For a few days now I’ve been hunkered down in the MajorHiFi review offices, waiting for the arrival of the Audio Technica ATH-AP2000Ti headphone. Retailing for a solid $1250, this closed-back, over-ear headphone shares a titanium housing with the CK2000Ti and CM2000Ti. But, at this price, how does the AP2000Ti stack up against its competition? And is it the right headphone for you?
Audio Technica ATH-AP2000Ti Review
It’s plain to see at first glance that Audio Technica has put some serious thought into the appearance and design of the AP2000Ti.
The gorgeous mirrored cups may prove a little to eager to smudge or scratch, but the presentation remains gorgeously jewel-like. Over these cups stretch leather earpads, complimenting the deep leather padding on the headband.
Once placed on my head, I am shocked at how lightweight and comfortable this headphone feels – due in no small part to the plastic headband, extenders, and yokes. This minimizes weight more than you’d think, allowing the headphones to melt away as the music takes hold and I go full-on audio freak.
Under the hood, the AP2000Ti packs a 53 mm driver – a popular size for Audio Technica’s higher end headphones, not to mention those aimed at bass-loving consumers. In addition to this wide driver, the ATH-AP2000Ti also utilizes a permendur magnetic circuit and DLC-coated diaphragms. The real kicker with the design of this headphone, though, comes in the form of the Core Mounted Technology, allowing for greater airflow. Thanks to this feature, the sound is richer and more spacious than any closed-back I’ve heard at this price (but more on that later).
Inside the box, you’ll also find a headphone case, a cable case, a cleaning cloth, a 1/4” stereo adapter, and three cables. Two cables terminate in a standard 3.5 mm connection, with one measuring a standard 4 ft (1.2 m) and the other extending to 10 ft (3 m). A 4.4 mm balanced cable is also included, measuring 4ft (1.2 m). The cables connect to the headphones by way of A2DC plugs, Audio Technica’s proprietary connection type.
Frequency Response: 5-50,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 44 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 100 dB
The Audio Technica ATH-AP2000Ti specs reveal a headphone with a wide frequency range and a low nominal impedance. For a few of my listening sessions, I paired this headphone with the FiiO Q5 hooked up to an iPhone7. However, it’s low power requirements mean this headphone can be easily driven (thought it might still benefit from a little amping). Last but not least, the Sound Pressure Level comes in at a decent 100 dB – not crazy loud right out of the gate, but most listeners should not find an issue with getting decent volume.
In the low end, the AP2000Ti offers a thick and rousing performance. There’s a characteristic meatiness to the bass that recalls some of my feelings for the staple M50X. It’s warm, with punch, but never too overblown or accentuated to the point of ruining the sound on more bass-light tracks. That being said, it’s a godsend for rock and hip hop, as well electronica (or synthwave!) where a little bit of oomph goes a long way.
A hefty midrange compliments the AP2000Ti’s robust low end. While just a little forward, it still manages to avoid outpacing the rest of the frequency range. As such, the lows and highs still do their thing without losing focus to the impressive mids. The resulting sound feels full and detailed, but emotive too. Vocals and instrumentation sound impressively articulate and three-dimensional, but never too fatiguing.
Audio Technica offers an impressive high end on the ATH-AP2000Ti, with an excellent sound for high-frequency instrumentation. When it comes to female vocals, though, the sound waxes downright euphoric. Kylie Minogue, Jain, and my new KPOP favorite, BLACKPINK sound fantastic, but the truth is, the AP2000Ti sounds great with almost any artist with high-range vocals. Audio Technica has made something special with the AP2000Ti, but I’m wracking my brain to find the right words to describe.
Space, definition, depth, sheer beauty. The sense of soundstage on the AP2000Ti is an impressive triumph of intimacy mixed with just the right amount of breathing room. This can be experienced in any track, with any artist, from Johann Sebastian Bach to Ol’ Dirty Bastard. This soundstage, despite the closed back design, sounds as expansive and realistic as an closed-back headphone at this price, and even comes close to some open-back headphones at this price.
Comfortable with a rich sound, I could listen to this headphone all day and all night. It’s the perfect headphone for many genres, and especially for those folks who want headphone who does it all (for the most part).
After wracking my brain for an answer, it finally occurred to me why I like this AP2000Ti so much; it’s a similar sound profile to the M50x, but taken to a much more extreme level. There’s more detail, a more comfortable fit, better materials (including the super-large earpads), and a whopping big soundstage. This is the Audiophile version of the venerable M50x – but with a little splash of sass for good measure.
The finish is pretty but it smudges and scuffs too easily. This is the only fault I can find with this headphone. Also, Audio Technica only included a 4.4mm balanced cable measuring 4 ft long. Give me 10 ft too and this could have been a slam dunk. Instead I will probably have to shell out extra for a longer balanced cable when I buy a pair of these for myself.
That being said, balanced sound with AP2000Ti? A. Freaking. Mazing. If you have access to a 4.4 mm balanced output, you NEED to own this headphone. Not next paycheck, not after you sell your gear, not tomorrow, and not before you finish your headphone review, but now.
If you want a solid closed-back headphone under the $1500 price point, the Audio Technica ATH-AP2000Ti deserves your attention. While not as bass-centric as the venerable Audeze LCD-XC, the AP2000Ti offers a more even-keeled sound, with a more agreeable profile for use with disparate genres of music.
If you want more mid-high emphasis in a closed-back headphone near this price-point, I would highly recommend the Focal Elegia. However, the Elegia will still falter to keep up with the level of detail at home in the AP2000Ti.
Folks who love Audio Technica may ask how it stacks up against the ATH-L5000, Audio Technica’s limited luxury headphone that arrived on the market earlier this year. Compared to the limited-run, sycamore-wood-and-Connolly-Leather headphone, the AP2000Ti sounds just as good. But the AP2000Ti will only cost one-third of the price you’d have to dish out to own the L5000. All in all? I’d take the AP2000Ti over the L5000 almost any day. Sorry L5000.
At $1250, the Audio Technica ATH-AP2000Ti offers solid bang for your buck. Sure, it doesn’t come cheap, but the phenomenal sound and dreamlike comfort belong on a headphone that costs at least twice as much. While the price may discourage some prospective buyers, critical listeners and folks who just want a immaculate listening experience will love this juicy set of cans.
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