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ATH-L3000, no love for this headphone?

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by tk3, Sep 27, 2010.
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  1. tk3
    The other greats such as AKG K1000, the various Sony vintage headphones are discussed quite often around here, but the Leatherheads seem to have fallen from grace and no one talks about them.
    Perhaps it is their extremely limited production, or are there other reasons in play?
    I've also read that many people think they are way overpriced for their performance, personally I think this is wrong but each to their own. How do you feel about this?
    Anyway, any people out there still using these? Such as purk, (who seems to favour his R10 lately), or mulveling, Elephas, and that other German guy who used to own a pair, can't remember your name right now.
    Or even the guy who was flipping high end headphones, waddragon or whatever the hell his name was. [​IMG]
    C'mon guys, let's get some discussion about this, or show some pictures! What kinda rig do you use it with, etc.
    Myself I haven't felt the need to "upgrade" after I got these in early 2009, and I still use them pretty much daily for extended periods.
    Although of course there are all these new FOTM headphones that I wouldn't mind giving a try, but since I have this I haven't felt the urge to buy any.
    Only thing that could sway me is probably the 50th anniversary headphone AT will undoubtedly release.
    These just sound right to me, and several steps up from the other ATH headphones I've owned (W11JPN, W5k, ESW9/10).
    The bass is the best in any headphone I've heard/owned, including the STAX OII (notwithstanding any power issues), but it doesn't compromise the midrange like some lesser headphones do. They are great at giving that crunch to distorted guitars so I love them for metal. They are also said to be "dark", dunno, perhaps if you compare it to a Grado or something? I don't feel it's a fault of them at least.
    For me they are in the top tier for pretty much anything, such as detail and the way the sound moves around. Only thing is that the soundstage could be bigger.
    Some pictures (not mine), since that's what you want to see.
    Bonus pic:
    Edit: fixed pictures, hopefully. This new upload/linking system is really annoying.
  2. El_Doug Contributor
    I owned these for a few months, wasnt the biggest fan.  They are surely the most beautiful headphones I've ever seen, but the midrange was all over the place, the midbass was too dominant, deep bass was lacking, and the detail was not impressive for the pricetag (in fact, the AD2k offered more detail)
  3. buffalowings
    uhhhhhh....I haven't heard them personally...but even genuine leather on a pair of cans looks tacky IMO....maybe I'm just a fan of woodies...
  4. Kees
    I owned them, but didn't like them. Small soundstage and compressed midrange were my main problems with these.
  5. Skylab Contributor


    Agree with all of the above.  Bought them, had the same issues as Doug and Kees, sold them.  NOT a competitive upper-tier headphone, IMHO.  Easily outclassed by the Denon D7000, JVX DX1000, and even AT's own W1000X, just to name a few closed Japanese headphones that are better - let alone HD800, T1, LCD-2, Edition 8, which are light years better.
  6. mulveling Contributor
    Sold my last pair a few months ago; it was the last set of high-end headphones I'd held onto. I still like the sound quite a bit. With a few exceptions (Qualia 010), I don't like a "modern hi-fi sound", which I consider bright, clinical, analytical. The L3000 is a refreshing counterexample to this - IMO, it sounds as if it were repeatedly tweaked/voiced by an enthusiastic, music loving engineer (who also happened to hate a bright sound). Somewhat reminds me of Koetsu cartridges, which I'm currently digging in my vinyl setup. For the record, I don't consider the bright/clinical/analytical characteristics to imply that a transducer has excellent speed/resolution, and vice-versa.
    Sure, perhaps the L3000 takes things a bit far - it's certainly colored (warm) and a bit bass heavy. The soundstage is not large, but for me there was never much value in this attribute of headphones (even the best headphones aren't usefully close to speakers). The coloration can slightly occlude some of the wonderful attributes of an excellent vinyl source. On the other hand, they went a long ways towards making digital sources listenable. The L3000 has good speed and resolution - not at the level of R10/Qualia, but otherwise not lacking. The heightened bass response helped make up of for the absence of tactile impact you'd get with speakers - and the result is a more natural sound, IMO. I still feel the L3000 has the closest-to-ideal bass response I've heard from a headphone.
    I absolutely feel the L3000 is superior to the JVC DX1000, Ultrasone Edition 9, W5000, W2002, and Denon D5000 (heard a modded one) in overall sound quality (also didn't love the K1000 or Omega II when I heard them, and even the Orpheus isn't my thing).
    They are extremely rare and expensive, and that's a shame. You'd think the same sound could be packaged in an affordable production model.
  7. vcoheda Contributor
    L3000 is 10 looks and 6 or maybe 7 sound.
  8. Currawong Contributor
    I was lucky enough to try that balanced pair that have been floating around Head-fi (and the world!) some months ago.  Can't say I liked them.  One of the main issues with the AT limited edition woodies is, you have to stuff the pads a bit to get rid of the awful congestion of the sound.  Once you do that, they all sound pretty reasonable.  The W11JPNs were the nicest of the lot, but fairly un-remarkable sounding.  I probably should have borrowed a Yamamoto HA-02 to drive the other woodies with at the same time for best results, as my amp single-ended is not really that exciting either.  However, the L3000s, while having rather epic bass, seemed to be a complete mess tonally.  All they served to do was make my HD-800s seem thin and bright while adding nothing else of value.
    Oh, by the way, Muppethead is big on the L3000s.  See the LCD-2 thread.
  9. Skylab Contributor
    I don;t even think the L3000 have impressive bass.  It's just a upper-mid-bass hump - there is almost no deep bass.  DX1000, D7000, Ed 8 all have more even and impressive bass.
  10. tk3
    Hehe, pretty much the kind of replies I expected. Whether they are bad or not, they really don't get appreciated much around here anymore.
    Well, at least I still immensely enjoy them, and that's what counts in the end. [​IMG]
    Skylab, could it be that you weren't getting a good seal? Usually people do complain about them being too dark or issues with the mid range, but you're one of the few I've seen
    that is mentioning the bass quality.
  11. Skylab Contributor
    My biggest issue with them was the honky midrange, but the bass on the L3000 is all upper and mid-bass, with very little deep bass, especially compared to what you can get on the current crop of high-end headphones.  It was not a seal issue.  I am closed-can experienced, I can assure you [​IMG]
    But hey - just because I didn't like them doesn't mean you shouldn't!
  12. atothex
    I like L3000s, but that green is beyond hideous. My goodness.
  13. cantsleep Contributor
    L3000 is alright. mine's balanced with silver dragon [​IMG]
  14. daveDerek Contributor
    i've never owned them but i've spent a bunch of time with them at various meets, including canjam, and have heard them in systems built around them. they've always disappointed me sonically, for many of the reasons other folks have already mentioned. these are (like many ATs) highly colored headphones, but to my ears not in as an enjoyable way as some of their more affordable offerings. i greatly preferred other high end cans such as r10s, hp2s, hd800s, ps-1s,  and, like skylab, even dx1000s.
  15. cantsleep Contributor
    L3000 is not for everyone. to me, even r10, hp2, and ps1didnt sound fantastic from the start..
    it may take a little time to learn to appreciate for what they are.
    i prefer sony r10 over L3000 but not grado hp2
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