Audio Technica ATH-W1000X review

Best home on-ear headphones £500-£800, Awards 2010. If you don't want to disturb your fellow travellers and those around you, then these beautiful Tested at £650

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Best home on-ear headphones £500-£800, Awards 2010. If you want to listen to music around other people, these closed-back beauties are the way to do so


  • +

    Superb sound by the standards of closed-back headphones


  • -

    Not cheap

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    don’t feel that secure on your head

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The price of these closed-back headphones certainly reflects the painstaking use of expensive materials, yet there's something about their American Black Cherry housings that looks inauthentic.

The grain of the wood is so perfect and the varnished finish so lustrous that they look and feel, dare we say it, a bit synthetic.

Pop them on your head, though (the fitting is comfortable but not the most convincing), and there's more obviously nothing unreal about the sound the W1000Xs make.

More affordable alternatives can match the Audio Technica's performance, but they're without exception open-backed, horribly leaky affairs.

As far as closed-back headphones go – the sort you could wear in the same room as other people without giving offence – the W1000Xs are as accomplished as we've heard.

It's good going into Orbital
Something like Orbital's I Wish I Had Duck Feet demonstrates the Audio Technicas perfectly. They're a fast and balanced listen, with plenty of grunt at the bottom of the frequency range without any impact on bass tonality or speed.

Midrange reproduction is deft and detailed, and treble sounds are described with chunky precision. The frequency range hangs together convincingly, stereo focus is good and the W1000Xs manage a deep-breathing dynamic range without causing the wearer any discomfort.

To be honest, as far as the sound they make goes, there's very little the Audio Technicas aren't competent-going-on-accomplished at. Which is as it should be, given the price.

Beyond the price, then, and the less-than-reassuring way they clutch the wearer's head, there's nothing here to frown at. Apart from the way they make lovely natural wood look like Formica.

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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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