Audio Technica ATH-W1000X


New Head-Fier
Pros: Beautiful tone curve (warm without being muddy), crystal clear, Audio-Technica comfort, great value compared to competition
Cons: Price (if you pay full retail)
It took me a while to warm up to this set of ATH-W1000X, because they are just so warm compared to what I'm used to, so it sounded like they lacked the clarity of my other sets (which, to be fair, are excellent and very expensive sets such as the Beyerdynamic T1 and the open ATH-AD2000X) - but it's not that the clarity is lacking, it's just that your ears are full of warmth and you don't notice that EVERY detail is there. My title, pros and cons say it all really - it is not a cheap set, but I firmly believe that they're the best closed headphones under $1000 I've heard, so given that, they're a steal at about $450 US/$550 AU. If you are really savvy, you can get them cheaper, so that's a REAL STEAL then.
Sound staging is actually better than many open sets I've heard, including ANY Sennheisers (HD650s come to mind for a closed sound from an open set), and similar staging to the ATH-AD900, which is saying something.
A great set of headphones, without a doubt.
Nice review

I've had these cans for a while now and absolutely love them. I understand your praise of their sound staging being so good, they really excel there.

I find the sound nice and crisp and the bass for me is just about right for my ears. I've the Fostex TH600 which are in similar kind of price bracket, albeit Fostex being slightly more expensive which are great in their own right but don't have the warmth of the ATH-W1000X IMO at least but the Audio Technica's are better value for what they cost.

They are quite a light weight can and the 3D wing fit makes for very light clamping for prolonged use.

I especially like the beautiful wood housing on the earcups which are deep enough for my ears to not touch the drivers.

I wish Audio Technica had removable cables rather than fixed, but that's a small gripe.

Excellent cans for sure.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Sound good with pretty much everything, Look really, really nice, Great value at current price
Cons: Headband, non-detachable cable
I bought a pair of these recently, I'm one of many who took advantage of the $399 deal on these.  I think for the price I paid they are a pretty good deal, but they do have some issues.  They are certainly an attractive pair of headphones.  Cable looks and feels a bit cheap, but the 1/4" plug is quite nice.  To me these sound a lot like my D7000s, although certainly not as good, pretty close overall.  They have robust bass response, although it lacks some extension and can sound a bit muddy at times.  I found the midrange on these not quite as good as others describe, to me it sounded a bit strange.  The highs on these seemed a bit dull to me.  They do have a very "musical" (sorry) sound to them, which is what I find appealing about them.  They are very forgiving of poor recordings and sound pretty good with everything.  I did many side by side comparisons/litens with my Pro 900s.  The 900s have a reputation for having a blurry and recessed midrange, but to me they sounded just a bit more clear/crisp than the W1000s and overall I decided to sell them for that reason, since I only wanted one pair of headphones in this price range.  I must also say as many have before, the headband adjustment, or lack of, is really frustrating.  If you move around too much they move around too, not a fan of this at all.  Overall I would have to say I definitely recommend them for someone looking for a pair of headphones in this price range.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Comfortable, smooth yet detailed, fairly neutral response
Cons: Relatively expensive
Bought my ATH-W1000X headphones used, with leather earcups and an improved cable.  Using a Linn Mimik CD Player and an older Woo WA-3 with Amperex (Holland) tubes, and getting what I consider exceptional sound for from dynamic drivers.  I also use a Stax Sigma with a Stax SRT-1W amp/preamp, and the Audio Technica 'phones come reasonablyly close to the Sigmas through the Woo amp.  I listen to classical and jazz both through speakers and headphones, and I'm quite please with both the sound and feel of the ATH-W1000X's.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Design, Comfort
Cons: Leakage, clamp might be too loose for some
Really wanting to buy the AD2000 I got the W1000x on the Japanese Yahoo Auction site for a ridiculously low price of 29000 yen. They are used but have almost no wear or tear. I guess they have been broken in alreay, but I really can't say. The might have been used as an exposition model since the plug doesn't show any wear.
Using my Sony XBA-3 in the office most of the time, I found the W1000X not as immersive as I would have liked. IEMs make me feel a lot more "inside" the music. 
The worst thing that's keeping me from using these "closed" cans everyday is the VERY bad leakage. Sitting in a cubicled office these would annoy everyone else when using them at medium-high volume. 
That being said, these cans are exeptionally detailed and clear sounding to me. I'm new to the audiophile world but I think this is what people refer to as "soundstage": The instruments seem to be quite distant from me. Much more than with the AD2000, although those are open and airy they immerse me much more in the music. The highs started to hurt my ears when played at higher volume.
Listening to mainly classical (contemporary and baroque), Jazz (hard-bop, impro, contemporary, big band) and electronic music via my RAL-2496UT1 DAC using MusicBee with WASAPI output and mostly 24/96 or upscaled FLAC material.
Now I haven't got more than one or two hours with these so I might edit my review later but the leakage is real and quite noticable for closed cans. So anyone looking for a good seal, please look elsewhere.
Edit: After listening some more I am tempted to sell these since the pleatherpads get way too hot for my taste. 
Edit no. 2: I actually replaced the pleather pads with the L3000 lamp leather pads without a problem. They are a pricey upgrade (60 dollars) but worth every penny as I can listen to the W1000X without problems for hours now. They comfort has definetly improved by miles. Also I would advise to equalize these cans according to this thread: It has made mine a lot easier to listen to since they have quite some spikes in the upper frequency ranges.
Edit no. 3: I have been using the W1000X for about half a year now and I am using it together with the AD2000, mainly switching for issues of comfort or musical genre. It's an awesome headphone and I am VERY satisfied with my purchase.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: sound quality at price point, beautiful, can be found at resonable price, decent isolation for full size, design, feels light on head
Cons: can be excessively bright depending on source, slightly uncomfortable for after long durations, cables too long for my use
Comparison review found here:


