L3000 Teaser: Pics + Short Impressions
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Yay, after exactly 2-weeks of nail biting my ATH-L3000 arrived yeterday! Nail-biting because I bought them used off a Yahoo! Japan auction that I couldn't even fully read (well, the translation site OCN helped - a little), and I couldn't ask the seller questions: What if the condition was poor (despite the pics)? What if the drivers were damaged and the sound was terrible? What if the seller heavily smoked around them and they smelled like a high-end Connolly ashtray? What if they got dropped into the Pacific on the way from Japan? What if it was a scam where the dude only sent me a brochure on how to obtain an L3000 (and other great items, for free!)? :p Lucky for me the gamble paid off in spades as they're in like new condition, smell nice, and sound amazing.

What I think of 'em:
I haven't listened to these neary enough yet to give decent impressions

They are warm, rich sounding cans with lots of bass, lush midrange, and an excellent ability to separate out details and layers of music. Very very nice sonic signature that matches up with my personal preferences (I tend to dislike bright and/or bass-thin cans in the long run). Not a hint of brightness or harshness but it's got excellent treble, nice sparkle when necessary. I'd put the bass quantity somewhere between the RS-2 w/ Todd's flats (a bit too much bass for most material) and an HD650 (decent amount of bass), maybe slightly closer to the 650's - and that's right where I like it! The bass has a nice bloom to it but it remains well behaved. Midrange is awesome, excellent presence, vocals sounded noticeably smoother than on the 650, maybe not as much as the k340 but not far off. Tonality is great; instruments and vocals sound real! Headstage is not huge (like AKGs) but not too small either (like Grados), its a great intimate presentation that strikes a good balance - balance seems to be the theme of these cans. I should stress again how great the intimate presentation of these cans is!

I think the instrument separation on these cans is best I've heard, each instrument can play in its own space and its notes don't sound smeared or affected by the other instruments in any way. I guess that's what your get when you pay top $ for the really high end stuff. Sweet!

These cans seem like were designed with musicality as the ultimate goal, but they have the technical ability to back it up too (instrument separation, resolution, balance). It's been hard for me to find a set of cans that does both right, but I think the L3000 has pulled it off. Here's my experience so far:
K1000: Bright, fatiguing treble, not as smooth as other top cans.
K340 (unmodded or recabled): Insanely euphonic/musical cans, wonderful for vocals and orchestral, but bass can't keep up as well with the other dynamics when it's hitting hard and heavy.
Grado RS-2 w/flats: Fun groovy cans that don't always have enough technical ability to pull off a great listen. Stuff gets muddled together when the music gets complex. Can sound a bit "platic-y" at times IMO. Too much bass for some stuff. Tried vwaps too but the tonality sounded even more wonky.
HD650: Nice, well balanced cans but sometimes they're not quite musical enough and can sound just a little dry and lifeless. Vocals aren't the smoothest I've heard.
HP-2: Another well balanced can, uber-smooth, a bit more techincal ability than the HD650 but a bit less musical/euphonic as well (of course some treasure them for their neutrality and I can see why).

At this point I can't think of an L3000 deficiency, at least not of the magnitude of the problems I've listed above for the other cans. I do sometimes change my opinions of new cans over more extended listening but even if I discover minor nitpicks with the L3000 I don't think I'll cease to be impressed its balance and ability to be musical, accurate and resolving at the same time. Great stuff, I'm looking forward to exploring their sonics further in the coming weeks!

Pics Below! (Moved to next post)
 
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Oink1

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Wow!
They're gorgeous! - Congrats and enjoy!
Nice review-et by the way, Look forward to further reports as you get to know them better
 
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ayt999

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congrats on getting a pair of L3000's.
I've had mine for about a year and a half now and I still like them.
 
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fr4c

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congrats on the new headphones and keep us updated on further impressions. enjoy
 
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South_Korean

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wow, that truly surpasses the amount of leather you can put on a pair of headphones from what ive seen so far. they must be on the heavy side.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by South_Korean
wow, that truly surpasses the amount of leather you can put on a pair of headphones from what ive seen so far. they must be on the heavy side.


They're not too bad weight-wise, and actually quite comfy. The weight is distributed extremely evenly, which greatly reduces the effective weight, and the leather pads are heavenly.
 
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I think I've come to appreciate them more the longer I've owned them. I really think they are an under-rated headphone around Head-Fi... I really don't think you're going to like them less with time, quite the opposite in fact!
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
I think I've come to appreciate them more the longer I've owned them. I really think they are an under-rated headphone around Head-Fi... I really don't think you're going to like them less with time, quite the opposite in fact!



Sweet, thanks for the reassurance. I'm really impressed with them so far, these may just be the cans for me! Before the L3000, my listening time was shared mostly between the K340 and HD650 (with a dash of K1000 and RS-2 thrown in) so it would be nice to move to a single favorite pair of headphones.

Edit: And thanks for all the congrats, guys! Between the big price tag, the risk, the anticipation, the beautiful presentation and sonics of these cans, it's been a euphoric experience so far
 
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GoRedwings19

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mulveling
Sweet, thanks for the reassurance. I'm really impressed with them so far, these may just be the cans for me! Before the L3000, my listening time was shared mostly between the K340 and HD650 (with a dash of K1000 and RS-2 thrown in) so it would be nice to move to a single favorite pair of headphones.

Edit: And thanks for all the congrats, guys! Between the big price tag, the risk, the anticipation, the beautiful presentation and sonics of these cans, it's been a euphoric experience so far



What this basically translates into is "It's the doggie's knackers"????
 
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adhoc

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wow - they look to be in perfect condition! congrats!


so, what was the damage?
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mulveling
What if it was a scam where the dude only sent me a brochure on how to obtain an L3000 (and other great items, for free!)? :p


You got the AT L3k for free???!!
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by adhoc
wow - they look to be in perfect condition! congrats!


so, what was the damage?



About $1310 after fees and triple shipping (ugh). $1154 was the auction's winning price.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by GoRedwings19
What this basically translates into is "It's the doggie's knackers"????


If that means they're awesome, then yes
 
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I think it's important to understand that the high-end AT cans are an experience with many facets. It isn't just the sound that's important, it's the whole sensory experience. When the W2002's really hit their peak it's as much about the feel of the pads on your ears as the sound and the sensory impressions all meld together. I haven't really had another set of headphones I felt this way about. It's the whole experience from observing their beauty, to their feel, to the way they feel on your head, to their sound all sort of wrapped up in a sensory experience that I find rather unique and wonderful.
 
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