The Audio Technica brand is fast becoming one of the most ubiquitous headphone brands in the market, reaching almost Sennheiser like presence for choice and range on offer. My perception of them though until the M50 was really of a company that shied away from the basshead fraternity instead focusing on the upper end of the scale for their mid-fi in terms of sound quality. Certainly in the AD and W series they are not known for their huge bass slam or low end reach.

Hence up until now really the Pro700 MK1 and more famously the M50 have been really the only marketable basshead headphones to date that I have considered in their product range. The M50 in particular for me was the perfect match of price and performance in recent memory for a headphone that slammed hard but still retained enough neutral qualities for monitoring purposes that DJ’s and consumers alike could buy into.

The Pro700 MK2 though goes further taking the ‘intention’ of the M50 in the lower frequencies and rolls out a headphone that is dark, colored and positively brimming in bass that one could literally liken this to slapping a 15″ subwoofer in the boot of a mini and rolling down the road. There is no intention to wow you with treble beauty (though there is a treble sparkle), soaring clear vocals or aggressive mid performance, no sir, this is 100% pure bass inclined with a capital B. For those who love hip-hop, dance, electronica and rythmn or beat heavy music follow this way. For those who prefer the light, nimble and accurate then these may not work for you at all.

ATH-Pro700-mk2

ATH-Pro700-mk2

So what are we dealing with here?

Closed, dynamic headphones
Sensitivity: 106 dB/mW
Frequency range: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
Impedance: 38 Ohms
Maximum power input: 3500 mW
Driver diameter: 53 mm
Magnet: neodymium
Ear pads: swiveling
Connectors: 3.5 mm jack, gold-plated, 6.3 mm adapter, gold-plated
Cables: 1 x straight (1.2 m), 1 x coiled (1.2 m)
Weight: 305 g

Packaging and build quality

Change of color from the normal white to a new carbon type print but sadly its the same story with ATH going for utility over presentation. It does not have the wow factor of an Aiaiai Tma-1 box opening or even a Marshall Major but I guess at the end of the day its what is inside that counts.

In the package you get the headphones, the normal ATH leather type pouch and a 1/4 adaptor. But after that here is the first major difference to the MK1 and the M50 – the detachable cable, no actually two detachable cables! Yup this time ATH have decided that in reality we all could benefit from having a headphone with a detachable cable and I have to agree 100% with that assessment. The M50 has often taken flack over the coiled cable you are stuck with. I was ok with it but at times I would have preferred a straight cable. With the new MK2 you get both a straight and coiled cable choice that you can select depending on your mood. Much better and bravo to ATH for this move.

But before you get all giddy and just stuff one into the socket – a word of warning. When you insert the cable into the left cup don’t forget to screw lock it. We tested this last weekend and the lack of screwing in had a detrimental effect on the sound quality and initially our tester thought there was a problem with the headphone. Once it was screw locked the garbling cleared up and you got the full range and power of the headphone. One thing I did note was that the cables feels short at 1.2m, but for those on the move this will be a boon not to have a bunch of cable stuck in your pocket. It works fine for ‘on the go’ people but for home play it does come up a tad short.

The headphone itself is solid and reasonably well built and in many ways is a continuation of the mk1 design though with the new detachable component on the left cup. The ear pads are of small circumaural size so not quite around your ear but big enough to ensure the isolation is pretty good overall. The headband itself needs a small amount of break in when fresh out of the box as the top does exert a little bit of focused pressure on the top of your head but this wears in very quickly and ultimately it is a comfortable fit. The plether pads are prone to sweating though and the clamp is very strong indeed which adds to the propensity for sweat. Bring a good cloth if your in a hot environment as you might need it.

Comfort wise this is not going to be on your head for hours on end, the sheer force of clamp will make you want to take it off for a short break eventually. The clamp though works very well with no slippage whatsoever.

