Recording - August 2016 - 36

R E V I E W S B Y M I K E M E T L AY

Audio-Technica has been in the business of consumer and sports in-ear monitoring for quite a while, and is also a
well-respected name in the world of professional studio headphones for decades.
I suppose it was only a matter of time
before the two worlds came together in a
lineup of professional-grade in-ear monitor headphones for stage and studio,
and at the Winter NAMM Show last
January, they did just that.
Audio-Technica announced the E-SERIES,
a range of three new pro in-ear monitors
with three different driver designs: the pushpull ATH-E40, the single-armature ATH-E50,
and the triple-armature ATH-E70. The line

Audio-Technica
ATH-E40, ATH-E50, and ATH-E70 In-Ear Monitor Headphones
A new lineup combines professional features with an array of impressive sounds
offers pro-friendly features and performance
to suit any budget and please even the
most demanding ears. I was lucky enough
to have all three sets for several weeks, and
thoroughly enjoyed reviewing them.
In common
All three E-SERIES models come with a
new cable design called A2DC (Audio
Designed Detachable Coaxial). In plain
English, the cables are easy to attach and
detach with a firm push or pull, and they
can swivel in place while you're putting
them in and wearing them. That means no
more stressing the cable with repeated
use, and trivially simple replacement of
worn-out cables in the field. The cables
end in sections with moldable wires that
hook over the ears and offer a secure fit.
The enclosures for the drivers are
designed for impressive sound isolation;
combined with properly fitted ear inserts, I
would roughly estimate that they offer at
least 15 dB of outside noise reduction, more
at high frequencies. Each model comes with
a 1.6-meter (5.2') cable ending in a rightangle miniplug; there's a snap-on 1/4" adaptor included, gold-plated like the miniplug,
and a set of four sizes of silicone eartips for
a custom fit (including a rare but muchappreciated XS size).
What's different between the three?
Their driver design and their sound.
Read on...
36

RECORDING AUGUST 2016

ATH-E40
The ATH-E40 represents the entry
level of the new line, and it's a very
impressive in-ear for the price. The
ATH-E40 has a dual phase push-pull
driver that offers surprising clarity and
range at the small expense of a slightly larger and bulkier enclosure than
those of the other two models. Specs
include a 20 Hz-20 kHz frequency
response, a sensitivity of 107 dB/mW,
and a vanishingly small 12Ω impedance, meaning these headphones get
really loud really fast, even when
being fed by the comparatively wimpy
headphone amplifiers in consumer
electronics gear.
In terms of sound, the ATH-E40 is a
solid performer with clear and noticeably forward mids, balanced bass, and
treble extension that's crisp without
being hashy. For want of a better word,
I would call its presentation "believable"-there's not a lot of hype in the
highs, and the lows, while solid, aren't
muddy or overwhelming. Intelligibility in
vocals is very good, and the vital
midrange presents electric and acoustic
guitars, drums, winds/brasses, and keyboards with good detail. The unusual
drivers deliver what's needed with
panache, at a price that will draw in
many musicians who are curious to try a
high-performance in-ear monitor.

ATH-E50
The ATH-E50 is a significant step up
from the ATH-E40 in both price and
sound quality. A single balanced armature design, it sits snugly in the ear and
practically disappears, with the clear
window showing its innards about all
that's visible when worn. Its specs include
a frequency response of 20 Hz to 18
kHz, 107 dB/mW sensitivity, and 44Ω
impedance. It requires a bit more beef
than the ATH-E40, but will still deliver a
lot of level from a small headphone amp.
The ATH-E50's sound is balanced, clear,
and detailed in all registers. It's remarkable how the low end thumps yet presents
its information clearly, and the highs are
smooth as silk and nicely in balance with
the mids and lows. The midrange is
nowhere near as forward as that of the
ATH-E40, presenting lots of detail without
causing the mids to dominate the mix. This
is an in-ear that you could easily work
with in a field recording situation and be
confident of your results; it combines excellent isolation with a soundstage that's
broad, immersive, and full of rich detail
and clarity. Really impressive!
ATH-E70
Even as the ATH-E50 is twice the price
of the ATH-E40, the price of the ATH-E70
doubles yet again, and it's hard to
believe that one would instantly hear a



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
Recording - August 2016 - 35
Recording - August 2016 - 36
Recording - August 2016 - 37
Recording - August 2016 - 38
Recording - August 2016 - 39
Recording - August 2016 - 40
Recording - August 2016 - 41
Recording - August 2016 - 42
Recording - August 2016 - 43
Recording - August 2016 - 44
Recording - August 2016 - 45
Recording - August 2016 - 46
Recording - August 2016 - 47
Recording - August 2016 - 48
Recording - August 2016 - 49
Recording - August 2016 - 50
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Recording - August 2016 - 70
Recording - August 2016 - 71
Recording - August 2016 - 72
Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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