Well, hello there W5000.
Jul 30, 2008 at 2:26 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

darkswordsman17

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Early this morning I stopped by the post office to pick up the W5000s I landed on the FS/T forum. First of all, I have to say that the person I bought them from couldn't have done a better job (well aside from giving them to me for free and handing them to me personally).

I had read up on them, and decided to go ahead and take the plunge. This will be my first really high end headphone, so I wasn't entirely certain what to expect. My first impression was good, but not great. The case looks more impressive than it is (feels like cheaper plastic on the outside). It looks like its made of metal, so that was a bit of a disappointment. Then again, I'm used to that with Audio-Technica's packaging. The inside is better, but overall its ok (its nice to have the case, just wish it was a little better quality).

Anyway, so I remove the W5000 itself. I'm very pleased that the wood cups look fairly dark. You can still se the grain easily, but it looks pleasing. The wood actually feels a little plasticky to me to be honest, but thats due to it being finished and hollow instead of a solid chunk. I can't believe the lettering on the side is not embossed or engraved. Well, so far, seems par for the course for Audio-Technica, looks nice but I wish they'd go the extra mile on some things.

Knowing my past experiences, how all of that falls away when you put them on, I was eager to get to it. They seem to be a bit more compact than the A900 models (specifically the A900Ti that I've been using for the past several months). I had read all about the fit issues, and was confident that it wouldn't effect me. Unfortunately, it does. I genuinely do not understand how they settled on the bend they did. Because the earcups don't swivel vertically, it can't fit your head correctly. Even if you have a large noggin (which I do) the tops do not get pushed to your head the same as the bottom. I can only assume they had Stewie (Family Guy) as their subject for testing. Also, sadly, they creak. This seems to be caused by the 3-D wing system, which for whatever reason is not as good as on the A900Ti.

Well, so much for all of that, let's see, er, rather, hear, how they sound. I fire up my CD player and away we go. Immediately, I'm impressed. I don't want to go too far in depth about the sound as it'll sound like a lot hyperbole. In short, there is loads of detail. I've heard things on so many songs that I didn't even know was there that its not even funny. I've heard a fair amount of headphones as well, and even played around with them so they purposefully exaggerate certain parts of the spectrum. The strangest thing is, even though there's massive amounts of detail, and they reveal all the flaws in the recording, they don't make those flaws sound bad. I've intentionally listened to some terrible MP3 rips and even though I can hear all the problems, it doesn't bother me, and I'm able to enjoy the music. Same thing with piercing highs. On other headphones I'd cringe, it'd feel like my ears were being stabbed, but with these, it's like they're being stabbed with velvet. Lastly, I'll talk about the bass. Yes, initially the bass was lacking, but with getting a better fit, it is much better. It still could use a little more impact, but the quality is lovely. In short, its not a problem for me.

So, I'm very impressed thus far. They do have their quirks, but they make the W5000s more endearing to me. I think I will try firming up the earpads a little bit and see if that'll help with the fit, and maybe improve the bass while moving the mids out just a little bit. That'll make the sound perfect for me. I can definitely see keeping these for a long time to come. I can already tell that they'll scale very well. Even though they'll reveal the flaws of your source and amp, they'll also be very flattering to them will make them sound like they're better than they are.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 3:06 AM Post #2 of 16

Planar_head

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Nice summary!

Now I want some
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Jul 30, 2008 at 3:29 AM Post #3 of 16

zyxwvutsr

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What headphones are you comparing the W5000s with? and on what equipment?

Regarding the fit - it may be fine even if the pressure at the top is slight (so long as there is complete seal around your ear).
Press the earcups against your head and check if the sound changes. If not, then they are fitting you just fine.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 4:42 AM Post #4 of 16

Decel

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Very interesting, I've been eyeing the higher-end ATs for a while (dammit AT, just re-release the L3000!)

So less bass than the 900ti but better highs?

