Released back in October in Audio-Technica’s home country of Japan, the U.S. is set to tentatively receive two new high-end offerings from the company in December.
One is the ATH-IEX1, a hybrid in-ear waith 2 dynamic drivers and 2 balanced armatures lined up in a coaxial arrangement (pictured above). Audio-Technica claims this is the first earbud of its kind. It will retail for $1200.
The other is the ATH-WP900 (pictured below), an over-ear headphone with wooden flame-maple exterior retailing for $650.
New Audio Technica ATH-WP900 and ATH-IEX1 Coming to U.S.
Neither of these headphones are cheap, but they are unique. The wooden finish on the WP900 is reminiscent of a premium finish on a guitar; something not often seen on even high-end wooden headphones.
And while the Soundcore may have beaten out Audio-Technica for the first coaxial earbud with the Liberty 2 Pro, the style still remains a rarity, especially at a premium price point.
Let’s get into the details and see what else these headphones have to offer.
The most arresting feature of the WP-900 is by far the flame maple finish. Audio-Technica is enlisting veteran Japanese guitar manufactures FujiGen to apply the finish and the unique wood pieces. Each piece of flame maple is one-of-a-kind, just like you’d find on a guitar.
The headphones utilizes a single 53mm driver as well as a PCB component that supposedly improves control of the air flow and quality of the bass response.
Other details include a baffle that is angled to better fit the contour of the listener’s head, and ventilated to allow a cleaner low-mid response. Of course, one can never be sure what these product descriptions will actually amount to in the real world. But it does seem like the WP-900 are designed for a robust low-end response. And you can’t argue with those looks.
The headphones are also foldable, and come with a carrying pouch made of what looks to be nylon.
The IEX1 is a sleek, anodized titanium hanger-style IEM bearing slight resemblance to the ATH-CK2000Ti. Reflecting the $1200 price tag, each IEX1 has a unique serial number laser-engraved on the side to remind you that they’re one of a kind (though maybe not as much as the WP900).
The IEX1 uses two dynamic drivers; one 9.8mm for the full range and one 8.8mm to enhance the low-end. Two balanced armatures then handle the highs and the ultra-highs.
What’s unique about this hybrid configuration is that both drivers and BAs are aligned in a straight line, a configuration some might call “coaxial”.
Audio-Technica makes the claim that the IEX1 is the first headphone to use this configuration, but I think Soundcore’s Liberty 2 Pro has them beat (in the US, at least).
This shouldn’t detract from the uniqueness of the IEX1, however. The Liberty 2 Pro is a fraction of the price, and is also true wireless. The IEX1 may not be the first coaxial headphone, but it is the first of its kind; a high-end, wired, coaxial IEM.
Badda Bing Badda Boom
Both these new headphones offer premium appointments at a premium price point. While they both look gorgeous, only time will tell us how they sound.
Pre-Order the ATH-WP900 at Audio46
Pre-Order the ATH-IEX1 at Audio46
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