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Audio Technica ATH- ES 10 Impressions Thread - Page 39

post #571 of 1055

2) Burned-in performance with RSA Predator


Both have now well over 100 hours of listening, so I consider them to be burned in to make some judgements.


In short words: the longer I have it, the more I like it. Predator's overall dark sound signature is IMO a nice match to ES10's bright upper section. 


I make regular trips to a few local headphone/portable hifi stores, to do some extended listening tests of various combos (i.e. pairing my Predator with other cans, or plugging my ES10 into other portable DAC/Amp combos), and I must admid that (until very recently) I haven't been able to hear a combo that I would like so much as to consider switching.


The only combo that I hear and really liked was... RSA Predator with Sony R1.


There was a lot to like more in ES10 in the SQ department:


- better bass extension, and overall better bass control;

- nicer overall sound dynamics (attack, decay)

- more pleasant "texture"

- better blended sound between highs, mids and lows


however, there are two areas where R1 was a clear winner: soundstage and wearing comfort.


- soundstage: R1s give a much greater sense of soundstage width, and slightly better depth. Compared to R1, ES10 sounded clearly narrower. I don't know what attributes to it more: larger and deeper cups of R1, or the fact that drivers are positioned slighly angled forward in R1, but they do sound much closer to open-back cans, than ES10.

- wearing comfort... This is the area where R1 simply tear ES10 apart. It is amazing how Sony managed to make such comfortable cans in still a very portble folding package. 


It's a pity that ES10, which in fact have slighlty larger drivers (53mm vs 50mm in R10), but have smaller earcups, being supra-aural, and frankly, after an hour or more of listening (my typial scenario, onboard an airplane or on a train) it becomes quite painful and sweaty.


R1 have larger-diameter earcups, and on my ears they become fully circumaural. 20 minutes uninterrupted (the longest I had in R1) showed they are absolute winners in wearing comfort field.


So I am seriously considering getting myself a pair, of course, not to replace, but to nicely complement my still beloved ES10.

post #572 of 1055
Sorry... couldn't resist. Here's another set of photos of the ES10 on top of my leather messenger bag. I have to admit, Martin really did an awesome job on these. They look phenomenon!

Worth every penny.
post #573 of 1055
For some reason my phone camera does not capture the reddish hue in the wood of my esw9,
So I am assuming the same is true with your pics?
More pics always Nice
post #574 of 1055
Yeah. It depends on the lighting condition.

Unless you have a camera with better lens and sensor than a phone that can capture light hues that are there. I used my trusty Fujifilm X100 to take those photos, and they were able to capture the red hue perfectly. Normally, I can only see that hue when intense light hits the cup. Otherwise it's a subtle coffee brown color most of the time. But gosh, I LOVE both of those colors!

This ES10 looks faaarrrrr better than my W1000X, or any other headphone that I have seen that is made of wood. And yeah, that includes the majestic W3000ANV. I wouldn't doubt that Audio Technica would consider making a model that looks like this and call it their next limited edition woody.
post #575 of 1055
I agree my w3000anv cups are very dark but the deep gloss is impressive..

My small esw9 cup with 7coats of polyurethane, comes out brown in My Galaxy Note2 Phone pic but in real life looks slightly reddish brown.
Edited by Maxx134 - 7/30/13 at 11:07pm
post #576 of 1055

So I finally gave in and took advantage of the Sonic deal.  I have to say, out of the box I'm pretty disappointed in the sound of these.  Lack of highs, over-exaggerated, muddy bass.  I'm hoping that the combination of acclimation and actual hours of physical burn-in will allow me to appreciate what everyone is raving about.


To be continued....

post #577 of 1055
Hahaha, like I said, you'd need some good lens and a good camera sensor to capture what your eyes can see.

Anyway, you instigated me enough, so I unscrewed the wood cups and put the titanium cups back. That actually sounds easier than it is because I had to slightly pry the wood cups out. They fit soooo snuggly! I was afraid I'd break them, but Martin made them pretty sturdy after all. I almost thought he glued them shut.

And then I did a small comparison. My ES10 is pretty far from "stock" now, but at least the comparison is valid for wood vs titanium cups.

Bass: wood has noticeably more bass, and the bass with the wood cups sound much more natural and "speaker-like" to my ears. It doesn't sound loose or boomy, but just... more "oomph". In contrast, bass with the titanium cups sounds sharp, and decays unnaturally fast. I think titanium may be desirable for music with fast drumming, but I prefer wood cups by far for bass.

Midrange: ooh, this is where things get interesting. You'd think wood should sound warmer and titanium should sound colder and sharper, right? Nope. It's almost the opposite! In fact, I think I have to break the midrange section into 3 because it's not quite enough to describe just "midrange".

Lower mid (300 - 500Hz): wood cups sound cleaner... not "nasal" like titanium cups for some weird reason. Also maybe there is more decay, so lower mid sounds smoother and more coherent to my ears. Titanium cups sound warmer and also slightly grainier.

Middle mid (500 - 4000Hz): sounds about equal on both, though wood cups are slightly more smoothed over, probably due to the longer decay once again. I actually prefer the smoothed over presentation as it helps with grains in older recordings.

