Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Dino Headphones that Roamed the Earth, I got a set of AT ATH-2
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Dino Headphones that Roamed the Earth, I got a set of AT ATH-2

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have in my ugly hands a pair of old Audio Technica ATH-2s. These are interesting because of their planar moving coil drivers.

So, I won these on eBay over a month ago, but decided that I would wait until I actually had them in my grubby hands to say something (I had them shipped to my American address while I was still in Japan). I mainly want to show them off more than I want to offer my critical opinion.

About the sound, though: Let me say I was surprised at just how good they sound. I haven't spent that much time with them yet, but it is a lot more than I was expecting. Even though I feel they do begin to compare with my new Audio Technicas, they aren't as good. I feel that their being 20 or so years old probably has more to do with this than the build quality. Remember I'm not a professional audio guy, too. They feel more stuffy than the AD900 (but give em a break, they're closed! ) and I am wondering if they are in need of a recable (left channel feels a little quiet sometimes. I just need some more time listening to them). Aside from that, I think they are something that I can honestly listen to.

OK. The specs!
Audio Technica ATH-2 'planar moving coil dynamic stereophones'
(as copied from package details, There is more info here than you see on headphones reading material nowadays. Will one of you tech-heads kindly explain some of these things to my niave ass? )
Type: Planar-wave Dynamic
Matching Impedance: 4~60Ω (say what?)
Output sound pressure level (S.P.L. 1kHz, 0dB = 0.0002μ Bar/mW): 98dB
Frequency Range: 20~20,000Hz
Total Harmonic Distortion (110dB S.P.L.): less than 0.8%
Maximum permissible input (500Hz, 1min.): 1,000mW
Weight (not including cord): 200g
Cord: 2.5m low noise Y-type soft cord with (with 6.3Φ EIAJ plug)
(These specifications subject to change without notice for further improvement)

And now some pics!

Just a little comparison of the packaging. Left is the ATH-2, Right is the ATH-AD900.


Here they are! The pic is sort of bad because my camera is sort of bad. Notice the chrome accents, brown plastic headband and cup holder, Brown metal cups, and brown leather earpads. These suckers are as goofy as they are stylish


Here I am holding them up for a different view! Tiny!


Here I am sportin' them. Had to take the pic myself. To the faint of heart: I am sorry! I will try and convince a female acquaintance to model for me in the future!


more sportin' They are fine looking phones from the side.


same shots with the AD-900 for comparison, great pimpage


and again!

I still think the AD900s are all around better, but this was a great fifty dollar surprise and an interesting sidenote.

P.s. Wualta: the bass problem you had hypothesized about is not apparent. They have fine bass, I think.

Thoughts? Comments? I hope you guys enjoy the pics.
post #2 of 18
For someone who won an old set of headphones and quite like them you could try smiling...

It makes it more believeable

But congrats and finding a nice piece of AT history.
post #3 of 18
not bad....

I think I'll stick to the ATH-W line though.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
I do not smile! I am a man of action! Actually, I was not in a smiling mood after messing with the camera for so long. I am sorry again that you guys had to deal with seeing my face. Thanks! ^_^

Man, I wish I could stick with the W line. I was showing the woodied headphones off to a buddy today...

Hmm, I got a deal out of my boss the other day for an old Alpine amp in exchange for some art. Good deal?
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkmo
I do not smile! I am a man of action!
I am not a numba! I am a free man! [jumps into Lotus Super Seven and roars off]

Being an artist means never having to say you're sorry for looking like whatever it is you look like. One is above and beyond. Or at least way over to one side. Just ask Frank Lloyd Wright. It's his birthday.

Quote:
OK. The specs!
Audio Technica ATH-2 'planar moving coil dynamic stereophones'
Type: Planar-wave Dynamic
Matching Impedance: 4~60Ω (say what?)
Output sound pressure level (S.P.L. 1kHz, 0dB = 0.0002μ Bar/mW): 98dB
Frequency Range: 20~20,000Hz
Total Harmonic Distortion (110dB S.P.L.): less than 0.8%
Maximum permissible input (500Hz, 1min.): 1,000mW
Weight (not including cord): 200g
These are miniature Magneplanars. You know what izzit a Magneplanar, bubby? Maybe Monsoon computer speakers? Planar-magnetic. Good stuff. Do a search for <orthodynamic>. Here's how I'd interpret the specs:

They're probably 120--150 ohms. [wrong-- they're only 30 ohms! Very low for an isodynamic]

They'll play pretty loud without a lot of harmonic distortion. There are other kinds of distortion, like intermodulation distortion, which are probably more important indicators of headphone testicular fortitude, but it turns out planars are particularly good in this respect.

They'll take 1 watt of power in the midrange before melting. Reasonable.

Based on my similar Radio Shack version of this 'phone, efficiency is maybe 98dB/mW. Not super duper but not horrible.

They'll need a damper pad stuck to the back of the drivers to sound rilly rilly good. Amazing supertight whacking bass can be had, so if you like the way they sound now, you ain't heard nothin' yet. Put down that Rapidograph and pick up a #2 Phillips. We'll do it Jackmo style. Henh henh.

.
post #6 of 18
Secret note to Inkmo - "The Princess wants to wear these cans!"

Old school looks are the best. Like Grado. Ancient and funky. Bonus that they sound good to you! (Ask Headphile to recable and Woody them for you!)
post #7 of 18
Inkmo, assuming you can see inside the earcup reasonably well, do you see something that looks like this?