ATH-Pro700-mk2

ATH-Pro700-mk2

Sound Quality

Coming in at 38ohms this is an easy to drive headphone that sports huge 53mm drivers so pluging them into ipods, cowons, fuze’s and clips should work just fine though with a good headphone amp the control and slam is tighter and deeper. For my testing I used an FiiO E9/E7 combo with a mix of flac and 320kb MP3 over a range of genres.

I have to start with what this headphone is all about and that is the bass. One take of ‘Asher Roth – As I Em’ with those plunging bass beats is just so intense and rich that it leaves you under no illusions that no amount of burn in is going to change any sq this bass heavy.

Its massively colored and dark with a very low 5hz rumble that dominates the tonality to the extreme. What comes out of this is pure basshead joy of a type and as such differs markedly from the more monitor like qualities of the M50. Some people may likely prefer the M50 bass though due to the way it delivers strong quantities of bass without ever loosing its neutral sq in the upper range. The MK2 is more ruthless and take no prisoners with a much more attenuated high end that at times can struggle to remain above the weight of the bass delivery.

The weakness of this approach starts to become more apparent on faster tracks with more detailed work that shows the MK2 to be a tad sluggish. It does struggle with acoustics, attack driven guitar solo materials and vocals, particularly vocals. Return it back to hip-hop or R&B and the low rumble approach suddenly becomes its strength again. If ever a genre specific headphone was invented then the MK2 is it. As a fun time listening headphone on these genres I really enjoyed it for what it is. But then I fully expected that even before I put this on my head. Of course being a closed headphone the sound stage is a tad smallish and compared to the M50 is still has that slight congested feel to it.

A swift comparison

It really is hard not to ignore the price point as it puts the MK2 in with very strong and heavily marketd DJ or bass heavy headphones such as the Tma-1, HD25, it’s own M50 and the V-Moda crossfade to name but a few. The Mk2 kills them all in terms of bass coloration but looses out to the Hd25 in top end clarity. Its much darker than my old tma-1 and has a little less clarity as a result in my mind but holds a bigger soundstage than both the HD25 and the tma-1.

Apart from the v-moda all the others have better treble presence and clarity with perhaps the HD25 being the strongest though to me its much too hot. Compared to the Beyer DT1350 though the MK2 can only really lay claim to the increased bass coloration. For me the DT1350 is the stronger performer across the entire frequency range with tighter and punchier bass, more aggressive mids and a smooth treble performance.

Summary

So where does the MK2 sit in comparison to the competition? Well no doubt the bass is the selling feature here. For DJ’s in the field this might be an enjoyable experience and I can see plenty of use out of it in that respect. However the M50 is still going to be the sibling that will win out in monitoring conditions due to its more neutral and balanced setup (though with a great bass kick). This is a fun basshead headphone that is 100% aligned to beat driven music with two fingers up to the audiophile community and quite rightly so.

If you want a new bass genre king though this is one headphone that is not too far away.

About The Author

Editor

Founder & Owner of headfonics.com. I first started reviewing in the late 80s (ouch!). Back then it was albums, rock concerts and interviews with a typewriter for the local rag. Now its desktop/portable and digital 2.1 audio on a rather nice laptop. How time flies.

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  • Lehboy

    Great review Marcus. I was able to test this as well during the meet in Ortigas along with the M50.  This sounded a bit more bassy compared to the M50 but I preferred the M50 overall.  This coming from a newbie in the world of full sized headphones.

    • Anonymous

      I have to agree. I enjoyed this headphone but it didn’t just have quite the OMG factor that I got when I first put the M50 on. It is a very tough market dominated by Monster and the Beats range but I think those guys should enjoy this a lot.

  • great review. i also got to try this headphone at the headfonics meet. and sadly i was a bit disappointed since this headphone got a lot of attention and they were even called as king of bass. so i really had a high expectation on these headphones. imo, they’re like an m50 with a louder and refined bass. these are no bass genre king but they will do for bassheads like me.

