Audio Technica ES10


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.

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.