As the full-size headphone specialist takes a walk on the in-ear side, HFC puts the ATH-LS70iS to the test
Perhaps better known for its full-size headphone models than its in-ear designs, Audio-Technica has been increasing its offerings of late. The ATH-LS70iS is the more expensive of two ‘Live Sound’ models and uses two serially mounted carbon-coated dynamic drivers to reduce its housing size and increase the radiating area.
The housing sits in the pinna of the ear and has a structured wiring fit that loops over the top and around the back of the ear. Unusually for an in-ear headphone at this price, the 1.2m cable is detachable via A2DC connections, which means it can easily be replaced if required. An inline remote with microphone is fitted for phone control. Build quality is respectable at the price – 1More’s Triple Driver (HFC 425) is similarly priced and feels more substantial – while comfort levels are good and it comes with a selection of domes to fit most ear sizes.
Connected to an AudioQuest DragonFly Red (HFC 414), the ATH-LS70iS is usefully sensitive, which should ensure it works well with phones and tablets. It handles the sweeping scale of People Give In by Manic Street Preachers with an effortlessness that is impressive for such a sensibly priced in-ear. There is a consistently believable sense of scale to the way it handles voices and instruments that just lets you concentrate on the music with timing and integration that is very good.
There is no sense of there being two drivers at work and even the complex and densely layered My Queen Is Harriet Tubman by the Sons Of Kemet is reproduced with a sense of flow and control to it. Some listeners might find the tonal balance to be fractionally polite – it doesn’t truly capture the fury of Paul Oakenfold’s Ready Steady Go! in the manner that some rivals can – but this helps it to sound smooth and civilised even with low-quality material. At the price, the ATH-LS70iS is certainly a great all-rounder. ES
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