Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV 50th Anniversary Headphones (Playback 57)

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Headphones
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Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV

Exclusivity

•There will be only 2000 units made worldwide.
•Like all 2012 Audio-Technica Limited Edition products, the ATH-W3000ANV features a 50th Anniversary logo and commemorative certificate signed by company president, Kazuo Matsushita.

Ergonomic High Points and Low Points

When I first tried to put the Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV headphones on they didn’t fit. In fact, the top halves of the ear cups didn’t even make contact with my head. Instead the ear cups angled away, only making a tight contact at the bottom edges. I could push the headphones onto my ears until they made a good seal, but the second I relaxed the pressure they reverted to their original unusable position. I took the headphones off and carefully examined the design.

The Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV headband is unique among over-ear headphones I’ve seen. Unlike most headphones, which have some provisions for headband adjustment and rotation on more than one axis, the Audio Technica ATH-W3000ANV headphones have a far more limited range of motion. They only rotate horizontally and instead of an adjustment scheme they have a pair of hinged pads that rest lightly on either side of the top of your head. Two magnesium rods formed into a wide-C shape make up the entire A-T headband. I don’t believe that Audio-Technica designed the rods to be adjustable.

Given this, I had two options: return the Audio Technica ATH-W3000ANV headphones to my editor as “unreviewable due to poor fit” or bend the two magnesium rods into a tight U or even a V-shape so the ear cups would make even contact both above and below my ears. Option one wasn’t going to happen without an attempt at option two. So, I began to bend the rods. Magnesium is pretty strong stuff, so I had to put some muscle into the task (finally, a legitimate audio-related reason why I work out at the gym three times a week). After a couple of tries I finally got the rods re-shaped so that the ear cups made a tight but comfortable seal around my ears. The only downsides: likely a voided warranty and a pair of earphones with a headband that makes me look like a cone-head.

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