When we talk about headphone cases, we usually mean some sort of box or pouch that keeps them safe from harm and dust, not an actual piece of luggage. But Audio-Technica has gone literal with the case for its new flagship headphones, the ATH-ADX5000, giving you a fancy briefcase to tote your $1,999 headphones in. And, oh yes, these open-back headphones do cost an order of magnitude more than Audio-Technica’s most popular models, with the Japanese company aiming to do battle with the likes of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, Audeze LCD-X, Focal Utopia, and the MrSpeakers Ether Flow models.
Having listened to much of Audio-Technica’s incredibly expansive portfolio of headphones, I have no problem with the company moving upmarket and trying to prove its credentials among the most committed audiophiles. The previous entries in its so-called Air Dynamic series of cans, such as the ATH-AD2000Xs, have earned a lot of plaudits for their wide soundstage, precise imaging, and vocal-friendly tuning. The new 5000 model (which weirdly flips the position of the X in the name) will look to build on that heritage and crank it up in the way that’s hinted at by the excessively luxurious case.
The ADX5000 has been designed as a wholly new product, featuring new 58mm tungsten-coated drivers inside its honeycomb-patterned ear cups. The headband is unlike any that Audio-Technica has previously done, and its plush Alcantara covering, which stretches onto the rather enormous pads, is also atypical for the company. Keeping in line with other high-end headphones in its class, the 5000 is being hand-assembled in Tokyo and each unit is laser-etched with its serial number. Also predictable for audiophile cans is the demand for high-end equipment: you’ll need quite a powerful amplifier to sate these headphones, which have an impedance of 420 Ohms.
The Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000 will be on sale in November for $1,999 / €2,190 / £1,990, but curious crowds will get a chance to see and hear them during IFA in Berlin next week.