Au­dio Technica ATH-W1000Z

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Contents -

Few head­phones could claim to have the her­itage of Au­dio-technica’s W se­ries. The ATH-W1000Z marks the 11th gen­er­a­tion of the range and is a care­ful evo­lu­tion of its pre­de­ces­sor rather than a rad­i­cal de­par­ture.

Au­dio-technica has suc­ceeded in re­tain­ing the tra­di­tional look and feel of pre­vi­ous W prod­ucts. These re­main large head­phones, in­tended for use in the home. They’re a closed-back de­sign, good at keep­ing ex­ter­nal sounds out and at not leak­ing the mu­sic be­ing played.

De­spite their size, the ATH-W1000Z weigh in at 320g, which is still light enough to re­main com­fort­able over long lis­ten­ing ses­sions. In­stead of a con­ven­tional head­band, Au­dio-technica uses what it calls a ‘3D sup­port sys­tem’, with cush­ioned pad­dles on the side of the head. For those with a smaller head, we sug­gest a test run be­fore buy­ing.

“Our first im­pres­sion is of a spa­cious clear pre­sen­ta­tion. They also de­liver plenty of power and punch”

Teak con­trol

The W1000ZS sport beau­ti­fully made teak wooden earcups. In­side each earcup is a 53mm drive unit, mounted on a mag­ne­sium baf­fle and de­cou­pled from the wooden struc­ture to con­trol res­o­nances. The ATH-W1000ZS proudly dis­play a High-res logo on their box – a band­width of 5Hz-42khz is enough to qual­ify.

Plug the Au­dio-technica’s cable into a suit­able head­phone am­pli­fier (we used a Chord Hugo) and they de­liver fine re­sults. Our first im­pres­sion is of a spa­cious, clear pre­sen­ta­tion and that doesn’t change with ex­tended lis­ten­ing. Play Bob Mar­ley’s No Woman No Cry and the Au­dio-tech­ni­cas sound clear, de­tailed and ar­tic­u­late. They con­vey the easy-go­ing flow of the mu­sic well, and though they lack a lit­tle rhyth­mic drive there’s enough en­ergy to keep us in­ter­ested. The low-end is a touch over­stated, but not ex­ces­sively so. It re­mains ag­ile, and never threat­ens to dom­i­nate other el­e­ments. There’s plenty of power and punch when re­quired.

Open-backed ri­vals from Bey­er­dy­namic, Sennheiser and Grado of­fer more dy­namic sub­tlety and rhyth­mic prow­ess. But if you want the iso­lat­ing fea­tures of a closed-back de­sign, there are few bet­ter al­ter­na­tives.

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