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Classic AT phones

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Is there such a thing as a classic Audio Technica headphone model ? The reason I am asking is that I have access to a number of NOS models which have lain on a shelf in a warehouse for 10-15 years. I have no idea of which models they are but can anyone point me towards a particular model that I should look out for. I am no cans buff and will only use them sporadically as my amp (Sugden A21SE) does not provide for cans and up until the other day when I bought a Beresford DAC, I was a vinyl only fanatic and didn´t have a phones socket. Or are headphones like cartridges where technological advances and perishable parts advise proceeding with caution.
Thanks to all with long memories.
post #2 of 31
Got any ATH-1 or ATH-2?
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
Are they the ones to look out for ?
post #4 of 31
Well, those are the two i might be interested in. That and their electret models. I'm a planar enthusiast.

Others might be more interested in something else. facelvega has called his ATH-3 his "worst random headphone purchase ever" so it's probably going to be hit or miss.
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericj View Post
Well, those are the two i might be interested in. That and their electret models. I'm a planar enthusiast.

Others might be more interested in something else. facelvega has called his ATH-3 his "worst random headphone purchase ever" so it's probably going to be hit or miss.
I have to edit that old claim, because since then I picked up a pair of old East German DK86, which trounce the ATH-3 in awfulness. It's symbolically pleasing, though, as perhaps the best headphones I have ever bought, the HOK80-2, were also East German and also cost me 2 euros.

On the vintage AT front: as Eric suggests, most head-fi interest in old ATs has to do with their planar models, the orthos and electrets. There are some vintage dynamic models that look great, but they are rare and tend to go for over what we guess to be their value. I say guess because there are models nobody around here seems to have tried yet.

Here's my recommendation, assuming you've got to choose from a bunch of old dynamics: take whatever looks good but don't pay much above $50. If you can test them out, and assuming you don't really know good headphones yet, then go buy yourself a pair of Koss KSC-75 for fifteen bucks-- they're the standard starter set for headphone audiophilia. Anything that sounds better than the Koss is a keeper.

[I also have to admit I sold those AT suckers on the FS forum for ten bucks. Luckily the gent also took a pair of Philips-rebadged AKG K260 cheap, so he still ended up with a good deal and I was able to sleep at night.]

edit on seeing Roastpuff's post below: oh yeah, don't forget the woodies. Though not as technically nifty as the planars, they're worth much more money.
post #6 of 31
The W10VTG, W10LTD are really classic woodie AT phones. They're produced around that time frame - and if you do find them I'd buy them in a heartbeat.
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
It would seem I can get either of 2 NOS electret models - ATH 7 and 8 and also the ATH-5 Dynamics plus a zillion other references that no-one has ever heard of. No woodies I´m afraid. The ATH-7 are monopolar and the ATH-8 are bipolar types. Am I right in saying that they should be connected to the speaker outlets via a sort of adaptor box ? Sounds like major hassle to an occasional user but anyway, what should I pay max for these - any suggestions ? Thanks.
post #8 of 31
Yes, the electrets hook up to a speaker amp through a transformer box.

I don't know what they're worth NOS - used they go for anywhere between $30 and $50 on ebay - which is probably high?

I hadn't heard of the ATH-8. Maybe superior to the 7.