    PS
    the unit i got to audition came straight out of the box so i might be wrong about my impression

    • Fred

      Do you have any suggestions of headphones with more bass than the Pro700??  Which headphone has impressed you “as a basshead”? 

      • Anonymous

        Go for the Sony XB700 – many say the last word in sub $200 bass reproduction that is favorable to the basshead fraternity.Above that you are looking at the LCD-2 by Audeze at $945. A monster can for superb bass reproduction that is accurate and goes real low with out devouring the mids and highs.

  • Jimmy10

    I understand Beats have bad sound quality and everything for the price they are set at, but how does the bass quantity of the Pro700 mk2 compare to Beats Studio (or XB500 if you’ve tried them).

    • Anonymous

      Hi Jimmy and welcome to Headfonics.com Sadly I never personally got a chance to compare with either but from what I am told some guys at the local meets preferred the xb700 to the Mk2 for bass sq. The mk2 is about half the srp of the Beat Studio and for me they don’t have the same reach as the MK2 – bear in mind the MK2 is a very colored and fun can as opposed to a monitoring can with good bass. Don’t get lured into a bass race so to speak, make sure you check how the whole package fits together for your listening tastes.

      • Fred

        nice to see a site/forum that addresses “bass” headphones.  Most non-audiophiles (we love music but don’t know a lot of technical stuff) start out with bass-heavy headphones.  I recently got the Denon AH-D7000 for myself partly because of the amount of bass it reproduces.  I mainly use it for watching movies.  However, I’m looking for a more portable(something I can feel comfortable walking around outside with) headphone with enough bass to be respected by “bassheads.”
        IF price is not much of an issue(it is), which bass-heavy headphone(better than Beats Studio) would you recommend? I don’t mind if it is colored.  I like fun headphones.  Any suggestions? Think non-audiophile  🙂

        • Anonymous

          Hi Fred and welcome to Headfonics! Our audience is quite wide with treble, mids and bass nuts in equal quantities and the D7000 you have there is a great closed headphone, possible one of the best in the market that we know off. I would indeed recommend the mk2 or for even more bass the Sony xb700 or slightly cheaper the ATH M50.

          None of them are tiny but easy to drive and can be termed portable in that respect. The M50 is more monitoring with great slam, the mk2 is your gateway to heavy bass and huge coloration and most of our guys say the XB700 is just a monster basshead can and fav among that fraternity. All of them can be got for $200 or less with the M50 perhaps being the best value.

  • Anonymous

    I am interested in a bass head type headphones that kick your head but I don’t want to give up clarity either.  Beat Studio sucks because it hisses so bad and bass feels too artificial.  In the Pro200mk2, can I still hear guitar plucking with a pick, the singer breathing, cymbals vibrating and soft details in the movies or games?  The Audio Technica ATH WS55 can still deliver ridiculous amount of clarity despite a very powerful bass and priced at less than $100.00.  I’ve heard similar reviews before about some loss of clarity but still this delivers Audio Technica style clarity according to them.  Is this true?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Chucky, its been a while since I reviewed these headphones and whilst they are definitely superior to the Beats range IMHO, the coloration of bass on the Pro700 MK2 is very heavy. They do have excellent mids and decent highs but the bass is so dominant I would not recommend them if you want articulation in the uppers. Something like the Sennheiser HD25-1 II would be superior if you want a broader range of genre capability or the Beyerdynamic DT1350 though you will sacrifice some bass coloration if that is your primary focus. As a bass head headphone though it does exactly what it says on the tin! One final though is to try the ATH M50 which for me is a great neutral headphone with above average bass slam that will satisfy most bass heads. 

