Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.03571/5,
  1. AnAnalogSpirit
    4.0/5,
    "Audio Technica ATH-ESW9A: My First Serious Cans"
    Pros - Quality of Materials, Construction, Caliber of Sound Reproduction, Looks
    Cons - None so far
    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.
  2. jessica_fae
    4.0/5,
    "fabulous for office listening"
    Pros - no sound leakage in office, great sound quality, portable
    Cons - pads sit on ears so a little uncomfortable for long sessions.
    I own many high quality headphone (Stax Lambda circa 1985, Stax SR303, AKG K1000, Sennheiser HD580, plus many other middle level phones) but I wanted a quality  headphone for my office that was close to the stax.  I needed something that was sealed so it would not disturb my colleagues.  I also really enjoy the Audio Technica sound (similar to stax "voicing" in many ways).  These fit my goal perfectly.  
     
    The sound quality is extremely good, but not up to the level of the Stax or K1000s.  But for the office and a 20,000円 pair of headphones I am extremely happy.  Plus they are very stylish.  When shopping for these I checked out many sennheiser, AKG, denon and Audio Technica phones.  I seriously compared to the audio technica ATH-A700, A900, AD700 and AD900, AKG K601 K701, and several denons in the $200 range.The AKG are very nice, like a mix of sennheiser stax and AudioTechnica but not closed back but quite expensive in Japan (almost stax pricing). The Denons were very nice but seemed too bass heavy and warm sounding to my taste, but I can see why many love them.  The ATH-AD series had a nice, enjoyable sound but they leaked sound too much (open design) and just did not fit my head since they lack a vertical rotation joint. The A700 and A900 were also very nice. I almost bought the ATH-A900, but I really like the ESW9 sound a lot more.  The ESW9 seems more balanced (more stax like) while the A700/A900 seemed a bit bass heavy and a little "thicker" sounding to me.  When I first listened to the ESW9 I knew immediately that this was what I was looking for.  It really stood out in the comparison.  I run them with a Gilmore Lite headphone amp.
    I highly recommend auditioning the ATH-ESW9 for anyone looking for a high quality sound in the $200 price range, especially if they want a closed-back headphone that sounds like an open design.  But there are many fakes out there so I highly recommend listening at a dealer and not buying used or from ebay.
    PhoenixClaw and Eles like this.
  3. alphaphoenix
    3.0/5,
    "Pretty, but OK"
    Pros - Pretty
    Cons - Sounds just OK, fakes galore
    This can is one of my short lived ownership.  With the 1/8 tip, it's clear these are targeted for portables and most likely with the iPods when they first came out.  
     
    I had these for 5 days and became the second owner where the first owner had at least 100 hours on them, but they looked new when I received it.  I was wowed by the construction and wood cups.  On top of that they are pretty comfortable.  
     
    However, listening to my 5th Gen iPod with this can didn't wow me one bit.  It was plain and boring, and although much better than the iPod earphones, but they just didn't have whatever it is to keep them unlike my Grado RS series (yes, bad comparison).  
     
    For the price, there are many, many better cans with better sound quality.   
  4. zumaro
    3.5/5,
    "Great sound, weak construction"