The ATH-A2000Z is one of the “High-Fidelity” closed back headphones from the Japanese company Audio-Technica. It features a 53mm dynamic driver hidden behind titanium cups. This unit was lent to me by a friend and is now back to its owner.
In the box
Build quality and accessories
The build quality is very good but the cups do feel like they would scratch fairly easily (the unit I’m reviewing had a few scratches). The pads are quite soft but aren’t memory foam, which can’t really be held against them in the long run because of how lightweight the headphones are. Finally the cable… It’s quite stiff, too long for desk use and keeps its shape which doesn’t make it easy to use. It’s surprising to me that those headphones have an attached cable of this sort while being a “premium” grade product.
Fit and comfort
In general those are really comfortable, because of the weight, wide pads and 3D wings I had them on for multiple hours at a time without much fatigue or hotspots on my head. With Dekoni TH900 pads they become more comfortable for a short period of time but because those make them heavier they tend to slide down a bit and put pressure on my upper ear which makes them less comfortable in the long run.
The sound with the default pads is almost neutral with slight bump in the bass and a slight peak in lower treble giving it a touch of a U shaped signature.
With the Dekoni TH900 pads it becomes more of a warm signature as the lower treble peak is alleviated and bass is slightly increased.
Bot of those are pleasant and it’s purely a question of preference.
The subbass doesn’t have the greatest extension, it dips down below about 60-80Hz. Above that it’s well controlled, has a good texture and speed. It handles most tracks fine but “Hans Zimmer – Mountains” does show a bit of distortion.
With the TH900 pads the bass has more punch and more presence while with the stock pads it tends more towards a neutral response. There’s no bleed into the midrange nor any bloatines to be heard.
This is probably the area where this headphone shines. Vocals have a great presence and texture, the instruments have a lot of life to them and have good separation. The timbre is very good. Female vocals in songs like “Moriarty – Jimmy” have this great sense of presence and intimacy to them. Piano in “Billy Joel – Piano Man” timbre is great from top to bottom.
When it comes to the difference between the pads there isn’t much, it may be a tad more forward on the stock pads because the bass is more present on the TH900 but the difference is negligible.
This is the one part of this headphone that isn’t quite as good. Initially (and for a good while) I thought a lot of what I hear is the detail, but I realised it was also some resonance which made it feel like extra detail.
The treble response is neutral to slightly bright depending of pads used. With stock pads it can be a bit fatiguing and sharp especially on songs with a lot of sharpness like “Vader – Tyrani Piekiel” . Those songs get at the edge “of a lot treble” and “kill me with treble” which for someone treble sensitive will definitely not work.
With Dekoni TH900 pads treble gets toned down a bit and is much further from being considered harsh or fatiguing.
Imaging and Soundstage
The imaging is very accurate, pretty much pinpoint in most cases apart from the very edges of the stage where it becomes a bit more blurry. The soundstage is not very wide but it’s very acceptable for a closed back especially because of really good imaging which in turn doesn’t make those headphones claustrophobic which to me is a big issue with a lot of closed back headphones or even open back ones like Sennheiser HD600.
All in all the ATH-A2000Z is an interesting closed back headphone. It comes with its quirks like the attached cable and some resonance in the treble but if you’re interested in a closed back headphone with a very good midrange they are for sure one to consider. Coming in at about £500 it’s a bit too expensive to buy new though and I would recommend looking for a used one instead.