What surprised the Art Monitor headphones from Audio-Technica

Company Audio-Technica needs no special introduction to most audiophiles. Their headphone always offer excellent quality at reasonable prices, that’s why claim that every other headphones sold in Japan, made by this company. Therefore, we could not pass by two interesting representatives of the line full-size monitors from Audio-Technica.

Account Audio-Technica a lot of merit, ranging from ultra-expensive limited edition models “in the tree” and ending with “popular” headphones ATH-M50. Several new headphone models line Art Monitor manufacturer showed at CES 2016. In addition to the model ATH-A550Z middle segment, saw the light and flagship ATH-A2000Z. The latter is equipped with a specially designed 53-mm emitters, and (attention!) lightweight Cup from titanium that are not only stylish polished surface, but the inner wall of magnesium (according to the manufacturer — to reduce vibration).

Have ATH-A550Z cups are already made of plastic, and the whole model much budget flagship, nevertheless it is deservedly classified as full-sized monitors — in size it is rarely inferior to competitors. Of course, to compare two pairs of these headphones today we won’t (this once sense, they are completely different price segment and orientation), but let’s see what stands out for each model.

Specifications ATH-A550Z

  • Emitter: dynamic 53mm
  • Frequency range: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Maximum input power: 1000 mW
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 40Ω
  • Weight: 300 g
  • Cable: 3 m straight
  • Plug: 3.5 mm

Specifications ATH-A2000Z

  • Emitter: dynamic 53mm
  • Frequency range: 5 Hz – 45 kHz
  • Maximum input power: 2000 mW
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 44Ω
  • Weight: 294 g
  • Cable: 3 m straight
  • Plug: 3.5 mm + 6.3 mm adapter

Packing and delivery

At this point nothing special. Box of cardboard hiding under a proprietary black box Audio-Technica, which is located inside the earphones themselves.

Included with the ATH-A550Z not put anything except headphones. Since the cable is fixed, no extra wiring, although I would like some faux leather pouch for storing the headphones. In the case of the flagship model completion supplemented adaptor 3.5 to 6.3 mm Cable here also can not be removed, to “play” with the sound depending on the wire will not work.

Overall decent, special revelation is not included. Not all expected to put in the kit, but do I need something else for monitors? Probably not.

Design and comfort

At this point even younger model Audio-Technica gives more than is expected of them. In General, all line-Art Monitor primarily boasts patented design 3D headband — it assumes a single system for all models. The materials, of course, are different, but the appearance and many of the mechanical elements similar as for the younger model and the older.

Cup ATH-A550Z made of plastic and have a diameter of 109 mm with thickness 35 mm. This is easily enough to fully accommodate even large ear.

In the center of the Cup is securely fastened arc biaxial position controller: headband of steel rods in the braid he fixed the hinge. Cups move freely within the range of 20 degrees in both planes — for a snug fit to the ears monitor headphone more than enough.

Patented flexible headband includes a special spring-loaded “foot”, gently attached to the head. Contact with the head has a nice feel thanks to the cushions with a fabric cover. The ear pads are made of faux leather though, but rather the quality: the head headphones are nice, within hours you can work quietly, the noise average.

The cable ATH-A550Z fixed in the left Cup, and his end is classic 3.5 mm mini Jack. The wire is thick, massive and long — 3 meters.

ATH-A2000Z looks much richer — the role played by titanium Cup with metal texture (by the way, weigh less than plastic these headphones ATH-A550Z). Headphones collect data manually directly in Japan. Here we see the same 3D Wing Support for a comfortable fit and reduced pressure on the head. The design of the headband uses a more powerful spring leaves, whereby the whole structure seems more reliable.

Ear pads, as befits a premium set of headphones, made of genuine leather production of Clarino, which is not only very durable but also very soft, so will last a very long time, but will not affect the comfort of use. They also have a positive effect on sound insulation — it is safe to say that from the outside sounds you will be protected.

Bilateral 4-wire cable with independent grounded for left and right channels does not distort the signal that goes from the source.

From the point of view of ergonomics, the monitor range Monitor Art was very interesting — as a younger model, and her “older brother”. Thank you have to say the signature design of the headband — it eliminates the endless torture with the adjustment to the anatomical features of the head. Cup comfortable fit due to soft springs of the fixing legs, in ATH-A2000Z a little more rigid fixation, however, the sense of constant presence of headphones is not appearing even after a couple of hours.


For a natural sound bass ATH-A2000Z feature a double air damping Audio-Technica (D. A. D. S), and it does its job on a solid top five, giving balanced low frequencies. In addition, this model is applied to the magnetic circuit with a coil of oxygen-free copper OFC-7N. Lightweight and rigid magnesium baffle reduces unwanted vibration. Maximum input power headphones is 2 W to 1 W have younger model, and frequency range the flagship is wider, from 5 to 45,000 Hz.

To listen used the following equipment:

  • Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2012
  • FiiO M7
  • Recording high-resolution lossless-formats

What do you expect from a monitor headphone in the medium price segment? Usually it is colored sound with an emphasis on low and high frequencies. In ATH-A550Z we have not heard anything like it, not to mention ATH-A2000Z.

The sound of the ATH-A550Z surprisingly light, it has low distortion. Although the model is aimed at lovers of fair and not priobretennogo sound, it can be safely recommend for beginners and audiophiles. This is probably one of the best models in its price range.

It seems to be ATH-A2000Z characteristics not very different from the ATH-A500Z, but the difference in sound is huge. Actually, it should be when compared to cheap headphones with a premium. This is reflected not only in the deeper bass without the loss of high frequencies and worked the middle, but the sound more permission, which some still have to grow.

The bass from the ATH-A550Z happy speed characteristics, hlestkost and resolution, he is quite able to compete with many expensive models. But the system of double air damping in the older models provides a deeper and more balanced low frequency, and it shows.

MIDs unconditionally good in both headphones. The supply of clean and tidy, the level of distortion is low (hard magnesium vent there). Emotional elaboration of images, transmission of nature of the tools, these headphones are able just fine.

Treble good at both, but the older stands out crystal clear transmission range.


These models are easily “shaken up” a good player, about the use of smartphones and tablets is better to forget. More, of course, they are suitable either for home use or recording Studio — ATH-A2000Z will surprise professionals.

The styles of music the Junior model can be recommended for jazz, rock and classical music, while the older excellent “walks” hip-hop (but the portion of good concert recordings and live music has not been canceled). Headphones traditionally sensitive to the selection of tracks, it is worth keeping in mind.

Some tracks for example.

Rise Against — Wait for Me. This track is a punk rock band from Chicago delivers in combination with ATH-A550Z. Rockers embody all its philosophical postulates in music, and they are well transmitted to the listener.

The Weeknd — Pray For Me. Beyond the traditional R&B mixtapes new reveals with ATH-A2000Z. They really created one of those fabrics that are impenetrable twilight, for so long booming cold pulsating echo of the subconscious.

Lana Del Rey — High By the Beach. Sensual vocals underlines the melancholic and mysterious, slightly psychedelic mood in the works of the singer.


At Audio-Technica have an interesting line-Art Monitor that meets all the criteria of modern headphones: low impedance, high sensitivity and excellent ergonomics. ATH-A2000Z clearly targeted at connoisseurs of audiophile-grade sound, while the Junior model will find interesting just like the audio. Closed-back design makes the model very enticing option for fans of monitor audio input.



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