Audio Technica ATH-L5000 closed, circumaural headphones don’t just feature dynamic drivers made from exclusive materials. Ear cups, covers and even flanges are made of the finest materials in this high-end device. In addition, the appearance, feel and technology of these headphones make for an extraordinary looking piece of kit. But how do the ATH-L5000 perform in practice?
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 50.000 Hz
- Impedance45 ohms
- Weight without cable480 g
- Cable length300 cm
What's in the box
- 6.3 mm jack cable (3 m)
- 4 pole XLR cable (3 m)
- Travel case
Scope of Delivery
These Audio Technica headphones are really eye-catching, while a generously dimensioned case ensures their safe storage and transportation. The case is covered with artificial leather, has four feet on the underside and a large carrying handle on the top. Inside, the foam interior is lined with fabric. Two fabric-covered cables with gold-plated connectors are included. One is a 6.3 mm jack cable, the other is a four-pin XLR cable (the XLR plug is not gold-plated). Both come to a length of 3 m.
The finest materials
Audio Technica have set out to create a timeless design for the ATH-L5000, and they have achieved this goal fabulously well. The sycamore maple earpieces are covered on the outside with Connolly leather, which is well known in the automotive industry. Due to treatment with the transparent dye aniline, this usually has a particularly striking leather appearance. In this case, however, the procedure was obviously very discreet, as there is no noticeable “grain” of the leather. Due to the wooden construction, a buyer can assume that the ATH-L5000 will “age” individually depending on storage and use, becoming a truly unique object.
The standard headphone lead is 3 m long and is plugged into the gold-plated sockets on the underside of the two ear shells using the A2DC connectors typical of Audio Technica headphones. The jack plug of the cable is also gold-plated for corrosion resistance and a cable with 4-pin XLR connector is included. This cable ensures symmetrical signal routing and thus sound transmission that is free of interference.
Technology in numbers
The dynamic 58 mm drivers are mounted in a carbon fibre reinforced polymer flange. In addition, a diaphragm with a carbon-fibre nano-coating is used. This “diamond-like carbon coating” has a special hardness, so the composition of this expensive composite material therefore ensures both low weight and high stiffness of the diaphragm.
In this way, the ATH-L5000 outputs a transmission range from super-deep 5 Hz up to high-frequency 50 kHz. This means that this device – at least on paper – outshines most of its competitors. The rather low impedance of the headphones, 45 ohm, does not require a powerful preamp for operation. Their sensitivity of 100 dB/mW makes them a powerful playback tool, but it is not excessively loud.
The handling of the ATH-L5000 is a little different from other headphones. Instead of an adjustable headband construction, there are two “paddles” under the headband. They automatically adjust to the shape of the head to hold the headphones in place. It isn’t problem, but does take some getting used to, and it might become awkward if the user has a small or narrow head. Since the ear cups can be swivelled but not tilted, and the headband has a relatively large span, the ear cushions do not fit evenly. In fact, the contact pressure of the ear cushions at their upper end is much lower. Overall, the relatively low contact pressure is adequate for the low weight of 480 g, relative to the size of the headphones. But the uneven contact pressure of the ear cushions results in a rather loose fit of the headphones, which doesn’t allow for especially fast lateral head movements.
However, I must emphasise the sensation-pleasing nature of the ear pad leather. It encloses the ears wonderfully softly and nestles gently to the skin. The support construction of the headband “paddle” ensures a comfortable wear without pressing on the middle of the top of the head.
Audio Technica promote the sound of the ATH-L5000 as “warm” and “natural”. My first impression is that the upper mids and highs reproduction is super-nuanced with these headphones. Here, you can hear details in the audio material that other headphones simply conceal, while the subjective signal resolution is impressive. Due to the immense transmission width, it’s not surprising that the super-high frequency range of the ATH-L5000 sounds almost endless. This is of particular benefit to the stereo impression. Nevertheless, I can’t quite agree with the advertised promise of a “warm” sound as the mids appear slightly over-emphasised.
The bass range of the ATH-L5000 is reproduced with restraint and yet it is enjoyably powerful. But if you want to hear ultra-fat bass, you’ll have to resort to the devil’s work of equalizers and bass boosters. With this help, however, Audio Technica leaves its inconspicuous bass comfort zone and provides immense thrust to the drumheads all the way down to the deep bass. It is also striking how fast and precise the diaphragm of these headphones works in the low frequencies. The transients of kick drum signals, for example, are already reproduced succinctly and powerfully with slightly amplified bass. In general, the dynamics of the reproduction are generally differentiated, and the depth gradation is good. The acoustic isolation to the outside is just as good as the damping of external noise. With regard to all these criteria, the ATH-L5000 makes a solid showing.
The Audio Technica ATH-L5000 is not only out of the ordinary in terms of price, but the materials used to build them make them something really special. The super-soft leather and wood earpieces are just as convincing aesthetically as the sonic differentiation that this high-end device delivers. Ultra-wide highs, detailed mids and restrained basses characterise the sound of these headphones. Anyone who feeds the ATH-L5000 with a signal whose basses are at least slightly boosted will be rewarded with a sub-bass that will make the competition tremble. The only thing that doesn’t convince me is the insecure fit, due to the extravagant headband construction.
The price/performance ratio of these headphones is not only determined by their sound, which is undoubtedly impressive. Rather, Audio Technica also tries to use the scope of delivery with an impressive case and fabric-sheathed symmetrical cable as a selling point. As long as unmodified/unembellished sound enjoyment is the goal, the Audio Technica ATH-L5000 is a good choice as an exclusive listening tool. Due to its sound signature, this should be particularly fun for lovers of classical music and jazz.