Onkyo E700M

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

If Evan­der Holy­field were to ap­pear in your liv­ing room, you’d some­how just know he was there. The same can be said for one of Onkyo’s AV re­ceivers – in­dus­trial and pow­er­ful, they have a pres­ence bor­der­ing on the men­ac­ing. So it’s even more im­pres­sive that the same com­pany can also pro­duce such an at­trac­tive prod­uct as the E700M in-ear head­phones.

At £75, the Onkyos join a highly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place, where they face tough com­pe­ti­tion from the likes of Sennheiser and Bey­er­dy­namic. At this price, we ex­pect qual­ity and, housed in a ro­bust alu­minium body that en­velops the 13.5mm high power driv­ers, the E700MS ex­ude class. This is un­der­lined by the 1.2m dual-colour twisted cable and in­line mic.

The E700MS are sup­plied with three pairs of sil­i­cone caps and one pair of Com­ply foam tips. Once we find the right ones for us, the fit is snug and com­fort­able.

“Like the com­pany’s am­pli­fiers, these Onkyo E700M head­phones have a cer­tain pres­ence”

Ly­ing in wait

We kick off with Pri­mal Scream’s Van­ish­ing Point – a multi-lay­ered record­ing, full of rich tex­tures wait­ing to am­bush head­phones that aren’t quite up to the job. The Onkyos sur­vive this test. They have an ag­ile and ar­tic­u­late sound that tracks the var­i­ous in­stru­men­tal strands of the song well. De­tail lev­els are de­cent, with the E700MS giv­ing a de­gree of in­sight into the pro­duc­tion. There’s a pleas­ing con­sis­tency of char­ac­ter from the low­est fre­quen­cies up­wards and Onkyo hasn’t over-egged the bass like many ri­vals have.

Yet things aren’t per­fect. The E700MS, if any­thing, de­liver lows that are a lit­tle too thin and re­strained, los­ing too much in the way of sub­stance and au­thor­ity to truly con­vince. There are is­sues at the other ex­treme of the fre­quency range, where tre­ble sounds thin and a touch hard de­spite plenty of run­ning-in. It makes lis­ten­ing to com­pressed pop record­ings harder work than it should be. We’d like crisper tim­ing too more ex­pres­sive dy­nam­ics too, par­tic­u­larly through the midrange.

The Onkyos look good, but that’s not enough for our rec­om­men­da­tion, not when just a lit­tle more money buys some su­pe­rior al­ter­na­tives.

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