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Yamaha YH-E700B

Over-ear headphones with ANC and Bluetooth 5.2

In a nutshell

The Yamaha YH-E700B’s sound quality, with its appealing dynamics, is alright, but given the price range, it’s not exactly outstanding. I was irritated by the annoying pressure when wearing these headphones over a long period of time, so I would definitely advise you to try these headphones on before buying them. In view of the competition, the rather subtle noise-cancelling did not put up a convincing argument for purchase either.

Pros:
  • Clear operation via dedicated controls
  • Good sounding cable mode
  • Long runtime
  • New EQ in app
Cons:
  • Wearing comfort
  • Moderate noise cancelling
  • No multi-point
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The Yamaha YH-E700B closed headphones follow in the footsteps of their much more powerful looking predecessor Yamaha YH-E700A from 2022. The current model is noticeably slimmer thanks to oval earcups, and they are available in beige or black with a matt finish. They are designed as over-ear headphones, although they are pretty close to an on-ear design.

Design & Features

These headphones primarily use Bluetooth 5.2 for sound transmission but can also be operated both actively and passively with a connecting cable.

The plastic construction has a simple, elegant and robust exterior. There are a total of four function buttons on the device, in addition to the 3.5mm cable and USB-C charging ports.

Further functions can be adjusted via the free iOS/Android app “Headphone Control”. This app has gained functionality and now offers an equaliser with pre-sets and user-definable settings in addition to potential firmware updates (status 1.01), configuration of noise cancelling and an adjustable power-off function. The “Listening Care” option activates a volume-dependent correction of the frequency response, which works in a comparable way to loudness sound correction. According to the manufacturer, the “Listening Optimizer” function uses a microphone to regularly check whether the headphones fit correctly and, if necessary, adjusts the sound to optimise performance.

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Audio codecs include SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive with gaming mode for lower latencies and aptX Voice for optimised voice transmission. As always, support depends on which smartphone you are using.

The stability and range of the wireless link won our praise, and it extended over several rooms. The voice quality, resulting from the two microphones and the Qualcomm Clear Voice Capture electronics, is good, although not free from ambient noise.

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Comfort

The Yamaha YH-E700B, which are well padded around the replaceable ear cushions and the length-adjustable headband, fit quite comfortably and securely on the head. A large logo in front of the drivers ensures that the left and right earcups can be easily identified. The earcups can each be swivelled by 90 degrees and folded inwards for transportation in the supplied carrying case. However, if you wear these headphones for a long period of time, they can start to pinch a bit, but in my case, this was probably due to the combination of the cushions being too small and the contact pressure. I would have much preferred something between the oversized previous model and the current size. It was also fairly easy to get too warm and start sweating under the synthetic leather pads in hot weather.

Operation

The controls were straightforward and convenient to use. Like the previous model, the Yamaha YH-E700B doesn’t use touch functions but instead relies on four buttons. This is less in keeping with the mobile lifestyle but means you avoid operating errors. The headphones can be switched on and off via the multifunctional power button on the right side. This can also be used to make phone calls, call up a voice assistant on your smartphone or activate the pairing function.

Underneath are two small buttons that are used to control the volume. A longer press on these buttons enables you to skip tracks. On the left side, you will find the function button, which can be used to switch sequentially through the noise cancelling mode, transparency mode and playback mode without noise cancelling – unfortunately, there is no option to deactivate the latter mode if you want faster changes. With a double click, this button also switches to the aforementioned Gaming Mode.

These headphones focus on music enjoyment and the option of isolating oneself from the outside world via noise cancelling. A multipoint connection enabling you to use multiple devices at once is unfortunately not provided.

Battery life

The device we tested showed its full potential in terms of battery life. The YH-E700B needs 3.5 hours for a full charge, but then works for up to 32 hours (according to the manufacturer’s specification) depending on the volume. Slightly less than the previous model, but still sufficient for long journeys, even to the other side of the world. During our test, the headphones did not run out of juice for days, so these values can be considered realistic. There is also a quick-charging function and the aforementioned cable operation.

