- Controlled bass
- Powerful mids
- Secure fit
- Slightly bright high-end
- Not the sexiest headphones
- Review Price: £125
- Driver Diameter 8.8mm
- Frequency Response 5 – 26,000Hz
- Maximum Input Power 200mW
- Sensitivity 101dB/mW
- Impedance 24.3 ohms
- Weight 6.5g
- 1.2m detachable cable with A2DC connectors with smartphone mic and control
What are the Audio-Technica ATH-LS70iS?
The ATH-LS70iS are wired, in-ear headphones from Audio-Technica offering superb value. Featuring a detachable cable, comfortable fit and great sound for the price, the Audio-Technica LS70iS are an ideal choice for audio-savvy music fans on a budget.
In fact, were it not for their slightly bright highs and budget-feeling plastic casing, the Audio-Technica LS70iS would be this year’s perfect sub-£150 wired in-ears.
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Audio-Technica ATH-LS70iS – Design
The Audio-Technica LS70iS aren’t the prettiest headphones around, even at the affordable and semi-affordable end of the market.
The headphones’ detachable cable is covered in thick, slightly cheap-feeling rubber and features a fairly basic remote that only has basic play/pause functionality. In addition, they’re neither water-resistant or waterproof, making them ill-suited for runners or gym-goers on the hunt for a semi-affordable cabled set of in-ears.
The buds’ grey, slightly chunky plastic casing and pronounced ‘memory cable’ ear hooks also look noticeably less premium and solid than competing sets – the gorgeous Fender FXA2, for example. This combination of factors make the LS70iS look more like a pair of £50 headphones than a set costing £125.
Fortunately, they largely makeup for their lack of visual appeal by offering an excellent fit and seal. Accompanying the LS70iS in the box are five sets of silicone ear tips. With the correct-sized tips in place, I found the headphones offered one of the most secure fits I’ve come across in a non-fitness focused set of in-ears.
The ear hooks provide a secure base and the seal survived the odd accidental dash for the bus, despite the headphone cases’ fairly chunky dimensions.
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Audio-Technica ATH-LS70iS – Sound quality
On paper, the Audio-Technica’s specs are pretty par for the course. While the 24.3-ohms impedance may assure users that they’ll offer decent max volumes, the 5-26,000Hz frequency response is pretty ordinary.
But in real-world testing, the ATH-LS70iS’ excel when it comes to audio quality. Compared to other headphones at this price, these in-ears offer a wonderfully controlled and versatile sound that works with a variety of genres.
Bass is one area the headphones are particularly impressive. Unlike many rivals, the ATH-LS70iS don’t oversell their low end capabilities, trying to mask poor audio quality by pushing a fat, lazy low end. Instead, here bass has a controlled and precise feel that’s missing on the majority of sub-£200 headphones.
Blues’ walking basslines displayed a pleasing rumble, without ever intruding on the mids or highs. Mixed seven-string guitar and five-string parts that lost all separation on cheaper headphones also managed to retain their subtleties and remained discernable on the ATH-LS70iS.
Fans of more bass-heavy genres, such as dance or club music, may feel that bass is a little light. They might prefer the unbalanced sound offered by the likes of the urBeats3. Personally, I’d opt for the more controlled, precise low end offered by the ATH-LS70iS – and wish more companies would follow Audio-Technica’s example tuning semi-affordable headphones.
Mids are also nicely detailed and ably handled by the ATH-LS70iS. Listening to complex orchestral arrangements and busy jazz parts, they remained defined and had a good sense of dynamism. Again, something that’s often lacking in headphones over £50 more expensive.
Highs are sibilance-free and, for the most part, fine – but discerning ears will find them a little on the bright side. The issue isn’’t as pronounced as it is on the competing FXA2s, and songs featuring swooping high-gain guitar parts never sound acidic, but they aren’t as refined or smooth as the ATH-LS70iS is at handling the low and mid-range.
The only area in which the ATH-LS70iS really struggles is stereo image – although this is an issue that affects all in-ear headphones at this price.
Why buy the Audio-Technica ATH-LS70iS?
For a modest £125, the ATH-LS70iS offer a surprisingly controlled low-end, powerful mids, and decent dynamism. If you’re in the market for a decent set of wired in-ear headphones that are capable of dealing with multiple music genres then you won’t do much better than the Audio-Technica ATH-LS70iS.
One of the best set of headphones you can buy for less than £150.