ATH-ES5, ATH-EC7 GM,
and ATH-EW9 Headphones
PDAToday — In
a world full of iPods, CD Players, handheld video games, MP3
Portable Media Players, music / video capable Mobile Phones,
and a wide range of other audio mobile technologies, there is one
thing that always amazes me. No matter how much you pay for that
product, $30 or $800, you will find included with the instruction
manual and AC Adapter, a pair of earphones that probably cost the
manufacturer $5 or less.
While the quality of the sound output will vary
depending on the source material and the device used to play
it, the most critical
part of the listening experience is where the audio comes out to
your ears. The earphone, headphone, or speaker is also where the
listener has the greatest level of choice when it comes to deciding
on the quality of the audio reproduction. So if you are interested
in getting more than $5 of quality from your $300 iPod, then you
should consider upgrading your “stock” earphones.
In this series of reviews, I will be taking a look at a few mid
to high range earphones and headphones from some of the most popular
and respected headphone manufacturers. With a focus on mobile use,
all of the models reviewed are small, compact, and portable.
For my listening experience, a number of different devices were
used including 3 different MP3 players, CD and DVD audio from my
notebook computer, the Mobinote DVX-POD personal media player,
and a Sony PSP. All source materials were either optical or digital
and in the case of MP3s, were encoded at a variety of bit rates
from 128 to 320 kbps. The material included DVD movies, PSP Games,
and music. Music genres that were used included Rock, Jazz, Pop,
and Classical. The same EQ levels were used for listening to all
Established in 1962, Audio-Technica is one of Japan’s leading
audio companies supplying professional and high-end consumer phonograph
cartridges and turntables, microphones, wireless systems, and headphones.
For many years, their earphones and headphones has been prized
by music lovers all over the world. Now Audio-Technica brings their “Import
https://nyjtimes.com/files/entertainment/feature/2006/series” of models to the U.S., Canada, and South America.
A selection of 15 headphones and earphones previously available
only in Japan and made in Japan, the “Import https://nyjtimes.com/files/entertainment/feature/2006/series” brings
some of Audio-Technica’s best models directly to consumers
in the Western Hemisphere of the world.
ATH-ES5 SV “Earsuit” Headphone
ATH-ES5 SV is a really nice design for a folding headphone. From
the folded position, the headphone drivers
pivot down and lock into position. A second set of pivots then
allow the headphone drivers to rotate into the listening position
and adjust to the sides of the head and shape of the ears. The
headband does not lengthen or adjust, but it is rubber coated and
flexible to fit most head widths. Finally, a third set of pivots
allows the headphone drivers to move up and down in relation to
the headband to adjust for the distance from the top of the head
to the ears. The combination of all the pivots allows the ES5 to
easily adjust for the comfort of the wearer and fold into a compact
size for storage.
The ES5 is an over-the-ear design and has padded headphone drivers
for the comfort of the wearer. With a long 1.5 meter cable, a nice
flat protective pouch, and gold-plated plug, the 66 gram headphone
is nicely designed for comfort and performance.
The Audio-Technica ATH-ES5 SV features large 40 mm dynamic neodymium
drivers with copper clad aluminum wire voice coils, 100mW maximum
sound input, 36 ohm impedance, and a 10-25,000 Hz frequency range.
The overall sound quality is excellent with a powerful, clear sound
across all frequencies. The power efficiency of its large drivers
and the high maximum input wattage gives the ES5 a very full, dynamic
sound when you turn up the volume. The low bass range is very good
with a solid, rich sound that is great for bass driven music or
sound effects. The mid and high ranges are very good, but the strong
bass can sometimes mask out subtle highs. Not really unexpected
for a large, single driver/ear headphone. All said, I am impressed
with the sound of the ATH-ES5 SV.
While a padded headband would have been more comfortable, the
series of pivots and the rubber coated headband makes the Audio-Technica
ATH-ES5 SV comfortable for most users. Combined with excellent
sound quality and solid bass, this headphone is good for most listeners,
music types, and environments. All combined with its folding design,
the Audio-Technica ATH-ES5 SV is one of the best portable, folding
headphones I have ever heard.