The Headphone Control app

In the app, there is now a five-band equaliser that you can use to adjust the frequency response to suit your own taste and favourite genre. I had criticised this function as it was on the previous model. I couldn’t do much with the adaptive sound adjustment Listening Care, which worked rather subtly. The Listening Optimizer did not really provide me with any added value either if the headphones were placed correctly on the ears. You can also activate a detection function in the app that is supposed to cause playback to stop when the headphones are put down. In practice, this did not work, at least not with my device.

Noise cancelling

The passive attenuation was high and already provided good shielding from the environment. The switchable noise cancelling provided additional distance from everyday noise. I would describe the solution offered as practical but not intensive. It was also possible to hear a background noise. As usual, the focus was more on low-frequency and static noises, like the noise encountered when travelling on a high-speed train. Speech and higher-frequency noises, such as keyboard clatter, reached the ear more distinctly. It would also be advisable to switch off the noise cancelling system when it is windy, as it produced disturbing noises when left on.

In general, the additional quiet zone was an advantage in everyday life, as it enabled me to enjoy music with more focus or simply to be less disturbed by everyday noises. There was no annoying diving bell effect. The circuitry in the previous model reduced the sound quality somewhat, but here it does exactly the opposite. The activated noise cancelling leads to a slight loudness effect and, thus, to a fuller sound reproduction.

The opposite effect comes from the transparency mode, which brings the signal from the external microphones to the drivers at the touch of a button and enables improved perception of the surroundings, making communication with headphones on much simpler. This succeeds with good results, and the practical benefit was high. Switching via the button on the left ear cup was fast enough. It was a slight pity that all three ANC modes have to be run through to get to the one you want. At least it is possible to deactivate the voice announcements if necessary. However, you will have to make do without a temporary transparency mode, which, for example, you can find with Sony.

Sound

The large, dynamic 40mm drivers sound quite balanced. This was already evident from the passive cable operation, which indicated a good basic design. This was pleasing because it meant that these headphones could also be used in a very traditional way. However, the focus of the application is on use via Bluetooth, and I tested this with an iPhone 8 (AAC) and Sony Xperia 10 (aptX HD).

In principle, the Yamaha YH-E700B play with a fair amount of punch and without superficial emphasis in the frequency range. They fully reproduced the spectrum down to the low bass. In my opinion, they have a good bass response and were not easily knocked off their stride. If the previous model was rather too loud in the lowest octave, it is the other way around here. In fact, I was left wishing for a bit more level in the low bass. The contoured sound reproduction sounded a little lacking in fullness, especially in mobile use, but at the same time, it was not analytical in the audiophile sense.

The midrange was well-resolved and provided a good bed for acoustic instruments, voices as well as dense mixes. For example, in “Midnattsdans” by Benny Andersson, it was definitely possible to hear the delicate space around his Fazioli grand piano. Conversely, the reverberation in “Exhale” by Whitney Houston was more pronounced. The fine dynamics of drums and piano in “Strange Place for Snow” by the Esbjörn Svensson Trio were also very comprehensible – by no means something that can be taken for granted.

When listening to rock, I found different mixes of Slayer, Alice in Chains and AC/DC quite coherent and punchy, while “Bleed” by Meshuggah sounded a bit too dull towards the top. In the treble range, you can’t expect the resolution and transparency of more expensive open constructions in this price range. Fortunately, I did not notice any harshness. The reproduction of transients was fast enough to give a wide and precise stereo image. All in all, this was a good result. Nevertheless, for me, the combination of sub-optimal wearing comfort and rather higher levels resulted in some listening fatigue when wearing the YH-E700B for a long period of time.

Conclusion

The Yamaha YH-E700B impressed us with appealing, but not outstanding, sound quality, as well as straightforward operation via dedicated buttons and a deliberate lack of touch functions. An app expands the functionality. I have reservations about the wearing comfort. The noise cancelling was also rather moderate and, in view of the competition from Apple, Sony and Bose, doesn’t really provide an incentive for buying this model. The recommended retail price is 349 euros. Accordingly, Yamaha will have to prove itself against some strong competition in this section of the market.

5 months ago by Ulf Kaiser
  • Rating: 3.5
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)8 - 20.000 Hz
  • Weight without cable335 g
  • Cable length20 cm

Special features

  • Available in black and beige
  • BT version: 5.2
  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive
  • BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP

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