Brief: The smallest circumaural portable in my collection, the JVC HA-S700 can make some supraaurals look big. Its other selling point is the folding mechanism, which is even more accommodating than AKG’s patented 3D Axis system.
MSRP: $$59.95 (manufacturer’s page) / discontinued
Current Price: N/A
Build Quality (7/10): Behind the simplistic looks of the HA-S700 lies an extremely versatile folding mechanism that makes these headphones flat-folding and collapsible. When collapsed completely the headphones are incredibly compact. The headband is metal but the plastics feel a bit thinner than I would like. Cabling is typical JVC – of average thickness, not too prone to tangling, and with functional strain reliefs all around.
Comfort (8.5/10): The cups are small but deep enough that my ears don’t touch the grilles. The circumaural nature, pleather-covered memory foam pads and headband, and compliant fitting mechanism make these extremely comfortable. They can get a little hot with time and clamp slightly harder than the Creative Aurvanas, but that is a tradeoff I am willing to make for the significant gain in isolation.
Isolation (8.5/10): Underneath the pleather of the closed and circumaural HA-S700 are memory foam pads that do a great job of creating a seal. As a result they don’t leak at and all cut out a fair amount of external noise. Very impressive.
Sound (5.5/10): If there’s one aspect of the HA-S700 that doesn’t quite impress it’s the sound. Though nothing in particular is missing they sound slightly confused. As is the case with several other JVC models the drivers of the HA-S700 are angled with respect to the ear. This causes some odd positioning cues and a pretty narrow soundstage. The resulting sound is quite intimate and has a dimensional quality to it but makes it difficult to pick out instruments in space correctly. The bass is well-extended, impactful, and rather full-sounding, but not as tight as I would like. The midrange is reasnably clear but not as detailed as some of the competition. The high end can be a little harsh but stays out of the way for the most part. There is still some sibilance, but only at high volumes. The overall sound is warm but engaging – they are very easy cans to listen to on the go.
Value (8/10): The JVC HA-S700 is a very convenient headphone that provides a superb combination of build quality, isolation, and portability at a good price point. Though the sound is rather mediocre compared to some of the audiophile-grade portables in this lineup, the warm and slightly bassy signature of the HA-S700 works well outside where external noise tends to drown out bass notes. Compared to the newer HA-M750, the HA-S700 is less bassy, less aggressive, and more colored. It is also more comfortable, better-isolating, and cheaper than the M750s, making them a better buy for someone putting versatility above sound.
Frequency Response: 8-25,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 101 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 3.94ft (1.2m) + 6.6ft (2m) extension; Straight Plug
Space-Saving Mechanism: Flat-folding, collapsible