Key Conspirator in the Quest to Murder Music
Pros: Glorious midrange, beautiful with vocals, fantastic rich bass
Cons: If the source is too bright, these will accentuate it, pleather pads (minus one star from design for that)
Firstly, fit and finish:

I am able to wear these guys for upwards of 7 hours in any day. The ATH "wing" mechanism is excellent, and one of the best headphone fit devices on the market. Perfect fit, every time, even if someone else tries them out. Totally amazing. Unlike the W5000, these suit my head nicely (I have a fairly large noggin) and stay in place even if I shake my head about. 

The cups are still super nice looking. No change there, of course.

The pads... the pads. I'd say that's the one physical part that isn't up to par. The pleather is very clearly NOT leather and while that itself isn't particularly unremarkable, it isn't particularly nice looking pleater. It's comfortable, sure, but it I can already tell it's of the type that isn't gonna last more than a year or two. It's also hotter than the blazes of hell. At some point this summer, I'm going to break down and get L3000 or W5000 leather pads for these.

The cable is a little long but pretty tangle free. I like the wood housing on the plug, but I keep a bit of foam around it since I tend to be relatively careless with plugs and this one is way too nice to be careless with. I KIND of wish it was metal like the W5000 plug; it's not as nice looking, but I'll be damned if I've ever seen one of those broken.

Long story short: Minus my pad quibble, this is the kind of thing we think about when we hear "Hand Made in Japan."

Sound Quality:

(Note: These have well over 300 hours on them)

Genres that Work Best:
Audio Technica headphones are usually considered best with female vocals, and these are among the best female vocal-izin' headphones I've ever heard. There's a particular lush sweetness in even some of my poor Neko Case recordings; their quality had been an issue with the K701, RS1, and a few other headphones. The only downside here is that if your recording has sibilance you're going to hear it. They don't add any, but it will be accentuated like any bright headphone. 

Another particular point of excellence for the W1000X is any and all classical music. Ranging from modern Nobuo Uematsu live symphonic recordings to older operas (I have a very nice recording of the Magic Flute I happen to like a lot) the headphone handles space and position of indivual instruments better than nearly any headphone I've heard... an R10, Orpheus, Stax Omega, K1000, or properly matched Qualia 010 certainly can do a slightly better job, but at much higher cost. I like a lot of "pluck" in my string sections and extra attention on soloists; the W1000X gives it to me with lovely timbre and a general smooth delivery. Excellent. 

