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Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000 Review (Headphone)

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the Audio Technica flagship headphone, the ATH-ADX5000. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $1,999.

After testing a lot of heavy headphones, the ATH-ADX5000 feels like it is light as feather:

Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000 Review headphone high-end flagship.jpg


The lightness is great as far as wear comfort but does not impart feeling of luxury. The unit only weighs 275 grams despite sporting large cups:

lighest headphone review.png


The inside cup dimensions are 60x60x20 mm (height x width x depth).

The owner supplied them with an aftermarket cable that was light and nice to use with it. The stock cable is super stiff from what I have seen online.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I have confirmed the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

Fitting the ATH-ADX5000 to the fixture was extremely easy. With the large cups and excellent seal, the first try worked and I ran with it.

Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000 Measurements
As usual we start with our frequency response:
Audio Technical ATH-ADX5000 Measurements.png


As you see the fit to our target is quite poor. It seems to have exaggerated upper bass combined with the same in treble region. And some recess in the middle:
Audio Technical ATH-ADX5000 relative frequency response Measurements.png


For a premier headphone I expect lots of attention to keep distortion low. Apparently Audio Technica does not believe in that:

Audio Technical ATH-ADX5000 relative distortion Measurements.png


Audio TechnicalATH-ADX5000 Distortion Measurements.png


Notice how the high distortion around 2.2 kHz is so bad that it is impacting the frequency response. There is clear design flaw in this driver that was not caught and fixed.

Group delay shows a nice smooth low frequency drop off but then gets messy like many headphones:

Audio Technical ATH-ADX5000 Group Delay Measurements.png


Sensitivity is lower than average:
Most sensitive high-end headphone.png


The supplied cable was terminated in 4.4 mm balanced and despite having 100 different adapters, I did not have one to match it to my impedance measurement fixture. Company reports the impedance at 420 ohm. Combined with above sensitive number, this will be a difficult headphone to drive and likely out of question with native output of a portable device.

Audio Technica ATH-ADx5000 Listening Tests and Equalization
The exaggerated high frequencies are not so bad at first listen due to upper boost in bass. Still, the sound was uninterested and so the usual EQ tools came out. Creating a filter by eye is challenging due to the variations of the response so this is approximate:

Audio Technical ATH-ADX5000 Equalization EQ.png


I tried to compensate for the upper frequency bass by pulling that down but did not like the lack of bass. Even with my bass boost, the headphone doesn't reproduce a lot of bass with impact. Maybe the fit was worse on my head but I felt the pad and seemed to seal.

Spatial effects combined with above EQ created a good listening situation. I listened to it that way and then turned off the EQ. Now you could hear the exaggerated highs and collapsed openness due to depression in frequency response around 2 kHz.

Conclusions
The focus on the design of the ATH-ADX5000 seems to have been weight reduction. On that, they have succeeded. Despite large cups that bring good spatial qualities, the headphone is very light and so comfortable for long term use. Alas, the rest of the design is a failure with large deviation from target response -- almost going after "showroom sound" of accentuated bass and treble. We could partially forgive this if distortion was low but it is not. Out sub-bas boost likely increased distortion more. Overall, this is a failure to impress. The only reason it doesn't get the worst scores is because it has good spatial qualities and out of the box, it seems to sound OK.

I can NOT recommend the Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000. They need to do a lot better.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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xarkkon

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#4
Audio Technical-ly.... It's Audio Technica ;)
 

Vict0r

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#5
Ouch. $2000...

I used to own an ATH-AD700. It was funky as hell. It was excellent for pinpointing enemies in a 3d space in a video game, but not so great for music. I looked ridiculous wearing it, too. The reason I bring that one up is that the freq. response chart really looks like what I remember of the AD700. Maybe it's the "ATH house sound". :D

1272335.jpg
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #6
Audio Technical-ly.... It's Audio Technica ;)
It is amazing how the brain works. Despite knowing that, I typed technical in so many places! Corrected a few....
 

