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Yamaha YH-E700A

Closed-back over-ears with powerful sound and noise cancelling

Yamaha’s YH-E700A sound big and powerful. A specialist for lovers of deep bass and powerful sound. The fact that the balance and neutral tone suffers in the process may bother the purist, but clubbers less so. The combination of high passive attenuation and noise cancelling makes this sound available for everyday use, with exceptionally long runtime – at high levels and without disturbing the person sitting next to you. Definitely not headphones for everyone. Thanks to comparatively low online prices, however, the high-quality YH-E700A is still a thoroughly exciting choice for anyone who wants to let it rip.

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Unlike the Yamaha YH-L700A, the Yamaha YH-E700A are made entirely of plastic and are comparatively large. You can’t really call the design, available in black or white, delicate. The round ear cups are heavily padded with imitation leather, which also makes up the headband, whose length can be adjusted with a click. This results in a comfortable fit and equally good passive attenuation of external noise – in both directions.

The outwardly closed ear cups can each be rotated by 90 degrees and folded in for transport. Accordingly, the headphones can be stored in a space-saving manner, for example, in the soft case supplied. Nevertheless, the YH-E700A remain rather large headphones for everyday use, but they are pleasantly robust.

On the left is the jack input for wired operation and the button for noise cancelling. On the right is the USB-C charging port with status display, the power button, which is also responsible for pairing, a multifunction button (playback, call acceptance) and a rocker switch for the volume. There are no touch functions, but there is an attractive imprint of the L/R identification on the inside of the ear cups.

Technically, Yamaha relies on dynamic drivers with a diameter of 40 mm, a Bluetooth 5 wireless link and the audio codecs SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive. The latter enables a higher bit rate and a low-latency mode for movies and gaming – but unfortunately, only for Android. In this price range, they lose points for the lack of high-quality codecs LDAC and aptX Lossless.

These headphones can be used via Bluetooth and wired. In addition, they work in wired mode, both passively and with active electronics and noise cancelling.

The accompanying free app “Headphones Controller” for iOS and Android is rather reduced. It offers the possibility of making firmware updates (status 1.39), an adjustable power-off function, and the option to switch between the noise-cancelling modes and access the online manual. An equaliser or extended parameters are not offered, but the option “Listening Care”, which enables a switchable volume-dependent correction of the frequency response via a loudness circuit, is. Another technology called “Listening Optimizer” can also be switched on, and according to Yamaha, this uses measurements via an internal microphone to adapt the sound reproduction to the listener’s ear and the fit of the headphones. These measurements take place every 20 seconds and are thus intended to compensate for changes in wearing position.

In practice

In everyday use, I found the Yamaha YH-E700A quite comfortable, even over long periods. A real pair of headphones and not a flimsy high-tech gimmick. On the other hand, the design might also be experienced as clunky. Visually, this is not just a matter of taste because the headphones also have a large “cuff” around the neck, and when folded up, they look like a pocket blaster. In short: for mobile use, you actually have to carry a bag with you to house this device.

The operation via the buttons feels a bit old-fashioned to me in this day and age. On the other hand, the YH-E700A aren’t aiming to be a sleek modernist. There are no malfunctions due to accidental touching of the ear cups.

The functionality is straightforward: switching on and off (and pairing), starting and stopping music playback, answering calls and calling up a smartphone voice assistant, dedicated volume control that also allows track skipping, and switching between noise-cancelling modes.

The Yamaha YH-E700A also score points for battery life: according to the manufacturer, with 3.5 hours of charging time, up to 35 hours of playing time can be achieved with noise cancelling activated, depending on the level. This is remarkable and has been credibly confirmed in practice.

I was also impressed by the wireless link: the music played back continuously without interruptions and, indoors, reached across several rooms.

Noise cancelling

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On top of really good passive attenuation, the Yamaha YH-E700A has switchable noise cancelling (ANC). It creates a quiet zone that extends across the entire frequency range. The circuit slightly reduces the sound quality and also minimises noise, but in appropriate environments, it certainly turns out to be an added value, even if it is not a fully-fledged argument for purchase.

The intensity when music playback is switched off is moderate, but in combination with the good passive attenuation still leads to decent results and avoids the diving bell feeling.

Travelling in a high-speed train, low-frequency travelling noises are distinctly lowered but not completely faded out. Conversations and higher-frequency background noise were significantly quieter, and typing on a laptop keyboard was barely audible. Outdoors, however, the Yamaha YH-E700A unfortunately proved to be sensitive to wind. In short: I see competitors like Sonys WH-1000XM5 as having the advantage here.

