Audio Technica ES10

ath_es10_3Audio Technica rewrote the rules of portable with the ATH-ES10. When it was announced last year, I noticed that the ES10 is not just another new portable. It uses a 53mm driver, the same size driver as the one used in the bigger W-series headphones such as the W5000 and the new W1000X. Big sized drivers, most of the time, have an advantage over smaller ones, especially when it comes to bass. What’s amazing is that Audio Technica still manages to fit the 53mm driver into a housing not much bigger than the Sennheiser HD25-1. With a housing that size and a foldable headband, I’d consider grouping the ES10 as a portable. Of course they’re not ultra portable like the Sennheiser PX100, but if have ever use your SR-60 Grado outdoor, then you know what I’m talking about.

The Titanium housing is finished with a hairline finishing. What does a hairline finishing look like? If you use an Ipod without any form of protec

tion, you know that the glossy back side very quickly collects scratches, and so you have no choice but to spend $30 for some plastic or rubber silicone protection. The hairline finishing is sort of like that, except that they are done professionally and the scratches are all aligned to one direction. It comes out as a nice and classy finishing. The finishing not only gives you a unique, non bling-bling look, but I figure it may help to hide any scratches the housing may pick up on the way. Not that titanium is very easy to scratch, but I don’t dare to test it out on this ES10.

Audio Technica ES10
3 (60%) 3 votes

  • Franz Dy

    Thanks for the nice review. i disagree on the part that it really needs an amp to shine. Played it straight from my comp and sounded terrific. maybe an amp will improve the sound quality but not by much. and it blows all portables as of today

  • Mike

    Hi Franz,

    Glad it sounds terrific straight from your computer. I didn't try it with a computer, but rather from an Ipod. I felt that when driven straight from the Ipod, I have to turn the volume out to louder than my normal listening volume before the cans really opens up. With a portable amp, somehow that's no longer necessary.

  • Franz Dy

    I also agree with you that it has the most bass over any portable headphone present. Like having twin subwoofers beside your head. Out of the box it sounded good. Hopefully after 100hrs+ it will sound more controlled. Id like to see you do a comparison between b&w p5 esw10 and others within the price range

    • Dennis

      I’m looking forward to read such comparison too! Really interested in B&W P5 in particular (reviews leave me puzzled – they tend to be only 100%-positive or 100%-negative and that’s strange). By the way, in your opinion – what headphones are better suited for classical music – Senn HD25-1-II, ATH-ES10 or B&W P5 ?

  • Claude Daniel

    I was wondering is there any authorized retailer in US so I can get it. It is probably the best portable headphone for me. I guess I may subject to warranty issue if I got it from Japanese ebay retailer.

    • I doubt it, Claude. You can try audiocubes, as they carry a lot of stuff only sold in Japan.

  • Boyd

    Hi, Mike
    Can you compare betweem ATH-M50 and ES10? thx in advance : )

    • Mike

      Boyd, I no longer has the ES10 around, and I don't think I remember enough about it to compare to the M-50. 🙂

    • I’ve auditioned the M50,ES10, and ESW9 and found the ES10 to have a bigger sound range than ESW9.  The ESW9 does have a sweet mids but the ES10 was much better on the music I listen to Rock, Electronic, and Pop out of my iPod.  The M50 and the ES10 both sounded good for my music straight out of the iphone, and they are quite similar.  The ES10 sounded it has a wider range but needed a but more amp than my iPhone while the M50 sounded very much like home.

      I will soon visit a show room that will have the  ES10, M50, and the DT1350 all together at the same time to compare them side by side!

      • Boyd,
        The M-50 is a lot more linear in the frequency response, as it is mostly still a monitoring headphone with a slightly boomy bass. The ES10 is voiced more as music listening device, with fuller midrange, punchier and weightier bass section, better vocals etc.

  • Hey Mike,
    Do how would you compare this to the Pro700 in terms of value, bass power/impact,  and overall sound quality

    • I can’t comment on the value, but the Pro700 Mk2 is a pure bass head headphone. The ES10 is a hi-fi headphone with a good bass.

      • So which would you say moves the most air, or basically, which one utilizes their big drivers for bass the most?

        • It’s probably the Pro700 Mk2.

  • Hi Mike
    I’d like to know if an Audio Technica ATH-ES10 would benefit more from a JDSLabs C421 or an ALO National for on the go, most genres of music?
    Thank you.

    • Tom,
      The C421 is nice, but the National will be better.

    • The National is very good with the ES10 (my favourite portable headphones), but is more than ample over and over again for the ES10. You can crank the volume to almost 100% with the National and a strong input signal with almost no phase distortion in the ES10. Incredible, but impractical.

  • Fabien

    Hi Mike,
    How would you describe the bass on the ES10? Very boomy, boomy, slightly boomy, tight?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Not very boomy actually.. somewhere between a tad boomy to pretty well controlled. Of course, with that sort of a bass quantity, you definitely won’t expect the kind of tight bass as in the HD25-1 for instance.

      • Fabien

        Thanks mate!

      • Evan_Beezy

        how about a comparison or review of the es700? Seems to have a lot of interest around it.

        • Sorry I don’t have the ES700.

          • Marc

            Mike, how would these compare to the Sennheiser HD25 ALUs?? Bass, speed, and overall sound quality?

            • ES10 is slower, mellower, darker.

        • dalethorn

          I’ve been watching this for some time, trying to figure out the signature in advance, so I don’t get stuck with another very colored headphone. Even if the signature were unbalanced for hi-fi listening, I’m willing to use a simple EQ to make it better, but some headphones don’t fix up even then. So it would be helpful if I could find that information.