Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Not liking ATH-ESW9. Anything else to try?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Not liking ATH-ESW9. Anything else to try?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Got my ESW9 in the mail since I figured it would be a good match to try for the types of music I like. I listen to a lot of Japanese music, female vocals and Radiohead. I'm also a huge fan of Pearl Jam.


Out of the box I was surprised at how small they were. Pictures just don't really show you this well. I put them on and they seem like a perfect fit. Too bad the tips of my ears kind of hurt after awhile. Seems like there is actually some good isolation despite them only resting on my ears. They seem to cover most of my ear, which I guess is a good thing.


The sound feels pretty muffled and not clear at all. I probably need to burn them in more. I was actually surprised how much bass they have. The bass is ok, but it seems like there's too much mid-bass and kind of has a bloated feeling.


Violins and a Piano on Joe Hisaishi's "The Rain" sounds terribly un-natural and annoying. The song is completely ruined. Everything just seems to irritate my ears. Basically very few instruments sound as natural as they do on my HD-600, Grado SR-80 and Pro DJ 100.


It seems like this is a real Jekyll & Hyde like headphone. On headroom's website they said sometimes the mids can be recessed, but everyone else in the world seems to think they have very forward sounding mids. I'm was sitting there listening to Radiohead and vocals are a bit hard to hear clearly. Basically just struggling to hear them. Specific instruments seem to be pushed far back into the background. Same with tiny details.


The bass is just pretty annoying and seems to show up when it shouldn't even be around. It's just so weird when some say these have recessed mids and the other 50% say they're forward!


Right now nothing sounds "right" to me. Everything in the sound signature just seems to want to annoy me however it can. Basically right now it almost reminds me of my experience with the MDR-V6.


I will burn them in a few more hours and see how it goes. Right now it's the 2nd worst experience with a headphone. It's funny because my feeling is that I bought something just for it's look and not so much for it's sound.


I put on my modded Grado SR-80 and the sound is just so much more crystal clear. Doesn't make sense. Everything is just more natural and feels more accurate.


I'm using them with an Ipod Touch using ALAC files and a Total Airhead, which is actually a very good amp in my experience.


A week ago I had the Ultrasone HFI-680 and disliked those too. I actually prefer those to these, but those went back due to getting beaten out by my SR-80 and Pro DJ 100. How is it that I loved the bass quality and quantity on the HFI-680, but on this headphone I hate it?


It's not a fake and I verified this. I got it from Buy.com. I could have waited a week and gotten it for $40 less, but i'm so impatient.


Anything else worth trying? I'm trying to stay with something that's smaller and works OK without an amp (but still benefits from one).


I like the Grado mids and how crystal clear they are. Something that's like the SR-80 with more bass and less harsh highs would be nice. Probably too much to ask for!


post #2 of 5

I had pretty much the same experience as you you, after buying a set from Beach Camera's. I 'upgraded' to a set of ATH-ES10 - sooo much better. I can highly recommend them. (Bought mine from Aiko for $370 - fast shipping etc.). 

post #3 of 5

The ESW series is very lush sounding. I was recommended them too and I also did not like them. The sound stage is small and there is alot of sub bass response that causes all the music and vocals to blend. I would have recommended the ES7 to you actually and if you can, I recommend you to try it.


If you want good female vocals, I still have to recommend Audio Technica. If you have a tube amp, the W1000 is wonderful and very difficult to beat. Otherwise, there are still the AD2000, ES10, the A-series, and the W-series in Audio Tech. I would avoid the W5000 and the M50.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I wanted to try the ATH-ES10, but I was cheap and couldn't fork over that kind of money this year unfortunately. They're also a bit hard to find still in the USA. $370 doesn't sound too bad. I imagine they're slightly bigger, so that'd be better for my ears. ESW9 wasn't painful, but the top of my ears hurt a bit, nothing terrible at all. I absolutely love everything about the design of the ESW9 though. It's funny because right before I tried them on I said to myself something like "These possibly can't sound as good as they look!". I certainly don't mind paying extra for a good looking headphone like this.


I guess I shouldn't have assumed that the ATH-ES10 would only sound "slightly" better then the ESW9.


I'd like to try more Audio Technica headphones. Never liked the M50 much. It's a good headphone, but not really to my liking. I hate to do it, but i'll have to pass on any of them that have the design like the AD700! Those things were so massive and I felt like the pad was covering my whole cheek AND ear. However that was possible. It was a weird feeling. They just just a poor fit for my small head. W1000 is probably past my price range anyway. I probably couldn't even force myself to pay over $600 for a headphone.


Hopefully I can also find something that has the bass of the HFI-680 too, but has better mids. That'd be perfect I think.


Strangely I was going to order the ES7 for $80, but I canceled that order at the very last minute and ordered the ESW9 instead. I now wish I didn't do that!


So I take it the mids are better on the ES7? Can't hurt to try.


post #5 of 5

The W1000 can be found really cheap. Around $200-300, but it is highly recommended that you get a tube amp for it otherwise probably not a good idea.


I wouldn't say the ES7 has better mids, but the bass doesnt run all over the place and it is a lot more impactful and punchy. The high mids are emphasized for female vocals.


I perfect choice for you is still either the ES10 or the various other full sized Audio Techs. Look into the AD series if you can.

Audio Techs are known to have excellent mids for female vocals.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Not liking ATH-ESW9. Anything else to try?