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Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones

post #1 of 187
Thread Starter 
I received my Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones from J&R Music World this past Friday and I wanted to post my listening impressions thus far:

Aesthetics & Design:
strikingly beautiful design that photographs do not do justice to unless you handle them yourself
fairly lightweight for full sized headphones
very comfortable and secure grip over my head with no slippage or sound leakage

Sound Quality:
Accurate timbral reproduction: pianos, hi-hat cymbals, woodwinds, etc. sound realistic in proportion to live music
Fairly neutral and even balance across the spectra except in the upper midrange which is slightly tipped up
Bass quality is highly textured, detailed, and quick 'n punchy
Slightly upfront presentation of midrange
Midrange is extremely clear, highly resolved, and fairly warm especially in the upper midrange for vocals
Midrange is silky smooth, refined, and effortlessly expansive
Sound stage width and depth are cavernous
Imaging precision is spot on
Female vocals take on a luscious, sweet, warmth
Transparency is king
Trebles are smooth, airy, and well articulated
Detail and microdynamic resolution are top notch more so than the AKG K 701
Macrodynamic range is wide with good extension for bass and treble


Overall, I have learned to open up my mind to as many different types of headphone designers as possible and the one thing that I learned from these cans is that they are a superbly refined and luxurious. They have very good synergy with my reference system to my ears. I am very happy to be fortunate enough to be able to afford my Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones.

I will write a full review for Head-Fi Quarterly magazine about my new reference cans.
post #2 of 187
Good.. You Mark, Duggeh, Zanth, & Skylab write the best reviews on Head Fi.. Your review of the HR2 was the main reason I purchased it. So mid range isn't nasally like some say? Does it image better then the 701? Does the warmth seem natural or 'added on'? What about their speed? Still thinking about getting these or the D7000/T1..
post #3 of 187
Glad you are enjoying the W5000, I had them for a while and although they were not my cup of tea I can see why so many enjoy them. Look forward to your full review.
post #4 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice View Post
Good.. You Mark, Duggeh, Zanth, & Skylab write the best reviews on Head Fi.. Your review of the HR2 was the main reason I purchased it. So mid range isn't nasally like some say? Does it image better then the 701? Does the warmth seem natural or 'added on'? What about their speed? Still thinking about getting these or the D7000/T1..
For the midrange, it does not sound nasal within my reference system as I am listening to Renee Fleming's Sacred Songs CD right now. Comparing the AKG K 701 to the Audio Technica ATH-W5000, the AKG have an airier and more spacious sound stage with smoother extension while the A-T sounds much more natural with greater resonance especially during passages involving massed chorals. The bottom line difference comes down to timbral accuracy in which I give the nod to the A-T in the midrange and treble departments. The A-T also image much more precisely than the AKG with more density that is slightly smaller in terms of width and height, but the instrumental layering in depth is far superior with an uncanny naturalness that makes for easy listening for extended periods of time. Speed is a toss-up between the A-T and AKG; the A-T don't pivot as fast in macrodynamics as the AKG, but they do so with much more natural and refined silky smoothness that is truly effortless.

Bottom line: the AKG K 701 and Audio Technica ATH-W5000 share the same lineage in terms of house sound, but they differ once you start nitpicking for their known advantages and disadvantages which makes the AKG a tremendous value for the price and the A-T a luxury classe de piece.

I hope this helps you. This is helping me to cogitate my upcoming review for Head-Fi Quarterly.
post #5 of 187
I think you might be in for a treat when you have a chance to pair your W5000 with another amp. I did not like the HR-2/W5000 pairing at all. I thought this pairing sounded thin, sterile, and tilted treble (in a bad way). However, the bass did have excellent texture.

The Phoenix and the infamous SP Extreme took the W5000 to another level especially in terms of clarity, smoothness, and slam.

I'm still hoping to reacquire the W5000 someday when I have enough cash to buy it and an amp it deserves to have.
post #6 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonboy403 View Post
I think you might be in for a treat when you have a chance to pair your W5000 with another amp. I did not like the HR-2/W5000 pairing at all. I thought this pairing sounded thin, sterile, and tilted treble (in a bad way). However, the bass did have excellent texture.

The Phoenix and the infamous SP Extreme took the W5000 to another level especially in terms of clarity, smoothness, and slam.

