Audio Technica ATH-AWAS review

Audio Technica ATH-AWAS.

Amplifier and power requirements. 

 

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At only 40-ohms impedance, and with a sensitivity of 99dB/mW, the ATH-AWAS is neither difficult to drive nor terribly amp-dependent. Listeners ought to achieve fairly consistent results from decent quality amplifiers that have sufficiently low output impedance, meaning that both solid-state and transformer-coupled tube amps are ideal. 

The Chord Mojo is a great match for the ATH-AWAS, capable of driving them to ‘plenty loud’ at the double-red volume position. Kick-drum slam and dynamics on Pearl Jam’s ‘Dance of the Clairvoyants’ is visceral and fast, this track showing-off also both the imaging chops and perfectly-balanced treble of the ATH-AWAS. 

Moving up to a far more desktop amplifier in the Topping A90 doesn’t quite yield night-and-day improvements, but it does present a leaner, snappier tone with a little more dynamic impact and weight. 

Audio Technica ATH-AWAS.

Audio Technica ATH-AWAS.

The ATH-AWAS’ rather lovely tone is sweetened even further with the addition of some tubes into the equation, in this case with the Hagermann Tuba. Playing from its ‘LO’ impedance jack, the Tuba elicits a softer, rounder and more fulsome bassline in Pink Floyd’s ‘Young Lust’ versus the transparent window applied to it on the Topping. It made for a highly musical pairing, and I also enjoyed using vinyl as a source via the Tuba for an even more visceral, analogue experience. 

Conclusions.

Audio Technica has done a wonderful job of making a great-sounding and great-looking pair of closed-back headphones in the ATH-AWAS. They’re warm, inviting, and easy-to-love. Plus, they genuinely have the technical performance to back it up. If they were the same price as the ATH-AWKT I’d pick them in a heartbeat for both their sound quality and the bump-up in comfort. For $500 less than the ATH-AWKT, I’d do it even more quickly. Given that they play nicely with all kinds of amplifiers and have an ‘heirloom’ kinda charm to them, they make for a pretty solid all-round closed-back headphone – albeit it one that costs $1,399. 

But, if you’re even shopping in the hand-made $1K+ wooden headphone category then you’re probably looking for more than simple, rational reasons to choose them. You’re probably looking based on the emotional connection they’re likely to create with you, and how they make you feel. The ATH-AWAS ‘Asada Sakura’ is probably the kind of headphone that people will buy and then hang onto for a long, long time. And that would probably make you feel happy indeed. 

4.3/5 - (26 votes)

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Hailing from Sydney's eastern beaches, Matty runs his own beer business, 'Bowlo Draught', as well as working in creative advertising. When he's not enjoying his hifi and vinyl collection at home, he can probably be found rolling-up on the green at his beloved Bondi Bowling Club.

12 Comments

  • Reply July 21, 2020

    Dylan

    Nice review. You need to add the WP900 to your reviews to complete the story.

    • Reply July 22, 2020

      Matty Graham

      I definitely plan on arranging a full review for these – I was super-impressed after a quick five-minute listen. Watch this space!

  • Reply July 22, 2020

    Gray

    Great write-up mate. Would love your take on Sony’s MDR-Z1R. I’m aware there’s a review on the site but it does not go into that much detail.

    • Reply July 22, 2020

      Matty Graham

      Cheers mate, I appreciate it. It’s been a good few years since I heard the MDR-Z1R – I had about 20 minutes listening to it on a Ragnarok V1/Yggdrasil stack. I remember being wow-ed by the build and design, and impressed by its laid-back and smooth-sounding signature. It’s actually a headphone that I’ve always wanted as a part of my personal collection, but I’ve never got around to it. Thanks for reminding me to check it out again!

  • Reply July 22, 2020

    Disha Shengale

    Thanks for the review Matty. This is one excellent pair of headphones. But I guess it’s a bit too costly at the $1899 price range and there are plenty other models that can match the quality of it.

    • Reply July 22, 2020

      Dylan

      Judging by the headphones you link to in your website, I think you might have a problematic understanding of the term “quality” unless one considers the “boAt Rockerz 400 Bluetooth Headphone with Super Extra Bass” a quality item.

  • Reply August 6, 2020

    Tibor

    I hope you will treat us with better pictures here as well. These cans are so gorgeous, it has to be something to hold them in own hands. The craftsmanship is stellar.
    I did lost a bit of interest in headfonia few years ago, but now I really enjoy it again.
    Thanks to you. Good job, great articles. You have our praise.
    Thank you
    Tibor

  • Reply September 7, 2020

    Headphone connoisseur

    I have a pair and am impressed by the organic Timbre. Something even my stax sr9 can’t replicate. Great review.

  • Reply March 2, 2021

    Josh

    Nice review and after reading a couple on the AWAS it’s a headphone on my shortlist especially after getting the AP2000ti a few months ago which has become one of my favorite headphones. These sound like they’d compliment them well since the AP2000ti is on the brighter side of neutral and these seem to be a bit warmer in tone which I like.

    Speaking about the AP2000ti that’s a headphone I think should get a review because it sounds really good with a lot of detail and surprisingly good bass. While they are on the bright side they aren’t harsh sounding to me but some female vocals can get close to being a bit much but so far haven’t crossed that line yet.

  • Reply March 19, 2021

    Dean

    I never heard about ATH-AWAS headphones type, and I’m shocked by knowing how amazing it is! thanks a lot for sharing such a unique knowledge with us, have a good day!

  • Reply June 23, 2021

    sszorin

    I can not understand why nobody has done a comparative review of ATH-AWAS and ath-W3000ANV. There just isn’t one on the whole planet-wide internet. It is very annoying because this comparison should have been made right at the time when AWAS was introduced to the reviewers and the audio-tech consumers.
    Are AWAS just a tweaked headphones version of W3000ANV ? Or, are they a further development of W3000ANV and an improvement ?
    It is clear that ATH-AWKT’s “ancestor” are ATH-W5000 and that the AWKT exhibit a substantial improvement of W5000’s sound but, is it the same with AWAS in relation to W3000ANV ?

  • Reply July 8, 2022

    Wayne

    Hi Matty, still using the wp900 now connected to a dfly cobalt dac. I really enjoy this setup a lot. If I get the awas expecting more of the same, but better imagery and soundstage, would I get that ?

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