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Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV Limited Edition Wooden Over-Ear Headphones Preview

Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV

Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV


  • Product Name: ATH-W3000ANV
  • Manufacturer: Audio-Technica
  • Review Date: January 23, 2012 20:00
  • MSRP: $1,299.95
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
Type Closed-back Dynamic, Double Air Damping System
Driver Diameter 53 mm
Frequency Response 5 – 42,000 Hz
Maximum Input Power 2,000 mw
Sensitivity 102 dB/mW
Impedance 40 ohms
Weight 340 g (without cord)
Cable 3.0 m
Connector 1/4" (6.3 mm) gold-plated stereo plug
Accessories Included Cable storage bag

The headphone crowd isn't full of people looking for something to wear when exercising or to help them sleep on planes. There is a huge culture of users out there that, for one reason or another, want high quality headphones for critical listening. These users may have started off in headphones because of necessity (couldn't have/afford a full system) or simple curiosity (what's the "cans" thing about anyhow?) but they are many. We think that no Audioholic worth their salt should be without a set of quality cans. Be it for the occasional night time listening session or just to take a break from the kids bickering, having a nice set of headphones within arm's reach is imperative.

While you don't have a spend a fortune to get a good pair of headphone, you certainly can. For Audio-Technica's 50th anniversary, they are going to give you the opportunity to spend more than you thought possible. Their new ATH-W3000ANV Limited Edition Audiophile Closed-back Dynamic Wooden Headphones have everything you want, and some things you didn't know you could get, and a set of cans. All for the bargain price of $1,300!

Let's start off with the basics. The ATH-W3000ANV feature a frequency response from 5Hz to 42kHz (no note on volume or linearity). This is 15Hz below what you can hear (though, technically, you should be able to "feel" it in some way) and 22kHz above the top possible human hearing (which, if you are old enough to actually afford these bad boys, you certainly can't hear up to anyhow). So, basically what Audio-Technica is saying is that their ATH-W3000ANV cans have a full range response (which is 20Hz to 20kHz). They could put 100kHz on there for all we care, but the only one that could enjoy that theoretical sound (no source would send a signal near that high anyhow) would be your dog (technically, it would take a bat, beluga whale, or porpoise to hear 100kHz though, we discovered, dogs can hear up to 45kHz so perhaps Fido can tell you how that 42kHz sounds on the ATH-W3000ANV). 

To get this amazing frequency response, the ATH-W3000ANV phones employ large 53 mm aperture drivers featuring specially built 2-part magnetic circuits that produce high speed magnetic streams plus "numerous additional refinements" which were not specified. We do know they have special high-power driver magnets (usually these would be neodymium though the fact they haven't specified the type makes us think they are using something else), OFC 7N ultra-high-purity oxygen-free-copper voice coils, and isolated left/right internal wiring. The frame is constructed from magnesium for exceptionally light weight and high rigidity, and the ear cushions are fabricated from Spanish lambskin (at this price Audio-Technica actually specifies the nationality of the lambs that were slaughtered to make these phones).

Of course, the thing that caught your attention was the "wooden" part of the title, right? We were hoping for petrified-wood cone drivers but alas, it is only the outer coverings. For the ATH-W3000ANV, Audio-Technica has decided that their commemorative 50th anniversary logo could only placed on strikingly beautiful, traditional Japanese Echizen lacquer-finished Hokkaido Asada cherry heartwood. We're not sure what that is, but we think there probably is a direct correlation between the number of words needed to describe a wood and the cost per linear foot, so it should be expensive. Each purchaser will also be provided an anniversary box (no word on the wood on that one, so it probably is just regular old non-heart pine from South Carolina or something), a cable storage bag (probably some sort of synthetic material and not from the skin of a cheeky Norwegian cow or anything), and a commemorative certificate signed by Audio-Technica's president, Kazuo Matsushita. Which, you know, is something that you could either frame or have sown into a huggy pillow or something. We don't know. Ours usually end up in the filing cabinet shoved between a receipt for a weed-whacker and a Denon receiver manual that was dropped right before printing and the employee just shoved the pages back in randomly and hoped no one would notice.


We've had a little fun here at Audio-Technica's expense but, when you tell us everything your headphones are made out of EXCEPT the drivers and magnets (you know, the bits that actually make the noise?), well, we couldn't help ourselves. We're sure the new 50th Anniversary ATH-W3000ANV Limited Edition Wooden Over-Ear Headphones will sound amazing. No company would release such a prestigiously named product without putting all of their technical know-how behind it. And Audio-Technica makes great headphones. We'd love to get our hands (and ears) on a pair of these. As headphones can cost a great deal more than $1300, these might even be a deal. We won't know until we get to listen to them in person. 

For more information, please visit www.audio-technica.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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