      • Anonymous

        I don’t mind some unbalance or bass bias and HD25-1 ll is out of the question because it can’t handle modern songs(many complained in the forums).  Beyerdynamic is out because it is not available in our area.  M50 tends to be too flat and lacks warmth though I didn’t test it for myself(I’ve tried ATH-PRO5V I liked it but too flat and lacks bass).  Based on reviews and forum, most pro700mk2 owners are former m50 users and liked it so these babies might tend to my personal taste.  I listen to multiple genre of songs from Cee Lo Green to Lady Gaga to Korn and 50 Cent.  Also, I’ve tried Fanny Wangs and found that at a wrong EQ setting it is so brutal that my ears hurt but delivers if you get it right.  Unfortunately it does’t sound as it deserves its price and many relatively cheaper sub $100.00 headphones are better  in clarity.  I am willing to sacrifice some highs but still hear some good amount details on the highs.  Pioneer HDJ 500-1000 is another viable choice but details tend to be soft according to forums and reviews.  Is this true?  I am just in to Audio Technica(current owner of  ATH SJ33) and Pro700Mk2 is very expensive and scares me  to commit to it and I wish that the former M50 owners are right about the quality these babies.

        • Anonymous

          Actually the HD25-1 II is probably the more capable performer cross genre but if it is bass head cans where there is more intense coloration then it is probably too balanced. Might I suggest you also look at the Aiaiai TMA-1 as it is a nice dark can with great bass response, very durable headphone and sells for around $200 or less. I had that one for a while and preferred it to the HD25 by a long shot. I had the chance to do the M50 and MK2 side by side and I honestly though the M50 was a better performing headphone on account of the loss of performance at the top end by the MK2. Mind you I do prefer a slightly more balanced sq but not at the loss of bass naturally.

          • Anonymous

            TMA-1 is also in my short list but not yet available in our place(I’ve heard you can dunk it in beer and sit on it and still good as new).  I am not gonna buy any headphone now because it is not practical since pro700mk2 still newly released and the other manufacturers will catch up and produce their version to fight this.  I wish that pro700mk2 will drop its price similar to the Sennheiser HD 518( from $170.00 now $120.00 with full warranty).  Also, Audio Technica should have demo units of this so that you can choose between M50 and pro700mk2.  A lot of really good headphones are obscure because they lack demo units.  It is really hard to compare headphones on paper and forums alone.  Most like I will buy this at the end of its product cycle where it is at its cheapest or something better, practical and cheaper comes up.  I fully understand that the highs is its weakness but not bad at all base on your comments.  Thank you for the information, this really help me a lot.

          • Anonymous

            No problem Chunky! 🙂 You should fire an email off to your local ATH distributor and ask for a demo of the MK2 – they are surprisingly accommodating in my experience since the MK2 I used for this review was also a demo unit.

          • Anonymous

            Thanks.

        • mostro dj

          i use the athpro700 mk1 dor dj-ing, and it delivers an incredible and pòwerfull sound, great bass, and trully clear for the rest of freqs… still glad for 3 years  with them. i recommend

          • Anonymous

            The MK1 was also a cracking can and set the marker for the MK2 – interestingly I would like to try the MK1 against the MK2 again to see if the uppers in the MK2 have been sacrificed for the bass.

  • Joji Bronner

    Hi, do you think that breaking in to the headphones would make the mids and trebles appear more better? I’m really stuck between the Ath-m50 and this headphone… Do you think Pink floyd or radiohead would sound good on these headphones?

    • Anonymous

      Given that your thinking Pink Floyd and Radiohead I am not sure bass is what is required here. I would look for a more balanced headphone with more emphasis on the mids than bass such as the Grado 225i, or the Beyer DT1350. The MK2 will only sound sluggish on nimble rock tracks. The M50 will have a better response but would not again be my can of choice for alt rock. M50 and in particular Mk2 excel on dance, R&B, Hip-Hop and electronica.

