Audio-Technica ATH-L3000 " The Legendary Leatherhead "
Aug 24, 2022 at 3:13 PM Post #78 of 96

Iron_Dreamer

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L5000 here on generous loan for a week. The L3000 are mine, and have been a longtime favorite. Actually they were my very first "super-favorite" headphone, going back ~ 18 years ago, that got me super-addicted to this hobby!

The L3000 are a masterclass in demonstrating that relatively large amounts of distortion can still be musical IF it's the right kind (which is very hard to do). Very much like a classic tube amp. So charming!

The L5000 are technically better. More detail, cleaner bass (still nice and punchy). Lovely mids. A bit bright, but not in an offensive way that detracts from the musical flow. But in my experience, no dynamic "moving coil" headphone can compete with the technical acuity of omega-type electrostatic headphones (especially 009) when well-amped (which is admittedly very hard to do). So personally, I now look for an unquantifiable "charm factor" with dynamic headphones. The old L3000 easily makes the grade. The L5000 gets very close, but I'm not sure they do enough to make me want to buy them given the steep pricing (respecting that everyone's preferences are different). Both of these Leatherheads are more charming than the Denon D92000, which I found inoffensive while doing a lot right, but somewhat unexciting. At the end of the day I'm impressed by the L5000, but happy with my L3000. The L3000 are still one of the ultimate hard rock headphones. A polar opposite of the OG MDR-R10 :)

The L3000 are like an "audiophile bass-head's" headphone. They have overdeveloped bass. It blooms. It will certainly measure at a high level of THD (distortion). But somehow it distorts and blooms in ways that only serves the music. I can't stand thumpy / thwacky, subwoofer-like bass. I hated the the Sony MDR-Z1R at all. I don't like the Magico A3 speakers (example of the kind of bass I don't like). I don't use a subwoofer in my 2ch. This is NOT that kind of overblown bass. It's musical and tuneful. I shouldn't be enjoying such an obvious exaggeration so much, but it gives the feeling of a REALLY good 2ch system's bass. It's kind of a magic trick. Anyways, the L5000 has a bit less bass overall, but still more than enough to satisfy. It's cleaner; fast and punchy. Hits nicely. It blooms a little, but not like the L3000. It's lovely too. Which do I prefer? If pushed, probably the L3000. I have electrostats for the super clean bass :)

Great post (no surprise from you), and probably the best description of the L3000's alluring sound that I've ever seen. It's been over a decade since I owned the L3000, and your writing took me right back to what I enjoyed about it. I wonder what I'd think if I heard one today, with how accustomed to planar and electrostatic bass I've become. I was certainly no fan of the Z1R's bass either.

I will say I find the L5000 a bit less considered looking, especially the logo on the earcup, could have been a bit more refined or subtle, in that respect that L3000 looks more "high-end."
 
Aug 24, 2022 at 4:37 PM Post #79 of 96

protoss

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@Iron_Dreamer
The L5000 looking "status" is high-end. It's top tier status of what a $4000 level headphone should look like. Soundwise it's mid-tier, similar to LCD-5.
20210923_171444.jpg
 
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Aug 24, 2022 at 5:28 PM Post #80 of 96

purk

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@Iron_Dreamer
The L5000 looking "status" is high-end. It's top tier status of what a $4000 level headphone should look like. Soundwise it's mid-tier, similar to LCD-5.
20210923_171444.jpg
What else is mid-fi sounding to you?
 
Aug 24, 2022 at 8:40 PM Post #81 of 96

protoss

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What else is mid-fi sounding to you?
That sounds like a truthful question.


Harman Curve is the ultimate price for performance. Everything is mid-tier. All gear will always and always will be if they never achieve a 90%+ Harman Curve target. If an item hits this, it is considered top tier status, aka hi-end.

If you cost $6000 and you hit 80% Harman Curve "cough" 'Susvara' you are trash and should only cost $250.

The industry and people got it wrong in what is considered high-end. It is a simple $500 Harman curve with low to no distortion headphones...
 
Aug 24, 2022 at 10:15 PM Post #82 of 96

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That sounds like a truthful question.


Harman Curve is the ultimate price for performance. Everything is mid-tier. All gear will always and always will be if they never achieve a 90%+ Harman Curve target. If an item hits this, it is considered top tier status, aka hi-end.

If you cost $6000 and you hit 80% Harman Curve "cough" 'Susvara' you are trash and should only cost $250.

The industry and people got it wrong in what is considered high-end. It is a simple $500 Harman curve with low to no distortion headphones...

