If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?
And if an instrument is playing but you cannot hear it through your headphones, does it still make a sound? That’s the question that comes to my mind when I listen to a song I’ve heard before and suddenly I hear a new instrument or voice. A new sound that I did not know was there, and now I appreciate the song even more. That is often the difference between using a good pair of headphones (or speakers) and a normal pair. So how does the ATH-FC700 from Audio-Technica stack up? Let’s see…
First impressions are good. I opened the ATH-FC700 and found a nifty carry bag, an extension cord and a light pair of headphones. This pair of cans weighs just 4.6 oz and with its soft ear-pads should be comfortable but for some reason is not. The headband is hard and the unfolding headphones do not lock into place so everything seems to shift as you move your head, it doesn’t feel solid. The sound quality is quite decent but nothing impressive, I would have liked a bit more loudness as well. The larger driver (40 mm) produces a rich, deep bass that sounds unexpectedly good. The high sounds are nothing fantastic, just okay. Something that I personally find annoying is the Y-cable configuration. That is when there are wires coming out of both sides of your head and they converge half way down your chest, what’s the point? Many good headphones these days have a single wire going right up to one side, so there’s nothing tickling you on both sides. I find it most comparable to the HQ-1900 by Creative Labs and Lowrider by Skullcandy.
[ The set I got was black but it comes in 4 flavors ]
For my test I listened through these headphones to 5 different sounding music tracks playing from my BlackBerry Curve, then watched a 10 minute action movie scene while plugged into my Sony audio receiver, then played a round of my favorite shooter game on my PC. My findings were as follows:
• Playing audio tracks on my Berry: the ATH-FC700 sounded no better or worse than the other two
• Watching an action flick: I liked the added Bass I got from the ATH-FC700
• Shooting zombies on the PC: I’d give the edge to the Creative HQ-1900
All in all the ATH-FC700 is a solid pair of headphones but it does nothing to blow me away and it is not worth the suggested retail price of around $119. Thankfully then, it does not sell for anywhere near that. You can find it online for as low as $49. Now let’s see some side-by-side specs…
|Audio-Technica ATH-FC700||Creative Labs HQ-1900||blah blah blah…|
|DRIVER DIAMETER||40 mm||30 mm||Bigger = more Bass|
|MAGNET||Neodymium||Neodymium||If you must know Neodymium|
|FREQUENCY RESPONSE||10 Hz – 24 kHz||20 Hz – 20 kHz||Above 20 kHz can only be heard by dogs and audiophiles|
|SENSITIVITY||102 dB/mW at 1 kHz||104 dB/mW at 1 kHz||The higher the number the louder it gets (above 100 is good)|
|IMPEDANCE||40 ohms||35 ohms||Higher = lower volume|
|WEIGHT||4.6 oz||4.9 oz||Wearing these will not make you shorter over time|
|CABLE||4.9 ft w/ext. cord||3.9 ft|
|CONNECTOR||1/8″ stereo, gold-plated||1/8″ stereo, gold-plated||Gold!!!|
|INCLUDED ACCESSORIES||3.3 ft ext. cord
and a nifty pouch
|lots of air|
So as you can see the specs are quite comparable. Although I did not show the specs for Skullcandy I will reiterate that they all pretty much sounded the same to me. The Audio-Technica ATH- FC700 is good for travel purposes but I would hesitate for a moment before recommending it.
My opinion: OTF (on the fence)
- Light weight & folds nicely
- Adequate cable length (with the included extension)
- Impressive Bass sound
- Somewhat uncomfortable
- Feels a bit cheap for its name badge
- I don’t like a Y-cable configuration
Note: We received a demo unit from the company in order to write this review.