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Just got my AT-W100s

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
It just came in the mail from AudioCubes (very quick service!)!

First impressions:

Build quality is impeccable. These definitely feel like quality cans, from the smoove wood to the beautiful leather to the cool cord. The drivers just look huge!

Sound is... forward. It's not as poor initially as some people make out. The upper-midrange is definitly prominent. The highs are sometimes airy, sometimes screechy. Bass is actually kinda nice--not punchy, but definitely there. They kind of remind me of an unrefined Grado RS-1 (but with a wider soundstage).

Well, I'll check in more as my cans break in, but I'm really really impressed even at first listen. It was definitely worth selling my Senn 580s for this!
post #2 of 39
Thanks for your post. I too am a recent owner of the AT W100s. I've held off posting because I didn't want to diss them unfairly--I was driving them directly from source, no amp. I've been hoping that driving them from an amp would improve them...now I'm hoping that as my amp breaks in, it will drive them better...
post #3 of 39
Got my W11R two days ago. First impression is positive. Thought Senn HD600 is a very comfortable phone, but this fits better on my head. Just going for the looks, the Senn looks like cheap plastic.
Thought that burning in an AT woodie should be something like going through the purgatory. But it sounded quite OK right out of the box. Senn is more laid back but I didn't experience the AT as forward, rather more direct and open. It was rough and too harsh for classical music.
Have compared it to HD600 with Clou Red cable after 24 and 48 hours. There are differences but not as huge as I have expected, difference should be greater with the stock cable. After a very quick comparison at 48 hours, I cannot say that the AT beats the HD600/Clou, but think I prefer sound of the AT.
post #4 of 39
Originally posted by Anders
Got my W11R two days ago ...
Have you by any chance heard of the W100 ... can you compare with the W11R?
post #5 of 39
Have not heard the W100.
post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 
Wow, it's pretty amazing the difference a day makes. (On a side note, I wish someone could convincingly explain to me why audio equipment "breaks in." There seems to be no rational explanation, but it's fairly obvious that it does happen.) The highs are coming down a bit. One problem I have noticed is that really low bass is not being reproduced accurately. I was just listening to the Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin, and a lot the bass was just sonic mash.

Otherwise, the sound is just so... clean. Listening through my EMP, the clarity and smoothness of the sound is astounding.

Edit: When I said they sounded "forward," I meant that it's as if you are on the stage (a la Grado) and not back in the audience (a la Sennheiser).
post #7 of 39
I have now burnt it in for 70 hours. It becomes clearly better after 25 hours and one step more after 50. After 50 hours it sounded really good but the brightness was still there. After 70 hours most of the harshness has disappeared but is there sometimes, most hearable in classical music. Actually, in some sense it sounded worse at 60 hours whith instant shifts between good, ariculated treble and grains of harshness in the "attacks" (can't find the word). So it seems to need at least 100 hours. The harshness I still hear sounds like remnants in the most treble intensive moments.
There are some rational arguments for burn-in, but I don't know if they are right. Very shortly. A speaker or headphone has moving elements that soften or adapt after a while. The electron flow in wires form paths in the wire as people can make paths in a wood (possibly very oversimplified). The physical processes may not be well-known but many have heard the difference. It doesn't seem that you had expected a burn-in phenomena of this kind. This is good, because it becomes subjectivly more convincing to oneself when it is unexpected.
In my experience, good components often require long burn-in (but you must connect it to other good components to hear the difference).
BTW, the bass seem to improve after 30 - 50 hours.
post #8 of 39
I too have a W100 that was not what I had expected after reading many of the positive posts when it first hit the boards a few months back.

I burnt it in a few days and it got better. I listened to it and was on the fence... pronounced highs, slightly recessed mid-range abrupt, clean bass. Too much sibilance for my tastes.

Then I burnt it in for a week straight at moderate volume. Non-f'ing stop. I found a great tube match in my Zotl and the rest is history (for now).

These things are great. And they keep getting better. I sold my melos, sold my HD600's and listen to the AT's most of the time. Maybe my head's getting used to them, maybe it's the burn-in time, maybe the tubes, most likely a combo of all the above.

Have patience...
post #9 of 39
Fortune, I'll practice patience...but my AT's were burned in for 300 hours by the previous owner. I'm still not overwhelmed by their sound. I've now got a new Earmax Pro. Let's see how the combo pans out over the next week or two.
post #10 of 39

I'm not familiar with the earmax pro. I know about the amp but have never had the chance to hear what it can do. I have noticed large differences in the sound of the AT's with the different tubes I've tried in the microzotl. Some of the tubes intensify the treble annoyingly and make the midrange even more recessed to throw off the overall balance of sound.

However, other tubes actually smooth out the sound and bring everything into balance (for my ears of course).

I hope you find the sound you are seeking with the AT's and the earmax. I've had a difficult time finding the sound that is most pleasing to my personal taste. The worst part about it is that my curiousity is continually pushing me towards trying new combo's on the off chance I may find something "better".
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Congrats Calanctus! The EMP is an unbelievable performer and it has worked out well with every headphone I've owned. There are a few other members here using the W100 with the EMP, and they seem to enjoy the combo a lot. You might want to try a little tuberolling to get the sound you want though.

Edit: Ahhh, the bass is definitely here now. After about 48 hours of continuous burn-in, I put The Soft Bulletin back in, and those really low bass notes are no longer just noise. It is just damn lovely with the EMP!
post #12 of 39

Just had to post on this thread....take a look at my avatar! The EMP and the W100 are an excellent combination. My EMP has stock tubes and after breakin now sounds excellent. When the EMP was new it took between 2 to 4 hours of warmup to sound it's best and also had a slight buzz. Now after being used a few hundred hours the buzz is gone and it sounds excellent after a short warm-up. I seem to be one of the few that thought the W100 was great out of the box....especially on female vocal and old jazz.

Good Luck!
post #13 of 39

One of the other headphones I'm thinking of buying is the Senn HD600--if the W100 does not work out. The 580 is considered to be very similar to the 600. How do the W100s compare to the 580 in bass extension, treble smoothness, and timbral accuracy (my 3 main criteria)?


Yes, thanks for the suggestion (Kubernetes also), I'll consider tube rolling (though that voids the warranty). I want bass and smoothness dammit!


Yes I see that cute little amp next to your name! I think you and Tomcat were two of the folks who really brought the W100 to the fore. I liked Tomcat's initial recommendation so much (the Beyer DT770 Pro) that I thought I had found the best way to buy equipment...just get recommendations from someone who likes what you like. So I got me the same amp and cans as his fave rig. I'll give it a full month, plus roll a few tubes if necessary.
post #14 of 39
There's a lot going on in the interaction between the headphone and the amp. I'm not a W100 owner anymore, but the Sony MDR-R10 has a similar sonic signature in many ways. Finding the right amp, interconnects and tubes for this kind of headphone is not easy. The hot high end and shy bass are often a sign of not enough power. Even though the W100 is efficient, I'm starting to think that an amp with a high-current power supply might help out immensely. That's my plan of action with the Sony, anyway.
post #15 of 39
Originally posted by Hirsch
I'm not a W100 owner anymore
Heh, yes I know. Well, at least the W100s are the best looking cans I own, blemish notwithstanding, and the most comfortable.

Originally posted by Hirsch
The hot high end and shy bass are often a sign of not enough power. Even though the W100 is efficient, I'm starting to think that an amp with a high-current power supply might help out immensely. That's my plan of action with the Sony, anyway.
Interesting; I thought the EMP was considered a fairly powerful amp...? Looking forward to hearing about your results.
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