Audio-Technica ATH-W1000 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Audio-Technica Model ATH-W1000
Headphone Type Closed Circumaural Headband Type Double
Weight (g) 350 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Wood Isolation (dB) 10
Impedance (ohms) 40 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 5 - 40000  
Connector 6.5mm Street Price US$399
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Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 6.6 Bass Impact 6.4
Bass Quality 7.4 Mids Quality 7.8
Highs Quality 8.0 Soundstage 7.8
Detail 8.0 Portability 3.4
Isolation 6.8 Comfort 8.0
Durability 8.0 Improvement With Amplification 7.0
Value for Money 6.8    
Overall Score 7.8 Total Reviews 5

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member thrillmetoo on 24 Sep 10  20:22
Individual review
Bass Extension4
Bass Impact4
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8

The W1000’s are comfortable cans and fit quite perfect on my head. The cups don’t swivel in the vertical plane, so if you have an unusually small or large head, this comfy fit may not apply to you. The surrounds are leather(ette?). Fumbling with the leads showed some microphonics and the W1000’s have also introduce some crackling noises when moving your head. The built quality is exemplary. Maybe the wooden cups are prone to scratches but as you will understand, I’m not going to try this. The butterfly wings take some getting used to. These wings, combined with the low grip on the head, though comfortable, don’t keep the cans in place when you shake your head. So don’t.
The cups are rather shallow, no problem for me, but try before you buy if you don’t want to end up with sore ears.
Not too heavy, nice textile covered leads, beautiful gold/wooden plug. In short, these ooze quality all over.
And now for the sound.
I listen to Country rock, Classical, Folk, New age and Rock. For me, these cans are perfect for voices. Lows are quite good but not overbearing, (I’m no basshead, but if you are, stay away from these cans) and only there when they need to be there. The bass doesn’t extend very deep. Highs are ‘velvety’ and not too much present. The drivers are somewhat angled backwards and maybe this accounts for the nice soundstage.
My opinion of the W1000’s is very positive. However, I sometimes notice a kind of distance in sound that sometimes bothers me a little. It’s like sitting a few seats further away from the artist. It is generally more noticeable on vocal tracks. It’s like listening to recordings I made in my younger days, when I used mikes to record from speakers instead of recording from the direct outputs that all modern amps have. I never noticed this phenomenon on my other closed cans. There is of course always the possibility that people actually like this characteristic, because it makes the sound less dry, clinical.
These cans are very easy to drive. The phones outputs on my CD players and mixing console all are more than able to drive them to insanely high, undistorted levels.
I don’t have any mixed feelings. These cans aren’t perfect, but very easy to live with. Especially classical music and folk or jazz benefit from them.
They don’t need amping nor equalizing to be able to satisfy nearly all kinds of musical tastes (bassheads aside). They don’t isolate very much. They feel as if they were built to last forever. They show character (fun?), are very likable and instantly grew on me.

A few little changes I made after several more months of rather intensive use:
Bass impact isn't that great for rock music
There is no improvement in sound when using a headphone amp (so you don't need one)
I'm still not completely used to the wings design. Sound is very depending on the placement on the head, but these cans very easily slip a bit.
Edit Sept. 2010:
Nowadays, I'm using the W1000 with a Novation Nio on a laptop with Winamp and a binaural plug-in. Still enjoy the W1000 tremendously with this setup. The comfort level is very high since I've gotten used to the wing design. the best money ever spent. Though I promissed myself to never spend more on headphones than this. The so-called high end cans are rediculously expensive for in essence such simple items that headphones essentially are.

Review by Senior Member slwiser on 20 Aug 06  15:56
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality8

These are the best sounding closed phones I have ever heard. Mostly used for jazz, classical, and vocals these phone are perfect for listening style. I love the soundstage provided with an almost surround stage realism. The bass quality is there when those notes come and go with the strong start and finish as expected. I can hardly expect any more detail out of a phone than this one. Isolation for my wife is very good, she does not complain expect for me ignoring here and with my not noticing her when I am so engrossed. For the price paid at Audio Cubes the sound is amazing me. These are my favorite phones that I have heard in any reasonable price range. Supplemented by a good source, amp and cables you will be there.

Latest update was a comparison between the various headphones that I have reviewed with an attempt to bring all my reviews into a reasonable level.

Review by Senior Member ken36 on 15 Oct 05  03:03
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8

These cans are a pleasure to own. They are beautiful to look at and the sound is warm and liquid. That said, I need to stress that 98% of my listening consists of big band vocals, show music, 1950-90s ballads, Streisand, Sinatra, Broadway shows. etc. You get the picture. From the first listen, I became a fan of the ATH-W1000 headphones. I have to say that I'm a listener not a measurement taker, so I am just not qualified to give a detailed review stressing various meter readings. I will leave that up to those others far better suited to that task than I.

Review by Member Sarchi on 30 Nov 07  16:49
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality7

I've had my used W1000's for a little over a month, and I've listened to them for around 100 hours. I'm very pleased with them. They have a beautiful midrange presence, that renders vocals, guitars/strings, piano and wind instruments especially well. Detail is also excellent, you not only hear "more" music, and more studio or hall artifacts, but you start to really hear the musician's intent - the vocal phrasing and breathing techniques, fingerpicking or bowing techniques, and so on. Jazz drums are also a revelation. These headphones are very receptive to amplification changes, I've settled for now on using my Sophia 'Baby' speaker amp, with 10 Ohm Mills resistors in parallel accross the speaker taps. At least until I can afford a Yamamoto HA-02. ;-)

I find the A-T's quite comfortable also, and they are nicely made. These are my first real high end 'phones, so I will have to limit comparisons. They don't have the deepest LF extension, and that's about the extent of my 'negative' comments. For jazz, folk, most pop music, and plenty of classical, they sound great. If you want a great headphone for techno, metal, or Wagner, these might not be for you.

Review by Member jonli on 15 May 07  15:27
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality9

These headphones are fantastic. They are absolutely my new favorites and I can't say enough good things about them. The provide me with everything I have wanted: excellent sound, strong bass, comfortable for extended use, and isolation in a closed circumaural design. I'm going back and listening to all of my old music collection again because I feel like I'm rediscovering it with these headphones.

These were a little harder to find than Senn 650's (had to ship from Japan) but well worth the effort. If you're on the fence about buying some full-size headphones, find someone who has a pair of Audio Technica's and try them out before you buy... you won't be sorry.

Audio-Technica ATH-W1000