In this review, we feature the Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 which are open-back circumaural dynamic driver headphones. They are priced around $800 but are now discontinued.
Disclaimer: This was a purchased unit and owned personally by the reviewer. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or status. To learn more about Audio Technica gear you can visit their website here.
To learn more about Audio Technica products previously tested on Headfonics you can click here.
Note, that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read here.
Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 Review
The Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 are open-back mid-fi monsters capable of feeling at home on your iPod as your Fiio E9 Amp. Delivering a rich presentation with a medium-sized soundstage, they excel at midrange harmonies, with an excellent bass extension that punches when it needs to, and good smooth treble without a hint of spike or sibilance.
The Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 has been in the market for a while but we finally got our mitts on this open-air monster and put it through its paces with a variety of amps and music. Read on to see if this beat is the mid-range beast that many make it out to be.
Open back mid-fi monsters capable of feeling at home on your iPod as your Fiio E9 Amp. The ATH-AD2000 delivers a rich presentation with a medium-sized soundstage, they excel at midrange (in particular layered harmony singing ala Def Leppard and Bon Jovi), offer excellent bass extension that punches when it needs to, and good smooth treble without a hint of spike or sibilance.
The ATH-AD2000 unboxing could be best described as a game of 2 halves.
The outer box packaging is not fitting for a potentially $600 headphone. It comes across as a bit cheap, no very cheap in fact. Now a box is just a box right? Wrong – just ask Steve Jobs, Audeze, HIFIMAN, etc. Its a statement of intent and how they wish to present the headphone to you. The ad2000 package, whilst being efficient, is very underwhelming.
Still no biggie since its in the storage cabinet forever and a day but it would have been nice toa get storage box like the HD650 or HE5-LE.
The design of the ATH-AD2000 itself on the other hand is an excellent modern mesh of plastic and metal.
Despite some very complicated parts on the first view such as the 3-d wing system and overarching tubing, the cans feel really solid in your hands and, though in no way will I try this, feel as if they could take a drop or two and survive better than other cans in the same category.
The cups have an outer honeycomb mesh made of metal which is very reassuring and gives a very striking unique physical appearance from the side.
Whilst it’s no portable headphones the ATH-AD2000 is a comfy fit. The 3D wing system does a great job and the fit is nice and snug. Being a large open headphone your not aiming for isolation and a secure fit for outdoors, but a comfortable fit for the long run, maybe at least 2 – 3 hours
Sporting over-the-ear velour pads which will give you minimal sweating compared to my Stax I can safely say you can keep this on your noggin for hours without needing some sort of neck corrective surgery and a new set of ears
Rated at 40Ω the ATH-AD2000 are really easy to drive off most amps from the FiiO E5 right up there to the top-tier tube monsters. Naturally the higher up the chain the more the sq will improve but you can have these safe in the knowledge they can live off most basic setups.
Testing with a Maverick Audio D2/A1 combo and also the AT- H25D ATH amp with a basic Nextbase CDP and FLAC source off my laptop I went through some 80’s AOR such as Craft, some newer stuff with the Verve and The Strokes to see what they could do.
Open back cans so no isolation but instead the ATH-AD2000 delivers a wonderful airy mid to large size presentation and sound stage which is just enough space for you to get hit smack in the face by these wonderful rich mids that scream harmony and great integration.
They don’t give me an initial impression of being an analytical can at all which is great – leave that to Stax. This is a high-end fun can with a beautifully smooth, airy tone and I suspect one which has a highly controllable sq depending on your setup. Very musical indeed
The ATH-AD2000 treble has sparkle, but not piercing. Very smooth and clear without ever jarring or dominating the listening experience. Acoustic work such as Corrosion Of Conformity’s America’s Volume Dealer – Stare Too Long sounds so lush and inviting – has to be a big strength for these cans.
Bass wise the ATH-AD2000 can get low, not lcd2 low but plenty low if you need it but in a more tight and focused fashion. For those tempted to think oh no another K702 plastic is fantastic then you are way off – the warmth of these cans can reach right down IMO and that helps the whole listening experience feel just right.
Tried it with a few Christina Aguilera tracks off her 2002 Stripped album for the R&B experience and yup, the bass punch is satisfying without feeling it has been over-emphasized for the bassheads.
It’s a pity for such a high-end open can that the ATH-AD2000 soundstage is not bigger. It is perhaps the one thing missing. With the aggression of the mid’s things can seem to be fighting to get above each other and as such, I felt they were a tad slower to cope with areas of attack and decay.
Maybe not one for shredding and complicated solo work more typical of the strengths of Grado high-end cans or Stax.
All being said, is the Audio Technica ATH-AD2000headphone for all seasons? Not quite, but close for me, certainly nice to have a warm open can back in the collection again