Audio Technica ATH-W1000 Sovereign review

These comfortable cans deliver a massive amount of insight into recordings with a well-judged sonic balance – pricey, yes, but they do what they shoul Tested at £559.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Pricey, but they do exactly as the designer intended


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    deliver a massive amount of insight into a recording

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    well-judged sonic balance


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    A slight lack of subtlety in the midrange and treble

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Good headphones, such as these Audio-Technicas, are great value. That's right, we really are saying the £400 ATH-W1000s are great value. Why? If you tend to listen to music alone, you'd have to spend four figures on speakers plus a similar amount on suitable amplification to get similar results. These headphones are comfortable, too.

Audio-Technica's engineers have judged the sonic presentation well. These 'phones are vivid enough to squeeze every last drop of drama from Tchaikovsky's 1812 while having the refinement to keep a rough recording like Grinderman's debut set in check.

Judged by the high standards of the price we'd like slightly richer, better textured highs and a touch more subtlety in the midrange, but these are minor shortcomings. Budget around £300-£400 for a decent headphone amp from the likes of Creek or Graham Slee, ensure you've got a source at least as capable as Rega's Apollo CD player, and you'll end up with a sound that will be hard to better by conventional means.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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