Pros: Lush, inviting euphonic sound with great PRaT
Cons: Not the most technically capiable, not neutral
W3000ANV is one of the many products Audio Technica made in celebration of its 50th Anniversary. Limited to only 2000 pieces worldwide.
Equipment used and listening preference
Source: Asus Xonar Essence ST (3 X LME49720HA)
Headphone amps: Clarity III SE, STAX SRM-727A
Interconnect cable: Zonotone 6NAC-3000 Meister
Audio Technica ATH-AD1000PRM
Audio Techinca ATH-A2000X
Audio Techinca ATH-W3000ANV
STAX SR-404 Signature with SR-507 earpads
FitEar MH334 CIEM
Listened at low to medium volume (mostly low)
Audio Technica is making a statement here and they are putting all their effort in it. Totally out of the world build quality with exquisite natural material and sheer craftsmanship. The W3000ANV will not look out of place in an art exhibition.
The lush traditional Japanese Echizen lacquer-finished Hokkaido Asada cherry heartwood ear cups proudly displays the heritage of the county of origin. I have heard the cultivation of cherry wood is strictly limited, making it the only Audio Technica headphone that is using this rare wood since the last W1000 rolled out the production line. Pictures simply do not do justice to ever changing finish.
The attention to detail does not stop there. The ear pads are handcrafted from Spanish lambskin leather, the frame from magnesium, the dual entry 7N headphone cord braided with none other than 100% silk. All of that is finished off with the 6.3mm jack with matching wood inlay and the “Made in Japan” mark.
I can go on and on about the unrivalled build quality of this headphone. I must say, this is a near perfect blend of precision engineering available in large corporations and traditional craftsmanship that Japan is very proud of themselves.
Fit and comfort
The “hit or miss” fit of the newer Audio Technica headphones is still present in the W3000ANV.
It can be difficult to get a perfect seal without any adjustment, at least for me that mean I have to manually bend the headband to fit my head shape and adding a hairband to increase tension on the 3D-wing system, which I fit a bit too weak and making the headphones slide down over time.
That being said so; the fit without any adjustment is one of the best from the new line up. I do not have to resort to extreme yoga bending that my A2000X have to go through being getting an acceptable seal and the earcup is of a good size and depth to comfortably accommodate my ears.
However, for the faint hearted, forcefully bending the headband to shape in a headphone as expensive and rare might be a bit too much to take.
Overall sound impression
So how does it sound?
Well extended treble that does not sound harsh, deep bass that slams quite well, signature forward and lush mids, medium sized soundstage with good position definition, and excellent texture across the whole frequency range. Overall a mid centric, slightly warm and thick headphone, but have lightning quick response while still has a thick bass decay.
Throwing statements like “most accurate representation of recording”, “technically superior”, “best THD measurement” totally out the window. Instead of trying to be technically correct, Audio Technica focused on creating a headphone simply for the sake of music enjoyment.
I have not been wowed by a pair of headphones for a long time, the W3000ANV did it for me. Even after hearing “technically superior” headphones like SR-009, LCD-X, I found the sheer musicality of the W3000ANV even more spectacular than superior technical ability of other modern flagship headphones.
It is very accommodating in terms of recording quality and music type. From high quality audiophile recordings to low dynamic range modern pop; the W3000ANV never sounded harsh even on the worst recordings. Anything thrown at it you are getting an inviting and musical experience, with many of the modern flagships, it is simply not possible when they are presenting the cold hard truth back.
The W3000ANV is not any world beater if you take apart individual component of sound and start comparing. That is not what this headphone is about, if you are after an inviting and non-fatiguing musical presentation, the W3000ANV excels at making any music enjoyable. If you are looking for another audio microscope or for use in music production, look elsewhere.
Headphone designed from ground up for music enjoyment, while not lacking in technical abilities, it is not a winner in that department.
A speedy headphone while unusually having an enjoyable thick bass decay. Detail is at least on-par with other headphone in this price range; you won’t feel like you are missing much listening to it.
Excel for long listening session with the inviting and non-fatiguing sound, it is very involving headphone, yet being relaxing at the same time.
I guess I have to use the dreaded terms, Lush , Euphonic and PRaT.
For those are familiar with the FitEar MH334, it have a similar signature. The W3000ANV is less warm tilted than the MH334 and have more treble presence too.
Unlike AD1000PRM, AD2000, the mid coloration on the W3000ANV makes it suitable for both male and female vocal.
Great for vocal and long low volume listening sessions, natural instruments. Woodwind sounds exquisite on this.
I found my other headphones which have a faster bass presentation more suitable for electronics music.