafts etc.
The Zalman microphone turned up later on and works well - at least that’s according to other gamers.
No seriously, great sound is worth spending some money on (I went over my expected budget here at AU$260) but make sure your soundcard supports it – I’ll never be able to go back now!
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