sweetchaos

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#7
To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:\
Preamp: -7.5 dB
Filter 1: ON LS Fc 50 Hz Gain 7.0 dB Q 1.0
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 2212 Hz Gain 5.0 dB Q 3.0
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 4500 Hz Gain -5.0 dB Q 1.0
To import into your favorite PEQ app, enter it manually.
Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead.
Preamp: -7.4db
32 7.0
64 1.4
125 0.3
250 0.3
500 0.6
1000 -0.3
2000 3.8
4000 -4.7
8000 -1.1
16000 0.6
Preamp: -7.3db
20 3.9
25 5.1
32 4.7
40 3.8
50 3.0
63 1.9
80 1.0
100 0.7
125 0.5
160 0.5
200 0.4
250 0.4
315 0.4
400 0.4
500 0.4
630 0.4
800 0.4
1000 0.3
1250 0.4
1600 0.0
2000 3.5
2500 2.3
3150 -2.0
4000 -3.4
5000 -3.6
6300 -2.2
8000 -1.0
10000 -0.3
12500 0.1
16000 0.5
20000 0.5
If you want to import into "Wavelet" (Android App):
GraphicEQ: 20 -0.2; 21 -0.2; 22 -0.2; 23 -0.2; 24 -0.2; 26 -0.2; 27 -0.2; 29 -0.2; 30 -0.2; 32 -0.2; 34 -0.2; 36 -0.3; 38 -0.6; 40 -0.8; 43 -1.2; 45 -1.5; 48 -1.8; 50 -2.1; 53 -2.4; 56 -2.8; 59 -3.1; 63 -3.4; 66 -3.6; 70 -3.9; 74 -4.1; 78 -4.3; 83 -4.5; 87 -4.7; 92 -4.8; 97 -4.9; 103 -5.0; 109 -5.1; 115 -5.2; 121 -5.2; 128 -5.3; 136 -5.3; 143 -5.4; 151 -5.4; 160 -5.4; 169 -5.5; 178 -5.5; 188 -5.5; 199 -5.5; 210 -5.5; 222 -5.5; 235 -5.5; 248 -5.5; 262 -5.6; 277 -5.6; 292 -5.6; 309 -5.6; 326 -5.6; 345 -5.6; 364 -5.6; 385 -5.6; 406 -5.6; 429 -5.6; 453 -5.6; 479 -5.6; 506 -5.6; 534 -5.6; 565 -5.6; 596 -5.6; 630 -5.6; 665 -5.6; 703 -5.6; 743 -5.6; 784 -5.7; 829 -5.7; 875 -5.7; 924 -5.7; 977 -5.7; 1032 -5.7; 1090 -5.7; 1151 -5.7; 1216 -5.7; 1284 -5.6; 1357 -5.6; 1433 -5.5; 1514 -5.4; 1599 -5.3; 1689 -5.0; 1784 -4.6; 1885 -4.0; 1991 -3.2; 2103 -2.3; 2221 -2.1; 2347 -2.9; 2479 -4.2; 2618 -5.3; 2766 -6.3; 2921 -7.0; 3086 -7.7; 3260 -8.3; 3443 -8.8; 3637 -9.3; 3842 -9.7; 4058 -10.0; 4287 -10.3; 4528 -10.4; 4783 -10.3; 5052 -10.1; 5337 -9.9; 5637 -9.6; 5955 -9.2; 6290 -8.8; 6644 -8.5; 7018 -8.2; 7414 -7.9; 7831 -7.6; 8272 -7.3; 8738 -7.1; 9230 -6.9; 9749 -6.8; 10298 -6.6; 10878 -6.5; 11490 -6.4; 12137 -6.3; 12821 -6.2; 13543 -6.1; 14305 -6.1; 15110 -6.0; 15961 -5.9; 16860 -5.9; 17809 -5.9; 18812 -5.9; 19871 -5.9
Otherwise, see my GEQ guide.
 
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Veri

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#11
I used to own an ATH-AD700. It was funky as hell. It was excellent for pinpointing enemies in a 3d space in a video game, but not so great for music. I looked ridiculous wearing it, too. The reason I bring that one up is that the freq. response chart really looks like what I remember of the AD700. Maybe it's the "ATH house sound". :D

View attachment 134630
I still own these ATH-AD700 :D:D they were really good for the price at the time though. But oh yeah, funky looking purple things, hah.
They measure quite well on the mid-range though as measured here

 

B4ICU

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#12
HP tumb roll:
The more it cost, the less it worth.
Why it's tru and works?
Take a mediocre HP for $10. It worth $10. Recommended!
Take a poor HP for $2,000 and above. Not Recommended. Not to say, that the 3-5 last sets over $2,000 were in this class.
Look for an excellent model somewhere between $200-$500. I believe that the good stuff is there.
 

Vict0r

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#13
I still own these ATH-AD700 :D:D they were really good for the price at the time though. But oh yeah, funky looking purple things, hah.
They measure quite well on the mid-range though as measured here

That actually looks a lot better than I thought! They were very comfortable too. About a decade ago, the AD700 was "discovered" by the e-sports/fps gaming community and a lot of people used them to gain an advantage in games like Counter Strike. They had excellent spatial qualities, especially when combined with virtual surround tech like CMSS 3D.
 

Jimbob54

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#14
Ouch, not what I expected. So much for the spiritual successor to the AD(X)2000...

The ATH-R70x is looking a lot better actually. Comparable to HD6-- performance.
I imagine the 2000 would fare no better either. Wonky.
 

Jimbob54

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#15
Ouch. $2000...

I used to own an ATH-AD700. It was funky as hell. It was excellent for pinpointing enemies in a 3d space in a video game, but not so great for music. I looked ridiculous wearing it, too. The reason I bring that one up is that the freq. response chart really looks like what I remember of the AD700. Maybe it's the "ATH house sound". :D

View attachment 134630
I think that is exactly what they aim for - a house sound. The W5000 are fun after EQ but just plain odd without- no low end. From what I have read they seek to highlight female vocals in their cans. That they do- at the expense of pretty much all of the rest of the band.
 

B4ICU

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#16
I think that is exactly what they aim for - a house sound. The W5000 are fun after EQ but just plain odd without- no low end. From what I have read they seek to highlight female vocals in their cans. That they do- at the expense of pretty much all of the rest of the band.
If you are right, a new model for $10,000 is to be announced soon, that emphasize the sounds of cat fight screams over the garbage beans.
For the rest of the musical spectrum, who cares?
 

Vict0r

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#18
hum~ ATH headphones are not really praised by subjective reviews also... seems like their house sound is not that attractive anyway...
Well... the ATH-M50 was the most recommended headphone on Head-Fi for years. It got recommended so often that it even spawned a whole culture of M50 and Audio Technica memes, so I guess ATH did something right there, at least. :)

ath-m50-ath-m50-everywhere.jpg

Unknown-64.jpg
 

YSC

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#20
Well... the ATH-M50 was the most recommended headphone on Head-Fi for years. It got recommended so often that it even spawned a whole culture of M50 and Audio Technica memes, so I guess ATH did something right there, at least. :)

View attachment 134652
View attachment 134653
Ah yes, I kind of keep thinking of the higher end offerings from various brands and forget this entry level gem.

As far as I can recall the M50 is really great for the price but moving up the scale they somehow looks like have gone the wrong way. especially when I was into headphones in shop trials they are the most comfortable both in weight and the headband design, only if they sound more right...
 
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