Audio Technica, a Japanese company that designs and manufactures professional microphones, headphones, phonographic magnetic cartridges, and other audio equipment, created the Audio Technica ATH-W1000Z for home listeners who demand audiophile-grade sound quality for music, movies, and even video games. If the headphones look somewhat familiar to you, it’s probably because they are, essentially, an enhanced version of the Audio Technica ATH-W1000X, a year-old model that became hugely popular. In this review, we want to find out whether Audio Technica has managed to improve the already excellent pair of headphones and give the owners of the older model a good reason to upgrade.
Build and Design
The hallmark of the ATH-W1000Z are the polished wooden earcups. The earcups are made of pure teak, which is one of the three most precious kinds of wood in the world. As with any wooden earcups, the unique grain of the wood gives the sound an inimitable timbre, making each pair a complete original. Other reasons why Audio Technica used wood instead of plastic or metal housing is its ability to reflect thick, natural bass sound. “The bass extension is further improved by our exclusive D.A.D.S. (Double Air Damping System) housing structure,” explains the company on their website.
To compensate for the relatively heavy weight of the wooden earcups, Audio Technica ATH-W1000Z headphones sport a rigid magnesium frame with a floating mount system that reduces unwanted resonance and makes the headphones more comfortable for long-term use. The plush memory foam earpads are large enough to fit around your entire ear and soft enough to make you want to keep the headphones on indefinitely.
As we’ve said in the introductory paragraph, the ATH-W1000Z are designed for home listeners. They come with a 3m non-removable cable with a 6.3mm jack. You could, of course, use an adaptor and turn the 6.3mm jack into a regular 3.5mm one for portable use, but, sooner or later, something would (probably the adapter) would break. Besides, there are much better headphones for outdoor use anyway.
The sound quality of the ATH-W1000Z is greatly influenced by their construction. On one hand, the closed-back design causes a slight loss of sound detail. On the other hand, it makes the bass punchier and impressive, which is something you don’t get with many open-back audiophile headphones, which tend to be very neutral.
In any case, the major advantage of their closed-back design is how well they isolate ambient noise. Suddenly, you can listen undisturbed even in the middle of the day with your neighbor mowing his lawn and kids playing outside.
What’s in the Box?
The sleeve the W1000Z’s box ship in reveals the product in a dramatic fashion through a clear plastic window. When you open the actual box, you get a small information booklet, the headphones themselves, and nothing else. Actually, you could use the fabric coated box insert as a stand for the headphones, but we personally don’t find this option too appealing.