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[Editor’s note: recently we put out a call for entries to win a set of new Audio-Technica E Series in-ear monitors, which debuted at Winter NAMM 2016. We ultimately selected Andy Alonso, who tested out the gear in his California studio and on the road, and whose final review and video testimonial appear below.]
Well…I suppose I can begin me review by spouting out a boatload of technical jargon about each of the E Series models, but you can go ahead and read the tech specs for yourself. Let’s start off with the part we all secretly enjoy the most, the box. Like coming down stairs on Christmas morning to a plate of half-eaten plate chocolate chip cookies and lukewarm glass of milk, the Fed-Ex arrival of my three sets of Audio Technica IEM’s was like a gift from Santa Claus. Each set was boxed in a matching thick cardboard cube, reinforced to keep the precious contents protected. Audio-Technica knows how to do packaging right.▼ Article continues below ▼
I began my trials by popping open the ATH-E40s; like the others, it came with a nicely simplified black carrying case and extra ear fittings for maximum isolation. The first thing I noticed when trying them on is the comfort and security of the memory cable that loops over the ear. Unlike a few other IEMs I have tried in the past, these in-ears seem to fit quite nicely right off the bat and did not require too much fiddling. I also noticed the “No B/S” styling of the driver; a design that is focused on the quality of sound and not a high-faulting style “headphones by ____ (pick your favorite millionaire/rap mogul)”. After listening to my PA tuning tracks on a premium quality audio interface, the end result was pretty much as follows: “These $99 entry level in-ears sound pretty damn good!”
I then switched over to the ATH-E50s ($199), testing them before I sent them out to MXPX’s Mike Herrera as he entered the studio to work on some new tracks. Similar to the entry-level 40s, these offer a straightforward, sleek look and a single driver in each ear that provides an impressive and detailed range and soundstage. I was impressed with the ability of the 50s to offer a clear and rich listening experience without feeling harsh or overbearing. I would confidently take a set of these out on the road with my clients, working FOH, and know that I am not risking discomfort of ear fatigue.
Now the big kahuna… the flagship… the one we’ve all been waiting for… or at least I was waiting for between the time I found out I won these from Performer Magazine and the moment the Fed Ex truck arrived. The Audio Technica ATH-E70s ($399)! MMMmmm MMMmmm MMMMmmm… These guys are the real deal, a state-of-the-art 3-driver listening experience in a strong and rugged shell for long-lasting road (and studio) use. The balance and presence of each frequency range was nothing short of impressive. It made the drum kit really come to life in my ears; I could feel the thump of the kick, the crack of the snare and the shimmer of the hi-hat. Everything felt, in a word… alive.
I could go on and on about these units but I will just leave you with this: if you’ve never thought of Audio-Technica as a go-to company for in-ears…think again. I am very impressed with the three models (and so is Mike Herrera) and I very much look forward to what they have in store for us in the future. I would gladly and confidently take their products on the road any day.
A photo posted by Performer Magazine (@performermagazine) on
Andy Alonso is an audio engineer and musician working in California. He does sound work for many indie bands, including MXPX. Find him online at @audio_andy.