Audio Technica ES10

The overall construction is a lot like the Audio Technica ESW9, which a lot of people are familiar with. Due to the bigger housing diameter and the stronger headband clamping force, the ES10 isolates better than the ESW9, while still retaining the same comfortable fit. The cable is still small and soft like the ESW9. I wish Audio Technica would construct a more rugged cable for their portables, as I feel that the soft cable doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence for outdoor use.

ath_es10_5

I have heard a lot of portable headphone, and I felt that the Sennheiser HD25-1, the Shure SRH-840, and the Audio Technica ESW9 represent the best of portables. As I mentioned in the three-way comparison, each of those portables have their own sound, and each are truly unique in their own way, while offering an overall superb sound. When Audio Technica released the ESW10, it was priced much higher than the ESW9, and though in some areas like soundstage, the ESW10 was better, I felt that the overall improvement is not worth the pricetag, and moreover, ESW10 seems to have lost the tube-like sound that the ESW9 has.

The ES10 is priced close to $600, and that’s a very high pricetag for a foldable, closed, and portable headphone. Yes, you still have the Ultrasone Edition 8 topping the chart at some ~$1500, but the Ultrasone Edition 8 is something of a statement product. Anyway, whether the $600 is a fair price, only you can decide.

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25 Comments

  • Reply April 14, 2010

    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

  • Reply April 15, 2010

    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.

  • Reply April 15, 2010

    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

    • Reply April 2, 2011

      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 ?

  • Reply September 27, 2010

    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.

    • Reply September 27, 2010

      Mike

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

  • Reply November 26, 2010

    Boyd

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

    • Reply November 26, 2010

      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!

      • Reply March 7, 2012

        Mike

        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.

  • Reply April 30, 2012

    Ceyer Solomon Waki

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

    • Reply April 30, 2012

      Mike

      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?

        • Reply May 1, 2012

          Mike

          It’s probably the Pro700 Mk2.

  • Reply June 17, 2012

    Tom Kinsella

    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.

    • Reply June 18, 2012

      Mike

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

    • Reply June 26, 2012

      shigzeo

      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.

  • Reply October 16, 2012

    Fabien

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

    • Reply October 16, 2012

      Mike

      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.

      • Reply October 16, 2012

        Fabien

        Thanks mate!

      • Reply December 4, 2013

        Evan_Beezy

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

        • Reply December 4, 2013

          Mike

          Sorry I don’t have the ES700.

          • Reply December 10, 2013

            Marc

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

            • Reply December 13, 2013

              Mike

              ES10 is slower, mellower, darker.

        • Reply December 4, 2013

          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.

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