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Audio Technica ATH-W5000

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MSRP $1,199.95
This product is no longer available at HeadRoom.

'Raffinato' is Italian for refined or polished. It's also the name Audio Technica gave its top-of-the-line ATH-W5000 full-sized sealed audiophile headphones. This detailed pair of headphones deliver defined resolution in full measure with a controlled bottom and level mid-range, so it'll please those interested in hearing quiet musical nuances, low-level recording subtleties and page turns. Exquisitely built, superbly engineered and comfortable, these display-worthy master cans are a joy to behold & hear for any headphone afficionado.


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Product Features:

  • Fast, hyper-articulate headphone for lovers of detail.
  • Sealed-back design provides mild isolation from outside noise.
  • Beautifully built with striped ebony earpieces and glove leather earpads.
  • Comes with terrific satin-lined hard shell carry case.
  • Free 2-year Audio-Technica USA manufacturer's warranty

What's In The Box:

  • Hard-shell storage / travel case
  • Cable storage bag
  • Audio-Technica owner's manual / warranty statement

Applications:

The Audio Technica ATH-W5000 Raffinato headphone was formerly a hard-to-find 'import-only' model that has recently found its way to these shores due to major consumer demand. The W5000's reputation was made on the strength of high-end headphone geeks clamoring for a serious audiophile-oriented sealed-earcup version of AT's famous open-back designs, all long renown for soundstage spaciousness and supreme wearing comfort. Sonically, expect a unique musical perspective offering excellent clarity in the upper highs but a slightly recessed, wonderfully nasally quality in the mids that some listeners will certainly find inviting with certain vocal ranges. The bass is tightly controlled without over-exaggeration and, as usual, the depth of the soundstage imaging remains one of the prominent strengths of this Audio Technica master-level headphone. Our feedback shows this to be a favorite of classical music afficionados and audiophile listeners interested in a very open-toned musical presentation that fully recovers expansive, realistic room sounds along with a deep sense of instrumental 'space'. 

The Raffinato's distinctive wood earcups have been copied before by other manufacturers but AT's oversize construction is well-known for comfort above all and the ATH-W5000 does not disappoint. They're certainly very ergonomically comfortable and airy-feeling on the head for such big sealed full-size [circumaural] cans and the pivoting wings on the headband nicely  'auto-adjust' for fit. However, they're probably a bit too big and loose for the smaller-headed person. The sealed earcup construction provides some mild degree of ambient isolation and noise leakage protection. The headphone cord exits from the left earcup and extends about 9 ft., terminating to full-size 1/4" plug. We recommend the Cardas Audio 1/4"-to 1/8" adapter if plugging into a source with small, sensitive 3.5mm [1/8"] jacks. The headphones arrive in a plushly-padded, red/purple silk-lined hard-sided valise that's perfect for long-term storage or for extremely secure transit of your beloved pricey Raffinato headphones. A 1-year warranty is standard with Audio Technica headphones.

Specifications:

  • Coupler Size: Large
  • Cord Type: Straight Y
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Weight: 340 grams w/o cord
  • Cord Length: 10 ft. (3 m)
  • Detachable Cable: No
  • Connector Type: 1/4" with 1/8" adaptor
  • Noise Cancelling: No
  • Wireless: No
  • Impedance @ 1kHz: 40 ohms
  • Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
  • Headphone Type: Full Size
  • Acoustic Seal: Closed
  • Isolation: approx 8dB
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Microphone: No

Additional Resources:

Reviews At A Glance
2 Reviews
1 Reviews
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Average Rating 
(Showing 3 of 3 reviews)



Smooth sounding, non-fatiguing headphones
Posted by Chicago OTL from Chicago on 2011-05-26

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Comfort, sonic characteristics, build quality
Cons: Lacks low bass impact

These headphones offer the A-T "house sound" in a refined form. That is to say, lovely midrange and smooth sounding highs, with good bass texture. I particularly like the way they sound on tube amplifiers; they sound fantastic on the Bottlehead Crack amplifier, for example.

They do not have the low bass impact that some headphones offer, but the bass that they offer is tuneful and has good texture. Great for fans of acoustic bass- maybe not the ideal headphones for fans of synth bass.

Many of the modern top-of-the-line phones on offer today from the likes of Sennheiser, Beyer and HiFiMan (which I also own,) have strong treble peaks that can provide a sense of treble extension and detail, but I find that when I listen at the fairly loud (I've measured 87~90 dB SPL) levels that I prefer, this high frequency emphasis causes me to become ear-fatigued after a short time. With phones that don't emphasize these highs I find I can listen at satisfyingly loud levels without fatigue for long periods. These A-T 'phones provide this sort of low-fatigue listening for me.

Another reason folks buy headphones like these is to enjoy their "object qualities"- call it "audio jewelry" if you like, but there is a pleasure in having well made things, and the ebony wood and diecast magnesium on these headphones is quite lovely.

Comfort is quite good. The leather earpads are butter-soft, though in general I prefer velour earpads as cloth 'breathes' better.

If you are looking for BASS MONSTERS these are not for you. If you listen to a lot of jazz and classical, I suggest you give these a listen.


Sound Quality
Comfort
Look & Feel
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12 out of 12 people found this review helpful. Did you?


A very good headphone
Posted by Figaro from Philadelphia, PA on 2010-12-04

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Outstanding sound; comfortable, good value at discounted price
Cons: Sound not well isolated; may not fit all head sizes

To my ears, the closed-back Audio Technica ATH-W5000 is one of the most musical headphones I have heard for classical music and acoustic Jazz. I have auditioned some of today's best headphones: Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 and Tesla T5p, Grado PS1000, Sennheiser HD800, and Ultrasone Edition 8. I listen mostly in a studio, where I need to move around, requiring portability, as so I auditioned all with a Cowon S9 and Hifiman HM-801). You might like any of these headphones better than the W5000, but in my opinion, with the music players I used, it is among the best I have heard.