Are you amping them?
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 6:35 AM Post #5 of 16

pp312

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They creak? I found the AD700s creaked outrageously, but I'd have thought the higher end stuff would be free of that.

Creaking rules a headphone out for me. I remember a professional review of the Stax 4040 where the guy raved about the sound but complained about creaking. He said he wouldn't buy it for that reason, and neither would I.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 7:06 AM Post #6 of 16

darkswordsman17

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Well, I would say there's a bit less bass than the A900Ti's, although I'd say its higher quality. I don't have a problem with bass (with a modded pair of 770s, it was like strapping a subwoofer to my head and I enjoyed that sound, but its not one I could put up with long term), but I really don't miss the excessive quantity you get with some lower end headphones.

Yeah, they creak, but only if they move on your head. Once I've got them situated well, they don't creak for me. It's definitely the 3-D wing system that is the culprit here. They really should've used the sturdier one from their lower end headphones. Aside from that they're pretty solid in feel.

I think part of why they have the bend in the two metal pieces like they do is they want it to feel more floaty on your head, so that its easier to forget you're wearing headphones, the problem is it impacts the sound way too much. On the other Audio-Technicas that I've tried, the earcups do a fair job of support on their own, whereas the W5000s rely too much on the 3-D wings, and so the creaking is a more pronounced problem. The fit has improved, I feel like its actually forming to my head more, which I think is probably the earpads.

Right now I'm running it from the Hippo Hifi Bloat, and it sounds very nice. Oddly, these seem to be less hungry than the Ti's. I've plugged it into most of the headphone jacks I have around here, and I really feel that it does a good job of revealing the character of your source/amp, but it doesn't do so at the expense of sound quality.

There is one more thing on the sound that I've noticed. Its very difficult to describe, but I'll try my best. On the A900Ti's, the guitar strums sound really nice, you can hear the pick as it moves on the string. With the W5000s, its like you hear the result, so you hear the sound from the strum, but almost like you don't hear what caused it. Same thing with the drums. It's like its made the people playing the instruments invisible, so that you just get the sound they make. I know that sounds strange, but thats the best way I can describe it. I'm baffled as it sounds if anything more natural. Also, how it manages that while improving the detail all around is somewhat mindblowing to me.

I still cannot figure out how its bringing out things that I did not know was there. I think its partly the speed, as even on fast parts with a lot of different sounds it keeps up (doesn't even seem to break a sweat doing it either). That and it brings out different layers really well. Yet another thing that still catches my attention is how it brings out background details without emphasizing them. It stays focused on the most important part of the music, but doesn't do so at the expense of the rest of the sound.

Man, I knew I was going to start talking like that, but these things are just amazing to my ears. I know this might ruffle some feathers, but if you liked the sound of these, I think you'd end up better off getting them and not worrying too much about source. They sound excellent straight from the headphone jack on my 4 year old Dell laptop with AC97 audio chip. That's not to say they won't benefit from better sources, if anything I'd say they would more than most headphones, but they're happy to make sweet music regardless of what you plug them into. That's enough glowing praise from me for the moment I think.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 8:45 AM Post #7 of 16

edhamgtr

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Completely with you on the W5000.

I have had mine for a month now. I get totally lost in the music because of them. Very detailed, very open wide soundstage.
And sound good just off my macbook or ipod as well as my grace 902.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 12:40 PM Post #8 of 16

HFat

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Quote:

Originally Posted by darkswordsman17 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The strangest thing is, even though there's massive amounts of detail, and they reveal all the flaws in the recording, they don't make those flaws sound bad. ...


I noticed much of the same things you did. The above, however, seems to me to be a potential problem: I noticed that, with some music that's supposed to sound grating like guitar distortion and whatnot, it takes away the edge of the sound and makes the music sound too smooth. I wonder what causes this weird (but often pleasant) coloration... is it FR-related or what?

