CES 2012: Audio-Technica marks its half-century with limited edition Anniversary range

Audio-Technica is celebrating '50 Years Of Passionate Listening' with five limited edition 50th Anniversary products, launched at CES 2012.

The company was founded in 1962 by Hideo Matsushita, at that time working at the Bridgestone Museum of Art in Tokyo, where he organised 'record concerts', playing LPs of great performances to an appreciative crowd.

With the coming of stereo, Matsushita saw a business opportunity, an so the company was founded in what would later become the financial district of Shinjuku in Tokyo.

Over the years the success of the company saw it expand out of its original premises, eventually arriving in the suburb of Machida, where it's main factory is still today.

The ATH-W3000ANV over-ear headphones (left), selling for £1200, are said to be 'the embodiment of 50 years of Audio-Technica headphones expertise.'

The housings are made from Japanese Hokkaido Asada cherry heartwood, finished in Echizen lacquer, with earcushions made from Spanish lambskin and a magnesium frame.

Inside, a new 53mm wide-range driver is powered by high-power magnets and ultra-high-purity voice coils.

Next up are the ATH-PRO700MK2ANV DJ headphones (£289), again using new 53mm drivers 'to deliver authoritative bass, a clear midrange and open, well-defined treble'.

The lightweight design, swivelling earpieces and a choice of cables all add to the user comfort for long listening/DJing sessions.

The flagship anniversary cartridge is the £2200 AT50ANV moving-coil model at the top of this report, with a unique air-core design using a non-magnetic armature for the coil frame, and and new magnetic circuit design with neodymium magnets for almost twice the output of previous cartridges for low noise and better bass response.

A solid boron cantilever carries the line-contact stylus, and the body is made from aluminium and titanium.

The £969 AT150ANV moving-coil phono cartridge uses a similar motor design to the AT50ANV, and again a solid boron cantilever, this time with a Micro Linear stylus and a machined aluminium housing.

Finally, the range is completed with a solid titanium headshell, the £279 AT-TI15ANV.

The 50th Anniversary products are available for pre-order from Audio-Technica's online shop.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.