First. Harman curve isn't performance. It's just reflecting an the taste of what the average populatio consifered good sounding.

It is not, and cannot, be the target to everyone as we each have our own preferences (and audiophiles definitely are not an average population).

It can only serve as a reference point.

Second, FR curve only capture one element of performance, the relative energy at various frequencies. But harmonic distortion is a huge factor in voicing, as well as other factors not captured in the FR curve.
 
Aug 24, 2022 at 10:23 PM Post #83 of 96
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Great post (no surprise from you), and probably the best description of the L3000's alluring sound that I've ever seen. It's been over a decade since I owned the L3000, and your writing took me right back to what I enjoyed about it. I wonder what I'd think if I heard one today, with how accustomed to planar and electrostatic bass I've become. I was certainly no fan of the Z1R's bass either.

I will say I find the L5000 a bit less considered looking, especially the logo on the earcup, could have been a bit more refined or subtle, in that respect that L3000 looks more "high-end."
Thanks man, and great to see you around here again :)

I still love my pair but honestly using them too often makes me nervous since there’s absolutely no chance of replacement parts. I kind of want to convince myself to simply enjoy them until the wheels fall off, and then that’s that. But the ESR10 (to a lesser degree) and 009 with T2 (to a greater degree) are so enjoyable I’m mainly hitting those up these days. And then there’s my 2ch, which has evolved by leaps and bounds in 10 years, and is my main priority. But headphones always have a special place in my heart, and I’ve learned if I miss them too much if I try to get rid of them :)
 
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Aug 25, 2022 at 8:30 PM Post #84 of 96

goldwerger

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Has anyone here retemianted their L3000 with other cables? (except @number1sixerfan who I know has them with Moon Audio cables)

I find the stock cables stiff and annoying, and I'm considering recabling. Looking for recommendations, and wonder if anyone experience any sonic trade off or had any positive experience they can share in doing so?
 
Aug 25, 2022 at 8:58 PM Post #85 of 96

purk

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I did that on my old pair with solid core Silver Dragon Version 1. I went with silver cable to enhance the high, tighten up the bass some, and more resolution as well as enhance clarity. I did direct solder onto the driver.
 
Aug 25, 2022 at 9:02 PM Post #86 of 96

goldwerger

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I did that on my old pair with solid core Silver Dragon Version 1. I went with silver cable to enhance the high, tighten up the bass some, and more resolution as well as enhance clarity. I did direct solder onto the driver.
Did you do it yourself, or through Moon Audio?

Their cables are stiffer than I like though, so I might go for a more comfortable cable
 
Aug 25, 2022 at 9:16 PM Post #87 of 96
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I did that on my old pair with solid core Silver Dragon Version 1. I went with silver cable to enhance the high, tighten up the bass some, and more resolution as well as enhance clarity. I did direct solder onto the driver.
This pair is mine now and I simply hate the stiffness and look of the Dragon V1 versus L3000 stock cable, lol. But to be fair the new version Dragons have far, far better ergonomics and look than this old V1 (also re-sheathed to a softer cover so it's not as microphonic). Without doing a direct comparison, it still sounds like a L3000 to me. I'm sure I'd hear the improved resolution on a direct comparison, but honestly I'd probably be happier with the stock cable (which I do have in storage), simply re-terminated to XLR, back on here.

The removable cable mechanism on L5000 is fabulous.
 
Aug 25, 2022 at 9:19 PM Post #88 of 96

purk

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Did you do it yourself, or through Moon Audio?

Their cables are stiffer than I like though, so I might go for a more comfortable cable
I did it myself.
This pair is mine now and I simply hate the stiffness and look of the Dragon V1 versus L3000 stock cable, lol. But to be fair the new version Dragons have far, far better ergonomics and look than this old V1 (also re-sheathed to a softer cover so it's not as microphonic). Without doing a direct comparison, it still sounds like a L3000 to me. I'm sure I'd hear the improved resolution on a direct comparison, but honestly I'd probably be happier with the stock cable (which I do have in storage), simply re-terminated to XLR, back on here.

The removable cable mechanism on L5000 is fabulous.
I will be more than happy to buy it back at the price you paid for it buddy!
 
Aug 25, 2022 at 10:34 PM Post #90 of 96

purk

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I bear the weight of this heavy cross (a recabled L3000) gladly for the sake of our friendship 😂😘

It does sound really good.
That’s gangsta talking….99.999% silver cross, chain and all!
 
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