Bottom to Top:

The W1000X is at first a very bassy headphone. Before you adjust to it and it is allowed to settle in (this happened at around a hundred hours for me, YMMV) the bass is front and center. However, unlike other bassy headphones during burn-in, (DT770 and HD650) the W1000X is deep and tuneful. While the bass is eventually balanced with the rest of the spectrum, you never lose that lovely musical nature. I don't know too many headphones that do textured bass (The GS1000 did, on my first run pair) but the W1000X is one of them.

I've heard the W1000X called a "Romantic" headphone before. I think that's relatively accurate, as the lower-midrange has a little extra warm omph to it. This too balanced out very nicely after a few hours were pumped through it. They also have a very particular midrange coloration (and bear in mind that I have never heard a headphone that I didn't think had coloration, including the K701 and HP1000) that I'd equate as the "Audio Technica House Sound." It's difficult to describe but almost always sounds ever so slightly "nasal" when a headphone is fresh out of the box and ends up being ever so slightly sparkling and musical after a while. It really works spatially once you listen to a song or two, and contributes greatly to the positioning and space of things around you. It's a like it or dislike it thing. 

Upper Register:
In the end, I'd classify the W1000X as being ever so slightly bright due to the high resolution sparkle that exists. This can bring out sibilance if it exists in recordings, but generally accentuates female vocals and gives wonderful bite to percussion. I don't know if I've classified any headphones as having "warmth" in their treble before, but these do. Piano music is absolute heaven when someone's really lightly tickling the higher ivories. They just sing.

Dynamics and PRaT:
The W1000X isn't a fast headphone, and it isn't a slow headphone. I'd put it about on par with the K701 in speed, and most definitely above the HD650. It's not as quick as a Grado, but has a very similar PRaT (Pace, Rhythm, and Timing). My love of these is partially related to the smooth nature they share with older RS1 headphones; Truly Vintage RS1s have this lovely way of being smooth and gentle with even the quickest of cutoffs. The W1000X can't QUITE match that, but they come damned close. 

And that brings us to what these are: a relatively well balanced if slightly bright headphone that has a very distinct house sound. If you've ever enjoyed an Audio Technica... in particular the L3000 or early W series, you're going to absolutely adore these. They do so much more correctly and have none of the glaring issues that many later W headphones have. I have absolutely no idea why the W1000X is priced lower than the W5000. These are a well balanced and caring love letter to anyone who has enjoyed a W 'phone in the past. They're super easy to drive and sound good out of even the lowliest iPod, but scale very well with the more expensive equipment I've tried. It should be noted that I've never tried them with any tube gear; only solid state. It's entirely possible that they may be sensitive enough to pick up the hum of the tubes. Dunno though, I'm sure it's very dependant on the gear.

Gaming Side Note:

I played through Portal 2 in its entirety last weekend with these and was incredibly pleased by the experience. The positioning and deep soundtrack were just awesome.
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How are these with gaming? I've decided the best scenario that depicts the experience I am desiring is of that demonstrated by sitting in a bar in Fallout 3 (Moriarty's Saloon if you know it) and being able to hear the radio with its old time tunes and static interference (ever so often smacked by Gob when experience more than normal static) with customers and workers alike walking around and participating in drab conversation. I desire to know the location of the radio and people within the room and to hear it as though I were there in those dark times and not as though I am experiencing this situation through a pair of headphones. I emphasize positional queues in this description, but I must state that clarity, involvement, and natural audio are just as important. The game has a great score with huge brass sections and big drums. I want to feel that. This may sound like an obvious desire, but it excites me to paint this picture. I want to hear the depth of the Sheriffs voice and feel the impact of grenades and mini-nukes in VATS as raider and mutants scream for their lives in slow motion. I want to roam the wastleland with the Pip Boy's radio dialed into GNR and Three Dog's crazy support to "fighting the good fight". I play other games, but if a headphone fits this bill, it will serve just fine in all likely scenarios I am to experience.
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Um...when is it being updated?


