Pros: Intimate sound; Great clarity; Non-linear soundstage; Good looking; Uniquely coloured sound; Great for vocals and classical.
Cons: Hefty price tag; Bass is inadequate compared to other similarly priced models; Average soundstage width/height.
This is my first review I've ever done on Head-Fi so please go easy on me.
Setup: FLAC > Foobar2000 > Burson Audio HA-160D > ATH-W3000ANV
When the ATH-W3000ANV was first announced, I was very hyped for it, knowing the reputation of AT and how good the mid on their woodies are. So after reading some reviews and recommendations I went for it.
Audio Quality (Since I am not able to be completely objective about the sound, please take my AQ rating with a grain of salt):
- Low: Bass notes are clear, articulate and does not sound muddy in the least. Bass impact is good, never bleeds into the mid, and has good extension and decay. Its bass is well suited for almost any kind of music that I've listened to, but bassheads will thrive for more quantity and boom.
- Mid: Mid is the bread-and-butter for this headphone. Because of the wooden cup, mid has a warm, intimate characteristic. Vocals are smooth, distinctively mellow and clear in such a way that induces a unique emotion with different genres/songs. The sincerity in an artist's voice, the grand atmosphere in a classical recording, the natural fastness of an EDM track, I can feel them all. It is also slightly forward, but not too much to make other frequency ranges fade into the background.
- High: Treble has a really nice ring to it, and sounds fairly natural. However, I occasionally find the treble slightly harsh on certain tracks.
- Soundstage: In term of technicality, soundstage is quite small compared to open-back models. However, its well-imaged soundstage make me prefer it over other bigger soundstage headphones, like the HE500.
There are only 2000 units of this headphone, so I think by the time of this review there is no more stock on it, meaning you'll probably have to pay more (which unfortunately make its rating for value lower).
What you get for this $1200 pair of headphone is an extremely classy box, with a letter of appreciation for buying this product from Audio-Technica, and the headphone itself. The cup and jack are made from Echizen laquer-finished Hokkaido Asada cherry heartwood, which is very appealing to look at. Unfortunately, if the headphone is exposed to sunlight frequently, its colour will begin to fade, so be careful. The headphone looks rather fragile compared to the HD800 or T1, mainly due to the wing system. I wouldn't recommend treating it roughly.
The pads are made from Spanish lamb-skin, which make it by far the most comfortable headphone I've ever worn. However, be advised that the wing system is not adjustable like many other headphones, so the fit is not for everyone.
If I have to describe the ATH-W3000ANV succinctly, I would use words like "pleasant", "musical". It is a great pair of headphone, but seems to be a bit picky when it comes to amp-ing and sound signature. On top of that, unavailability for demo and a $1200 price tag will make many to shun away from it. However, if you have a strong affinity for mid-heavy music, I strongly recommend it.