Audio-Technica ATH-W1000Z Headphones

Maybe better known in hi fi circles for the variety of turntable cartridges than its cans, Japanese brand Audio-Technica has given its extensive range a little refresh. The ATHW1000Z is the latest addition to your family and replaces the ATH-W1000X. It ushers in a GBP100 price increase and swaps a few bizarre flourishes that finds the American black cherry wood earcups on the W1000X replaced by a more subtle natural teak. The finish is polished to the same high lustre as its predecessor showing off the precious wooden enclosures in each of their glory and is a lot more easy on the eye. It definitely has a high-end feel, but the outsize earcups housing the 53mm dynamic drivers will not be to everyone's' taste. The housings rather dominate the layout, and most undoubtedly are while the motorists are not the greatest in this roundup.

As with its predecessor, the W1000Z additionally uses Audio-Technica's '3D wing support system' in a play to aid relaxation. The style is made up of set of sprung. It functions pretty well, but the marginally over-engineered arrangement looks a little inelegant on top of my head. Looks aside, the rich earpads fit comfortably around my ears covered in soft leather feel fine and supple and do not cause any issues with overheating during the long listening sessions.

Sound quality

The Audiotechnica is not difficult to operate a vehicle and wants a little less output in the headphone amplifier to reach the listening evaluation degree.

Playing Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene is like a breath of fresh air with an open and grand sound and 'airiness' that's rarely associated with closed-back headphone designs.

Every detail of the track is laid out in the front of me and the huge recording extends past the physicality of the earcups using its broad soundstage.

Lower mids have their very own space and aren't overcrowded. There is good clarity using the orchestral pieces, which provide the feeling of being in the concert hall in a front row seat.

Female vocals have great clarity, but vocal sibilance is highlighted by some little colouration in upper mids and draws attention.

To investigate this further I play a 24/96 FLAC version of Hotel California by Eagles, which I understand to have tons of high frequency detail. The ATH-W1000Z extracts every last bit with forensic rates of precision, which can be a little outside my comfort zone. It leans too much towards brashness for my liking, and will quickly become fatiguing in the event the volume level wanders too far north, and instead a hard listen.

The Audiotechnica's sound can take a little getting used to, but when the volume amount is kept in check - something that's recommended for the long-term hearing - its high resolution delivery is among the most notable in the test.

Audio-Technica ATH-W1000Z Headphones photo

Review price £599 / $898.5