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: tight, precise, seperated, punchy sound excellent build quality and beautiful!
Cons: pretty sibilant without eq pretty sharp bass roll off below 50hz mids too forward for my taste
As I always say, I am an ameteur reviewer, so please keep this in mind. 
I should just state out front that I think these are pretty great headphones.  In the simplest of terms, they just sound good.  Relative to their price level, I believe that Liking vs Not liking these headphones is simply matter of personal taste based on the type of sound you like.

equipment used to test: win7 64bit Foobar/wasapi  Keces DA 151 MKII dac.  Hifiman EF-5 SS/Tube hybrid amp, Decware Zen Head Solid State amp.  Radio shack cables.  ears x2

put over 200 hours music burn in on these and have owned them roughly 1 month.

Build/Comfort/fit - 10/10 very sturdy, and very comfortable. not too tight, not too loose. Very light.  Exceptional Quality all around. It really doesnt get much better than this.  I am able to wear these cans for hours with no discomfort
I also really like the cord.  It feels very sturdy and yet is very loose and flexible and just stays out of your way.  The wood enclosure around the end plug is a nice touch.  Compared to the d2000 cord which while it was very sturdy was to stiff and unruly.
I feel like i could drop these from a pretty high distance without hurting them... lets never find out.
Obviously these are exceptionally beautiful cans

Bass - 9/10 A good amount. less than d2000 but not a lot less.  the d2000 excelled in its frequency response below 50hz, but w100x is definately cleaner, more refined, more precise and punchier.  As described: tight, precise, punchy, fast, but they dont extend low enough for my taste.  I noticed this as soon as i tried them, and it bothered me. using a sine generator i can hear them roll off very sharply right under 50 hz which confirms what i was hearing. sounded much better on the zen head than ef5

Mids - 7.5/10- Also very precise, fast and clean, but  forward and sibilant but othwerwise great! this seems to be a common feeling among other owners, and again,something that struck me right away.  the mids are in your face compared to my old Denon d2000 (though in all fairness the d2000 seem to be known for pretty laid back mids) there is a sibilance around 4800hz that just hurts a little without an eq. I use a parametric EQ on my PC to pull it out and then the issue is gone.  I hear sibilance prominently in men's and especially woman's vocals This improved switching to the EF-5 over the zen head, but still bothersome without an eq. I am biased b/c i dont like forward mids , but the sibilance really gets me, and a few other owners have told me the same. That aside - the mids are pretty darn good. With other equimpent, the sibilance may not be an issue.. i dont know, but it certainly seems like some hear it more than others for whatever reason. 

Highs - 8/10- again tight, precise, and fast and clean. not so much on the hybrid as the solid state
though..  again,  Much better sounding on the Zen Head than the EF-5

Soundstage - 9/10 - pretty darn good.  because of the forward mids things feel a little closer in, but
at the same time the overall stage feels big to me. I got a great sense of feeling like i could pick out where in the room the musicians were, and the seperation and detail is really excellent.
These headphones are not forgiving.  You're gonna hear everything in the recording for better or worse

Overall - 8.5/10

In their price range these are very competitive headphones. If they suited my personal taste i would
definitely say they are keepers. I think these headphones would suit people who listen to rock, hip hop, techno, Metal and maybe classical.. and not so much people like me who listen to jazz, female vocalists, acoustic, folky, etc...but again i guess its really more about your preference in how you like your headphones to sound. They are not for me so please forgive me for being slightly biased in that regard.  They are potentially - with the right amp -  very precise, tight, punchy, wide sound stage, seperated, and fast headphones.  I should note that most of these words were not in my audio vocabulary until i tried these cans and found them to be all of these things compared to my denon d2000's - and I really liked my d2000's.  Instrument separation and the "noticing things i never heard before factor" is really nice. definately a plus.

