Audio-Technica expands its gorgeous Japanese-wood headphone range

Audio-Technica expands its gorgeous Japanese-wood headphone range
(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

Audio-Technica’s high-end ‘Wooden’ headphone range has become renowned over the last two decades for its striking Japanese-wood-finished earcups, and today it lives on with two new models.

Available from March, the Kokutan (£1700, pictured top) and Asada Zakura (£1300) are closed-back over-ears that are hand-assembled at the company’s Naruse, Tokyo factory and use different types of wood than their predecessors – each chosen for its acoustic and visual properties.

The Kokutan are the new flagships and get their name from the wood they’re created with – a striped ebony wood known in Japan as “kokutan”. Audio-Technica says has been chosen for its efficient acoustic damping, a property that has seen it used in the construction of pianos and woodwind instruments. Each earcup’s wooden panel is finished in gloss, paired with sheepskin earpads and headband.

The Kokutan (left) and Asada Zakura

The Kokutan (left) and Asada Zakura (Image credit: Audio-Technica)

In addition to their low-resonance qualities, they feature Audio-Technica’s proprietary Double Air Damping System, which divides the housing structure into two acoustic chambers for smoother bass reproduction. The 53mm drivers use magnetic circuitry in an effort to create a wide sound field, while, according to the Japanese brand, the titanium flanges allow the diaphragm to accurately react to the audio signal.

The Kokutan comes with detachable A2DC connectors and 6.3mm-ended and XLR-ended 3m cables and is supplied in a paulownia wood box.

The Asada Zakura, meanwhile, use a wood called… you guessed it, asada zakura (known as ostrya japonica outside of Japan). The 53mm drivers have been coated in a diamond-like coating to supposedly improve their high-frequency response, and like their sibling they also benefit from the Double Air Damping System and come with detachable A2DC connectors and 6.3mm and balanced XLR cables.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10+ years in the hi-fi industry, she has reviewed all manner of audio gear, from budget amplifiers to high-end speakers, and particularly specialises in headphones and head-fi devices. In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.