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Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 and ATH-ESW9A Appreciation Thread

post #1 of 682
Thread Starter 

I was shocked to see these wonderful phones cropping up all over Head-Fi.org, yet no well-deserved official Appreciation Thread, so I decided to kick one off!

 

Please post your experiences with these gorgeous woodies, African Padauk Cups clad with Black Dyed Lambskin Leather Pads, in a portable configuration, with flat storing, swiveling cups, and a nice pleather pouch.

 

Please feel free to post what expectations you held for them. What suprises they held for you, and what disappointments or pitfalls their design/ usability befell you.

 

Bring up what tonal and soundstaging nuances and characteristics held you cradled in the palm of their hand or running shrieking to another set of cans or vendor...

 

All in all this thread should be a meeting ground for every single borrower, tester, user, owner (past and present) and place for hopeful owner to glean knowledge from the "ESW9" experience.

 

Thank You All

 

-FLACvest

post #2 of 682
Thread Starter 

 

Audio Technica ATH-ESW9A: My First Serious Cans
FLACvest reviewed November 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Hello Fellow Head-Fi'ers,

 

I've gotten my pair of Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9A's delivered today, and not only am I a changed man by the experience of donning my highest quality pair of cans auditioned; I'm now an A-T man for good.

 

I first thought they were pretty good looking. Pretty DARN GOOD LOOKING. But what is style over substance? 

 

Fortunately I had my experience with the Victor HP-FX500's to teach me the virtue of Woodie Headphones. Also how fabulous they could be.

 

Originally I'd intended to get the EARSUIT ATH-ES10 Titaniums. They're supposed to have more HOLY BASS. Much more than the EARSUIT Le Luxe ATH-ESW9A... about TWICE as much.

 

HOWEVER, being on a budget, and wanting to hear a full-sized pair of woodies, I relented to my instincts and went with these. BOY AM I GLAD I DID!!!

 

RICH Honeysuckle mids; Caramel mids, Butterscotch and Honey lacquered treble and a dense, stiffly resonant Bass Backbone that echoes through the wood. All with Resolution that soars through the very polite placement of soundstaging. 

 

I couldn't be happier. EVERY TONE SOUNDS PROPER. CORRECT. DELIGHTFUL.

 

Like I said, I'm now an A-T Man.

post #3 of 682

Pretty sad no one's joined in on the discussion. I'll be the first. 

 

I bought these from buydig for about 220. Had them for 2 weeks. Returned them. During the two weeks they've mostly been sitting stretched on a case that's a bit wider than my head to 1) reduce clamping force and 2) to burn in. However, the clamping really gave me a headache even after the headband has spent two weeks in a position that is wider than my head. It gets really uncomfortable after just 20 minutes. No lambskin pad could soothe that. I guess headphones don't agree with my head. I've had some JVC, MS-1, PX100 and etc, and they only start to get uncomfortable after more than an hour. But with these I can't stand them for over 20 min. 

 

Sound wise, obviously was not good enough to make me wanna keep them. Though I heard you can't hear the ATH trademark of female vocals until beyond 150 hours of burn in, which mine were not. 

 

Also, the headband feels like they will break over time, and the wood cups feel clumsy compared to my EW9s. 


Edited by Yggdrassilious - 11/21/10 at 3:41pm
post #4 of 682

I have the ESW10jpn, which shares the same headband design as the ESW9 series. The joints do feel rather flimsy in construction, but they're are still going well after a year and a half of use. My fear is more the wooden cups get scratched - these are cans you need to take care of.

 

The clamping pressure on the head, I have to agree is too strong. My ears start to hurt after less than an hour of use. I've had them for some time now, but the clamping pressure is still too much for longer listening periods.

post #5 of 682

1 good comment and 2 bad one...at this rate might not be an appreciation thread. popcorn.gif

post #6 of 682
Thread Starter 

I'm curious where the clamping force issues are coming from. My ESW9A grip my head comfy like a pair of pillows, just right, not too tight. I listen for hours at a sitting. LOL. Different strokes for different folks. I guess in the words of Quark the Ferengi on Deep Space Nine, I just have the Lobes for these cans! LOL.

post #7 of 682

I really like my ESW9's and got them when they were released, in the first week from Japan.  They were a bit pricey, more than now at least.  I have enjoyed them for years in that they are a great portable set to have around, sound is good and they look nice.  Comfortable as well.  

 

Only one issue to watch out for, don't pull them to extend by the earcups, it is tempting when adjusting the fit/length.  There is a weak spot up above the swivel, where the line is below the screw.  It has snapped on both sides leaving the cups dangling.  I simply super glued them and they are as good as new.  Gotta say when i did it to the second side i was kicking myself, even knowing not to pull the cups down i forgot.  

