About the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT Kokutan
A special listening experience thanks to rare, premium wood
The Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT's wood earcups lend a refreshing, realistic timbre that helps brings out the best in well-recorded tracks.
A special listening experience thanks to rare, premium wood
The small-batch Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT Kokutan over-ears are the latest and greatest in Audio-Technica's storied line of premium real-wood headphones. They are meticulously assembled by hand in the company's Tokyo headquarters. And I made the clutch move of bringing them home right before our extended stay-in-place reality. I've used them for months as my go-to headphones for focused listening, and it still feels like an event every time I put them on.
You'll certainly want to connect them to a headphone amplifier to hear them at their best. But they are efficient enough to be driven by a wide variety of amps with 1/4" unbalanced connections. I paired them with the iFi ZEN DAC/headphone amp, and found the combination worked really well — particularly with iFi's bass boost engaged for extra oomph.
Unique wood earcups provide eye-catching looks and pleasing sound
Audio-Technica has made headphones with wood earcups for years, but this is the first time they've worked with kokutan. This rare, striped ebony wood only grows in Japan. Because of its nature, no two sets of headphones look exactly alike. But each earcup is sculpted, sanded, and finished to strict specifications.
I drove the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT with the iFi Zen DAC in my work-from-home setup.
They didn't just choose kokutan for its good looks. This durable hardwood can take centuries to mature, and is known for its high density and acoustic damping. And Audio-Technica's specially designed drivers deliver wide-open, finely detailed sound.
Talk about "wow" factor
Looking back to when I initially received these striking headphones, you couldn't ask for a better first impression. They arrive practically gift-wrapped inside a befitting large wooden display box lined with velvet. It was the kind of presentation that screams, "there's something special inside here!" And there is.
They look like a piece of art when sunken into that pillow-soft velvet lining. Then, the feel — and even the smell — of the wooden earcups and sheepskin leather ear pads exude another layer of quality. Those oversized earcups have some heft, but they were smooth to the touch and felt much lighter on my head than they looked.
Relaxed, yet secure fit
A split-style headband helps distribute the weight across the crown of your head. On my head, it clamped a bit on either side, just above my ears, but felt relaxed around the jaw. The headphones felt secure and stayed in place just fine for me, but I could see them being too loose around the jaw for people with smaller or narrower heads.
Sheepskin lines both the headband and ear pads. While the pads are soft, they are pretty thin compared to other headphones of similar size. But they are angled to properly direct the drivers to your ears, which helps shape the extra spacious soundscape.
My listening impressions: huge soundstage with great depth and detail
On close examination, I saw that those large drivers sit at a pretty extreme angle, protruding further than you see in most headphones. It made sense as soon as I pressed play on Crutchfield's "Selection from our albums of the day" playlist on Spotify. The soundstage is way larger I expected from a pair of closed backs.
And within that soundstage is an incredible sense of depth and place. The playlist starts with "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers, and his moving, familiar opening riff and vocals seemed to leap out as the wood earcups lent a realistic, refreshing timbre.
In my article, "Crutchfield's pandemic playlist," I wrote about how often I listened to Questlove's nightly DJ sets through these headphones. The peak was a night where he played nothing but live Prince cuts. The Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT's huge soundstage had me smack dab in the middle of the crowd. It was nice to just sink into the moment, sit back and enjoy.
