Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD Vs Dan Clark Audio E3 Comparison Review

E3 VS ATHWBLTD main image

The Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD is one of the biggest closed-back headphone to release this year. It has a unique build and sound compared to most other high-end headphones that occupy that region. I wanted to see how it would compare to the E3 from Dan Clark Audio to see which one is better. Is the E3 the better headphone, or is it possible to save a few hundred dollars on something with similar quality?

What You Get

  • ATH-WB LTD Headphones
  • A soft carrying case
  • Cable with 4.4mm termination
  • Cable with 3.5mm termination
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter
  • Quick Start Guide
  • E3 headphones
  • Carrying case
  • Choice of 4-pin VIVO cable
  • Drawstring bag

Look & Feel

With these headphones, you’re getting what you paid for in terms of build quality. The LTD is going to be the most eye-catching of the two, with its combination of solid flame maple, walnut, and mahogany wood for its ear cups. It’s a much more elegant design than the E3, which appear more mechanical, but still well crafted. The E3 has bigger ear cups than LTD, and the pads encompass more of your head. It’s also lighter than the LTD, but I believe they’re equally as comfortable.


The E3 and LTD have two different driver principles, with the E3 having planar driver, and the LTD having a 45mm dynamic driver. For the E3 an AMTS(Acoustic Metamaterial Tuning System) that helps regulate diffusion which the even higher-end Stealth also uses. The only thing special about the design of the LTD is its DLC diaphragm and high-performance magnetic circuit that interacts with the physical wooden housing to create special sound characteristics. In terms of what’s easier to drive, the LTD is less power hungry than the E3. I would still recommend some form of DAC/Amp for both headphones though.


The E3 made it a point to be indecipherable from an open-back headphone in terms of soundstage. While the LTD brings a close matchup, it can’t really beat the open headspace of the E3. With the LTD, you get a nice wide presentation, and everything will feel like it has a large scale to it, however, the E3 has a sphere-like display that is incredibly immersive. I can see some preferring the more standard stereo quality of the LTD to the more floaty elements of the E3 though, but the E3 is still more impressive in its separation and overall depth.

Low End

These are very different responses, mostly thanks to the E3’s dual-mode design. The LTD has a much more dominant and forward low end compared to the E3, but the E3 is more balanced. There’s more of a dynamic response from the bass, compared to the LTD’s darker aggression and boomy timbre. Bass-heads might strongly prefer the LTD for this quality, as its impact is much more substantial than the E3’s overall. If you prefer you bass frequencies with more revealing qualities, you might have a better time with the E3.


It’s easy to find the E3 more immediately satisfying in the midrange compared to the LTD.  The timbre is more lush, and it features more of a discernable shape compared to the LTD. Notes have a clearer attack and musical precision, however, there’s a natural quality to the LTD that you might find more enjoyable. Sometimes the region can be a lot more hollow in comparison, but a more relaxed and grounded tone might be more your style. If you’re looking for pure detail and liveliness though, the E3 will be your preferred sound profile.


In terms of what’s easier to digest, the LTD has a smoother treble compared to the E3. The LTD is a lot more relaxed than the E3, but the E3 features more detail and realism. There’s a crisper edge to the E3 that I prefer over the LTD, but the LTD still offers height and overall less pressure than the E3.


The E3 and LTD don’t share a ton of similarities in its sound and build, but they both offer something for certain types of listeners. For instance, I favor the E3 for its soundstage and midrange fidelity, but the LTD has my kind of bass. The treble is also more forgiving than the E3, which will definitely win over listeners that are sensitive to that region. If you find the E3’s highs more detailed though, it seems to be worth the extra money to invest in.

The Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD and Dan Clark Audio E3 are available at Audio46.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.