Summary: I purchased the Audio Technica ESW9a. These have African Paduak shells rather than the cherry of the Japanese release. The ESW9a is made in Japan.
First, these are most definitely not circumaural headphones.
Pros: Warm but still punchy tone, large soundstage, lightweight, subtle good looks, comfortable
Cons: No accessories, disappointing cable, delicate brackets, don't fold for travel
Summary: I f'ing love these things. They are my portables of choice. setup: Cowon A2 MP3 player (320 kbps mp3's), Earcandy mini-mini, Ray Samuels SR-71 amp, ATH-ESW9. The bass is AWESOME. so deep and powerful but the driver must weigh next to nothing because it is very accurate.
Summary: Despite some so-so ratings on individual features, the sound is amazingly good for the price. I would rate the ESW9 sound as equal to most headphones in the $400 to $500 range, with the possible exception of soundstage, since in that respect it sounds about like its size suggests.
Summary: I might not have gotten these if I had'nt heard them. I was milling around the best buy and put on a few cans. I thought these were the best sounding cans Best Buy had on their wall- portable or otherwise. It was not even that close.
Summary: So do you go with what you like or with what's best for you? I guess at the juncture at most points in my life I've gone with the former. In headphones too that has me going back to the ESW9s again and again. They are NOT my most accurate cans.
Summary: I got this on Amazon for $199 and can't believe it was initially released for over $500. Nevertheless, the headphones are decent and would satisfy most enthusiasts who prefer clarity and musicality at the same time.
Summary: When I was on a look out for my first serious headphones, I came across this beautiful 'Geisha' by the name of ESW9. 'Gorgeous' was the first word that I uttered upon gazing the headphone for the first time.
Pros: Outstanding midrange, Good for a variety of genres, Beautiful design (especially the wood housing)
Cons: Worst isolation for a portable, somewhat fragile construction (particularly the swivel joints)
Summary: A little background:
This can be considered my first decent pair of "portable" headphones. I have a pair of HD650s at home and I usually use my customs or UE TF10 Pro's when I'm going out. I've stopped using in-ears for a while because I seem to get swollen canals after prolonged use and it hurts.
Summary: I got these as my first set and I couldn't be more satisfied.
I ordered them refurbished for $149.00 from an audiotechnica certified dealer on the internet (ironically, I ordered the ESW9As, but got a set of these instead--what serendipitous fortune!).
Pros: Amazing high and mid ranges. Female Vocals, Jazz and Orchestral Music is amazing.
Cons: Bass is not very heavy, but it is there (compared to a pair of ATH-M50s)
Summary: I'm a newbie to high end who wishes to thank all the poster @ head-fi that steered me to creating a really amazing set up thatis freakin' life changing:
DACport LX DAC $249 Amazon
Headstage Arrow 12HE 4G Headphone amplifier $299 headstage.com
Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9 Sovereign Wood Headphones...