Pros: Easy to drive
Lots of accessories
Excellent for female vocals
Titanium cups looks stunning
Cons: Flimsy cables
Low bass quantity
Proprietary connection system
Short Review of Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI
Before I start. I’m new to writing headphone reviews and this is my first review. Also, English is not my native language, so don’t be too harsh on the language. Feedback and criticism are greatly appreciated. Now, onto the review.
It all started when I wanted a pair of closed-back headphones. Don’t get me wrong, open backs are great, but when I’m listening to music at 3 am and there are other family members in the house. It’s simply less ideal. I decided to do some research. The first criteria were that they needed to be comfortable and, second, have a good sound signature. I mostly fell for the Sony MDR-Z1R because of its amazing bass presentation. However, all that bass eventually became a little bit tiresome. But that’s when I discovered the Audio Technica ATH-AP2000TI. It seemed to be the perfect headphones for my needs. But unfortunately, there weren’t that many reviews out there. So, I hope this review can help people on the fence on whether it’s for them or not.
The packaging and unboxing
The Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI arrived in a small, simplistic, and high-quality cardboard box. Upon opening, you are presented with a carrying case. Within the case, there is another case meant for the cables and, of course, the headphones. In the lower compartment of the packaging, is where you will find three different cables and the paperwork. There’s a 1.2 m and 3 m cable with 3.5 mm termination and a 1.2 m cable with 4.4 mm termination. There’s also included a 6.3 mm stereo adapter and a cleaning cloth.
The carrying cases are of high quality and feel a bit more premium than the one that comes with the Sony WH-100XM4. The ATH-AP2000TI uses Audio-Technica's A2DC (Audio Design Detachable Coaxial) connection system. So, it might be a little bit harder to find aftermarket cables for them. Now onto the cables themselves. They honestly feel a little bit cheap. The cables are rubbery and thin. They remind me of the cables included with the Sony WH-1000XM4, although a bit thinner. Despite all those downsides, I like them. They are as stated thin and portable, but I do suspect they eventually will wear out.
The build and comfort
The Audio Technica ATH-AP2000TI is composed of two titanium cups. These cups are quite the eye-catcher. However, as stated in other places, they are quite the fingerprint magnet. The titanium thankfully contributes to the low weight of just 300 g. The ATH-AP200TI is easily one of the most comfortable closed-back headphones I have used, including open-back headphones. The earpads are made of genuine lambskin and are soft to the touch. The pads are like the pads of the Sony MDR-Z1R, both comfort-, and build-wise. But the padding on the headband might be lacking. I didn’t feel any hotspots or pain on the top of my head, but others have had comfort issues due to the headband padding. The rest of the build consists of mostly high-quality plastic. This includes the hinges and the adjustment slider. Overall fantastic build quality.
The sound quality
My listening was conducted using the 1.2 m cable with 3.5 mm termination through my m1 iMac, RME ADI-2 DAC FS, and my iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) through an Apple USB-C audio adapter. I mostly streamed the music from Apple Music while using the Hi-res lossless quality setting.
First, I want to say that these are the best closed-back headphones that I have heard. They have great clarity. They sound airy and resolving. I think the way they achieve this is by utilizing bright treble. I would categorize it as brighter than Focal Utopias treble. However, the treble is by no means sibilant. But it can get a little tiresome over time. Another potential downside is that some female vocals can sound a bit too sharp from time to time. But I didn’t experience this often by no means. The female vocals on these headphones sound roughly the same as on the Sony IER-Z1R. Despite some minor sharpness, I would describe them as one of the best headphones for purely listening to female vocals.
Bass and dynamics
The bass performance is relatively good. However, it’s not even worth comparing them to the bass performance of the Sony MDR-Z1R. But it has some strong sides to it. It’s not that hard-hitting, and the quantity is relatively low. However, when the track demands it, shows its true potential. The dynamics are unfortunately comparable to the ones of the STAX-Lambda series. The bass thankfully has good texture and detail, but don’t go in expecting amazing dynamics or a bass head headphone just because it's closed-back.
The detail retrieval of the Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI strikes a nice balance between having too many details and too few details. As for reference, my Focal Utopia has, in my opinion, too many details. I often hear things in songs that I don’t want to hear. The Audio-Technica's strike a nice balance. I hear the details I want to hear like a backstage singer’s voice and small hidden details left in by the artists during the recording. It's overall very forgiving on most badly recorded recordings, unlike the Focal Utopia which is in my opinion is a hit or miss on bad recording.
Soundstage and separation
Now on to the soundstage. The soundstage on the ATH-AP200OTI is small and intimate. It’s not quite as forward and expansive as the one in the Focal Utopia, but it comes close. Due to it sounding a bit more distant than the Focal Utopia, it is less fatiguing to listen to classical music on them compared to the Focal Utopia. But fear, not despite the small soundstage, the separation is excellent. I’m easily able to separate and pinpoint each separate instrument and vocal in the room. Overall, the soundstage and separation are great, although not the best I have heard in a closed-back headphone. But for the price point, the separation and soundstage are great. I’m unfortunately not going to write or state my opinion regarding the imaging as I don’t have a good grasp of it yet.
In conclusion, I would call the Audio-Technica ATH-AP2000TI the best closed-back headphones that I have heard. The comfort and build quality are top-notch. They have excellent clarity and are a perfect match for female vocals. However, they have some minor sharpness, and they lack bass quantity and dynamics. The soundstage and separation are great, although not the best I have heard in a closed-back headphone. All in all, great headphones which I highly recommend, especially if you can get them under the MSRP of 1250 USD.
I got to try these at Yodobashi when I was in Japan.
I don't know what Audio Technica did to these headphones, but they seem to add some sort of surround sound that really separates the instruments on certain tracks. Really stood out and I tried out all the summit-fi headphones for the most part while I was there. Bass is a little light, but might need a proper seal on your head.
I have tons of interest in these after owning the ATH-A2000z’s. I thought the A2000z’s where the best Audio Technica headphone I heard. I going to sell them and pre-order AP2000TI’s, which sound better in every way including fit.