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Audio Technica ATH-L5000

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by lalala6, Aug 18, 2018.
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  1. rickles
    Listening to more Japanese jazz this morning. The L5000 just do jazz right. Spacious, deep string bass, with texture for miles, brass that sounds like brass, the wetness in a wind instrument. Very nice. :L5000:
  2. purk Contributor
    How about the L5000 against a top-end electrostatic system?
    HoloSpice likes this.
  3. rickles
    Well, I have the KGSSHV Carbon + SR-009 and the SR-007mk1. If that's top-end, then I can certainly give my early thoughts.

    This is with the same front end (high end analog), and with a balanced beta22 + ATH-L5000. While the two Stax headphones are quite different, for simplicity's sake, I'll lump them together, and attempt to do an amalgam of their performance versus the ATH-L5000. I have volume matched in each case using a loudness meter I often use for this sort of thing.

    In this case, I'm going to listen to some of my favorite strings, piano, brass, and female vocal music...

    The cello sounds more weighty on the ATH-L5000, I can hear the wood, and its reverberations within the instrument, as though I can feel the vibrations complexity, as it vibrates. The electrostatics show me a bit more of the bow against the strings. I can hear their metal, and feel as though I can picture the hair touching them. The ATH-L5000 really sound beautiful here. I'm smitten.

    The choir sounds further on the electrostatics, and I feel like I can make the individual voices out a bit better. I feel that the separation is fascinating, and I find myself a bit lost in it. The ATH-L5000 shows me a wider sound stage, and I feel like somehow I'm hearing the intended harmonization better. Fascinatingly, I am hearing vocal reverberations I did not hear before. Switching back to the SR-009, I can hear them, but I'm somewhat straining. With the electrostatics, I can hear that clearly I am in a large room, and the acoustics with that, but I feel that with the ATH-L5000 I am hearing something beyond just echo. Maybe, more of a nuanced sound of collective voices interacting with the structure somehow?

    I'm listening to some brass instruments, the electrostatics sound really good! They sound grand, and I can hear the metal really well. The upper registers are airy, and not harsh. They flow very well from the instruments. Switching to the ATH-L5000 the brass sounds a bit less airy, and soaring. Fascinatingly, I hear "wetness" in the brass though. Sort that reedy-wetness instead of just the sound of the air escaping the bell. I'm sort of fascinated by it. Switching back to the electrostatics, I can hear similar sounds, but I find myself sort of listening to the airy, brassy, "bigness" of the performance.

    The piano sounds wonderful on both. I grew up listening to my father play his grand piano, so it's a sound I know very very well. It's a hard memory, that I don't think will ever leave me save for brain injury, or illness. The ATH-L5000 make me think of my father playing... When you're in a room with a grand piano, with tiled floors, and lots of wall dampening, one thing you will really hear is the reverberation of notes within the piano itself. The piano sort of "breathes" the notes. They sound less acute, abrupt, and less like a hammer striking metal, but instead you hear the felt of the hammer striking a string, and then the piano allows the note to escape after it interacts with the structure of the instrument. With the electrostatics, I hear pure, notes. They're beautiful, airy, emotional. I can hear the way the hammer strikes. What I just do not hear is the weight of the strike, and the impact that violence had on the piano itself. For some reason, I hear that with the ATH-L5000. It makes me really happy.

    Listening to Wong Faye... she always sounds gentle, and feminine. I feel somehow that I am hearing her voice, and all of its intricacies with the electrostatics. She sounds intimate, and enjoy her voice immensely. Instruments sound very separate from her voice. The ATH-L5000 somehow have more separation than the electrostatics. Her voice sounds a bit less gentle, maybe slightly breathy, a bit more human-in-the-room. It's difficult to say which is more accurate to her voice. The soundstage seems wider on the ATH-L5000, but deeper on the electrostatics. I feel like both setups are giving me the whole truth when combined.

    Sort of rambling, but I was making notes while listening. I'm not sure if this will help, or just confuse! Another aspect is that I think the Carbon is just about ideal for the two Stax. I'm not convinced that the beta22 is doing everything my not-broken-in ATH-L5000 can do!
    Wilashort, alegar, HoloSpice and 2 others like this.
  4. fhuang
    Or what about comparing other top tier headphones such as hd800, or utopia?