There are other annoyances such as the soundstage from my perspective. No headphone is perfect, I guess.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 3:32 PM Post #10 of 16

Elephas

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Quote:

Originally Posted by darkswordsman17 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I know this might ruffle some feathers, but if you liked the sound of these, I think you'd end up better off getting them and not worrying too much about source. They sound excellent straight from the headphone jack on my 4 year old Dell laptop with AC97 audio chip. That's not to say they won't benefit from better sources, if anything I'd say they would more than most headphones, but they're happy to make sweet music regardless of what you plug them into.


Ouch!

Dell laptop headphone jack... double ouch!

Team Source First is not going to be pleased.

Out of the box, the W5000 probably has the least clamping force of all the full-size AT's. It fits most loosely. Some bending of the metal headbands is possible to increase the clamping force and to improve the fit and sound quality.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 8:11 PM Post #12 of 16

darkswordsman17

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Elephas /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ouch!

Dell laptop headphone jack... double ouch!

Team Source First is not going to be pleased.

Out of the box, the W5000 probably has the least clamping force of all the full-size AT's. It fits most loosely. Some bending of the metal headbands is possible to increase the clamping force and to improve the fit and sound quality.



That was used as an example of the fact that I think if you had $700-800 or so, and the W5000 sound was what you wanted, you'd be better off with it and just about anything, rather than spending $260 on headphones, $260 on source, and $260 on amp.

Right now my main source is either a Sony CDP-CA70ES with integrated 1/4" headphone jack or a Hippo Hifi Bloat (ASIO4All output, foobar, FLAC). My next move will actually very likely be a Marantz SR5001 since I'll be using it for movies and games as well. Later on I'll move up the source and amp ladder. With these, I have no worries about it sounding bad regardless. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it makes me not want better equipment, I would love to be able to go drop a couple of thousand on source and amp, but it won't feel like torture putting up with lower quality stuff in the interim.

The fit won't be much of a problem for me. Just need to get it situated correctly and then its fine.

HFat: I can see where you're coming from, but that is not my experience personally. It doesn't seem to be taking the edge off of anything in my music, and actually gives it bite that I haven't heard it have before. I guess maybe compared to other high end headphones (say the SA5000s) that might be true, but I don't know that I'd like the sound of any of those (and not due to the specific part we're talking about). Let me clarify. If you have a good recording it will show you what it has to offer. Comparing lower quality versions of the same song makes it clear what is missing, and certainly I prefer the higher quality version, but it doesn't make the lower quality one unlistenable like some other headphones I've listened to.
 
Jul 30, 2008 at 10:04 PM Post #13 of 16

edhamgtr

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With my W5000's the clamping "issue" resolved quickly with just some gentle bending of the metal band. By bending inwards closer to the cups the clamping pressure increased just that little bit I was missing.
Since then no issues.

As far as sources ...
Going from ipod - W5000 to Grace - W5000 = the difference is not as much as one would think. My AKG 500's need the better amp more than the W5000's do.
I have spent so many hours lately with the W5k's just running off my laptop and I really couldn't be happier.

They don't seem to get as much forum love as some other POM but I'm really glad I bought them. I have a stax craving that might result in their sale but nothing less would make me consider parting with them.
 
Jul 31, 2008 at 12:38 AM Post #14 of 16

Andrew_WOT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by edhamgtr /img/forum/go_quote.gif
They don't seem to get as much forum love as some other POM


Oh, they are getting plenty, they are just way past their FOTM.
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Aug 12, 2008 at 3:14 PM Post #15 of 16

sean1209

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Elephas /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Ouch!

Dell laptop headphone jack... double ouch!

Team Source First is not going to be pleased.

Out of the box, the W5000 probably has the least clamping force of all the full-size AT's. It fits most loosely. Some bending of the metal headbands is possible to increase the clamping force and to improve the fit and sound quality.



Totally agree. Got my W5000 yesterday, I was extremely surprised just how light W5000 really is in comparison with my A900Ti, it fits so loosely on my head! Nice tip there, will try to bend he headbands to get a tighter fit~
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