In response to the ongoing pandemic situation, Audio-Technica launched a new stereo headset ATH-770XCOM that consumers can use for telecommute. They retail in Singapore for S$148 and thanks to Audio-Technica S.E.A. for sending over a new unit for my review.
Design and Operations
The ATH-770XCOM is a refresh model of the ATH-770COM with a 4-pole 3.5mm connector instead of two separate connectors. It is marketed as a work-from-home headset for calls but technically you can also use it for gaming or podcasting. The headband and ear cushions are covered with synthetic leather for practical plush and comfort.
The condenser mic is fitted at the end of a flexible gooseneck and can pivot within a 90-degree angle. I would prefer that it can pivot all the way parallel to the headband so that the mic does not obstruct when I lay down the headset. The cable is non-detachable but has good thickness and malleability.
The feature that makes the headset very helpful in a work-from-home situation is the in-line controls with volume and mute function as it offers quick access to listening volume as well as muting the mic without touching the computer. Just remember to check the mute switch when talking as you might be mistaken that the mic is active.
To add to that, the noise isolation on the ATH-770XCOM is surprisingly strong. I can barely hear myself talking nor is there any mic audio feedback into the headphone. It effectively dulls the environmental noises so much so that I need to remove the earcups to listen what’s going on around me. The audio also does not leak out of the headphones if you get a good seal around the cushions.
I find the ATH-770XCOM rather comfortable to wear, with the right amount of clamping force. The earcup shape is also sufficiently roomy, but will gradually build up warmth and sweat after extended wear. I like that the ear pads are a little firmer and not too soft, though I reckon some may prefer the softer leather which also translates to a premium feel.
Audio and Mic Quality
The ATH-770XCOM offers an impressive sound quality for general audio content specifically more voice-based. The headphones deliver clear upper treble performance and sufficiently prominent bass support which sounds pleasant on general content. But when listening to critical music especially tracks with strong presence of overtones, the mix becomes muddy and slow in decay. The culprit lies around the upper midrange (1-2KHz) which was elevated causing excessive harmonics lurking around. The weak 4KHz range also contributed to the veiled boxy vocal performance. All of these, when come together, turn up to be a bit of a mess and lacking in instrumental clarity.
I must qualify that the ATH-770XCOM is probably tuned for telecommuting and less of music listening. For conversations, I have no complains. During online calls, I can hear the other parties clearly even in a large group session. It doesn’t sound too bassy nor muddy.
As for the mic quality, the performance vary. When I recorded the mic using Audacity on Windows 10, the recording sounded low-fi like a telephone. Yet it sounded quite crisp when I recorded using a smartphone. The mic is sensitive near-field and picks up dull keyboard taps. The recording level does not get too hot, as my test recording video demonstrates, so you should speak at your normal volume, maybe project your voice a little more. Watch the below YouTube video for a demonstration.
So often when I was listening to Zoom or Teams calls while working on other windows and suddenly I was asked to talk but I took too long to switch back to the correct window to unmute myself, giving the impression that I was not paying attention. The Audio-Technica ATH-770XCOM easily improves my telecommuting experience as I am able to mute the mic and adjust volume from the headset’s in-line controls instead of fumbling on the computer settings.
The headset is well-built with thick cables in generous length and comfortable headband clamp force. The sound quality is good enough for general purpose listening and the mic offers good sensitivity while reducing pickup for distant sounds.
They are also suitable for gaming, content creation, and works with smartphones too. For more professional microphone quality, check my other microphone reviews like the ATR2100x-USB and ATR2500x-USB.