We all agreed that Audio-Technica did an awesome job with the aesthetics of these cans (the first headphone to be made of Black Cherry wood used for piano making), and the wood inlay on the jack is a is a nice touch adding to the sophistication. No doubt, these look and feel like real high-end headphones. One ergonomic point that came up for a couple of our HeadRoom testers is the classic AT “3-D wing” style headband which doesn’t always feel like it holds the headphones securely on your head. The lack of a swivel on the vertical axis of the earcups may also keep them from completely sealing on some ears. Sonically, these large circumaural headphones have a richly present bass that is expertly balanced with clear vocal mids and detailed highs without audible edginess. A weakness of some less expensive Audio Technica models is perhaps a lack of musical body and acoustic fullness, but these issues were certainly not present in the ATH-W1000X. There does, however, seem to be a hint of resonance in the upper bass and low mids, bringing a slight honkiness to certain recordings, most noticeably with tracks that fill up the low frequencies and thus are prone to muddiness; more 'burn-in' time may help clarify that nit-pick. Nevertheless, the ATH-W1000X maintain a very good level of definition and musical separation, even if slightly lacking an organically natural tone -- always a difficult feat for any sealed-back headphone.The group consensus is that the ATH-W1000x is a true top contender in the “High-End Sealed” category, especially for someone looking for more of a neutral sound than the somewhat bassy Denon AH-D5000 or AH-D7000. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Sennheiser 500 Series"][/caption]
Easily the biggest take-away from our Headphone Sessions came with the HD 518, an affordably-priced full size open headphone. We put these cans through the ringer, throwing all genres from rock, to acoustic, classical, & slammin' hip-hop at them, and they shined throughout. They brought out the woodiness of a bowed upright bass, thumped correctly with hip-hop, reproduced the smooth airiness of Allison Kraus’s vocals and the metallic shine of the resonator in Jerry Douglas’s Dobro, and gave rock the punch and impact of a live show. Like the short kid on the basketball team who outscores his taller teammates, the HD518 is a huge 'bang for the buck' performer. Although the resolution and soundstage of the more expensive HD models is slightly superior, the HD 518’s bass authority, perfectly balanced presentation and unique ability to deeply engage the listener makes them a superb overall value in full size open headphones.If you’d like to talk with us about the best choice for your tastes within the Audio-Technica or Sennheiser HD500 Series or any other headphone for that matter, please feel free to ring up our Sales Staff at 800-828-8184. We’re ready and listenin’!
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