I am linking a very well written review by a skilled member of Head-fi.org community, Asr. The headphone is very peculiar, with a colored, but intense midrange. The AD2000 gives its best at conveying emotions with certain musical genres: most female vocal based music (it adds up to intimacy), rock, electronic music. It’s not well suited for classical music, where timbre of instruments must be got completely right, and in general its midrange can easily get unnatural, thus deserving an aphorism from me: “the ATH-AD2000 is like looking at the world through an emerald”.
These are two excerpts from Asr’s monumental review. The link to the full review is reported at the end of this post.
Asr #1: “The best analogy I can think of is like imagining a rocket-powered, destructive plasma racquetball – one could think of the AD2K to be the racquetball, tearing & running through music without anything slowing it down. The AD2K also has a mean forward-moving insistence, with the drive of an agile but unstoppable force – once it starts running (so to speak), it takes off, and nothing can stop its rampage. With the forward mid-range and ultra-tight bass (not even a tiny bit plodgy), all of this can make the AD2K sound like it’s practically attacking the music and then throwing it at your face for good measure. When it’s all said & done, this can be extremely awesome on the right kind of music – like thrash metal, for example, where the AD2K will run into the drums and send them flying at you while simultaneously shearing the guitars. It’s also the meanest, most viciously aggressive-sounding headphone I’ve heard to date – it’s the equivalent of a malevolent monster with a bad attitude. A monster that snarls at the mention of words like “neutral”, “transparent”, and “warm”, and will run towards you when you’re not looking. Note that I keep using the word “run” or “running” here – the AD2K never sounds like it’s walking, like AKGs or Senns do. It always sounds like it wants to immediately start tearing down the racetrack! This is not a laid-back or passive headphone – it’s ultra-aggressively forward-moving & in-your-face.”
“Ok enough raving, what about the flaws?!
– Lack of bass quantity in general. (It can sound light-weight, especially for those who’ve heard the Audeze LCD-2 or the bass-heavy version of the AKG K340.)
– Mid-range thickness can seem to sometimes obscure layers in the mid-range.
– Short decay (unfortunately goes with the territory of its ultra-fast attack).
– Partial lack of clarity.
– Unnatural-sounding frequency response, negatively affecting tonality of acoustic instruments – piano, brass, woodwinds, strings, etc.
– Inaccurate & unnatural-sounding soundstage positioning – bringing the entire music very close, possibly too close for comfort for most people, especially at the left, center, & right.
– May not be physically comfortable to wear for some people, primarily due to the thin earpads. Smaller ears may also touch the driver.”