Japanese headphone maker Audio Technica is among the most respected ones around, for a number of reasons. The popular ATH-M50X and ATH-MSR7 are two of the best headphones we’ve tested in their price categories, and we still recommend them even today. Audio Technica’s premium headphones can usually be counted on to be good.
One of latest premium launches by the company is the Audio Technica ATH-SR5, which was released in July this year priced at Rs. 12,990. These headphones are built to High Resolution Audio standards, come in three colour options, and feature an on-ear fit. But just how do they sound? Read our review to find out.
Audio Technica ATH-SR5 design, specifications and comfort
There’s no denying that the Audio Technica ATH-SR5 looks great. There are three colour options, but the navy and brown one (our review unit) looks the best in our opinion. It feels premium and well designed, with metal ear casings, a metal frame, and comfortable padding all along the headband and ear cups. Adjusting the fit is easy, thanks to notches in the metal frame of the headband. The headphones certainly look like they deserve their Rs. 12,990 price tag.
The ATH-SR5 is fairly comfortable to wear if you like an on-ear fit, and does’t clamp down too strongly onto your head. There’s a decent amount of swivel in the ear cups, and the smaller size of the headphones also means that it’s easier to store and carry the set when it isn’t in use. The sales package includes a detachable, colour-matched 1.2m cable with an in-line remote and microphone.
The headphones feature 45mm dynamic drivers, with a 103dB sensitivity and a frequency response range of 5 to 40,000Hz. The 45Ohm impedance rating is higher than usual, but this shouldn’t pose a problem when using the ATH-SR5 with typical smartphones, computers, and audio players. The headset weighs 165g without its cable, and the in-line remote has a single button that can be used to play/ pause music or answer calls.
Audio Technica ATH-SR5 performance
We tested the Audio Technica ATH-SR5 with our OnePlus 3 (Review) and a Windows laptop, connected via the standard 3.5mm cable and connector. Focus tracks for the review were Kungs’ This Girl and Mylo’s Drop The Pressure.
Starting with the peppy summer hit This Girl, we weren’t very impressed with the sonic signature of the Audio Technica ATH-SR5. The sound has a bit of sharpness to it, particularly in the mids and highs. It’s fatiguing at high volumes, and only tolerable at low volumes. This gives the headphones a sound that is a bit aggressive, and it feels like it’s coming on too strong. This can be felt particularly clearly with vocals and the horns in the track, which are a bit too sharp and edgy. On a positive note, the low-end is handled well, with some measure of calculation and a gentle tightness to the bass.
Moving on to the club anthem Drop The Pressure, we found the sound to be fairly clean, beyond the bias towards the lows and highs. It’s possible to pick out individual elements of the track with ease, particularly the strong bass and gentle instruments in the background. The soundstage is incredibly wide for a small headset such as this, and this openness in the sound is helped by the fact that there are relatively large 45mm drivers.
We haven’t often been disappointed with the sound of Audio Technica headphones, but the ATH-SR5 does come across as a bit of a letdown. A strange sonic signature means that we didn’t really enjoy how the headphones made our music sound, thanks to a sharp edge to the mids and highs and a generally fatiguing nature. However, the headphones aren’t necessarily bad, and the open, clean tendencies help redeem the ATH-SR5 to a certain degree.
They’re also very good looking and handle bass delightfully, so if you’re willing to overlook the sharpness in the sound, you will enjoy what this headset has to offer. However, at around the same price or less, there are better headphones from Audio Technica itself that offer more comfort and better sound, such as the legendary ATH-M50x and the ATH-MSR7.
Price (MRP): Rs. 12,990
- Looks good
- Open, clean sound
- Excellent handling of lows and bass
- Sound has a sharp edge to the mids and highs
- Fatiguing sonic signature
- On-ear fit isn’t the most comfortable
Ratings (Out of 5)
- Design: 4
- Performance: 3
- Value for money: 2.5
- Overall: 3