Audio-Technica ATH-W5000

The W5000 was (until the release of the AWT and AWAS) Audio-Technica’s flagship headphone when it came out. Ultimate variant of the Woodie line, following the famous ATH-L3000. Retail price is pretty high ($1200) but used pairs can be found for 1/3 or even 1/4 the MRSP price.

Just like most over-ear Audio-Technica, it uses 3d-wings, providing absolute comfort on top of the head but causing weird fit and potential seal issues. I had fit issues with the AD900X and W1000X. Strangely, I don’t have issues with the W5000 – the cups are angled inward so I get full seal, and that is crucial for better sound.

The macassar ebony wood cups are beautiful and the build is pretty solid. They are easily driven from a phone. The W5000 is the third Audio-Technica woodie I’ve heard, after the W10VTG and W1000X.

○ Release : 2005
○ Current status : In Production
○ Type : Over-ear / Closed-back
○ Measured weight : 366g
○ Impedance : 40 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~104-105 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $300-400

Sound Impression
The W5000 reminds a bit of the W1000X but with smoother treble. The overall tonality is really weird, especially in A/B listening with another headphone. But I wouldn’t call it that unpleasant. Unlike most people, I dont find them thin and nasal sounding, or with no bass.

Bass is definitely there with moderate midbass impact. However, it start rolling off below 60-70hz. The low-end seems a bit cleaner than the HD600 (which has slightly slow and wooly bass presentation). The midrange is pretty colored but not in a bad way. I hear the mids are they measure – a bit of an elevation around 1-2 khz (but not so much) and recessed 2-4khz region.

The AD2000 or HD600 have more forward upper-midrange and can sound shouty while the W5000 only can get a bit shrill around 1-2 khz. The treble is what makes the W5000 sound weird ; the low-treble is very dipped, similarly to the A900X or W1000X. There is decent sparkle and mid-treble energy, without sounding too sibilant (W1000X was an hard listen mainly because of the treble).

The technicalities are mid-fi level at best. Decent staging (definitely wider than the average closed-back or the HD6x0 models) but lack of openness (the unrefined treble doesnt help here). Dynamics are not AD2000 levels but not compressed either. The HD600 is overall more resolving than the W5000 but not by a fair margin. The W5000 is a warmish sounding headphone to me, and that’s the opposite of what most people have said about them. Could it be a fit issue or silent revisions done since their release (they’re almost 15 years old), I really have no proper answer.


Measurements & Resources

Severe bass roll off below 100hz : caused by a bad seal during the measurement process. The W5000 is far from having good bass extension but I can hear down to 50-60hz without problem with them.
Bumped midrange around 800-2khz. 3-8khz region is dipped. 8-10khz peak. This is far from ideal and very funky, but oddly, does not sound really bad to me – the timbre is just off, but the enjoyment is not horrible.

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