I am disappointed with my new headphones and don't know what to do...
Apr 28, 2015 at 10:52 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

Nintendork

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Hey all,

I just got the Audio Technical ESW9s and was so very much looking forward to a new level of sound quality. My previous headphones were Philips TR 55LXs. Never heard of them? They were 60 bucks and very durable but nothing anybody cared about. Well, I got the ESW9s a day ago and was underwhelmed. I sat with them both and listened, and the EWS9 did have overall better clarity, precision and presence, but not by a whole lot. I spent 250 on these guys and I am seriously considering taking them back. I really want to like them, and would like to try the ES10s since they tend to be related higher on many hifi sites, but am also curious about the AKG 550s. I could totally live with what I have, and I LOVE the wood cups so much, but for what I paid I'm not terribly enthusiastic. Any thoughts? Im actually quite torn.
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 11:24 PM Post #2 of 14

PurpleAngel

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Wow, I really enjoying my ATH-ESW9 headphones, but I bought my used and assumed they have been well broken in.
What sources are you plugging the ESW9s into?
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 11:45 PM Post #3 of 14

Nintendork

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I am using a Galaxy Note 3 with a FiiO EK11 amp. Have not tried CDs yet. I will say, the amp and extra volume does make a nice difference in quality. I want to like them so bad and I do but it's not the huge jump in quality I was expecting. My friend also took a quick listen and said he didn't hear a huge difference from his Sony studio monitors so I think I'll try those to compare. The more I listen, the more I appreciate the ESW9s but still want something more. I'm also considering ordering either the K550/551s or ES10S to compare and then return whatever I don't like since Amazon is flexible. Any thoughts?

Also, if you could describe certain aspects of the 9s that you like, it may help me better appreciate them.
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 12:13 AM Post #4 of 14

PurpleAngel

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When you use the Note 3/E11K combo, do you max out the volume setting on the Note 3 and just use the E11K to control volume level (for best audio quality)?
 
I guess it's just a general like of the sound of the ESW9s.
You might consider leaving them plugged in over night a few times, with music playing thru them, see if that improve the audio quality.
I just got some used ATH-WS99 yesterday, I'll try comparing them, maybe the comparison will allow to offer more detail why I like them.
 
Ok, just dug out my ESW9 and Sony E474 player and compared the ATH-WS99 to the ATH-ESW9 (using modern Celtic), close to the same sound, WS99 little more bass, ESW9 little better audio quality.
Not sure that really help with why I like the ESW9s.
 
I own the K550, and they do have good sound quality, a little on the boring side, but still good.
You might check out the AKG K553s at Massdrop, they might be a little bit better then the K550s
 
You might also consider getting a dedicated digital audio player, maybe the FiiO X1 or X3K, I would assume they offer better audio quality, then the Note 3 and you would not need the E11K.
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 9:44 AM Post #5 of 14

Nintendork

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Unfortunately I don't have the money for the DAP now but it's on my list. I will also try maxing my Note.

I'm wondering if I were to try listening with CD (lossless) audio If I would notice a bigger gap between my headphones. It could possibly be a bottleneck since I tend to rip my CDs to a low quality mpeg. Burn in would be an option but I want to try better files first.

I also noticed a few scratches on the cups so I may wend them back anyway, whether I replace them or try the ES10s will be determined by what I can get out of them in the next few days.
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 11:21 AM Post #6 of 14

cel4145

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The Galaxy Note series has pretty good sound quality, and the E11K should easily drive your new headphones. So I would not expect miracles from a DAP instead.

What kind of source material are you listening to on your note? If you are using low bit rate files, then that could certainly be a big part of the problem. Try 320K MP3 or 256 AAC from CD instead.

Also, is there anything you like better in terms of amount/quality of bass/mids/treble on your old headphones? If so, perhaps the ESW9 is not the right sound signature for you. :)
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 11:40 AM Post #7 of 14

Nintendork

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Well, right now I am listening to mp3s purchased off iTunes or low bitrate mp3s ripped from CDs.

I don't think I knew quite what I wanted before, but now I can say I like a clear and precise headphone, but not necessarily neutral. I'd say I like a full headphone all around but bass and treble presence is important. I like sparkly highs and powerful lows, even if it becomes slightly muddy. I'm thinking the larger drivers and overall reviews for the ES10s may fit my needs a bit better but I'd love suggestions.

As of right now, when I get home I'm going to try lossless files and see if it makes a difference. If not, I'm going to order a different set, and return whichever I like less. Hell, if I'm still not happy I might return both... I just want an experience that is distinctly better than my cheap Philips...
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 11:59 AM Post #8 of 14

cel4145

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I have not heard the ESW9, but based on the frequency responses I have seen, perhaps you would be happier with a headphone with a bit of a v shaped frequency response to give you more treble?
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 1:13 PM Post #10 of 14

cel4145

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I would suggest maybe trying to listen to some other headphones, so you have some points of comparison. Then seek recommendations. For instance, Apple stores tend to carry some different models. Flagship BestBuy Magnolia stores have more than the typical consumer grade headphones. Even if you could find just few that you like/don't like and talk about how they all compare to you, then I think people could zero in better on how to help. And it would give you a better idea of whether or not the ESW9s are the problem.
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 9:59 PM Post #12 of 14

Nintendork

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Alright, update. So I pulled out an orchestral CD and did a listen on my computer at 1,411kbps. Here are my impressions when I compared the Philips and the ATs:
-ESW9s are noticibly louder and crisper, much more of a difference
-Philips struggle with volume with the amp and computer on the same settings, muddier in the mids for sure
-Low gain is the way to go
-Phone audio files are bad, usually 196kbps and I can hear a big difference
 
So I'm starting to like my ESW9s a lot more, but Ill probably return them to remedy the scratches and get a new pair. My good friend who is a band director is letting me take a listen to his $60 Sonys tomorrow, but I think I'd like to stay with my ESW9s. They aren't as amazing as I hoped but they do give me that flutter in my stomach that I always get with good sound. I'm still really tempted to try the ES10s, but it would be much harder to return those so I don't think I will. Once I get replacements, I think I will burn them in a good amount. I've heard many say burn in does nothing and some swear by it, but a few nights can't hurt.
 
Any last thoughts on trying a new pair? Or no?
 
Apr 29, 2015 at 10:07 PM Post #13 of 14

cel4145

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I have not hears the ESW9. But they have been a strong recommendation as a very good headphone on Head-Fi for a long time (assuming their sonic character fits the listener). I don't see people talking about the ES10. So I think if you want something different, I would recommend exploring the popular recommendations here, one's where you can find plenty of discussion about them :)
 

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