From the day I heard we were getting the new NAD Viso HP70 at Audio46, I’ve been waiting with baited breath to hear it. Now, fresh from a listening session with this new headphone, I can finally sit down and write a review. Retailing for a cool $399, the HP70 boasts Bluetooth, NFC, active noise cancellation, and NAD’s own Roomfeel technology. But how does it sound?
Packaged in a fairly substantial box, the Viso HP70 comes with an auxiliary cable, airline adapter, micro-USB charging cable, 1/4” stereo adapter, a travel clip, and a soft leatherette carrying pouch.
The headphones themselves sport deep pleather padding on the earcups and a soft pleather headband. As a result, comfort remains top-notch, even for longer listening sessions. The ear pads easily cover my giant ears, and I would feel safe recommending this headphone to anyone who experiences fit problems when it comes to headphones.
Battery life is rated at up to 15 hours, but could stretch longer depending on how you utilize the wireless and noise cancelling capabilities. The inclusion of an audio cable is a particularly nice touch, allowing the headphones to play sans Bluetooth or ANC.
Frequency Range: 10-20,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): NA
As you can see from the specs, the HP70 offers a fairly standard frequency range, but with a little extra emphasis on the low end. The Nominal Impedance of just 32 ohms makes this headphone an ideal choice for use with portable sources like phones and laptops. And, while NAD doesn’t give a rating for sound pressure level, I can only assume it would land somewhere around the 110 dB mark, if it doesn’t exceed it; the presence of integrated amplification adds a ton of volume to these headphones. As such, I really can’t fathom a situation where you wouldn’t be able to get adequate volume from this baby.
This Viso’s low end smooth but accurate, resulting in a lifelike sound that demands a listening session. There’s good detail here, complimented by a lively, engaging bass. Bass-heavy pieces like the incomparable intro to New Order’s “Age of Consent” seem to leap from the headphones and land squarely on your soul. But when it comes to impact, the HP70 offers a similarly-transcendental experience, giving away tons of impact and registering with crystal-clear precision.
Some compression appears in the mids, preventing the sound from ever getting too good. However, there’s still plenty of detail for the v-shaped sound signature of the HP70. Indeed, compared to other models in the Viso family, this one offers the most fidelity – and compared to other headphones at this price range, it still punches above the belt where mids are concerned. While not as forward or as present as I would personally prefer, this midrange still manages to sound amazing and lends itself well to the overall sound profile.
The HP70 is bright, but only bright enough to deliver the necessary nuances you need. It doesn’t wax too piercing or uncomfortable, but resolves plenty of detail while still managing to sound the least bit smooth. This is a complex high end with a lot going on – it hits the high notes but still remains comfortable with zero fatigue no matter what you’re listening to. While it may not appeal to the most stringent standards of die-hard audiophiles, the hours upon hours of music enjoyment you can get from this high end speaks volumes.
If I have one true misgiving about the NAD Viso HP70, it’s the lack of real soundstage. Sure, the mids could be better, but the placement here is a little too weak and a little too confusing to get off scot-free. That being said, there’s still plenty of depth to the sound, and pretty much everything sounds great filtering through the HP70, but if you’re a fan of intricate classical tracks, this soundstage will leave you wanting more.
Deep sound. OMG, SO MUCH DEEP SOUND. Accepting the soundstage for what it is and coming to terms with the lack of placement, I still have to give NAD some serious props for the sheer amount of depth residing in this headphone. Music does tend to sound more engaging, more fun, and more musical. It’s really an intoxicating, drug-like sound that I keep wanting to return to. Even after my listening session was over, I still kept the headphones on to bump some just-for-fun stuff, like Third Eye Blind’s unrecognized opus, “Narcolepsy”.
Comfort really is top-notch. As a big guy who rocks a shaved head and some giant ears, headphone fit can be a royal pain at times. The leatherette padding on the HP70 is just deep enough to lend an air of comfort to these ‘phones while still appearing thin and lightweight. After an hour or two of listening, my ears still retain plenty of feeling, and the top of my head doesn’t throb from an uncomfortable headband.
Noise cancellation is also on point. It doesn’t block everything – I can still hear the odd high-frequency noise, but that’s common for any noise cancelling headphone. For 90% of the office noise I have to put up with here in the salt mines, though, the HP70 rises to the challenge. So I can spend less time listening to my boss telling me to take off these headphones and more time jamming to K-Pop. That’s just a win-win.
Should you snatch one up? If you’re looking for a quality Bluetooth and ANC headphone, you really couldn’t go wrong with the HP70. If you’re a classical fan, you might go for the more expensive Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless at $449, but this on-ear model won’t offer nearly as immersive of a listening experience.
For everyone else, though, this headphone pretty much takes the cake at $399. It’s better than anything from Sennheiser or Audio Technica, and it hurts me saying that, because I actually love a lot of Audio Technica’s headphones. No other wireless noise-cancelling headphone offers this rich and deep of a sound at this low price. The accompanying accessories and the built-in amplification are just icing on the headphone-shaped cake.
At $399, the NAD Viso HP70 delivers impressive sound and a truly comfortable and portable listening experience that few other headphones can compete with. Need a new wireless noise-cancelling headphone that does it all? Run, don’t walk, to your nearest NAD retailer and cop this on the hurry. And if you need convincing, hit me up here at our store in Midtown, Manhattan, for a steamy listening session.