Gorgeous Sounding as is gorgeous looking

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

Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones

Rated # 13 in On-Ear
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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 so so. You have to crank up the volume a bit since the cans doesn't isolate well. Comfort is average as it feels odd at the beginning. The cups are large enough (for some) to be a circumaural headphone but the pads are somewhat in the middle. It's a Grado-like bowl pads and for some, it might not be comfortable.


Sound quality


I like this headphone a lot! The overall signature is neutral, certainly not dark but has plenty of warmth to make the sound enjoyable. Overall the sound is colored but that makes ESW9 sound 'magical'. Bass and midrange are tubey sounding in a way and while treble is somewhat subdued, there's plenty of it.


Soundstage and instrument separation is the typical for this type of cans (which is average to say the least) but it helps that the headphones don’t sound too ‘closed’. I’m assuming this is the good tradeoff for it not isolating outside noise well.


Headphone plays plenty loud on portable players and I don't think an amp is really needed for it. I tried several portable amps like E11 and it really didn't alter the sound too much.


Overall it's a good headphone especially if you like classical, jazz, slow rock, female vocals, etc. Might be a bit slow for faster modern rock though.


Posted some pictures in my blog review of the ESW9 here.


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