Aiming for aural excellence, TDK’s ST-700 headphones are built more solidly than one of Elvis’s Vegas collars and look the part in Johnny Cash black
Hot on the heels of its acclaimed graphic-equalizing ST-800 headphones, comes the TDK ST-700. The style of this mid-priced on-ear model owes much to Dr Dre’s catwalk queens, such as the top-end Beats by Dre Pro Beats, from which TDK would love to steal some customers.
After all, a pair of headphones is sold every 15 minutes in the UK and who wouldn’t want a slice of the aural action? With cans such as the B&W P5 and Urbanears Plattan headphones already leading the pack, the TDK ST-700 are up against some pretty tough competition, so are they any good?
TDK ST-700: Design
The cans have a 1-inch solid-top/cushioned bottom headband that drops seamlessly on either side to form a perfectly sculptured disc-shape around the 40cm drivers.
Unlike the good doctor Dre’s single cable design, TDK uses a separate wire for the left and right channels, which can be marginally encumbering. These join 20cm from the end of the 48cm chord, which is finished with a gold 3.5mm stereo plug. A 79cm extension lead is provided, along with a 6.3mm adapter plug.
TDK ST-700: Comfort
The phones sit nicely on your head and the drivers can rock to and fro, allowing the cans to sculpt to the shape of your bonce. But the rigidity does not bode well for those with larger sized skulls who may well suffer from hot lug holes caused by the tightly fitting cups.
Soft touch cushions lessen the problem, and generally speaking the TDK ST-700 are as comfy as a memory foam beach lounger.
TDK ST-700: Durability
Nearly everything about the build smacks of durability. The cans themselves are made from high-quality materials and have a scratch-resisting coating.
The plugs are gold-plated and the anti-tangle cords grip nicely. The only bum note is the faux gold and silver coating on the plastic driver covers.
TDK ST-700: Sound quality
Sonically speaking, the TDK ST-700 are a revelation with excellent reproduction across the dynamic spectrum. Treble sounds are beautifully crisp and coherent so that vocals truly shine.
The bass does feel a tad over-thumped and a bit of equalizing on your music player is almost de rigeur, especially if you like to crank things up. The ST-700 does an excellent job of containing sound with negligible leakage, making them a strong contender for our list of the best headphones around.
TDK ST-700: Verdict
The clean looks of the ST-700s smack unashamedly of Dr Dre, right down to the hinged cups that allow the phones to slide cosily in to their rather plush carry bag.
The TDK ST-700 headphones fit so well you could wear them while jogging or simply use them as ear-warmers. But there are plenty of user-friendly design flourishes such as the dual-length cord, comfy soft-touch cushions and tilting cups.
The tonal emphasis is perhaps a tad bass-heavy but overall, high-quality components have been used to create durable cans that are sonically vastly superior to the bog-standard headphones supplied with most MP3 players and smartphones.
TDK ST-700 availability: Available now
TDK ST-700 price: £119.99