As long-term Playback readers know, we are in the midst of a program to review top-tier models from all the well-respected headphone manufacturers, and thus far we haven’t yet tested a top model from Audio-Technica (we’ve covered other A-T models, though: click here to download Playback’s Headphone Buyer’s Guide). In a way that’s fitting because the Audio-Technica brand lies somewhere away from the center of the radar screen. Nonetheless, Audio-Technica has long-standing expertise as a headphone manufacturer and has won a loyal following among those in the know.
Naturally, we chose A-T’s top-of-the-line model—the ATH-W5000 Raffinato—for this test. Nominally this model is priced at $1669.95, but you should check actual street pricing before crossing these off your list, even if you are shopping in the $600 range.
Consider this headphone if: you want a closed headphone with an emphasis on transparency and instrumental separation, while retaining a basically balanced sound
Look further if: you place unbending priority on frequency extension and/or smoothness
Ratings (relative to comparably priced headphones):
- Tonal Balance: 8.5
- Clarity: 9.5
- Dynamics: 9
- Comfort/Fit: 8.5
- Sensitivity: 8.5
- Value: 9