Audio-Technica celebrates its 60th anniversary in a big way. One of its newest headphones coming out in 2023 is a pair of wooden, wireless headphones promising built-in balanced stereo. Meet the Audio-Technica ATH-WB2022.
For the purists
The Audio-Technica ATH-WB2022 has something unique for the purists looking for “balanced” headphones. These cans have a separate signal path to each earcup. When combined with a similarly balanced headphone amp or DAC/amp dongle output, these headphones promise an unfettered audio experience without any interference or crosstalk from one channel to another.
Balanced setups are standard for wired headphones, but there hasn’t been an equivalent for wireless cans—until now. Typically, incoming digital stereo signals are processed by the same integrated amp and digital-to-analog converter.
The Audio-Technica ATH-WB2022 gets a twin set of DACs (one for each channel), a twin set of amplifiers, and even a twin set of rechargeable batteries.
Each earcup gets a specially designed 45mm driver with a high-performance magnetic circuit and a diamond-like carbon-coated diaphragm. These headphones don’t get active noise cancellation, staying true to that purist ideology. They support Sony’s hi-res audio-capable LDAC Bluetooth codec for up to 24-bit/96kHz.
The ATH-WB2022 can take a digital audio feed directly through the USB-C port, but these headphones don’t come with analog-to-digital cables like a 3.5mm-to-USB-C. That means these are 100% digital-only headphones.
The twin batteries promise a nine-hour playtime. And while that seems short, Audio Technica promises free battery replacements, but it doesn’t say how long that promise lasts.
The Audio-Technica ATH-WB2022 gets a pretty unique look. Its wooden design is made from a combination of solid flame maple, mahogany, and walnut. This combo promises to produce excellent acoustic properties and absorb vibrations for that purer audio experience.
The headband and ear cushions are wrapped in Alcantara, a synthetic material that is comfy, breathable, and better for the environment than leather. Audio Technica is offering replacements for the padding if you need it.
Audio-Technica ATH-WB2022 price & availability
With the premium tech, the Audio Technica ATH-WB2022 unsurprisingly costs a very hefty USD 2,700. The company plans to sell these headphones in 2023.
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