July 18, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD Review

Audio-Technica has announced its new ATH-WB LTD, an impressive new addition to the closed-back dynamic headphone game. Their other equipment is already very influential and well-known in the audio world, including sets of headphones, headphones, recording equipment and even turntables. His M series is a classic among audiophiles, with the M50x being one of the public's favorites. The LTD is another pair of headphones in a line of great ones, so let's get into the details.

What does the box contain?

  • Audio-Technica over-ear headphones
  • Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable (A2DC to 3.5 mm (1/8″) gold-plated stereo mini jack
  • Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable (A2DC to 4.4 mm (1/6″), 5-pole gold-plated balanced connector)
  • 6.3 mm (1/4″) adapter
  • Travel bag

Aesthetics and Functionality

In terms of aesthetics, the LTD caught my attention immediately. They're deceptively luxurious, with three types of wood in the outer earcups to create natural-sounding acoustics. The glossy finish and lightweight feel make them look like plastic or fake wood, but the aluminum frame around them gives them a touch of shine that highlights the Audio-Technica logo embossed on the sides. The headphones even flatten to fit in the carrying case, which is a nice added feature for people who work outside the home. The sheepskin cushion for the headband and cups provides a comfortable feel on the head and around the ears. The fit was very snug and I wasn't worried about them falling off while in use.

I must admit that since I wear glasses, the tight fit around the head makes them uncomfortable to wear. The legs of my glasses pressed uncomfortably against the side of my head, and it was annoying enough having to remove the glasses to properly enjoy the sound quality. I didn't particularly like having to take off my glasses to enjoy the comfort I knew the LTD could provide. I would take this part with a grain of salt, solely because everyone has different head shapes and glasses (if they have any), and I wouldn't let that stop you from purchasing quality headphones.

What's even better about the LTD's appearance is its functionality. With two different balanced cables and an easily plug-in adapter, you have three different connection options at your fingertips. 3.5mm, 4.4mm, and 6.3mm male ends are included in the box, and the first two ends are connected to cables that go directly to the headphones. While listening, I connected to a portable amplifier (iFi GO Bar) and then to my computer. Setting up the headphones was easy and it was time to start listening.

Technical specifications

  • Guy: Dynamic closed
  • Driver diameter: 45mm
  • Frequent response: 5Hz – 50kHz
  • Maximum input power: 1,000 megawatts
  • Sensitivity: 104dB/mW
  • Impedance: 40 ohms
  • Weight: 320 g (11.3 oz), cordless
  • Wire: Detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable (A2DC to 3.5 mm (1/8″) gold-plated stereo mini jack); detachable 1.2 m (3.9') cable (A2DC to 4.4 mm (1/6″), 5-balanced gold-plated connector); 6.3 mm (1/4″) adapter

Hearing check

sound stage

The overall soundstage of the LTD does not disappoint. Their triple-ply wood shells are intended to bring a natural sound to the instruments, improving fullness and harmonics and providing accurate reproduction of acoustics. This was brilliantly done and was noticeable in some of my first listening impressions. A wide stereo image creates an immersive listening experience, and that was definitely provided on the LTD. There's no active noise cancellation technology in these headphones, but their over-ear design and high sensitivity make you believe you're isolated from outside noise the moment you put them on. The closed design allows for built-in natural noise cancellation that drags you into any song.

Low frequencies

The low frequencies really have their time to shine with these. Since the extended frequency range is outside of standard human hearing, it allows more subtle harmonics and sub-frequencies to ring in and react with the sound we can hear. Substantial synths, rumbling kicks, smooth bass – all packed into these headphones. “Dear Prudence” by The Beatles has a bass line that is practically ingrained in my head. Listening to it on LTD gave it all the body and space I needed to have the same effect as the first time I heard it, with an added warmth and depth that brought it to a whole new level. A variety of genres with punchy bass, including EDM, jazz, folk and pop, manage to have body and depth accentuated with additional texture.

Midrange frequencies

Of the three frequency ranges mentioned here, I have to say that this section disappointed me the most. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it: I'd rather call it unexpected. Due to the closed design, some frequencies are not given room to pass through and therefore reflect inward, creating reverberations that affect the original sound. The midrange feels empty and therefore the songs lose a lot of depth and fullness. I noticed it immediately when I heard “The Adult Are Talking” by The Strokes, where the snare sounded in a strange way that didn't sound at all natural. It had never sounded like this when I heard it before. However, I discovered that this interesting acoustic profile was not a mistake or poor construction on Audio-Technica's part. It was a deliberate choice with the three-ply wood design, recreating the natural acoustics. It was like they took the songs you knew and put them in their own personalized live room. With that in mind, listening to the media again was a pleasure and an interesting challenge of what I could bring to this new environment.

High frequencies

The top-of-the-range LTD does not disappoint. With an intelligently tuned low range and an acoustically unique midrange, the highs arrive as a refreshing wave of clarity and sharpness that balances the entire package. Harmonics can sound up to 50 kHz, producing a less compressed sound. Listening to “Labyrinth” by Miracle Musical, you can hear how the techno and bright instrumentation have enough space in the soundstage to make a lasting impression and not feel sharp or attacking. It fits perfectly with the rest of the frequency range, providing a much-needed lightness with such an intense bass sound. Popular songs that feature instruments like the banjo or mandolin have great presence and a characteristic “twang-y” sound.

Summary

To conclude, the Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD headphones are a brilliant piece of audio equipment. The sleek design, clever acoustic engineering, and simple functionality make them a great addition to any audiophile's gear arsenal. Its unique sound signature is definitely something I would recommend trying out and being patient if it's not exactly what you expect. After hours of testing and listening to them, I knew I had fallen in love with them and couldn't wait to continue listening to them and using them in other settings. The price may be high, starting at $1,599, but this pair is limited edition and comes from a consistently trusted brand. This is something you don't want to miss!

AdvantagesCons
  • Excellent range
  • Powerful highs and lows
  • aesthetically pleasing

You can get the Audio-Technica ATH-WB LTD today since Audio46.

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