Transparency mode made outside sounds clearly audible by relaying them to the speakers via the outside microphones. The intelligibility was high and enabled safe communication even with the earphones on. You can switch between noise cancelling and transparency mode easily via the aforementioned button on the left ear cup. Unfortunately, you always select “Noise Cancelling Off”, as the voice prompt confirms. This could be configurable in the app in the future. A temporary transparency function, such as with Sony, is not planned.

Sound

The Yamaha YH-E700A sound like they look: powerful, and this also applies to the level reserves. These headphones are not a delicate, quiet performer but a powerful entertainer. In the bass range, the dynamic 40 mm drivers shake it up powerfully.

The bass impressed with pressure, warmth, definition and an extension into the deepest levels. If you say goodbye to sober neutrality, this can be quite fun, especially since the diaphragms don’t lose their grip even at higher levels.

Nevertheless, the bass tuning is at the expense of the mid and treble frequencies, which are over-emphasised and thus lead to imbalances. The YH-E700A lacks detail resolution and general sparkle in these areas.

Nevertheless, the timbre was right: vocals, including reverb, acoustic and electric instruments, sounded coherent. And hard rock like AC/DC’s “Fire Your Guns” was a real joy to listen to. The dynamics of jazz or purely acoustic performances were also well handled.

Towards the higher end, there was no annoying harshness and a good detail resolution, which also reliably reproduced the stereo panorama. Transparency was the only thing lost in the low bass storm, for example, on “Celestial Echos” by Boris Blank and Malia or “Systemagic” by Goldfrapp. In other words: if the production has strong bass components, it becomes increasingly unbalanced. This is especially true with modern electronics and the urban genre. In my opinion, Yamaha overshoots the mark here. It’s a pity because an equaliser in the app would have made compensation possible. To sort this out, you would have to use an external app. Nevertheless, if you appreciate club sound, you might enjoy this tuning.

Listening Care is only switchable in the app and is rather inconspicuous in practice. I could only hear differences during particularly quiet playback. However, more bass would really not be necessary. The same applies to the Listening Optimiser: as the YH-E700A usually fits well, this option only has a subtle influence.

That leaves the assessment of wired mode. With active electronics, the sound impression remains unchanged, and even in passive mode, it was not completely different but merely a touch more “colourless”. Finally, a word of praise for the high voice quality during telephone calls.

Competition

Yamaha places the YH-E700A in a market segment that includes a number of high-quality over-ear headphones with integrated noise cancelling. With a recommended retail price of 359 euros, the test candidate has to compete with the top dogs from Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, Apple and other manufacturers, all of which offer good noise cancelling and modern touch technology. Yamaha sets a deliberate counterpoint here, both externally and in terms of operation, which seems less hip but by no means backward. In terms of sound, too, the YH-E700A goes its own way, making it, in my opinion, a specialist for lovers of club sound.

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2 months ago by Ulf Kaiser
  • Rating: 3.63
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Large, robust, powerful in level and mighty in sound. With the YH-E700A, Yamaha offers dynamic over-ear headphones with Bluetooth that pack a punch. The powerful bass tuning cannot be called neutral. These headphones are therefore aimed at listeners who like it lush and powerful. But even then, the tuning goes a step too far for me because the manufacturer’s app, and thus the electronics of the headphones, lack a correction option.

As audiophile headphones, the Yamaha YH-E700A fail due to a lack of neutrality. However, if you enjoy club sound and want to explore the deep bass of your music library and playlists, you will find what you are looking for here. This unit is fun if you like that sort of thing – but it has to be what you want.

In this light, I feel that the recommended retail price of 359 euros is too expensive, even if you factor the comparatively discreet noise cancelling into the assessment. However, the YH-E700A is already available online for significantly lower prices. If you find these prices, the headphones could even earn a recommendation for lovers of this particular sound tuning. But you also have to like the size and the button operation.

  • Good fit
  • Powerful bass capacity
  • Too powerful sub bass
  • Comparatively ineffective noise cancelling
  • No EQ in the app

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)8 - 40.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable325 g

What's in the box

  • Mini jack cable
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Aeroplane adapter
  • Carrying case

Special features

  • Available in black and white
  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive
  • BT version: 5.0
  • BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

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