Audio Technica ATH-ES88 BK Black | Portable Headphones (Japan Import)

General Information

The sleek on-ear ATH-ES88 headphones offer superbly clear high-resolution sound from Audio-Technica's new 40 mm drivers. Along with cutting-edge looks and extremely comfortable earcup design, the headphones deliver supreme audio reproduction with an extended frequency response of 9 - 26,000 Hz. The high-grade aluminum housing achieves excellent low-resonance acoustic characteristics. On each end of the headband, a unique pivoting mechanism allows the earpieces to swing to the most comfortable position for a custom fit. The newly designed cable is flat for tangle-free storage.

Latest reviews

Pros: Quite balanced sound, lightweight, build quality
Cons: Comfort
Sound
Warm, good bass extension, quite sweet highs, quite balanced sound, probably with slightly emphasized mids, not airy, recessed 300-500 Hz and 7-8 kHz. I think that the sound signature is quite similar to Audio-Technica ATH-ES10's sound signature but it's more mid-centric and not airy. The clarity is very similar too. I like the mids that are really natural. So if I can say that the ATH-ES10 is the ideal portable headphone then the ATH-ES88 is almost ideal because I think that the difference is not big.
 
Comfort and build
The build quality is amazing, it is difficult to scratch the textured aluminium housing, this unusual pivoting mechanism is very reliable, flat cables. I like the design very much. I can't say that the ATH-ES88 is comfortable: driver shells are placed not deep so it can hurt your ears. I can use it only three or four hours max.
 
I do agree that ATH-ES88s are very underrated.
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Mad Max
Mad Max
The headphone has a noticeable issue with being overdampened inside of the cups, as some of us who have tried it have noticed.  AT threw in some thick black felt to eliminate resonances inside of each cup, but the felt is too thick and the drivers sound like they are "suffocating" comparedto any other good closed-back headphone.
 
I came up with a simply solution: fiberfill.
See my photo.
I hope this helps other users of this now discontinued, neat little portable headphone.
 
I like the relatively balanced mids/treble of this headphone combined with emphasized bass.  Fun sound while still maintaining a good degree of accuracy, and a decent enough soundstage for a portable to serve as worthwhile all-rounder for music genres.
 
I bent the headband on mine to give me a tighter grip, and now I use it as an around-the-neck headband headphone, much like the Sony G52 and such "street-style" headphones.

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