Sennheiser’s MM 70s is one of the German audio company’s latest affordable earphone pairs. As is the current trend, it leans noticeably toward the bass-heavy end of the spectrum, but not so much that the $99.95 (direct) pair’s overall balance is a mess. The MM 70s still packs plenty of high-end presence—enough, at least, that vocals stay in the forefront, even if they seem to lack the crispness some listeners may prefer. An inline microphone and remote control with a volume slider add value to the MM 70s, as do a healthy array of included accessories. The Sennheiser lineup is littered with modern masterpieces in a variety of price ranges—the MM70s isn’t quite at their level of greatness, but at $100, it’s a solid, distortion-free, powerful earphone pair.
The design of the Sennheiser MM 70s is best described as simple. A thin black cable connects to black, glossy plastic earpieces emblazoned with the Sennheiser logo. There are some metallic accents here and there, but nothing about the MM 70s is particularly striking—nor ugly in the slightest. This is an under-the-radar design.
Its lightweight earpieces should fit most ears quite securely. An inline remote control and microphone allows you to adjust volume and playback, as well as make calls. The volume controls on the remote work independently of the volume controls on whatever source device you listen from. There’s a slider for this on the remote, while playback is controlled with a single button and various tap patterns for different functions.
The MM 70s ships with a generous accompaniment of accessories, including a black snap-shut carrying pouch, a cable winder that fits inside the pouch, an adapter for Nokia-type smartphones, six total pairs of ear tips in various shapes and sizes, and a shirt clip.
Call clarity through the inline mic is about par for the course—things are clear enough that your call partner will understand you just fine, but since it’s cell phone fidelity we’re dealing with, don’t expect the MM 70s to be able to provide crystal clear phone audio.
On tracks with heavy sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the MM 70s delivers the rumble with gusto, and without distortion. Even at top volumes—with both the source device’s volume maxed and the MM 70s’s slider volume control at maximum level—there’s no distortion, though listening at levels this high is dangerous. At more reasonable levels, the MM 70s still delivers deep low-end cleanly and with a sense of power and balance—despite the serious thump, this isn’t a ridiculously lopsided sound signature.
Bill Callahan’s vocals on “Drover” are not quite as crisp as I might prefer through the MM70s, but they get enough high-mid and high presence to keep them up front in the mix. His vocals have a natural baritone depth to them that is highlighted by the rich lows and low-mids of the MM 70s. The drumming on this track also gets a healthy dose of low frequency boosting—while the guitar strumming and vocals are clear, things seem to lean a bit towards the lows in terms of overall balance.
On Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop is delivered with a focus more on the lows and low-mids and less on the high-mids that would help the attack sound punchy and intense. Sub-bass synth stabs punctuate the beat on this track, and they’re robust through the bass-friendly MM 70s. All of the vocals, like Callahan’s, manage to stay in the forefront here, but there’s definitely, in all cases, more low-mid presence than treble edge, more sibilance than high-mid edge.
Because they are rarely recorded or mixed with boosted low frequencies, classical tracks often have a perceived built-in brightness—at least when the higher register strings and brass are running the show. John Adam’s “The Chairman Dances” is one such track, and it sounds crisper than anything else I listened to through the MM 70s—in a very pleasing way. The lower register strings receive a bit of extra low-end body thanks to the earphones’ bass boosting, as do the large drum hits near the piece’s end, but nothing so intense that things sound unnatural. The MM 70s sounds powerful and clean on all genres, but on instrumental tracks, particularly classical and jazz, it shines.
If you’re looking for even more bass in this price range, the Jabra Vox is not what you’d call a balanced pair of earphones; it’s definitely got serious low-end. If less bass and more crispness is what you’re after, consider the slightly more expensive Shure SE215. And for just a tad more, our favorite earphone pair of late in this general price range is the beautifully-balanced TDK EB950. If all of these are out of your price range, the RHA MA150 is about the cheapest option we can recommend that sounds decent.
But for $100, the Sennheiser MM 70s brings distortion-free, round bass response to the table, and it does so without muddying the mix and obscuring vocals. It would be nice if there were a bit more high-mid presence to make things a little more crisp, but the MM 70s is a solid earphone option for the price.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc