Recently, we’ve seen some stellar high-end headphones being cranked out by Audio Technica. Today I got to sit down with my music library and the ATH-A1000Z for some critical listening. My conclusion? For $399, this headphone sports some serious sound quality.
Audio Technica ATH-A1000Z Review
The A1000Z comes packaged in a plain cardboard box that holds the headphones and a 1/4” screw-on stereo adapter plug.
Comprised primarily of plastic, the headphones are lightweight. The suspension-type wings replace a full headband, with an aluminum metal frame connecting the two earcups. Thanks to the light build and thick pleather padding on the earcups, comfort never suffers on these headphones.
|Driver||2.1″ (53 mm)|
|Frequency Response||5 Hz to 43 kHz|
|Maximum Input Power||2000 mW|
|Cable||9.8′ (3 m) OFC-6N dual-sided, four-core cable with elastomer sheath|
|Headphone Connector||1/8″ (3.5 mm) gold-plated stereo mini-jack|
|Dimensions||Not specified by manufacturer|
|Weight||9.3 oz (265 g)|
The specs show a headphone with a very wide frequency range, relatively low impedance, and decent volume levels. While it could be used with portable devices, I decided to amp it with the FiiO A3 – a small portable job that easily drives this headphone.
The A1000Z is deep and detailed in the low end, with a warm but clean sound. Bass has strong impact, with a certain amount of control that leads to no bleeding or muddled sound.
Accurate in general, the mids especially shine with vocals. While most of the midrange exudes that sense of accuracy, there might be a slight amount of distortion in the low mids. This small amount of distortion probably won’t ruin the sound for you, but some vocals and instruments may sound just a little off.
The high end on these headphones is somewhat bright, but still full of detail. Not thin, piercing, or uncomfortable, the highs are fairly accurate overall. Female vocals are smooth, and strings sound downright heavenly.
The sense of soundstage on this headphone is intense. While the sound has good placement, depth is AMAZING. Clarity and separation probably help a great deal here, blowing up the sound until you find yourself in a world of sonic euphoria. To be honest, there is still a slightly “closed in” sensation to the sound, but that same sound is very open – especially for a closed-back headphone.
The Audio Technica ATH-A1000Z is a surprisingly open-sounding headphone that drips with detail. A tiny shade of distortion may throw off the most zealous of audiophiles, but for everyone else, these cans are sure to impress, regardless of individual listening tastes.
For those seeking the perfect headphone, the A1000Z may be as good as it gets. Those desiring a cleaner midrange at the expense of a richer high end could possibly consider the $499 Shure SRH1540. Or if a flatter sound is desired, Audio Technica’s own $299 M70X might also deserve some attention.
If you’re not one to nitpick the sound signature too much – maybe you want a dynamic pair of headphones that deliver on the details, or maybe you just want one of those “good headphones” you keep hearing about – the Audio Technica A1000Z is rather enticing. For $399, we’ve never heard a pair of closed-back headphones sound this crisp and clean. Add to this a sound that easily compliments classical, rock, hip-hop, EDM, bluegrass, etc., and you’ve got one badass headphone.
A competitive price, comfortable fit, and stellar sound do much to recommend this headphone. In fact, this headphone is so good, I don’t even have to continue writing; go to a store near you a try these ‘phones for yourself. If you’re anything less than blown away…well, I don’t know what. If you’re anything less than blown away, maybe you need your ears checked? Because these cans are that good. Get the ATH-A1000Z at the best price from Audio 46 when you use discount code “majorhifi” during checkout. It’s also available at a competitive price on Amazon. Make sure you purchase from an authorized retailer to receive your 2-year warranty.
What do you think of the Shure SE315? Do your experiences differ from our analysis? Let us know in the comment section below.