Very good all around, but laid back

A Review On: Audio Technica ATH-ESW11LTD Portable Headphone Wooden Limited Model (Japan Import)

Audio Technica ATH-ESW11LTD Portable Headphone Wooden Limited Model (Japan Import)

Rated # 81 in On-Ear
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $600.00
GL1TCH3D
Posted · 1484 Views · 6 Comments

Pros: Very smooth and liquid all around, great portable form factor

Cons: VERY laid back sound

I bought these to be my main portable headphones. The form factor makes it a good choice if you're not into earbuds. When folded up, is quite convenient and slides into my bag without a problem. I used these primarily with my iPhone 4 set to EQ "Flat" while going about.

Design:
After my experiences with my T5p I really would have liked to see removable cables but then again, AT never has removable cables for anything =/
As I said before, quite the nice form factor, easily portable.

Comfort:
I found these fit nicely as on-ear. My ears are quite sensitive to on-ears but I very rarely had problems with these even during extended periods of use ~2 hours.

Style:
A lot of people posted that these cups are bland and not very appealing compared to the ESW10JPN.
Honestly, I really like them. They have a sense of class to them. They're quite beautiful when examined up close and don't stand out when looked at from far away, but still eye-catching.

Sound:
Overall the tone is very smooth and natural but laid-back like a pair of LCD2s is laid back.

Bass:
The texture is nice, of course when comparing to a pair of full sized planars it doesn't seem that significant but for a portable, it's quite enjoyable. Though, it lacks punch. During a nice drum solo you'll feel like it lacks a bit of energy and punch.
If you listen to extremely bassy music you won't feel it as much.
Otherwise extension is good, for my purposes anyway.

Mids:
Like most ATs, this is where they excel. The mids are smooth, a bit forward and vocals are stunning.

Treble:
Treble extension is very good but nothing spectacular and there's no sibilance whatsoever. I had problems with my shure earbuds over sibilance.
There's some sparkle to the treble which is something I look for, it's refined but not to the point of the hd800.

In summary:
These are a nice pair of headphones for portable use.
My friend owned the ED8 and I owned the T5p and Momentum.
The ED8 was V-Shaped and I do not enjoy that.
The T5p was unnatural and very large.
The momentum is quite big and a bit more v-shaped but punchier.
The ESW11LTD is more laid back and has the best form factor for a portable out of all of them.

For portable use, my ranking would be:
ESW11LTD>Momentum>ED8>T5p

Though sound signature is personal preference so, take what you want from this.

6 Comments:

 I think you would probably like PSB M4U 1s and the KEF M500s. Have you tried those? ;)
I tried the psb and did not enjoy it.
Never tried the m500
Have you ever tried these out of something more powerful and more articulate than your iPhone 4?
How good is the sound isolation ?
wonder if they would be a good choice for classical symphonies. i am kind of a soundstage junkie. any words about soundstage depth and imaging on these?
Isolation is mediocre. Maybe I just didn't get a great seal?
Soundstage is also mediocre
I'd say they're better with female vocals with their more intimate tones
I tried it with some middle end amps (Yulong D100mk2 among others) but it didn't help too much since it's quite efficient I find