If anything i think I found these cans a tad clinical - as in they didnt feel as musical and smooth
as i would like them to. I guess its because i compared them to the lush, laid back sound of the denons.  I have to admit, going from one end to the other in these 2 headphones took some serious getting used to.

A few extra notes:

these cans just dont sound right with my hifiman ef5. i dont know why.. maybe its a power mismatch,
but with the decware everything was crystal clear, seperated, clean, pricise, punchy etc..
with the hifiman ef5 much of that was lost.  low mids and bass got muddy enough to actually be
annoying, highs rolled off a bit and lost their edge, and overall everything just lost its shine. I tried 2 different tubes and a transistor (tube replacer)  Maybe they are just finiky.. i dont have enough amps to test that theory. 
I always eq my headphones as close to flat as possible, and though i do eq these a bit, i actually found them to sound best with very minimal eq - mainly removing the sibilance.  Otherwise they actually sound quite balanced. always a plus. 

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1000+ Head-Fier
Pros: Beautifully Crafted, Great Comfort, Wonderful Sounstage, Prominent Bass
Cons: Pleather Earpads, mids get a little overpowered at higher volumes
Equipment Used: PS Audio Power Plant Premier > Macbook Pro > USB > PS Audio Perfectwave DAC > Woo Audio 5 (Shuguang 300B-Z Output, Shuguang CV-181-Z Driver, EML 5U4G Rectifier)
Aesthetic / Build Quality:
This headphone is quite a handsome headphone with very clean lines.  The magnesium frame is very sturdily built and the 3D wings have been tweaked over the years by Audio Technica, and you can tell that this is a great frame that will last with lots of abuse.  The Wooden cups are of American Cherry wood and have a nice reddish / orange color with nice lacquer.  In terms of wood it looks a lot better than many Denon headphones and JVC and once again you can tell that ATH has spent a long time perfecting the art of making wooden full-size headphones.  The pads are made of a pleather-like material and are a little thin for my tastes and not large enough inside for my ears.  I wish they were real leather as it would feel more quality.  As for the cable, it has a rubbery coating sheathing to it, but feels nice since it is lightweight and doesn’t tangle at all.  Wooden plug is a nice touch.  Overall, the headphone is extremely well put together, feels very well engineered, and fits on the well extremely well.
I consistently found this headphone to produce very deep bass in almost all the songs I played.  It was well controlled and nowhere near as loose as a Denon D5000 was in my book.  The bass extends very deep and can be a joy on neutral sounding songs, but sometimes overwhelming in bassy recording.  For example, the bassist on Diana Krall’s S’Wonderful would be overemphasized and at time compete with Diana Krall’s voice.  On most songs though, the bass is a joy to listen to and makes songs feel very musical and with good attack.

The W1000X have very good mids in most songs, but I feel that they tend to get drowned out by the bass and treble, especially once that the volume levels are raised.  There is a slight emphasis on the treble and bass, leaving the mids ever so slightly behind.  This compounded with the large soundstage but things like vocals a little bit too far back for my likings.  This may be fine for many listeners, but I have a tendency to prefer a slightly more upfront presentation with more forward mids.

The highs on this headphone are really wonderful and well balanced with the rest of the spectrum.  Cymbals and high pitched guitar strings really sparkle and add a lot of dynamics to songs.  Even with these great and extended highs, it never feels fatiguing to my ears.

The soundstage is truly wonderful and expansive, which is something I would never have thought a closed headphone could do so well!  It isn’t as big of a soundstage as the HD800, but still allows for a lot of room / air between instruments, especially in Jazz and acoustic genres.  One is able to very easily pinpoint where the instrument in placed in the field of space.  This does have downsides though because the vocals also seem to be pushed back and at times get a little lost between all the other instruments.  This means that this headphone isn’t ideal for more classic rock songs where an upfront presentation is preferable.

