Audio Technica WS55 Review – Fashionably Solid Bass

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Accessories: These ship with a leather drawstring carrying bag and that’s it.

Design and Build Quality: The lightweight plastic construction of the headphones themselves is more durable than one might expect when picking them up but they fold flat for storage and the dual entry cable is thicker than many competitors I’ve tested and seems capable of dealing with day to day usage.

Comfort and Isolation: The WS55 is a supra-aural (on ear) headphone with decently padded earpads that are reasonably comfortable but I’d much prefer if they were a bit thicker and softer. Isolation is moderate, nothing special but likely good enough for most uses.

Sound Quality

Being part of Audio Technica’s “Solid Bass” line, the low end is expectedly powerful and full bodied, to the point of sounding bloated in some cases. It has the capability to extend down low pretty well but it loses out on texture for the sake of presence.

The mids are a bit disappointing in that they’re recessed and sound quite thin. Detail and clarity are pretty good because of the thinness of note and a somewhat dry texture but their position in the sound signature sounds off. Is this a big problem, overall? Not necessarily. During my testing periods, I adjusted to their sound and didn’t mind the recessed nature of the mids too much but midrange lovers are likely to be disappointed.

The highs are, like the bass, quite present and nicely extended. Personally, I found the lower treble to be somewhat sibilant, especially with female vocals and makes these rather fatiguing over extended listening periods but the bright and crisp highs add a sense of airiness and clarity to the sound that serves to balance out the aggressive bass.

These follow the signature V-shaped sound I’ve heard in my other Audio Technica headphones and earphones such as the Pro700MK2 and CKM50 and as such, should appeal to casual music listeners and Beats by Dre fans with ease. But be warned, these headphones take the v-shaped sound signature concept to the extreme, which can be a bit polarizing. The presentation is unabashedly forward in nature and sounds a bit closed in because of it but not excessively so.


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Overall, I think the WS55 has a mostly agreeable sound signature that appeals to the masses without sacrificing too much quality in order to get there. Personally I wasn’t a fan of the recessed midrange but I imagine casual listeners aren’t going to mind that as much as I did. There are better balanced portable headphones out there like the V-MODA M80 but for the regular going rate of about $50 or so, the WS55 is a pretty good deal for people looking for a fashionable pair of portable headphones suited for bass heavy and electronic music.

About Justin McBride

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