ATH-ESW9A Portable Wooden Headphones
Addictive Sound Signature with Questionable Durability
I don't have much to say about myself except that I love headphones and am not an audiophile, and so I'll get right to the review.
Very minimal, comes with just a soft pouch to protect scratches. I would've like to see at least a hard-shell case. especially the given price-point.
The wooden earcups are quite a beauty and along with the low profile, it is a winner in my book. Though I can't say the same about the build. I have used these for about 8 months now and though no major issues have occurred yet, there is a bit of creaking when twisting the earcups to fold flat. The cable also seems to very thin, which at first I thought them to be practical because almost no cable noise occurred, but after getting them caught on a few things, it worries me.
It fits my big head quite nicely. The top of the headband is very plush and easy on the head. The earpads however hurt my ears after about 30 minutes of listening; this can be easily fixed by twisting the earcups a bit outwards but also lets in more noise. Going onto isolation, the isolation is decent at higher volumes. These will not totally block out noise if you're in a busy commute, but for those who want to hear their surroundings might find this nice.
If I had to describe a picture for the sound, it would be like laying on a couch with a blanket and sitting by the fireplace in the winter. I don't know how someone else might take that but the sound was very unique and excellent to my ears.
The bass is warm with a nice body and punch to them.
The mids stand out a little more but rarely ever gets harsh. It's very addictive and lush. Some say that it sounds "creamy" though I don't really know what that means.
The treble is slightly behind all of the action, though it never sounded very congested or narrow in soundstage. So, the headphones are not harsh in the treble region. Perfect for those who are sensitive to sibilance.
I really like these for its very addictive sound signature and for its low profile yet dashing looks. It gives off a very "gentleman" kind of look. I only wished it came with possibly extra earpads and maybe removable cables.
March 6, 2015
If other headphones were kinds of jackets, these headphones would be the silky red smoking jacket worn by a man who has many leather bound books and whose house smells like rich mahogany.
The ESW9A's are portable headphones in a class by itself. These are my go to portable headphones if I am anywhere but home. Comfortable, beautiful, and with audiophile grade audio, it's honestly no contest.
These headphones have traveled all over the country with me, on buses and planes. They conveniently fold flat and come with a soft carrying case. I keep mine in Audiotechnica's AT-HPP5 hard case.
Just like the dark wooden cups and leather pads, they have a engaging dark silky smooth sound, very different than Audiotechnica's usual sound which is more favorable to female vocals and classical music. Everything, including the bass is very full and engaging.
Because of this, the ESW9A's are wonderful for almost any genre of music you can throw at it. Some Auditechnica headphones are best suited for a few genre's of music but these are one of the exceptions. Modern rock and punk, rap and hip hop, even electric music sounds great. If you're looking for even heavier bass though, these classy cans wouldn't be for you- I'd check out the Audiotechnica's M50's or even the PRO700MK2's if the bass on the M50's weren't enough for you.
As any classy piece of equipment as this, one has to be careful not to scratch the wooden cups- they're somewhat glossy and are prone to scratches. The cable is also quite thin and not shielded and should be watched after carefully. If you're clumsy or rough on your equipment there are other Audiotechnica headphones that you may pair better with.
At one point, I absentmindedly broke my cable and the professionals at Audio Technica were very friendly and easy to work with and I had my headphones back no worse for wear before I knew it.
October 22, 2011
Beatiful in looks and function
I will admit, I was a sucker for these when I first saw them way back when... I mean, wood, portable? I was ready to buy them without even trying them or reading reviews. Luckily my patience in holding off, due to being a poor college student, paid off. I got to go to Tokyo, and while there, got to give these guys a test run. I was sold.
They are beautiful to look at, the leather and wood work so well together.
Everything about the sound of these, I love. I am coming from using the AKG K701s and AD700s for home listening and the Etymotic ER4Ps for everything else. I decided these would be the in between when I don't want to use any of those. So, these sit in my laptop bag so I can use them at home then again at work.
The bass on these are nice and sweat, something I wasn't ready for, coming from the headphones previously listed. Unfortunately, the bass is not without fault, though. These handle 90% of the music I listen to well, but when it comes to some of them metal (any song by Black Witchery or Blasphemy are not going to go well on these, and probably 99% of the other headphones out there)I listen to, the bass is just to "slow" and sort of muddle together. But give it a nice Opeth song like "Face of Melinda" or Tiesto's "Elements of Life" and these shine beautifully.
The treble on these are nice change of pace from my other headphones, they're not as pronounced but they're not too subdued, either. The mid levels, feel perfect something like Mazzy Star's "Into Dust" or Sunn o)))/Boris' "Sinking Belle" sound amazing coming through these.
All in all, I would recommend these to someone looking for beautiful headphones that also sound great.
October 21, 2011