I'm still hoping to reacquire the W5000 someday when I have enough cash to buy it and an amp it deserves to have.
moonboy:

Is it not true that Audio Technica made a headphone amplifier specifically designed for the ATH-W5000 which is the AT-HA5000 and that it is no longer in production?

Thank you for your opinions.
post #7 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu View Post
moonboy:

Is it not true that Audio Technica made a headphone amplifier specifically designed for the ATH-W5000 which is the AT-HA5000 and that it is no longer in production?

Thank you for your opinions.
Yes they did. I never had a chance to try it but I hope I will someday.
post #8 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonboy403 View Post
I think you might be in for a treat when you have a chance to pair your W5000 with another amp. I did not like the HR-2/W5000 pairing at all. I thought this pairing sounded thin, sterile, and tilted treble (in a bad way). However, the bass did have excellent texture.

The Phoenix and the infamous SP Extreme took the W5000 to another level especially in terms of clarity, smoothness, and slam.

I'm still hoping to reacquire the W5000 someday when I have enough cash to buy it and an amp it deserves to have.
As a matter of fact, I do have another headphone amplifier in the Resolution Audio Opus 21 XS Extra Sources. I still prefer my HR-2 for added smoothness, resolution, and warmth of sound over the RAO 21 XS.
post #9 of 187
I see I have a similar opinon on the W5000's sound. I also find W5000 very smooth and relaxing for the listener without losing any detail.
post #10 of 187
Wellu Wu, I had been contemplating purchasing an expensive and rather idiosyncratic Japanese earphone until quite recently. I thought better of it and then considered purchasing another IEM to add to my collection. Then I saw this thread and your opening post spoke to me in a most compelling way. After spending a weekend of reading as much as I could absorb about this headphone, I ordered it this evening.
post #11 of 187
Can you comment about isolation?
post #12 of 187
Isolation is medicore at best, They have ports in the housing to control the bass. Thogh once you let the envelop you with sound i promise you'll forget about ambient noises.
post #13 of 187
I am not asking because I am concerned of outside noise while listening to music, I am more interested in music not leaking out and distracting my co-workers
post #14 of 187
Nice write up. I agree with most there. The W5000s mids are possibly my favorite. Female vocals are sublime. I had troubles with the fit and found them too bright too often which led to me selling them, but I would not mind having a pair just to take out on occasion. The bass quantity is little lacking for my tastes but it is incredibly detailed and textured. Transparency is phenomenal.

The HA5000 can still be purchased but it has to be found second hand or ordered through Japan and it will always be 100V. Try Price Japan. That was my favorite amp for the W5000s (preferred over Apache, CEC 53Rv8, Leben, Yamamoto HA-02) and I would say that it is even more handsome than the headphones. I kept it long after the headphones left and is another piece of gear that I would not be surprised to make a reappearance.

Looking forward to the full review!
post #15 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu View Post
I received my Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones from J&R Music World this past Friday and I wanted to post my listening impressions thus far:

Aesthetics & Design:
strikingly beautiful design that photographs do not do justice to unless you handle them yourself
fairly lightweight for full sized headphones
very comfortable and secure grip over my head with no slippage or sound leakage

Sound Quality:
Accurate timbral reproduction: pianos, hi-hat cymbals, woodwinds, etc. sound realistic in proportion to live music
Fairly neutral and even balance across the spectra except in the upper midrange which is slightly tipped up
Bass quality is highly textured, detailed, and quick 'n punchy
Slightly upfront presentation of midrange
Midrange is extremely clear, highly resolved, and fairly warm especially in the upper midrange for vocals
Midrange is silky smooth, refined, and effortlessly expansive
Sound stage width and depth are cavernous
Imaging precision is spot on
Female vocals take on a luscious, sweet, warmth
Transparency is king
Trebles are smooth, airy, and well articulated
Detail and microdynamic resolution are top notch more so than the AKG K 701
Macrodynamic range is wide with good extension for bass and treble


Overall, I have learned to open up my mind to as many different types of headphone designers as possible and the one thing that I learned from these cans is that they are a superbly refined and luxurious. They have very good synergy with my reference system to my ears. I am very happy to be fortunate enough to be able to afford my Audio Technica ATH-W5000 headphones.

I will write a full review for Head-Fi Quarterly magazine about my new reference cans.
Thanks for the review mate.
Is the bass better than the bass lacking can i.e. K701/2 ?
How does the W5k compare to ATH-AD2k, Beyerdynamic DT 880/990/150 and Ultrasone Pro 900 ?

Thanks
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