Upper mid (4000 - 8000Hz): waaaaayyyyyy emphasized on wood cups. I mean... wow! Maybe this is why I preferred the presentation of the wood cups over the titanium cups. It does sound sibilant from time to time, but the overall presentation is just a lot cleaner and more coherent. I remedied sibilance by putting a piece of felt over the drivers, much like what the ESW9 has, and it does the job nicely.

Treble: yeah, in case you didn't catch that upper mid emphasis, I think you'll find the same here with treble. Waaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more emphasis over the titanium cups. But it's not the kind of emphasis that jumps out in waves like the DT990, but rather that it makes all of the upper frequencies far more obvious. Here's the test I used:

Since the drivers can only reproduce up to 20KHz, obviously 22KHz and 21KHz wouldn't be audible at all. But 20KHz? Oh dear... it is painfully obvious at normal listening levels with the wood cups, while it's barely audible at the same volume with the titanium cups. Same deal with 19KHz, 18KHz, 17KHz, etc... though it started to taper as frequencies dropped. This "emphasis" extends all the way down to 10KHz, where both are about equal but the wood cups still sound like they have a slight emphasis over the titanium cups.

Basically, wood cups make treble sound like a flat ruler from 8KHz all the way to 20KHz to me, while titanium cups have a downward slope starting from 10KHz... and it's barely audible at all at 20KHz. As a result of this

But wood cups don't just make high frequencies more obvious, they also smooth things out due to slightly longer decay. And the effect is a lot more audible with higher frequencies than it is with bass and midrange.

Soundstage: I think soundstage is slightly bigger with wood cups than with titanium cups. But then... wood cups are deeper than titanium cups by a good margin

So personally? I prefer the wood cups by far! Some simple modding took away the sibilance at higher listening levels, but the headphones still reproduce high frequencies like a champ.

Bonus section for maxx134:
I tried to do Germania's mod, but... oh God, you can probably guess from the writeup above that it causes treble to get way out of control. So I reverted the mod and just put them all back together instead.

It was worth a try. But this ES10 is just "perfect" for me.
Edited by Bill-P - 7/31/13 at 3:55pm
post #578 of 1055

Thanks for the impressions. That sounds awesome!


Did you try putting one cup wood and one cup titanium and listening to both at the same time? Hehe.

post #579 of 1055
Yeah. Did that + mono control on iPhone to make sure both sides are playing back the same thing, and the titanium side was obviously warmer and more closed in. I tried switching ears to make sure it wasn't just my ears playing tricks on me.

It's kinda unbelievable, really. I thought wood would be warmer.

If you think the current sound signature is V-shaped, then I think the wood cups would kinda make that "worse" unless you use felt to control the treble. It's that bright.

I like the presentation more, though. The ES10 always sounded a little bit too closed in for me, but now it's nicely balanced like the W1000X. W1000X still has a monstrous soundstage in comparison, but I can't exactly use the W1000X as a portable headphone now.
post #580 of 1055
Originally Posted by Bill-P View Post

I like the presentation more, though. The ES10 always sounded a little bit too closed in for me, but now it's nicely balanced like the W1000X. W1000X still has a monstrous soundstage in comparison, but I can't exactly use the W1000X as a portable headphone now.


I have actually seen someone use the W1000X as a portable. They were wearing it under a cap. I wanted to strangle them for taking those beautiful wood cups outside...

post #581 of 1055

Hey guys! I just made a head-fi account so I could say a few things about using the ESW9 pads as a replacement for the ES10's shoddy stock ear pads:


I recently bought the ES10s for my birthday, and loved their sound from the start, but I literally couldn't wear them for longer than an hour because of the uncomfortable ear pads. I gotta give a huge shoutout to Bill-P for all the useful information he's given out in this thread (and everyone else!), but there's a thing people need to know about those ESW9 replacement ear pads. On the ES10, they are definitely more comfortable (although they somehow increased headphone clamping for me...), but, Bill-P, you seemed to have been able to put the ESW9 pads on the ES10s with 'mild stretching,' and I don't know if the ESW9 pads are inconsistent by a small margin in their measurements or something, but the ones that I got today took me about 2 hours to get onto the ES10s. The pads felt like they were going to tear apart in my hands every time I tried to stretch them around, and even when they came out of the box my first immediate thought was 'There's no way these will fit...' I would instead describe the process as needing 'excessive and near-impossible' amounts of stretching.


I'm not sure I would recommend anyone else use the ESW9 pads for these headphones. The ESW11 pads may be a better fit, I don't know, but for anyone else out there thinking about it: BEWARE, because those ESW9 pads are gonna give you a helluva time!


Either way, great headphones; a little overpriced IMO but still nice! smily_headphones1.gif

post #582 of 1055

The ESW9 pads on the ES10 `fix` was mainly implemented when people couldnt purchase any of the ESW11 pads.


Now the ESW11 pads are available for purchase they are a perfect fit as the cups are the same size (ESW11 and ES10).

post #583 of 1055

I have had these a while now and I love listening to deep bass tracks with these as I feel they give the just the right amount of bass and a beautiful sound stage

post #584 of 1055
Hey Bill-P ,
Did you try putting back empty without the yellow fiberglass?
post #585 of 1055

Wanted to say this quite a while ago but didn't had time.


I'm not really a fan of woodies, but that is one very sexy beast.


Very very tempting...

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