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Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones Reviews


fabulous for office listening


Pros: no sound leakage in office, great sound quality, portable

Cons: pads sit on ears so a little uncomfortable for long sessions.

I own many high quality headphone (Stax Lambda circa 1985, Stax SR303, AKG K1000, Sennheiser HD580, plus many other middle level phones) but I wanted a quality  headphone for my office that was close to the stax.  I needed something that was sealed so it would not disturb my colleagues.  I also really enjoy the Audio Technica sound (similar to stax "voicing" in many ways).  These fit my goal perfectly.     The sound quality is extremely good, but not up to the level of the Stax or K1000s.  But for the office and a 20,000円 pair of headphones I am extremely happy.  Plus they are very stylish.  When shopping for these I checked out many sennheiser, AKG, denon and Audio Technica phones.  I...
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A Delicate Beauty (Pictures added 5/8/15)


Pros: IT'S BEAUTIFUL, Addictive Sound Signature (for specific genres)

Cons: Very little accessories, questionable durability, comfortability issues, very genre specific

I have typed up this review @audio-technica.com a few months back and I thought I should also put it here. First, I would like to apologize for my very vague description of the sound (and "flowery" language) and also please don't kill me with your potential comments of hate. Thanks! I guess I should also mention that this is my first review of a headphone product excluding the review I made for the IE800 knock offs I bought from Aliexpress. I clearly did not say that those sounded better than the Etymotic HF5, but hey if that's what the seller thought I said then so be it.Also, I'll try to add some pictures later.Also failed to mention that I got these from Best Buy. IN 2014! These were...
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Warm on-ears that you can take on the go or savor at home


Pros: Warm but still punchy tone, large soundstage, lightweight, subtle good looks, comfortable

Cons: No accessories, disappointing cable, delicate brackets, don't fold for travel

I purchased the Audio Technica ESW9a. These have African Paduak shells rather than the cherry of the Japanese release. The ESW9a is made in Japan.      Physical:         First, these are most definitely not circumaural headphones. The pads have a slope, the outside edge of which extends to the tops and bottoms of my ears (medium size) if positioned just so. The pads to press your ears down. I don't find the clamping intense or uncomfortable, but I became used to the vise-grip of the Senn HD280 Pro after a couple years of use. YMMV. I would call these on-ears and warn that they fit and feel like large on-ears. I usually despise on-ears but am...
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Gorgeous Sounding as is gorgeous looking


Pros: Warm sound, very musical, striking looks

Cons: Not ruggedly durable, doesn't isolate well,

I got this on Amazon for $199 and can't believe it was initially released for over $500. Nevertheless, the headphones are decent and would satisfy most enthusiasts who prefer clarity and musicality at the same time.   Build Quality   The quality is good and the product is well made, however, it feels flimsy especially for its price range. Aside from the luxurious lambskin, protein leather and wood,the rest is mainly made of (cheap) plastic. The headphones overall doesn't inspire ruggedness and it's hard to see it surviving if you're gonna throw it to your bed like how you throw your other headphones. The cable is also very thin and double-sided.   Isolation is...
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Maybe not the best of the few cans I've tried so far, but the most involving.


Pros: Great warmth of sound. Fabulous looks.

Cons: Very cheap, flimsy, and short cable.

So do you go with what you like or with what's best for you? I guess at the juncture at most points in my life I've gone with the former. In headphones too that has me going back to the ESW9s again and again. They are NOT my most accurate cans. Even while listening, I know I'm not hearing the whole story. But somehow, the sound of these headphones just grabs me like nothing has so far.

Audio-Technica wood on the go


Pros: Nicely judged tonal balance

Cons: Needs some TLC, not a rugged portable

I might not have gotten these if I had'nt heard them. I was milling around the best buy and put on a few cans. I thought these were the best sounding cans Best Buy had on their wall- portable or otherwise. It was not even that close. Maybe not the ideal comparing circumstance but the ESW9's really impressed me. They had some other AT models, AKG, Pioneer, Bose and B&W for sampling- not sure the models. When they arrived I found The ESW9's work very well with a Sony Walkman. That is mainly the reason I got them. The sound is refined, maybe a touch warm but still nicely clear and detailed. If there's one thing these phones have it is tonal balance, to me the balance is very good for...
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Pros: outstanding sound

Cons: none

I'm a newbie to high end who wishes to thank all the poster @ head-fi that steered me to creating a really amazing set up thatis  freakin' life changing:   DACport LX DAC $249 Amazon Headstage Arrow 12HE 4G Headphone amplifier $299  headstage.com Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones $216  Amazon Great start. Versatile, portable, and outstanding.

My first real headphones... blown away.


Pros: Amazing high and mid ranges. Female Vocals, Jazz and Orchestral Music is amazing.

Cons: Bass is not very heavy, but it is there (compared to a pair of ATH-M50s)

I got these as my first set and I couldn't be more satisfied.   I ordered them refurbished for $149.00 from an audiotechnica certified dealer on the internet (ironically, I ordered the ESW9As, but got a set of these instead--what serendipitous fortune!).   Seeing as I listen to Jazzy Beats (see songs such as 'The Strange Fruit Projects - Maintain' for reference) as well as soundtracks ('A Dark Knight,' etc.) or more chill electronica (see 'Ellie Goulding - Lights (Shook Remix)' for reference), these headphones were perfect for me.   The highs and mids shine on this pair of headphones. Even without a DAC/amp (I bought a FiiO E07K ANDES to complete this set-up),...
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Style and substance


Pros: Outstanding midrange, Good for a variety of genres, Beautiful design (especially the wood housing)

Cons: Worst isolation for a portable, somewhat fragile construction (particularly the swivel joints)

When I was on a look out for my first serious headphones, I came across this beautiful 'Geisha' by the name of ESW9. 'Gorgeous' was the first word that I uttered upon gazing the headphone for the first time. But seeing a lot of stylish cans coming out as of late, I was wary; will it be another of those style over substance type of 'trash' I was hearing about? I did some more in depth research and decided that I pull the trigger on them. And all my doubts before were casted away completely when I started to listen to this grandiose work of art!   What's Inside   Opening the windowed black box reveals the headphones with the cups covered in a sticky plastic along with...
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Phones that actually shocked me.


Pros: Midrange, Vocal clarity, Mellow "Tube" sound, Appearance

Cons: Isolation (it leaks), The fact that it's supra-aural, Slight flimsy feeling to it

A little background: This can be considered my first decent pair of "portable" headphones. I have a pair of HD650s at home and I usually use my customs or UE TF10 Pro's when I'm going out. I've stopped using in-ears for a while because I seem to get swollen canals after prolonged use and it hurts. God forbid I've actually picked up the iPod earbuds for portable listening. I've recently decided to buy a pair of portable headphones. I was actually considering the Sennheiser HD25-1 II but I've tried it at my local store and it doesn't seem to fit too well with my ears (I don't seem to get a seal but the SQ was decent, very forward sounding). I remember I've looked at the ESW9's a while...
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