 

Also beware of counterfeit ones, buy them from a legit place, and i don't know about used.  There were some very passable copies going around a while back as i recall.

 

Over all they are my got to in many situations although i just did upgrade them recently with a portable pair of Ultrasone ED 8 limiteds, I am often uncomfortable with wearing around a $2000. portable in some places.wink_face.gif

post #8 of 682


Dallan,

 

  Can you share your opinion how to adjust the fitting without breaking them?  I was hoping this issue was only with certain batch, but I'm starting to be convince this is not the case. 

 

   I hope these perform well with Pop and R&B, and have somewhat good bass.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post

I really like my ESW9's and got them when they were released, in the first week from Japan.  They were a bit pricey, more than now at least.  I have enjoyed them for years in that they are a great portable set to have around, sound is good and they look nice.  Comfortable as well.  

 

Only one issue to watch out for, don't pull them to extend by the earcups, it is tempting when adjusting the fit/length.  There is a weak spot up above the swivel, where the line is below the screw.  It has snapped on both sides leaving the cups dangling.  I simply super glued them and they are as good as new.  Gotta say when i did it to the second side i was kicking myself, even knowing not to pull the cups down i forgot.  

 

Also beware of counterfeit ones, buy them from a legit place, and i don't know about used.  There were some very passable copies going around a while back as i recall.

 

Over all they are my got to in many situations although i just did upgrade them recently with a portable pair of Ultrasone ED 8 limiteds, I am often uncomfortable with wearing around a $2000. portable in some places.wink_face.gif

post #9 of 682
I bought my ATH-ESW9 about 9 months back and it hasn't stopped wowing me since then. This is the most expensive pair of headphones I ever bought at SGD350. I pair it with my FiiO E5 and my 16GB iPhone 4.

Quality wise, I have to say its not that awesome considering the fact that it's made in japan. The pleather on the headband came out from the cups extension area after 3 months. Brought it back to the authorised service provider and they dunno how to fix it. Super bad service. Had to superglue it back myself. But as good as new now.

But the sound quality is what, I felt, justified it's price tag. Bass is "inside-a-club-standing-next-to-the-subwoofer" kind of good. Tight bass that does not overpower the mids and highs. This is what I like about it. Everything is nicely balanced. And vocals smooth as ever. But seems a bit more laid back as compared to other AT headphones I've heard so far. This ESW9 is not quite trademark AT sound. But I like it the way it is. I'm glad I broke my bank to get the ESW9 over the ES7. Never regretted it.
post #10 of 682

does the esw9 improve sound quality with the combination fiio E5 with iphone 4? are you using a LOD?  I hope you are right about the bass...if you are then I think I might be done with headphone for awhile.  I just need an amp which I'm looking toward the Mini 3 plus I need to do some research on what LOD works with the iphone 4.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alleggerita View Post

I bought my ATH-ESW9 about 9 months back and it hasn't stopped wowing me since then. This is the most expensive pair of headphones I ever bought at SGD350. I pair it with my FiiO E5 and my 16GB iPhone 4.

Quality wise, I have to say its not that awesome considering the fact that it's made in japan. The pleather on the headband came out from the cups extension area after 3 months. Brought it back to the authorised service provider and they dunno how to fix it. Super bad service. Had to superglue it back myself. But as good as new now.

But the sound quality is what, I felt, justified it's price tag. Bass is "inside-a-club-standing-next-to-the-subwoofer" kind of good. Tight bass that does not overpower the mids and highs. This is what I like about it. Everything is nicely balanced. And vocals smooth as ever. But seems a bit more laid back as compared to other AT headphones I've heard so far. This ESW9 is not quite trademark AT sound. But I like it the way it is. I'm glad I broke my bank to get the ESW9 over the ES7. Never regretted it.
post #11 of 682
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundeffect View Post

does the esw9 improve sound quality with the combination fiio E5 with iphone 4? are you using a LOD?  I hope you are right about the bass...if you are then I think I might be done with headphone for awhile.  I just need an amp which I'm looking toward the Mini 3 plus I need to do some research on what LOD works with the iphone 4.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alleggerita View Post

I bought my ATH-ESW9 about 9 months back and it hasn't stopped wowing me since then. This is the most expensive pair of headphones I ever bought at SGD350. I pair it with my FiiO E5 and my 16GB iPhone 4.

Quality wise, I have to say its not that awesome considering the fact that it's made in japan. The pleather on the headband came out from the cups extension area after 3 months. Brought it back to the authorised service provider and they dunno how to fix it. Super bad service. Had to superglue it back myself. But as good as new now.

