Audio Technica's stunning new hand-painted headphones come with a huge price tag

Audio Technica ATH-W2022
(Image credit: Audio Technica)

Audio Technica is celebrating its 60th anniversary with the new, limited edition ATH-W2022 wooden headphones, which are entirely sourced, assembled and hand-painted in Japan. 

As a nod to its Japanese heritage, the headphones' wooden housings are made of Mizume (Japanese birch) and feature hand-painted Sakura (cherry blossom) and hou-ou phoenix designs using a traditional maki-e lacquer technique. 

The brand is making only 100 pairs of these closed-back dynamic headphones available, so you'll have to be quick (and have deep pockets) if you want to get your hands on a pair. The ATH-W2022 will cost £8900 / €10,000 / $9000 / AU$15,999.

Audio Technica ATH-W2022

(Image credit: Audio Technica)

These over-ears also celebrate 25 years of wooden headphone craftsmanship from the brand – we've seen and heard Audio Technica models that fit in this category in the past, including the ATH-W1000X 2010 Award-winners and the more recent Kokutan / ATH-AWKT premium cans.

Inside the new ATH-W2022 headphones are baffle-integrated 58mm drivers specially developed for this new model, with the diaphragm sporting a 30-micron-thick pure titanium centre dome that aims to deliver "exceptional reproduction of the mid-high range with excellent high-frequency characteristics." The headband and earbuds are also wrapped in plush deerskin for maximum comfort and durability.

Audio Technica AT-MC2022

(Image credit: Audio Technica)

That's not all. Audio Technica is also releasing a new AT-MC2022 dual moving coil cartridge in limited numbers. Only 60 units of this will be available later this year, each numbered individually, and will cost the exact same price as the headphones: £8900 / €10,000 / $9000 / AU$15,999.

The AT-MC2022 uses a unified stylus-cantilever formed from a single, lab-grown diamond. There's your money's worth. It's designed to deliver "a sharp, vibrant soundscape that lets users hear and feel every detail of audio". Compared to conventional designs, the integrated stylus-cantilever construction aims to eliminate distortion, resulting in purer signal transmission and fast transient response. 

It uses the same magnetic circuit as the recently launched AT-ART20 cartridge for more efficient power generation, greater output voltage and a more 'realistic' sound. The body is made of titanium and aluminium, and features black accents that are inspired by traditional shippo enamelling (Japanese cloisonné). 

Of both limited edition products, Audio Technica President, Kazuo Matsushita, says: “It is an honour to provide a quality audio experience to millions of people throughout the world. What begins as a simple vibration – a subtle movement – results in an emotional connection, whether that be when listening deeply to an album or sharing your voice with the world.”

Both the headphones and the cartridge come in special wooden boxes that commemorate the company's 60th anniversary, designed to no doubt take pride of place next to your hi-fi system.


Here are the best audiophile headphones that money can buy

How to change the cartridge on your turntable

A brief history of Audio-Technica's 60 years

Kashfia Kabir
Hi-Fi and Audio Editor

Kashfia is the Hi-Fi and Audio Editor of What Hi-Fi? and first joined the brand over 10 years ago. During her time in the consumer tech industry, she has reviewed hundreds of products (including speakers, amplifiers and headphones), been to countless trade shows across the world and fallen in love with hi-fi kit much bigger than her. In her spare time, Kash can be found tending to an ever-growing houseplant collection and hanging out with her cat Jolene.

  • suburbansky
    At that price point I sure hope they last longer than my previous AT headphones which weren't exactly cheap but literally crumbled after a few short months.