Audio Technica ATH-W1000x "Grandioso"

I watch the Audio Technica high-end headphone line like a hawk. They're mostly far too bright for me, but they're so cool looking that I keep trying each time AT comes out with a new one because one of these days they'll make one I like, and I'm gonna jump on it when they do.

Now up to bat: the ATH-W1000x "Grandioso."

(Crosses fingers.)

The Audio Technica ATH-W1000x ($699.95 MSRP - $599 Street)
At CES earlier this year, Audio Technica announce the tenth generation of it's W-Series headphone, the ATH-W1000x "Grandioso" headphone. Long before the rash of "fashion" headphones that have shown up over the past couple of years, Audio Technica has been producing very exotic and, to the eyes of many, very good looking headphones.

They've all tended to be very fast and tipped up sounding cans, but the ATH-L3000 (a limited edition headphone introduced in about 2005, affectionately know as the "Leatherhead" for its leather covered earpieces) sounded pretty darn good to me, but it was a limited edition and gone forever. So I keep my ear out. When the guys at HeadRoom told me they had a set of the new ATH-W1000x in house I scooted over for a listen. Well, they sounded good enough for deeper investigation.

Styling and Build Quality
I love the look of the Audio Technica high-end cans in general. A nicely finished wooden headphone is always appealing to me; the high-gloss finish of the American black cherry earpieces of the Grandioso's certainly qualify. Coupled with the unusual "3D Wing Support" headpads and soaring arch of the two thin but strong headbands, and the cool matching wood connector body, the W1000x is a striking and interesting design.

While the build quality is good, there's a lot of plastic here where metal might have been more appropriate for a headphone of this price. Earpads are pleather, and headpads on 3D wings are fabric over foam. Structural components are plastic with an attractive fine grain textured finish.

The drivers are quite large at 53mm, and they are mounted on a significant angle within the earcup. I've found this to be a good thing, and like that many makers are adopting an angled driver approach. Both cable and voice coil are claimed to be oxygen free copper.

Ergonomics
As attractive as the unusual self-adjusting "3D Wing Support" head-pads are, the AT headphones of this design tend to be a little difficult to fit --- especially with small heads. Because the earpices can only swivel on their vertical axis, they will often not line up with the side of your head; often having a gap at either the top or bottom of the earpad. The solution is some significant bending around of the headband to get the angle correct for your head. (See video for further information on adjustment.)

Once adjusted properly, the headphones are very light on the head and quite comfortable. The "3D" pads self-adjust and have light tension, so while they're comfortable when in position, they're not particularly secure. No head-banging with these cans.

Isolation
These are sealed headphones, but provide only modest isolation. (The Denon AH-D5000, which is a similar headphone in type and price, and a likely competitor for the W1000x, has significantly less isolation.) Given the fact that these are quite expensive and not very stable on the head, they're likely not going to be used as a portable headphone where isolation is critical. Around the home with normal noise levels (T.V., dishwasher, air conditioner) the W1000x will provide adequate isolation.

On to the sound...

COMPANY INFO
audio-Technica U.S., Inc.
1221 Commerce Drive
stow, Ohio 44224
sales@atus.com
330-686-2600
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COMMENTS
Armaegis's picture

I've owned/tried many full sized winged Audio Technica headphones (including the w1000x) and always felt them to be incredibly comfortable on my somewhat largish/wide/square head. Soundwise they've never really wowed me, but in general have a light airiness to them with the open versions having a somewhat exaggerated separation and the closed models having what feels like an extended decay which can either be good or bad depending on the song.

p.s. you wrote 30Hz when you meant 300Hz

maverickronin's picture

That actually makes me want to hear the T5p. I love train wrecks, metaphorical or literal. I wonder if that makes me a bad person...

There's also the upcoming Beyer T70 and T70p. If we're lucky they'll have kept the voicing from the DT1350 and put it in a more comfortable package.

There were some measurements of the Z1000 posted in their thread over at head-fi and they looked to have much the same bass roll-off that you measured with the 700s.

Shike's picture

The thing I enjoy most about the AT designs I must say is the headband. I can literally wear them for hours and forget their presence which just doesn't happen often. I haven't heard their higher line, but the AD700 sounds good when I don't want a lot of bass but some mid-centric music for relaxing . . . I've used them even with minor headaches and it's just really enjoyable considering.

Regarding performance and price, it seems to me good headphones are either surprisingly cheap or expensive. The $500-1K market like you mentioned just seems kind of at ends. I guess I'm weird though since I still adore my K601s as my reference even having demoed some of the higher offerings out there.

DaveBSC's picture

Tyll, have you ever had a chance to hear one of Mark Lawton's modified Denons? The LA2000 "lite" (Denon AH-D2000 with modified pads and driver housing and custom wood cups and the D7000 cable) is only about $70 more than the list price of the W1000x, and by most accounts is a better sounding headphone than the stock D7000.

It would be great if you could get an LA modified Denon in for measurement testing.

DaBomb77766's picture

Speaking of the Denons, were you gonna do a review for those three at any point in time?

DavidSolo's picture

Tyll,

I always enjoy your reviews. Like you I have never been fully won over by the Audio Technica W5000s. The W1000x look like a similar type of headphone. I've found that the W5000 sound decent at really low volumes with acoustic music. Did you feel the W1000x excelled in most areas over the W5000?

Doru_Lutai's picture

Great Review as always! You mentioned the Denons(2000/5000/7000)as a competition for the Audio Technica. I would be really interested in a review of the Denons. I heard great stuff about them, especially the AH-D7000. Thx for your great Reviews!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Just today I'm submitting the paperwork to Denon to get my hands on the D2000, D5000, and D7000. Maybe a month 'til review!
Doru_Lutai's picture

HeHe good timing indeed ! Can't wait for the review ;).

melvin's picture

Hi Tyll,

Kinda a late comment here if you don't mind, but I'm planning to get the ATH-ESW9 w/c somewhat seems to be the cheaper version of this (I think). How do they compare to the Grandioso? I checked the frequency response and it seemed to be decent, but I'd like your opinion please. :-)

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