- closed-back design blocks out external noise
- designed and hand-crafted at Audio-Technica's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan
- half-gloss finish brushed onto earcups by hand
- a separate headphone amplifier is required to properly power these headphones for optimum sound quality
Build and construction:
- kokutan earcup housings provides natural acoustic dampening and rich high-end detail
- rare Japanese striped ebony wood traditionally used to make pianos and woodwind instruments
- high-density wood that suppresses unwanted resonances
- strong, lightweight design with magnesium alloy frame
- soft, stitched sheepskin leather ear pads
- thin padding with relaxed fit for closer ear proximity to drivers
- large 53mm drivers deliver a big, spacious soundstage
- drivers angled and positioned within the housing for optimal airflow and accurate imaging
- Permendur magnetic circuit creates strong magnetic field
- lightweight, durable titanium flange ensure the diaphragms start and stop properly
- delivers detailed sound with wide frequency response
- high-purity, oxygen-free copper voice coil for precise signal transfer
- Audio-Technica's Double Air Damping System provides realistic bass reproduction
General info, accessories, and specs:
- two detachable oxygen-free copper cables:
- 9.8-foot cable with balanced XLR4 connector
- 9.8-foot cable with unbalanced 1/4" plug
- wooden display case included
- frequency response: 5-45,000 Hz
- sensitivity: 102 dB
- impedance: 48 ohms
- weight: 14.2 ounces
- warranty: 2 years
- MFR # ATH-AWKT
- Relaxed fit
- Good for focused listening
What's in the box:
- Over-ear headphones
- 128" Balanced audio cable (Dual A2DC connectors on one end and male XLR-4 plug on other end)
- 128" Unbalanced audio cable (Dual A2DC connectors on one end and a 1/4" plug on other end)
- User Manual
- Environmental statement
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More details on the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT Kokutan
Features & specs
|Earcup Width x Height||4.488" x 4.488"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||No|
|Voice Assistant Access|
|Frequency Response||5-45k Hz|
|Cord Length||128" + 128"|
|Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Overview: The Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT over-ear headphones let you enjoy your music like you've never heard it before. Beautifully hand-assembled in Tokyo, these headphones feature deep brown and black wooden housings and large drivers that deliver the wide frequency range needed for your Hi-Res Audio tracks. The headphones come with both balanced and unbalanced OFC (oxygen-free copper) cables.
Kokutan Housings: The deep brown and black wood housings of the ATH-AWKT are made of rare Kokutan (striped ebony) wood. Individually hand-crafted with a half-gloss finish to bring out the warmth of the woodgrain, the headphones look as good as they sound. The beauty, durability, and acoustic characteristics of the Kokutan make it desirable for pianos and woodwind instruments. For headphones, the wooden housings suppress unwanted resonance to deliver a natural sound. Audio-Technica's exclusive Double Air Damping System (D.A.D.S.) split the housing into two separate acoustic chambers for a smooth low-end response.
Construction: The wooden housings are held in place by rigid magnesium alloy arms that are strong and lightweight. The arms provide the precise angle to ensure you get a good seal with each ear cup. The ear pads and headband are covered with soft sheepskin leather to provide comfort for those long listening sessions.
Drivers: The ATH-AWKT is equipped with large-aperture 53mm drivers with German Permendur magnetic circuitry to deliver a wide sound field with exceptional accuracy. The wide 5Hz - 45kHz frequency range lets you hear more of the details of the music, especially Hi-Res audio from 96kHz/24-bit (and higher) music files and streaming services. The voice coils are made of high-purity, oxygen-free copper (6N-OFC) for ideal signal transfer, and the drivers' durable titanium flange provide precise movement for maximum accuracy.
Cables: The headphones come with two cable -- one balanced and one unbalanced -- with A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connectors on each ear cup. Both cables are 10 feet in length, and feature oxygen-free copper and a braided elastomer sheath. The unbalanced cable terminates into a gold-plated 1/4" (6.3mm) stereo plug for use with standard audio equipment and sound consoles. The balanced cable features a male 4-pin XLR connector for use with high-end D/A converters and headphone amplifiers. The 4-conductor balanced cable has + and - leads for both the left and channels for better channel separation and sound quality.
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz - 45 kHz
- Sensitivity: 102dB/mW
- Impedance: 48 ohms
- Maximum Input Power: 2000 mW
- Dimensions: Diameter 4.488", Depth 2.496"
- Inside Ear Cup Dimensions: Width 2.104", Height 2.307", Depth 0.625"
- Included Cables:
- Balanced: 10' OFC cable with A2DC to 4-pin male XLR
- Unbalanced: 10' OFC cable with A2DC to 1/4" (6.3mm)
- Weight: 14.4 ounces (w/o cable); 17 ounces (with cable)