Audio-Technica ATH-EC7 GM Earphone
ATH-EC7 GM is a very unusual design for an in-ear earphone. The
earphone fits into the lower anti-helix
of the ear and delivers sound directly to the ear canal. A rubber
ring surrounds the outer edge of ear earphone for comfort. There
are foam covers for the earphone, but I did not have any problems
with the earphone bothering my ears. Once the earphone is inserted
into the ear, the ear loop is positioned over the ear by pushing
the 3-position adjustable loop down behind the ear. The ear loop
features 2 independent pivot joints that allow the ear loop a wide
range of adjustments for any size ear. One-handed installation
is very easy by inserting the earphones in the ear and pushing
the ear loop down behind the ear. The pivots give the ear loops
a smooth, almost fluid like motion and easy fit. The loop itself
is plastic coated and the basic shape is not changeable. Overall,
with its gun-metal and black design, the EC7 is an attractive,
The EC7 GM features one 15.5mm dynamic neodymium
driver for each ear with 50 mW maximum power input, 100 dB/mW
sensitivity at 1
kHz, 16 ohm impedance, and a 10-24,000 frequency range. The EC7
is a low power earphone, but seems to be reasonable power efficient.
It does not isolate the listener from external sounds, so as long
as the volume level is not too high, voices and noise can still
be heard while wearing the EC7. Overall sound quality is good,
but not as good as the EW9. The low / bass range is comparable
to other earphones, but is a little “mushy”. Due to
the small drivers, it does not have the rich, deep bass of the
other two Audio-Technicaâ€™s reviewed. The mid
range is very good with crisp, dynamic reproductions of sound and
the high range has a very “tight” sound that is fast
at responding to note changes.
The Audio-Technica ATH-EC7 GM included a small carrying pouch,
foam earphone covers, and a 1 meter extension cable. The carrying
pouch is disappointing. For the price, a nicer case should have
With its good sound, 3-position adjustable ear loops, comfort,
lightweight (11g), 0.6 meter cable, and gold-plated 3.5 mm stereo
plug, the Audio-Technica ATH-EC7 GM is a nice product with a unique
Audio-Technica ATH-EW9 Earphone
ATH-EW9 is a remarkable pair of over-the-ear, clip on earphones.
With a unique design
that features spring pivoting
ear loops and a beautiful wood housing made from Hokkaido cherry,
the EW9 is not only stylish, but also delivers excellent sound.
The ear loops pivot out approximately 50 degrees and allows for
easy, one-handed installation. Simply pivot the loop out from the
earphone, slide the loop over the ear, and pivot the earphone back
down over the ear. The ear loops are a single wire loop on a coil
pivot. A flexible rubber support is applied to each loop which
makes it very comfortable. Each earphone also has a comfortable
padded driver cover which contacts the ear. The EW9 is very lightweight
(33g) and comfortable, so long periods of use should be no problem.
The cable features a “Y” design with a 0.6 meter length.
A 1.0 meter extension is included. Even the 3.5mm stereo plug is
gold-plated. All together, the EW9 is a really nice physical design.
So the EW9 is good looking and comfortable to wear, but how does
it sound? Pretty damn good. The EW9 features two 28mm dynamic neodymium
magnet drivers with 100 mW maximum input power, 105 dB/mW sensitivity
at 1 kHz., 29 ohm impedance, and a 14-24,000 Hz frequency range.
The EW9 is very power efficient, so you should not have to turn
the volume much past the mid-point. Sound reproduction is excellent.
The low / bass range is very rich without being over-driven. The
bass range sounds natural and is great for music that is not bass
heavy. The mid range is very good with a solid, full sound and
the high end is good with fast response and very crisp reproduction.
The overall sound reproduction is very good for a headphone with
1 driver for each ear.
The EW9 comes with a soft, zippered carrying case with separate
mesh compartments for each earphone and the cable. A 1 meter cable
extension is also included.
The ATH-EW9 is well designed, comfortable, and
delivers excellent sound reproduction. The clip on design is
great for people who
do not like to plug something into their ears or wear a band over
their head. The over ear style does allow for some sounds to “leak
out” so that other people may hear what you are listening
to, but for the wearer it is an exceptional listening experience.
If the high price does not bother you, the Audio-Technica ATH-EW9
is definitely worth a listen.
Reviewed by Harvey Lee,
Senior Technology Editor
Web Site: http://www.audio-technica.com
Category: Mobile / Audio Hardware