Any of the "TK" signet models?
post #9 of 31
Thread Starter 
Yes, the ATH-8 was top of the line according to the specs on an AT leaflet/flysheet I picked up inside a box - apparently Bipolar electret where the Ath-7 was monopolar, also more sensitive, 1% harmonic distortion (3% in the ATH-7) and max. input power of 10,000 mW (c/w 5,000) and the diaphragm thickness was 2 microns as opposed to 5 in the 7s. Whatever all that may mean. I haven´t got a final price yet but I fear they´ll be asking for for the then retail price (15 years ago) = roughly 100 euros (unopened box) so we shall see. Thanks anyway
post #10 of 31
Do they come with tranformer boxes? 100 euros is too much. The seller might well get that from a collector, but that much money carefully spent will buy you something both better and more interesting. 70 euros or less would be more appropriate. And yes, the ATH-8 sounds like it has superior specs to the 7.
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swarkestone View Post
Yes, the ATH-8 was top of the line according to the specs on an AT leaflet/flysheet I picked up inside a box - apparently Bipolar electret where the Ath-7 was monopolar, also more sensitive, 1% harmonic distortion (3% in the ATH-7) and max. input power of 10,000 mW (c/w 5,000) and the diaphragm thickness was 2 microns as opposed to 5 in the 7s. Whatever all that may mean. I haven´t got a final price yet but I fear they´ll be asking for for the then retail price (15 years ago) = roughly 100 euros (unopened box) so we shall see. Thanks anyway
2 microns for a bipolar electret? That's incredible. Were they reverse electrets or something?
post #12 of 31
I have ATH-2s. They are currently awful, though apparently mod-able. And we know that iso drivers have hellsa potential. For the most part, AT retro-phones are at least worth it from the standpoint of mechanical curiosity.
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
I shall check if they include the transformer boxes but remember these are "as new", unopened boxes so maybe the price is reasonable. Just as a matter of interest, while having a quick look at what they´d got on the shelves, all sorts of mics amongst which I saw an " AT- Microphone Wardrobe" (Ref MJ7)in absolutely immaculate, as new condition. Basically an aluminium suitcase with felt covered dividers inside to house 7(I think) models of the same microphone (didn´t catch the reference number) in 7 different liveries (gold, white, green, silver, blue, red, black, I think) along with 7 matching cables and 7 tiny little bottles of touch-up paint. Absolutely impressive though why one would want that I have no idea, maybe to match Shirley Bassey type dresses. There was also another similar 2 model (CM11 and 22) / 4 cardioid microphone case (Ref: MJ5) but the reticulated foam stuff inside had crumbled to dust and was all over the place. A veritable collector´s treasure trove.
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkmo
I have ATH-2s. They are currently awful, though apparently mod-able.
[evil cartoon frog chortle] Heh heh. Will trade ATH-2 modding for artwork.

The ATH-8 is visually identical to the US-market Signet TK33. According to Audio Circuit it's the same unit, but I've never seen an ATH-8 in the flesh, much less heard one. I'm glad my memory didn't deceive me-- 2 microns was what I remembered for the TK33's diaphragm.

Carl, I too wondered if the 8/33 used the inside-out type of arrangement with the electrets on the stators. I still haven't found evidence for this. Maybe our friend Swarkestone can find the info we need to verify.

They're interesting 'phones, the TK33s, but very much lacking in what I can only call "modern" bass. Back in the LP era, when the TK33 was introduced, real bass was something you only got from your own reel-to-reel recordings and direct-to-disc LPs or live FM broadcasts. Normal program material was routinely rolled off below 80 Hz to gain more real estate, and thus playing time, on the normal LP surface. So it didn't matter that killer 'phones like the SR-X Mk 3 and the Signet didn't have much bass. Having said that, if you have the EQ to do it, the TK33 will take bass boost cleanly and give up the funk. They're also a bit midrangey-- A-T made a deliberate choice between damping and soundstage-- but there are cures for that.

So maybe they're not for everybody. Still, since good working examples go on eBay, even these days, for $30 plus shipping, it's not worth it to spend 100 Euros for an NIB unit unless you're a collector, just as FacelVega says, though they are definitely worth up to $50.

If they have some A-T condenser mics, scream out.

And yes, the A-T dynamic 'phones of the same era (ATH-3/4/5) are very blah. Pleasant, reasonably smooth, but no treble and no bass and not particularly flat. Still, they're very stylish and might make decent foster 'phones for donor drivers.

.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Excuse my absolute ignorance Wualta but could you elucidate on the condenser mics ? Any model numbers in particular ?
Thanks for the info on the phones - guess I´ll look elsewhere.
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