Wood meets wireless for Audio-Technica’s latest headphones
ATH-WB2022 keeps the 60th birthday celebrations going
Sixty years is a milestone worth celebrating – which is exactly what Audio Technica is doing with its newest set of wireless headphones. The ATH-WB2022 has been given the full wooden enclosure treatment, reserved for the highest of the Japanese firm’s high-end models.
It joins the revived Sound Burger portable record player and limited-run AT-MC2022 stylus cartridge as the latest in a line of birthday exclusives.
Audio Technica’s blend of solid flame maple, walnut, and mahogany woods is apparently great for absorbing unwanted vibrations, letting the newly-designed 45mm drivers deliver ‘studio-level sound quality’, while the alcantara-wrapped ear cups and headband provide a luxuriously comfy fit.
It doesn’t skimp on useful extras like on-ear buttons for music and volume controls, muting the built-in microphone (handy for voice calls) and waking your phone’s voice assistant.
There’s a lot going on underneath, including an ESS ES9038Q2M DAC and separate battery powering each channel, for a completely independent left-right balance that isn’t affected by cross talk. They can play 24-bit/96kHz wirelessly using the LDAC Bluetooth codec, or wired over USB. The latter lets you keep listening even once the batteries have run flat. Portable listening should be good for up to nine hours.
These ultra-exclusive over-ears will set you back a substantial £2600/€3000/$2700 when they go on sale early next year, direct from the Audio Technica website. Only a limited number will go into production, and Audio Technica isn’t saying exactly how many will find homes, so if you’re keen you might want to break the credit card out early.
That kind of scratch doesn’t just buy the headphones, either: each pair comes with a rugged case designed with help from Zero Halliburton, the company trusted to make Apollo 11’s lunar luggage for bringing moon rocks back to earth.