I like Audio Technica headphones — I always have — but I’ve gravitated to their more affordable models, not the high-end ‘phones. Take this one, the ATH-SR5: it runs $119 ($70 and up on Amazon) in the US, £99 in the UK, and AU$129 in Australia. It’s a sweetheart of a headphone.
The sound is surprisingly neutral, the bass isn’t bloated, and the highs are extended. No, the ATH-SR5 plays it straight down the middle, just tells it like it is.
This headphone is available in three colors: black, white and navy/brown. The ATH-SR5 weighs a mere 5.8 ounces (165 grams), sports 45mm drivers and a 45 ohm rated impedance. The headphone comes with a detachable 4-foot (1.2 meter) smartphone cable with in-line mic and controls, and there’s a soft carry pouch for the headphones. They fold flat for easy storage.
In the US, the ATH-SR5 is backed up with a two-year warranty.
Comfort is good, not great, but these headphones will stay put on your head. I found the head-clamping pressure a wee bit too much after an hour or so, and wearing glasses with these ‘phones only made the comfort issues worse. The pleather covered ear pads are soft enough, just remember that everybody’s head and ear sizes and shapes differ so you might find them more comfy than I did. The only way to know for sure is to try them on yourself.
Isolation from external noise is average for on-ear headphones, which is to say, not much; the ATH-SR5 won’t do a thing to keep noise at bay.
Which brings us back to sound quality, the ATH SR5’s designers went for a neutral tonal balance, which is fine, but they probably won’t please buyers who prefer a warm and sweet sound.
Bass power and definition on the Glass Animals’ nicely recorded Zaba synth-pop album were very impressive. Stereo imaging for an on-ear headphone was nice and spacious.
Acoustic jazz benefited from the ATH-SR5’s transparency and detail. The sound is vivid and alive, but the highs can sound overly crisp at times.
Summing up, the Audio Technica ATH-SR5 featherweight design sounds clear, but it has some comfort issues, and the accentuated highs might be too aggressive for some listeners.
See it on Amazon