    I just got a call from the local distributor and saying mine is ready for pick up. Can't wait
    Wilashort, rickles and elton7033 like this.
  5. hughren
    Does the L5000 has like a coloured sound, like w5000?
  6. rickles
    Hmm... The ATH-L5000 sounds quite a bit different than the woodies. I own several of them, including my favorite the ATH-W2002. The ATH-L5000 sounds quite open, airy, and uncolored to me. I don't feel it "gussies up" any music. It sounds quite different than any headphone I've owned. It is certainly a dynamic headphone, and is in that sound family, and does not sound like the electrostatics, planars, or ribbons I've heard. Then again, it doesn't sound like any of the Audio-Technica headphones I've owned, or any of the top tier dynamics I've owned. It sounds most similar to a "bass heavy" MDR-R10 to me, but that's by my ears. So, not colored, but it does have a bit of sweetness to things. I say not "gussied up" because some things sound sweet in real life. :wink:
    elton7033 likes this.
  7. rickles
    Nice! Add your impressions! As far as top tier dynamics, I've only spent a little bit of time with the Utopia. I did own a pair of HD800 (non 'S') for about six months. I feel that the Utopia are a pretty excellent headphone, but did not do anything that I found amazing. They were sort of a they-do-everything-well headphone. I've thought similar about the HD800.

    <audio observation>
    I have grown to feel that in the very upper echelons of most things, including audio equipment, that nothing does everything amazingly. I have heard extremely high end setups, with incredible rooms all designed to make them as good as possible. Literally cost-is-no-object level systems. The owner plays their preferred stuff, and it sounds prodigious. Like it could not possibly be better. We keep playing stuff, maybe it's vinyl, and I bring some of my stuff. Or it's digital, and I want to listen to things I like. Invariably, I find things the system doesn't do all that well. Where I think "you know, this is really good, but I've heard better, even at 50% of the cost". It could be anything. Ever heard a system where it sounds glorious playing acoustic, or otherwise "simpler" music, and then you try playing metal, and it just sounds messy? It's sort of like that. There's no specific reason for it, maybe it's got the fastest amps in the world, electrostatic mids, and bass, with plasma tweeters, and yet... metal just sounds slurred somehow. Unsatisfying?

    I've realized headphones are a great deal like that. While it's tempting to think that today's $50k Orpheus will do everything perfectly, I can all but guarantee there are things that a $10k Chord Hugo TT2 + Abyss Phi will just do better.
    </audio observation>

    I feel the same way about the ATH-L5000. For me, their strings, wood instruments, and vocals are superb. Quite possibly the best I've heard. Listening to EDM, or metal though? Eh... they're still very good, even top tier, but I have the luxury of being able to not need "one to rule them all". So, when I want to hear EDM, I grab the Abyss Phi. When I want metal? The ATH-W2002 are probably the best I've heard. When I need chamber music? I reach for Stax.

    Hope this makes sense!

    TLDR; The ATH-L5000 are a specialist headphone, and probably the best at what they do, full stop.
    Wilashort likes this.
  8. skootb
    Are you calling the l5000 "bass heavy?"
  9. hughren
    Thank you for the sharing.
    Comparing sound through the ATH range, i can see they are getting less and less color, from W2002 > w5000 > w1000x > adx5000, and seems like L5000 will be even less than adx5000.
    Wilashort, elton7033 and rickles like this.
  10. fhuang
    Sure. My first impression, a lot of boxes. Took me awhile to get the headphones. I did spent a little time with the l5000. A disc. It changes during the time. One thing, it's a lot of details. The bass has a lot of texture. I'll come back when I hear more

    And I do agree. The utopia, great headphones but it doesn't do much to me. Yea it's the gear, headphones our case, the most important.
    elton7033 and rickles like this.
  11. rickles
    Have you heard the MDR-R10? Most would say there are two main varieties; bass heavy, and bass light. This is a relative term. The ATH-L5000 are hardly a "bass heavy" headphone in an absolute sense.
    elton7033 likes this.
  12. skootb
    Haven't heard the MDR-R10, but I did briefly own the ATH-L5000.
  13. elton7033
    i own a bass light SONY R10 myself and it defiantly have more bass quantity than the L5000 for sure.
    may be is my cable on the R10 but i am getting an upograde cable for the L5000 next week so lets see.
  14. elton7033
    unboxing the L5000 is one of the most What moment when a hard case with in brown carton box with in white paper box with in a giant brown carton box, but come on we pay for this did we?lol
    not like the good old STAX which it only have one single papaer box
  15. elton7033
    the L5000 is a bit more color than the ADX5000 in my experience, although i dont have a ADX5000...
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