But the sound quality is what, I felt, justified it's price tag. Bass is "inside-a-club-standing-next-to-the-subwoofer" kind of good. Tight bass that does not overpower the mids and highs. This is what I like about it. Everything is nicely balanced. And vocals smooth as ever. But seems a bit more laid back as compared to other AT headphones I've heard so far. This ESW9 is not quite trademark AT sound. But I like it the way it is. I'm glad I broke my bank to get the ESW9 over the ES7. Never regretted it.

 


I've used an E5 with my Fuze and found the E5 to be surprisingly decent with the ESW9A, although before my iBasso T4 died, it really sounded good with that. Wish I still had the T4. Oh well. However back to the E5 it lends enough weight to the bottom register to make a user satisfied in many situations.

post #12 of 682
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundeffect View Post

does the esw9 improve sound quality with the combination fiio E5 with iphone 4? are you using a LOD?  I hope you are right about the bass...if you are then I think I might be done with headphone for awhile.  I just need an amp which I'm looking toward the Mini 3 plus I need to do some research on what LOD works with the iphone 4.
 






Yes I'm using a LOD. But a cheap one. Bass is awesome if you crank it up with the iPhone's EQ plus the bass boost on the E5. But you're gonna lose a bit of details at the high-end, which is to expected. So you'll have to choose for yourself. Usually for me I'll crank up the bass for the R&B genre of songs. And revert to normal for pop songs. wink.gif

Added: and the iPhone 4 has got to be the best sounding iDevice I've heard so far. iDevices that I've owned so far include the iPod nano 1st and 4th gen, iPod touch 1st gen and iPhone 3G. The iPhone 4 is capable of some serious bass even without my E5. And this is coming out from the HO jack. And there's lots of bass with near zero distortion or clipping. Pretty amazing for a iDevice. The other iPod/iPhones always start to sound bad after EQ is applied. But the EQ on the iPhone 4 actually works. Kudos to Apple for finally making a EQ that works. Though I would still want to have a customisable EQ.
Edited by alleggerita - 11/24/10 at 7:26am
post #13 of 682

Which LOD are you using with the iphone 4?  I know you say it's cheap, but I don't have the money for good one in the mean time so when I buy an amp, I will probable need to buy a cheap one.  Yeah, I haven't heard a lot of DAPs, but the iphone 4 satisfies my need to search elsewhere especially on a phone.  The iphone 4 is a very pleasant phone, hard to not like.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alleggerita View Post





Yes I'm using a LOD. But a cheap one. Bass is awesome if you crank it up with the iPhone's EQ plus the bass boost on the E5. But you're gonna lose a bit of details at the high-end, which is to expected. So you'll have to choose for yourself. Usually for me I'll crank up the bass for the R&B genre of songs. And revert to normal for pop songs. ;)Added: and the iPhone 4 has got to be the best sounding iDevice I've heard so far. iDevices that I've owned so far include the iPod nano 1st and 4th gen, iPod touch 1st gen and iPhone 3G. The iPhone 4 is capable of some serious bass even without my E5. And this is coming out from the HO jack. And there's lots of bass with near zero distortion or clipping. Pretty amazing for a iDevice. The other iPod/iPhones always start to sound bad after EQ is applied. But the EQ on the iPhone 4 actually works. Kudos to Apple for finally making a EQ that works. Though I would still want to have a customisable EQ.
post #14 of 682
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundeffect View Post


Dallan,

 

  Can you share your opinion how to adjust the fitting without breaking them?  


I now hold the plastic above the cup, the part that broke from the stress of the cup pulling on it.  It is at the bottom of the metal adjustment strap and usually i hold the plastic on the top above the strap and gently expand the size pulling down.  That way the cup doesn't pull on the plastic piece on top of the cup with the screw on it that cracked.

post #15 of 682


Thanks, I can't wait until I get mine...so many good compliment on them.  I'm glade I bump into this thread, this whole breaking problem was worrying me, but you cleared it up.  Hopefully the esw9a will satisfy me and stop my quest in the mean time.  If not I might jump back to look for full size like the D2000 or DT990.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by soundeffect View Post


Dallan,

 

  Can you share your opinion how to adjust the fitting without breaking them?  


I now hold the plastic above the cup, the part that broke from the stress of the cup pulling on it.  It is at the bottom of the metal adjustment strap and usually i hold the plastic on the top above the strap and gently expand the size pulling down.  That way the cup doesn't pull on the plastic piece on top of the cup with the screw on it that cracked.

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