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This is the third in a series of reviews dedicated to the concept of 32Ohm Audio as embodied by the store of that name in downtown Portland/Oregon and described here - Ed.

Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source: Esoteric UX-1, Yamamoto YDA-01, iPod Classic 160GB, Wadia 170iTransport [on review], Meier Audio Corda StageDAC [on review]
Headphone amplifier: Yamamoto HA-02, Woo Audio Model 5 with EML 5U4G and EAT 300B, KingRex Headquarters [on loan], Trafomatic Audio Experience Head One [on review], Red Wine Audio Isabellina HPA w. Wadia battery power socket [on review], Burson Audio HA-160 [on review]
Headphones: audioTechnica ATH-W1000, AKG K-1000 with Stefan AudioArt wire harness to the voice coils, Sennheiser HD800 with ALO Audio custom cable, AKG 702 with ALO Audio custom cable, Grado PS1000
Headphone stand:: Sieveking Sound Omega
Cables: ASI LiveLine power cords and interconnects
Powerline conditioning: Walker Audio Velocitor S
Review Component Retail: $1,669 suggested but at review time available for $949 from HeadRoom, $895 from ALO Audio

First vinyl died. Or so they said. Then it revived. So they saw. Choices in turntables, phono stages, tone arms and cartridges are far richer today than the gloomiest doomsayer could have predicted. With luxury headphones meanwhile, obituaries and front page news alike have remained strangely quiet. As though the average audio reviewer couldn't confess to doing it. If he did any at all.

Listening to headphones. Not the other thing. We won't wonder why. We'll merely guess that many audiophiles well informed about all the usual hifi paraphernalia might not recognize a number of the above upscale headphone models. Many hover around the $1.000 mark, some closer to $2.000. If you had no notion that consumer headphones could get this ambitious, perhaps it's time to get familiar. Today's example of this breed is a formerly Japan-only model, the current top effort by audio-technica, a company famous for its microphones, analogue pickups and headphones for both studio and consumer applications.

For years I've been an outspoken admirer of the firm's W-1000 model. I preferred it to Sennheiser's HD650, Grado's RS1, AKG's K-1000 with Stefan AudioArt wire harness to the voice coils and BeyerDynamic's DT880. By fortuitous happenstance or design, my Western Electric 408A-based HA-02 headphone tube amp from Yamamoto SoundCraft of Japan is sonically the perfect match for the W-1000s. The visual tie-in whereby both amp and cans use nearly identically stained Sashi Cherry wood is the gratuitous cherry on top. These photos show audio-technica's current W-Series lineup. The girl displays the W-1000X replacement for the W-1000s. It's nicknamed Grandioso and expected to sell for ca. $800.