Desperately Seeking....
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Clarkiebloke

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Firstly, I should say that I am totally new to this site, so hello, and it is good to be here.

A couple of years ago I was working as a sound engineer on a theatre tour to Tokyo. Inevitably I took myself off to Akihabara to do some damage to my Amex. In one store I found a pair of the most fabulous headphones I have ever had the priviledge to get my head inside. I mean they were seriously good. Foolishly I just couldn't pluck up courage to buy the things. I wish to hell I had.

My trusty HD560 Ovations are now showing signs of senility, and I need to replace them, preferably with a pair of those long lost 'phones! Can anyone out there help me track them down?

Just to compound my foolishness I didnt make a note of the model number or manufacturer. However, they were highly distinctive. The ear cups were made out of wood (they looked like they had been turned from a single piece - oh God I'm drooling already), and the cable was the fabric-covered type; green I think. I am pretty sure the diaphragm was cellulose, or something oraganic at least.

Can anyone help me with this? I'd be most grateful.

Many thanks,

Clarkiebloke.
 
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Duncan

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Welcome to head-fi clarkiebloke, and... in your case... definetly sorry about your wallet


That sounds like a pair of Sony MDR-R10s that you had on your ears... and, retailing at some £2000... you're going to need an extensive wallet to buy them...

www.audiocubes.com used to stock them... at $2000 but they don't any more... the next nearest place is theme-gifts.com at a cost of $3999... (product info is here)

Good luck in your search
 
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Clarkiebloke

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Thanks for the steer Duncan. Much appreciated.

I went off to have a look at audiocubes and I think I have found what I was looking for. I think the cans I heard in Japan were Audio Technicas; similar in appearance but wildly cheaper than the R10s (would that I could afford those!) If memory serves I listened to a pair of ATHW11Rs.

Well, I've taken a punt and ordered some from the good people at audiocubes, as they have managed to get their hands on these rare beasties. Apparently only 800 were made and they have almost all stayed in Asia!

Thanks again for you help.
 
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fredpb

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Sounds like the high end Grado.
 
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Dusty Chalk

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Actually, I think Hirsch has a pair...I think he was even thinking of letting them go, at one point...
 
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j-curve

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Quote:

Clarkiebloke: I've taken a punt and ordered some...


Dang, that was quick. Here's something to think about while you wait...


Notwithstanding the damage already done, maybe you don't need the standard "sorry about the wallet" welcome since you've started at a place which many might call the finish line. Good choice! I thought it must have been the W100 you had heard:-

but I believe the drivers are probably identical. Be sure to post us a review.
 
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Clarkiebloke

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Thanks for the pics, j-curve.

The little beaties have already arrived. They are spectacular but clearly need a little more time to adjust to the lovely South London climate.

I think there may well be some interest in a review of these cans so I will indeed post one in due course.

I do have to say that on initial a-b testing they blow 600's out of the water!

Incidentally, my memory of the happy afternoon in Akihabara is gradually returning. I think I did listen to the R10s and loved them to bits. Then I saw the price tag. Despite being enormously expensive, they were nowhere near the several thousand dollars that they now appear to retail for. Could this be true?
 
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j-curve

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OK Clarkiebloke, I have an interesting anecdote for you. I happened to be in Akihabara yesterday (just looking for some connectors - I had no intention to listen to any phones, honestly
). Anyway, I spotted the unmistakable wooden cups of a set of AT phones up on a sample rack and I instantly recognised them to be the flagship model which I had never heard. I had my sample MD on hand but naturally the 6.3mm plug wouldn't go into my portable, so they kindly led me over to a high-end Denon component system.

Now if you checked out that link to the "AT Drive Units" thread you'll understand that I had a preconceived idea about the sound of these phones, based on their driver design type, and that I wouldn't like the sound. However, as I listened I became confused. These phones sounded great. Initially too bright, but after a couple of minutes I had the tone controls defeated and my ears weren't getting roasted. Warm mids. Ample low-end. Very mild in the closed-can colouration department. Musical. Yummy. In short, everything the W100 offers plus more (as they should for the price).

Suitably impressed, I took the phones back over to the attendant to explain to him my surprise, when there it was right on the cup... "ATH-W11JPN". I was floored. I had just assumed it was the W2002 and hadn't paid much attention to the outsides because they were in pretty ratty condition. Then everything seemed to fall into place, the sound, the same driver type as the W100. In my pigeon japanese I was trying to explain all this to the attendant when *whoosh* like Ali Baba he whips out a set of absolutely pristine bubble-wrapped W2002's from under the counter. Um, yeah, like as if these babies would be up on the sample rack, I'm thinking.

So I'm back off to the Denon system to hear AT's flagship headphone, the real thing this time. Since I'm not in the business of upsetting people (not just for kicks, anyway
) it would be wise for me to reserve judgement at this point. Suffice to say that words like "grossly overrated" or "sake + karaoke = slip of the pencil at the drawing board" come to mind. In their defence I could say that the salesman told me they had only 1-2 hours of listening time clocked up, but the similarities in sound character with the other Type-A driver headphones were undeniable and the polished enclosures weren't helping.

If it brightens up your day at all I'll tell you that I think the phones you've got are the best that Audio-Technica has to offer.
 
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NotoriousBIG_PJ

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It sounds like the w2002's you listened to were not burned in while the other 2 phones were? I have read that these woody's need a lot of burn in before they sound their best.

Biggie.
 
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Tomcat

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j-curve,

I think Biggie is absolutely right. You have been comparing a headphone that has been used for 1-2 hours to a headphone that might have been used for close to 4 years. The W11JPN has been introduced in December 1998. And at 2 hours, my W100 sounded just plain horrible, anemic and bright. But it has improved for hundreds and hundreds of hours. Audio Technica says that the break-in process for their wooden headphones will never be completed, they will continue to improve indefinitely. BTW, I guess the same thing ought to be true for the Sony R10.

One more thing, the W11JPN you heard is not identical to the W11R that Clarkiebloke bought. The W11R is a newer design, introduced in December 2000, that doesn't have the traditional Japanese red lacquer applied to the wooden enclosures, as the W11JPN and W2002 have. However, the general construction of the W11JPN and the W11R seems to be quite similar.
Quote:

but clearly need a little more time to adjust to the lovely South London climate


Clarkiebloke,
Lovely idea! Have fun with them.
 
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j-curve

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Quote:

NotoriousBIG_PJ: I have read that these woody's need a lot of burn in before they sound their best.


...which is why I mentioned the burn-in. However, I can't see the burn-in changing the basic character of the sound. The A100Ti I heard previously, for example, had been on a muzak rack for who knows how many months. I totally concede "different strokes for different folks" but I would strongly advise any potential purchaser of a Type-A driver AT phone (W2002, A100Ti & the open AD10) to get a leisurely audition up front. If that means buying a plane ticket it could still be money better spent.


Quote:

Tomcat: ...the W11JPN you heard is not identical to the W11R...


You sure know your AT's! Here's the W11JPN and the thing I mistook it for the first time. [The W11R is above.]:-

For some reason (probably the "JPN") I thought the difference between the two W11's was domestic vs. export, but clearly not. The W11R is the successor to the W11JPN, so there's yet another phone I have to get a listen to
. Apparently they sound very similar though. I saw a japanese website which said that the W11JPN was noticeably less sensitive than the other woodies. As for sound, it said that the W11R has less bass volume and softer highs than the W11JPN, which for me would be a good thing.

BTW the W11R was not in AT's May catalogue, and was a limited run of 800 units, so potential punters take note. On the other hand <licks chops in anticipation of next model>.
 
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