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 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. So powerful that they will overwhelm your music if you like to crank the bass. However this is only just a possibility.
Summary: I purchased the Audio-Technica ATH-ESW9A just prior to going on a 8 day cruise. I wanted something that sounded a lot better than the in the ear plugs I had been using. I used the Audio-Technica with my iPod and ASUS 10" tablet both while flying to the port, during the cruise at pool side and while relaxing on my cabin balcony. Prior to purchasing I listened to quite a few other brands. Some that cost quite a bit more.
Pros: The wood gives it a unique and nice look. It sounds very good and the price was OK compared to others.
Cons: Can be a little uncomfortable affter hours of using but that could be because of my ears.
Summary: Okay so here is the deal. For one, Best Buy no haggle price matched me on these. So For the price I got them for I am COMPLETELY satisfied. I want to hand to it Best Buy for not making you do a dance on a legit price match anymore. They sound fantastic. Here is the deal with anything audio, If it makes you want to relive your whole music collection then you have hit the jackpot. I am not a headphone expert by any means nor am I a very "technical" guy.
Pros: Sound, Build Quality, Good looking, Price match (finally and thank you Best Buy)
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. Maybe not the ideal comparing circumstance but the ESW9's really impressed me. They had some other AT models, AKG, Pioneer, Bose and B&W for sampling- not sure the models.
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. Even while listening, I know I'm not hearing the whole story. But somehow, the sound of these headphones just grabs me like nothing has so far.