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  • Cheryl Tan

Audio-Technica ATH-W2022 First Impressions: How Do S$12,888 Headphones Sound?

So we’re here today at Zeppelin and Co to try out a very special pair of headphones, one of only 100 around the world, and it’s the Audio-Technica ATH-W2022, released in celebration of the brand’s 60th anniversary.

It’s honestly, a stunning pair of closed-back headphones. Made with Japanese birch wood, the earcups are hand-painted with Sakura blossoms on one earcup and a phoenix on the other, with mother of pearl inlays.

The headband and ear pads are clad in deerskin suede and it doesn’t heat up as quickly, which is good in warmer climates. The headphones weigh around 450 grams, but they’re quite comfortable on the head.

There’s an impedance of 48 ohms and a sensitivity of 98dB/mW for these 58mm driver headphones, and while it’s not hard to drive these, they’ll definitely benefit from amplification and a good source. Well, if you have the cash to drop on these, you’d probably already have a good amp and DAC, since these cost a jaw-dropping US$9,000 or S$12,888.

Worth it? Maybe, maybe not. Keep in mind these are extremely limited, and they’re as much an art piece as they are audio equipment. But how do they sound, you ask? Well, pretty fabulous.

There’s an overarching warmth to the sound that matches the powerful bass and full-bodied midrange nicely. It’s rich and lush and quite in-line with how you’d generally expect a pair of wood headphones to sound. The soundstage is wide enough for a pair of closed-backs, but of course, don’t expect the same airiness as a pair of open back headphones.

But what’s the point of just talking about it? Check out the video above for a sound test. We’ll be playing the same two copyright tracks on a few different headphones so you can have a frame of reference. Namely the Sennheiser HD800S, the Focal Utopia 2022, and of course, the ATH-W2022. Do note, of course, that we’re doing the test outside of our usual studio so there’s background noise and all, but it’s fair since we’re only comparing the three headphones in the same room.

If you like what you heard, you might want to see if you can try the ATH-W2022 out for yourself, although it might be a bit tough with such limited stock. These do sound quite incredible, and if you want one, you’ll definitely need to hurry. Here in Singapore, there are only two or three units left, so if you’re here and you want to take a listen, you know where to go.

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