Test and review of Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000

Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000

Audio-Technica’s top model is one of the world’s best headphones, and is much lighter than its competitors.


The music is reproduced with extreme precision, both on audio and transients. Light weight makes them extra comfortable. Among our clear favorites!


Very high impedance allows the headsets to sound slim and low-blooded with improper amplifiers.

Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000 videoreview

After spending ten years ago starting in 1962 to make record player pics, Audio-Technica found that this knowledge of precision work also had to be successful in the development of headphones.

In 1974, their first models came, and four years later they began to harvest prices. Since then, Audio-Technica has been a mark to count on, both in the hi-fi world, but also in the professional industry. It is a good idea to go to a recording studio today and not see a single headphone or microphone with their logo.

Audio-Technica lowers headphones in all sorts of price ranges, and has almost hit a flash. From the affordable M50X professional model and the slightly more expensive MSR7 , to the truly stunning A1000Z to $ 5,000. So what can you expect when the Japanese manufacturer gives us a top model of $ 22,000 – handmade in Japan?

Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000

It’s just looking at them to understand that these are serious stuff. Like other open headphones from the same manufacturer, the speaker elements are protected with an external metal grid. In addition, the elements are coated in tungsten for added durability and rigidity, and this will also provide even better transient response and dynamics as a result. The elements measure up to 58 millimeters in diameter, but because they go all the way out to the frame, and go with it, the headphone is far more compact than it could be. Although this is still a fairly large model.


The headphones are made of magnesium, making them as rigid as lightweight – only 270 grams are feathery to count in this quality class. The velor pads sit like a dream on the ear, and the headband is stable and firm. The fit is of the same solid sort as the Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 800 S , but the weight is even easier here, making the Audio Technics more comfortable.

Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000

A weight of only 270 grams is almost unheard of in this quality class.

It only comes with one cable, which is three meters long and has a large 6.3 mm plug at the end. The cable is detachable, and it is possible to purchase this with balanced XLR plug at the end.


There are few high-end headphones that are especially easy to drive, but these take many different ways. The impedance is at a total of 420 ohm, which means you can only forget to drive them high enough with a mobile phone or a fancy headset jack. But they have another disadvantage too. With a headphone amplifier that’s not designed for this, they sound slim and blood-low in the bass register, and they become analytical upward in the overtones. When I first tried them with the Questyle CMA 400i for almost ten thousand dollars, let it be very cool and detailed, but I never really got on the drums of Pink Floyd’s Hey You, and when I thought I’d hear fat industrial metal with Wargasm off Ministry, it was just tame. It sounded “hi-fi” enough, it was not, but there was no need for trouble, hassle and warmth and happiness.

Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000

A weight of only 270 grams is almost unheard of in this quality class.

The ATH-ADX5000 comes in a carry case that is pricey worthy.

Thank goodness, I was using the powerful amplifier AT-HA5050H to test with. Not only does it cost $ 6 000 (!), But it offers the possibility to select different output impedances, with the lowest (0.1 ohm) providing a much higher damping factor than the highest (120 ohm).

And here comes the a-ha experience. For the headset sounds do not work best with the highest possible damping factor, which is what many amplifier manufacturers are striving for. Instead, magic comes best with one to two notches on the output impedance. It is about finding the balance between the most distinct dynamics of the top register, and the most filling in the bass area.

With this little adjustment, the sound image from the headphones grows well. They get a round, warm and wonderful sound. Lady Gaga’s piano version of her country song Joanne sounds great, with great sound in the piano. The voice of Stefani Germanotta, as she’s really called, comes out in the best way, as you’ve never gotten with you if you’ve just heard her electronic pop songs. But this is a fragile ballad about death and funeral, and the ADX5000 draws the emotions, from the chest sound and all the way to the overtones that extend beyond – and even further into the head of the listener.

Want to have it rough and tough? Try some dirty, alternative countryrock, well, well. Unless Son Volt gets the rock foot with the song Sinking Down with these headsets, I do not know what will do it. Dirty wings, steel guitars, a whole dose of blues and lots of ice and pussy. And with the voice of Jay Farrar who stands out from it all. Rarely I hear music so musical and at the same time so detailed and dynamic.

Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000

A weight of only 270 grams is almost unheard of in this quality class.

If you want a balanced cable, this can be bought as an option.


The Audio-Technica headphones have a linear and neutral approach to the music, much the same as the Sennheiser HD 800 S. This will also be a natural acknowledgment competition, and also $ 7,000 less expensive. But for my part, the ADX5000 goes off by being even more energetic in bass, a bit warmer in the sound and even more comfortable wearing over time.

While the headphones bring the emotional aspect to music better than most else, I could also use them as an instrument to mix their own recordings. In contrast to, for example, the closed Sony MDR-Z1R , Audio-Technica does not have any bass in the bass area that masks and conceals weaknesses for a sound engineer. If we take the almost twice as expensive Focal Utopia , I suppose these are the best headphones I’ve heard for hi-fi use, but they’re probably not as linear and neutral as Audio-Technica.

Another couple I could both listen to music for hours and while mixing, are the closed Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro . With a price tag of just $ 5,000, they give a lot more value, but there is no doubt that the ADX5000 is a much better headphone. And again, we have this with the weight then. For 270 grams, it’s so easy that it’s even less than the weight of the travel headphones Sony WH-1000XM2 . Almost everything else in this class weighs at least 100 grams more.


Audio-Technica is one of our great favorites among headphone manufacturers. And with the new top model ADX5000, engineers have surpassed themselves. Not only is it carefully thought out to any detail, but the jumble is not one of the very lightest high-end headphones on the market as well. Which makes them much more comfortable wearing over time than just about anything else.

The sound is perceived to be neutral and it is highly resolved. The harmonics of the music simply flow out, with a completely insane dynamics. At the same time, the headphones just fit warmth, so the body in the instruments comes extra well.

But make sure not to use the wrong amplifier. An analytical amplifier is not preferable, choose one with a bit of full sound.

Good amplifier

Audio-Technica’s headphones deserve the best from the audio source, and this is especially true of the ATH-ADX5000 top model. Here you have the potential to unleash the music with all the details intact, in a dynamic inferno of magnificence. In particular, the microdynamics are impressive, with tiny transients emitting lightning fast.

But it does not mean that the amplifier is good. It must be correct. Because if you have one with too low output impedance – that is, a high damping factor, which is what many amplifier manufacturers are striving for – you can miss important heat and fill in the bass. If you do not have a way to do the EQ setting.

Audio-Technica’s own amplifier AT-HA5050H (about 60,000) solves the steak. A powerful hybrid amplifier with preamplifier stage and transistors on the outputs, which, in addition to being powerful and stable, provide some choice when it comes to output impedance. There are four pairs of headphone jacks, each with different impedances: 120, 82, 33 and 0.1 ohms. The lowest impedance gives the highest damping factor, and vice versa.

By selecting one of the outputs with higher output impedance, the magic comes forward. At the same time, the details in the top are taken care of in an excellent way. A win-win situation and the two products go hand in hand.

Together with the ATH-ADX5000, the AT-HA5050H offers some of the best sound we’ve ever had on our ears. Simply amazing.


  • Type: Open, over the ear
  • Foldable: No
  • Microphone / Remote Control: No / No
  • Cable: Straight (3m) 6.3mm
  • Elements: 58 mm tungsten coated
  • Impedance: / sensitivity: 420 ohm / 100 dB / mW
  • Weight: 270 grams (without cable)
  • Color: Black
  • Price: $2 430

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