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
To Jahn: ::secret nod, secret wink::

To Wualta: What is intermodulation distortion? Sounds complicated. Actually, I don't know if this is the stereo's fault or the phones, but I've noticed a lot of the `80's tin can recording sound at times. I don't think this is bad. I sort of associated it with old hi fi anyhow. Pop in 'Rain Dogs' by Waits and compare it with his new stuff; that is the sound. Might this "`80's sound" have something to do with it? If not, what exactly is that sound called, and how does it work? Sorry to be a hassle, but you're a regular ol' piñata full'o answers lately .

As for me, I don't have the testicular fortitude at the moment to take a philips to 'em. Might look into that recabling business someday, though. I wonder if I can keep the nice little red and blue cable ends?
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Boy, can I ever! ::for great same-time postage::


post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkmo
To Wualta: What is intermodulation distortion? Sounds complicated.
It literally is. It's when a transducer (microphone, headphone, speaker) mangles once-distinct frequencies by letting them interfere with one another, ie, modulate one another. It's bad because it's by definition a reduction in clarity. In a transducer one craves simplicity. Simple movements, not ultracomplex chaotic flapping and rippling. It's harder to achieve than one might think.


Quote:
Actually, I don't know if this is the stereo's fault or the phones, but I've noticed a lot of the `80's tin can recording sound at times. I don't think this is bad. I sort of associated it with old hi fi anyhow. Pop in 'Rain Dogs' by Waits and compare it with his new stuff; that is the sound. Might this "`80's sound" have something to do with it?
Are you saying that a headphone from the '80s is making everything sound kinda '80s-ish? Could be.


Quote:
If not, what exactly is that sound called, and how does it work?
Stuff recorded in the '80s was mastered to sound good on a home system centered around the LP. Home speakers back then almost invariably had underdamped bass and weak treble, and cheap phono cartridges literally could not handle real bass, besides which real bass took up a lot of valuable real estate on LPs. So if you play anything that was mastered pre-CD-era, the bass is generally rolled off compared to modren all-numerical recordings and there's a broad EQ hump centered around 4KHz to add some "punch" and "clarity" to the woolly sounding bookshelf speakers of the time. Of course, on more accurate modern gear it sounds, well, rolled off with a broad EQ hump centered around 4KHz. I'm guessing that this is what you're describing.
Tom Waits? Well, he's big in Japan, but...


Quote:
Sorry to be a hassle, but you're a regular ol' piñata full'o answers lately.
"Lately"?! I'm always full of it! --I mean, answers. Whaddya talk?


Quote:
As for me, I don't have the testicular fortitude at the moment to take a phillips to 'em.
I know. I was merely poking you with a stick in a jocular fashion. I'd be tempted to leave 'em stock too. But I am curious to know if the ATH-2 you have uses the driver depicted above.


Quote:
Might look into that recabling business someday, though. I wonder if I can keep the nice little red and blue cable ends?
[groans] I'll be strung up by my testicular fortitude for saying this, but don't worry about the @#$ cables. Leave the old dears stock. Just know that there was more performance designed into the ATH-2 than anyone listening to vinyl ever suspected... and listen to them with a smug expression on your face.

Alpine? the car stereo company?
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkmo
Boy, can I ever! ::for great same-time postage::
Yes, that's some fast, I say, fast camera work, boy. But it looks like A-T stuck a decorative chrome grille over the driver. Argh. Oh well.

.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wualta
Alpine? the car stereo company?
That's right! They do make car stereos, don't they... Anyways, the boss says he has a shelf unit. Guessing this won't work for headphones. It probably belongs between the reciever and the speakers? Home stereos are pretty foriegn to me. I was only concerned with headphones before I found this and other boards.

Ok Ok, So I've only known you since lately . Forgot that you probably had other answers for other schmoes questions before I got here. Wowwow! Thanks for the explanation! I think that explains it pretty well. I thought of another good example. The effect can be heard (fairly) clearly in the movie "High Fidelity" with John Cusack (everything you need to know in life can be learned from John Cusack movies). It is the part where he turns his shelf system all the way up as his ex girlfriend is leaving him. That's the sound...
post #13 of 18
so that's where senn got their idea for the shape of the px200.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkmo
... the boss says he has a shelf unit. Guessing this won't work for headphones. It probably belongs between the reciever and the speakers?
I think so. A quick look at www.alpine-usa.com shows zero home stereo units. Not that they didn't make them at some time in the distant past, but I've never heard of such.

Grab the amp anyway and become a car stereo fanatic.


Quote:
Wowwow!
I listened to one of my long-ignored Shonen Knife CDs and by golly at one point they actually sing "wowowow". Who'da thunk it.


Quote:
Thanks for the explanation! I think that explains it pretty well. I thought of another good example. John Cusack turns his shelf system all the way up as his ex girlfriend is leaving him. That's the sound...
No bass and lots of clipping distortion! Yeah! Love it!

That's not just '80s sound; that's plain bad sound, and that ain't good.

Anyway, I'm impressed that your CD portable (hey, don't be ashamed-- you should've seen what I started with) can drive the ATH-2. Sometimes anything above 50 ohms makes the little chip amps run out of volts very quickly.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
oh, no way I can run the ATH-2 on the portable. That thing only has a full sized plug anyways. I'm using my roommates' stereo. Don't know the model number. I just know it is a Sony with 5.1 in the 300 dollar range.

Tee hee, one of my Japanese friend called Shonen Knife 'grannies' when I asked her about them.

I think that sound would be the one. Though, I've heard something like it in recordings, too.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Dino Headphones that Roamed the Earth, I got a set of AT ATH-2