I think it is a wonderful headphone with a very good and balanced amount of bass, akin to the Denon D7000 headphone.  As Skylab mentioned, they don't have much coloration to the sound and should be considered relatively neutral and thus very easy for most listeners to enjoy with a wide variety of music genres. 
The soundstage is expansive, as is the bass and treble in the songs, but the mids feel not as forward as the the other ends of the sonic spectrum.  I feel that this headphone is a lot more linear or with a little bit of a V-shaped sonic signature.  At lower volumes, all respects of the sound spectrum work on the same level, however as you start bringing up the volume, Bass and Treble increase but mids get slightly drowned out.  This makes it not work too well with classic rock songs and ones that aren’t as well recorded, resulting in a thin and slightly more distant presentation of the song.  With most of the music I listen to, which is Jazz, Indie, Acoustic, 80s though it truly excels with.   Overall, I think you would be sacrificing the mids a little for much better soundstage, better controlled and deeper bass, and great sparkling highs that aren’t fatiguing.  For the price, i think these are an exceptional value for the money and easily competes and beats the Denon DX000 series in many aspects.
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Great review and the picture alone was worth the read. Nice shooting there


Reviewerus Prolificus
Pros: Beautiful sound and looks
Cons: A bit forward in the mids and lower treble
I got mine for $570 shipped from PriceJapan. Arrived in two days. Amazing service from those guys.
They sounded terrific right out of the box. The treble smoothed out just a little after burn-in, but if they hadn't changed one bit I'd have been fine. They sound really, really good, and much better than I recall the original W1000 sounding (which I hated and sold in less than a week).
They are nice looking, and see pretty comfortable. For under $600, they are very attractively priced. I am glad I sold the L3000's and got these - I think these sound MUCH better.

Some pics:


I decided to try the W1000X after reading the descriptions here on Head-fi, as it sounded like there was a good chance that my issues with original W1000 and the W5000 were resolved by the W1000X (that being that the very clear mids and treble were not balanced any useful bass weight). The W1000X, to my ears, does indeed manage this balancing act not - instead of a very bright, bass light headphone, we get a very detailed, clean sounding headphone that also has satisfying bass.

The W1000X does have a bit of a forward midrange, but much less so than the L3000 did. The mids stick out a little bit, and there is a treble emphasis that adds a bit of presence but somehow does not cause a problem with sibilance (which is fortunate). They're quite a different take from the D7000 and DX1000, but taken on their own they are very good sounding cans IMO. The W1000X are definitely brighter than the DX1000, and less bass than it or the D7000, but very nice overall presentation with just as bit of a treble emphasis. As for the D7000 vs. the W1000X, the main differences are the D7000 has a little more bass and a less forward midrange, and is slightly more neutral overall. Both are great, but quite different sounding. It's nice that there's a choice for people who prefer the more forward mids than what the D7000 and DX1000 offer. I can appreciate all three perspectives, and enjoy all 3 of these closed Japanese Woodies

I don't think of them as being "specialist" in any way - they sound good to me on all kinds of music. I like the W1000X with a wide variety of rock and jazz, which is mostly what I listen to. But as for "making crappy recordings sound good" - nope. I'm not sure I know a headphone that will really do this, but if there is one, IMO, it's the JVC DX1000. It is definitely NOT the W1000X. Any headphone with a slight elevation in the presence region, like these have, is not going to help poor recordings at all. Maybe the opposite. But that said, I think they sound excellent on almost all my music - and if I listen to a bad recording, I just accept that it's bad.

Isolation is fair. Better than Denon D7000, but not as good as JVC DX1000, and much less than Ultrasone Edition 8. Speaking of the Edition 8, I think the Edition8 is quite a bit better, not just a little. But that's JMO, and doesn't take away from the W1000X being a great sounding headphone for the money. After all, the Ed 8 is 2-3x the price!
So to sum up, the W1000X have a bit of a flavor, and are not for people who like a laid back sound.  But the flavor is not so strong as to make the headphone seem colored, and if you like your sound just a little vivid, the W1000X are a terrific headphone.
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What amp did you test the W1000X with? Also would you recommend the Woo 6 or the Elekit tube amps?
I own a W1000X and it can get extremely bright and hard with amps that are slightly hard sounding. Maybe you could validate this finding sky so that future W1000X owners keep this in mind.