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fabulous for office listening

A Review On: Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones

Rated # 11 in On-Ear
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jessica_fae
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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 seriously compared to the audio technica ATH-A700, A900, AD700 and AD900, AKG K601 K701, and several denons in the $200 range.The AKG are very nice, like a mix of sennheiser stax and AudioTechnica but not closed back but quite expensive in Japan (almost stax pricing). The Denons were very nice but seemed too bass heavy and warm sounding to my taste, but I can see why many love them.  The ATH-AD series had a nice, enjoyable sound but they leaked sound too much (open design) and just did not fit my head since they lack a vertical rotation joint. The A700 and A900 were also very nice. I almost bought the ATH-A900, but I really like the ESW9 sound a lot more.  The ESW9 seems more balanced (more stax like) while the A700/A900 seemed a bit bass heavy and a little "thicker" sounding to me.  When I first listened to the ESW9 I knew immediately that this was what I was looking for.  It really stood out in the comparison.  I run them with a Gilmore Lite headphone amp.

I highly recommend auditioning the ATH-ESW9 for anyone looking for a high quality sound in the $200 price range, especially if they want a closed-back headphone that sounds like an open design.  But there are many fakes out there so I highly recommend listening at a dealer and not buying used or from ebay.

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