So, at more than double the pricetag of previous favorites like the ESW9 and Shure SRH-840, what does the ES10 bring to the table? Audio Technica certainly doesn’t waste the potential of the 53mm driver, as the first impression from the ES10 is that it has the strongest bass punch out of any portable I’ve tried. Forget portables altogether, cause the ES10’s bass goes even harder than Sennheiser’s HD650! Of course the ES10 sound signature is different than the HD650, and the way they present bass is also different. I feel that the ES10’s bass is better suited for all the latest Modern R&B, Rap, Techno, Electronica, and other stuff like it, where HD650’s bass is more voiced for music such as Classical, Jazz, as well as older R&B and blues stuff. One thing that I feel Audio Technica can improve with the ES-10 is the quality of the bass. Because when you compare it to the HD650, the HD650’s bass have more control and resolution.
Being very powerful in bass doesn’t make this an overly bassy phone. Treble and midrange sounds good, though it doesn’t have the tube like midrange like the ESW9.
The impedance rating might be fairly low at 42?, but I feel that a portable amplifier is mandatory. When driven straight from an Ipod, I had to crank the volume much louder than normal before all the good sound comes out. But using a portable like the TTVJ Slim, I find that I can listen at more normal volume, and still get a quality sound out of the ES10.