I spend a lot of time talking about accuracy and neutrality. It is important to me and it should be to you but every now and then you have to have some fun. When I need a bit of a lift I reach for my Audio-Technica (AT) ATH W1000x Grandioso headphones. Not only do they look great with their shiny wood cups and unusual headband, they sound great and will put a spring in your step.
The W1000x isn’t the most accurate or neutral headphone, in fact the bass is a bit fat and the highs can touch on edgy with the wrong amp. None of this distracts from the fact that these attributes are what make them so fun. They are great with jazz, rock, and pretty much anything else you can think of. They breathe life into everything and some days this is just what the doctor ordered.
Now that I have the adoration out of the way we can get serious. The unusual headband design, a kind of 3D flying wing, takes some getting used to. Most phones clamp down on your head, some remain comfortable while others can be torture to wear. The W1000x’s float on your head, supported by the wing thingies. This does two things of note; the first is the unusual pattern it leaves in your hair after even a short session which may be a problem for some users. Secondly, they do not stay in place well. While listening to these cans will make you want to dance it is inadvisable to do so. The headphones will either slide off or fly across the room. You tap your feet with these unfortunately. They are however the most comfortable cans I have ever tried; it is like wearing a cloud. This floating design doesn’t do a very good job of isolation considering it is a close back design.
The W1000x have a warm sound that floats slightly, much like the headband. Under normal circumstances I would hate this but there are times when I toss caution to the wind and for this I can’t think of a better headphone.
The bass is strong but doesn’t go much below 90hz, which isn’t bad and the bass above 90hz is controlled but not perfect. The mids are pretty much perfect, no coloration and acoustic instruments sound dead on.
The only true negative I found was the treble, which when matched with an already bright amp can drill into your head and shock your brain. The W1000x requires a neutral to warm amp to sound its best.
If you are looking for the most smiles to mile cans the W1000x may just be your best option.
Do you use headphones attached to anything that isn’t a mobile device?