The soundstage of the W5000 is high, wide and deep. Its only rival in this area is the HD800. The latter’s soundstage is at least as good, but quite different. With the HD800 you feel the atmosphere of the room. With the W5000 you feel all is in space. The W5000' sound is up front, enveloping you sometimes; the HD800's sound is stably mid-hall.

The W5000 sounds a bit warmer than the HD800, but less so than the Tesla T1, which has a beautiful sound, although slightly euphonic, to my ears. The closed-back T5p, although having a slightly narrower soundstage than its open-back sibling, doesn't sound euphonic to me.

If you like analytical sound, as I do, the W5000 may be for you. As with the HD800, instruments are heard separately. You also hear the attack and trail end of every note; you hear subtlety and nuance, bowing, vibrato and resonance. As much as the best of these headphones, the W5000 makes me listen to the music rather than the headphone, as it should. I have read that the W5000 sounds a bit nasal, but have not found that to be so, although it is somewhat bright.

The W5000 has good and controlled bass for acoustic music. Some have better bass, some worse. The bass of the HD800 is a bit more extended, theT1 and T5p, even more so. The PS1000 is even more extended than those. The Edition 8 has the most impressive bass of the group, although, depending on the music, is sometimes a bit bass-heavy and less controlled than all the others. Still, the closed-back Edition 8 is a great headphone. It has excellent dynamics, clear sound and more body to the instruments than the W5000 or the HD800; but the Ed 8’s soundstage is somewhat constricted, and music sometimes sounds in a vacuum. Of the three closed-back headphones, the Edition 8 is the smallest and most portable, followed by the T5p, while the W5000 seems too cumbersome to wear outside. The W5000 is a fast, nimble headphone, and is sonically balanced throughout the spectrum. Its highs are extended and controlled and its midrange glorious. The PS1000 is the most dynamic and involving of the group. Although not quite as dynamic as the PS1000, the W5000 is just about as involving. The W5000 may not be as accurate as the HD800 or the two Beyerdynamics, but it sounds more passionate, which to me gets it closer to the heart of music.

Yet, the W5000 is the Cinderella of today’s best headphones. Reviews of it are generally mixed. It leaks more sound than the other closed-back headphones in the group (T5p and Ed 8), which to some may be a weakness. Its reputation is not helped by its headband setup, which may look dorky, but more important, lacks adjustment and is reported not to fit smaller head sizes. However, it fits my head and to me is by far the most comfortable of the group. The W5000 being introduced earlier and at a higher price than the excellent Sennheiser HD800, did not maintain a favorable market niche, which may have contributed to it being heavily discounted. Since many of us equate price to quality, there seems to be a tendency for the W5000 to be overlooked (at least by some reviewers) in comparison to some of the others headphones. To many people the W5000 may not be quite as compelling in over all sonic quality as these others, which are among the very best available at any price. However, it holds its own in comparison. The W5000 is an outstanding headphone, one of the best sounding on the market -- and at its heavily discounted price (have seen as low as $650) -- may be one of the best high-end values around.


Sound Quality
Comfort
Look & Feel
Durability

24 out of 24 people found this review helpful. Did you?


Not a flagship in every aspect
Posted by Asr from CO on 2010-01-27

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Sound quality, aesthetics, & carrying case included
Cons: Sound quality, low isolation for a closed headphone, picky w/ equipment, & potential fit issues

The W5000 carries a relatively high price and for this, I'm sure you're probably left wondering what could possibly justify the price and how good it could possibly sound. As for what justifies the price, I'm not sure myself, but as for the sound, well let's just say that you'll either love it or hate it - this headphone has a very, very unique sound signature that won't work for everyone and may even be downright weird. Pair these headphones with the wrong equipment (headphone amp and source component) and the sonic performance will only get worse. Or conversely, pair it with the right equipment to get even better performance, depending on how you take to the sound quality.

The W5000's sound quality isn't entirely natural, as it has a forward upper mid-range that can make instruments like woodwinds sound extra reedy or alternately vocals extra nasal, with a slight imbalance of the lower mid-range, so some instruments can sound a bit hollow as a result. Bass/mid-bass is unusually light for a closed headphone (most closed headphones have considerable bass response due to a closed design alone) but is still plenty deep and forceful. Treble is good, with proper audible extension yet isn't overly sharp. There are a lot more subtleties to the sound quality though that can't really be explained given the limitations of the written word versus actually hearing something for yourself. The W5000 has the sound of being highly detailed and "musical" which is admittedly nebulous but once you hear these against some other headphones like the AKG K701/K702, Beyerdynamic DT880, Sennheiser HD600/HD650, et al, the meaning of "musical" might start to make sense. The W5000 does a number of things sonically those other headphones don't - such as presenting a highly precise soundstage that's neither too small or too big (very unusual for a closed headphone in particular), exposing multiple details simultaneously (particularly simultaneous volume & pitch modulation), and properly separating multiple instruments from each other allowing each one to be distinctly heard, even within the same frequency band.

And sound quality isn't the only issue with the W5000, as the frame won't fit a wide variety of head shapes, especially on larger heads. It's not a very isolating headphone either as you can still hear your environment somewhat with them on and playing music - but on the other hand it doesn't leak much and won't bother people nearby. And the picky with equipment aspect cannot be overstated - it pays to properly research this subject before jumping into a purchase, and more info on it can be found at Head-Fi.org.


Sound Quality
Comfort
Look & Feel
Durability

36 out of 43 people found this review helpful. Did you?


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