I’ve been playing guitar for a long time now and am used to using wedge monitors for hearing the mix. Just a few years ago I started playing at a new church where they did not use wedge monitors but instead used IEMs. This was a whole new experience for me and I struggled to find headphones or IEMs that worked well. So, I reached out to a few companies, and the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs found their way into my hands.
It’s important to note that I will be reviewing these IEMs from the POV of a guitar player. I have used the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs for the past few months only in live playing situations using the church’s myMix monitor system. It’s also important to note that when I evaluated these, I compared them to what I had tried in the past. I tried everything from basic earbuds to high-end, over-ear headphones.
So this is my experience with the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs and why I think they deserve a Top Pick.
The Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs have the following features and specifications:
- Three balanced armature drivers provide accurate and extended response across the entire frequency range
- Flexible memory cable loops over ears for a custom fit and long-wearing comfort
- Specially designed housings provide maximum isolation, allowing you to focus on the music
- Detachable 1.6 m (5.2′) cable, with newly developed A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors at the headphones, offers exceptional durability and optimized audio performance (also available separately as the EP-CP)
- Type: Balanced Armature
- Frequency Response: 20 – 19,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 109 dB/mW
- Impedance: 39 ohms
- Weight: 9 g (0.3 oz), without cable
- Cable: Detachable 1.6 m (5.2′) with A2DC connectors
- Connector: 3.5 mm (1/8″) gold-plated stereo mini-plug, L-shaped
What’s In The Box
- Carrying case
- 6.3 mm (1/4″) adapter
- Silicone eartips (XS/S/M/L)
- Comply foam eartips (M)
The design of the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs isn’t much to write home about in terms of aesthetics. They look like a pair of earbuds except for the clear cover that shows some of the circuit board on the inside of the earbud. I would have preferred the entire housing be clear to really show the entire inner workings of the earbuds. It’s still a neat looking design, and they look good in the ear, as well.
What really makes this design for me is the flex cable and ear loops. These really did a great job of staying in place thanks to the flex cable. The eartips also provided an excellent job of isolating outside noise. You do have to get these inserted correctly to get the best seal but that only takes a second or two to accomplish. Once you get to using them frequently, it’s just second nature to find the right fit straight away.
I do wish the cable length was just slightly longer. I wear these with the cable running down the back of my shirt and plugged into the myMix station on stage. I have to use an AUX extension cable so I can get more movement on stage and not feel tethered to the myMix. This is not a deal breaker but a longer cable would be nice.
The Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs are relatively comfortable in the ear. Every so often, especially during long stints of wearing them, I would get some ear fatigue. It wasn’t horrible and didn’t happen all of the time. I think your mileage will vary.
The included case is great and does an excellent job of protecting your new IEMs. It’s semi-hard, so it does a good job of protecting during drops as well as providing protection inside purses and bags.
Overall, the design is really great. There are a few aesthetic bits I may have done differently but nothing that’s a deal-breaker. The flex cable is amazing, the noise isolation is excellent, and they are relatively comfortable.
Ease of Use
There’s not much to say about the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs ease of use as they are just wired headphones. It is pretty simple to plug them in and fit them into your ears.
That being said, I will say that I love the flex wire the company uses here. The wire molds around my ear perfectly and helps secure the buds from falling off. Overall, these are very simple to use and extra points for not having any nonsense apps or stupid software gimmicks.
Here we go with the sound portion of this review. Consumer earbuds and headphones aren’t the greatest for use in a live music situation. The reason is, as a musician, we want to hear the raw sound of the instruments and the mix. Many consumer headphones are tuned in certain ways to enhance the listened-to music in a way the engineers want to hear it. IEMs used for live music and for recording are generally engineered to give you a flat and raw sound profile.
This is what I was looking for in the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs, and it’s exactly what I got. Everything is balanced, pure, and raw without adding any sort of tuning. This gives me the clearest sound of what the band sounds like and what my guitar sounds like. The clarity of the ATH-E70’s is amazing, like nothing I’ve used for live playing ever.
All of the consumer headphones I used in the past would muddy up the mix and it was hard to get the feel and mood of the music we were playing. Consumer headphones are used to listen to music that is already mixed and mastered and they are tuned for that. They are not tuned for listening to live, unedited and real-time mixes like playing live. This is why clarity and raw accuracy is important in on-stage IEMs.
The Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs did an excellent job of providing the clarity and accuracy I was looking for. They separated the vocals really well and kept the mids, highs, and lows where they needed to be. The bass didn’t overwhelm the mix and the kick on the drums didn’t overpower the rest of the instruments.
Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs are the best in-ear monitors I’ve used on-stage since I’ve been using IEMs. These provided exactly what is needed for live performance, clarity, separation, and raw sound.
The Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs are not cheap at US$399. That being said, there are other IEMs on the market that are way more expensive. I haven’t had the chance to try anything else, but my experience tells me these are well worth your four-hundred dollars. I will say, the price might keep some players away from purchasing, especially if those players aren’t being paid for their services. It’s hard to pony up the cash when you’re not earning money from playing. For pro and semi-pro players, I think they’d buy these all day and night.
I’ve been looking for a good pair of IEMs for on-stage use for the past few years. I wanted something that wasn’t insanely expensive but a bit more affordable. The Audio-Technica ATH-E70 IEMs have really fit the bill for my use. These in-ear monitors have the clarity I need to hear the mix in its raw form. This helps me perform better and gives me, as a musician, exactly what I need to be a better and more productive part of the team.
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- Well built and great premium materials
- Easy to use love the flex memory cable
- Great clarity and sound, great separation between instruments and vocals
- They can sometimes cause ear fatigue when worn for an extended amount of time
- Pricey and some non-pro players may not want to bust out the cash for these