  • Areg

    Thanks for your thorough and well written review, Marcus! It’s refreshing to read a review on a tech forum that is actually in proper English. Sadly, I can’t say the same for many others…

    After reading several other reviews, I am really convinced that the ATH-Pro700MK2 is the one for me. Aside from its great sound attributes, one of its attractive features for me is the detachable cable. I have been looking for DJ headphones that allow you to detach/swap the cable. I plan to use the “ControlTalk” cable (with in-line mic & remote) that Monster produces to plug into these in order to have easy access to my iPhone controls while on the go. However, I am concerned that this may not work properly due to the threaded jack on these headphones. 

    If you’re not familiar with the ControlTalk cable, it has a very slim profile around its 3.5mm plug, allowing it to fit into jacks that are recessed and otherwise inaccessible by most conventional 3.5mm cables. The Technics RP-DH 1200 headphones are one such example.

    I understand that the stock cables of the 700 need to be screw locked. But do you think using the Monster cable with these headphones will work?

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated,
    Areg

    • Anonymous

      Hey thanks Areg for the compliments 🙂 I always think first as a listener and second as an audiophile/techie – I find that way i don’t give myself kittens trying to figure out all the tiny detail. I will go into it if I feel worth it but at the end of the day we buy these because we want them to sound good with our gear and it that is what I get then that is what I say!

      Sadly they have a lock and screw for the MK2 which might rule out the Bose. For pure DJ work though I might try to guide you more to the HD25-1 II and the Aiaiai TMA-1 as other options. The TMA-1 has a very simple detachable cable option that might just work out of the box, the HD25 would need a mod on the cable but might still work.

      The MK2 is super colored at the low end and might make it challenging to time the beats just a little on the upper side for mixing. I would wear the MK2 if you want to set back and relax and just feel the bass power if you ask me 🙂

  • Pfulmtl

    I just got these in the mail.  I think they are probably the first headphones I don’t have to modify to sound good.  My only problem is I think the “long” coiled cable is too short.  I’m used to being able to walk around the work area without taking my headphones off.  What should I do?  Not sure if Audio Technica even makes a longer version.  Don’t want to degrade the sound quality either.

    • Anonymous

      Tricky one if the sq is an issue as cable extensions can be had easy enough (1/4 to 1/8 or vice versa) but you will have to test for quality. Should be easy enough though by just going to the parts stores or audio stores with your portable setup and test them one by one.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking of buying this is too much for my budget but there is the Pro500MK2 which appears to me that it is the cheaper version of the Pro700MK2 with 53mm drivers. What do you think about this new model? Also do you have any experience on the Pioneer HDJ500?

    • Anonymous

      I have not yet seen the 500 mk2 yet or heard the HDJ500 so those would be interesting candidates to compare.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the reply. It will be interesting to see how these two go against one of the very best in class. I’ve heard that only the Beats Pro has better performance against the Pro700Mk2 but for $400 bucks, the Beats are not worth it.

        • Anonymous

          If I am not mistaken there is a Beat Pro on sale for 12k in http://www.headphiles.org is your based in the Philippines – that is less than $250 🙂

          • Anonymous

            Tempting but I made up my mind on what is my final budget and the type of headphone I want to use. Pro500mk2 seams to be the junior version of Pro700mk2(according to some in Facebook but yet to be verified) and cost about less than 5000 peso in Japan and about somewhere in 6k pesos here when released this year(estimate). If not Pioneer HDJ 500 and Audio Technica Pro5mk2 would be a suitable replacements . Thanks for the advice and 12k Beats Pro is very interesting since I saw one in Astro Vision for 30k.

  • Caleb

    What would you recommend for hardstyle with fast upbeat melodies but also slow-fast bass the ATH-M50 or the ATH-pro700MK2, by the way awesome review very in depth.

    • headfonics

      If you are looking for treble articulation with good bass and dont have heavy vocal tracks like typical house music then the m50 is a good choice. If your just aiming for a darker bass centric headphone then the MK2 is much deeper. The M50 is actually a neutral sounding headphone with a good bass.