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Audio-technica AIR Dynamic Headphones Ath-ad900x

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #76 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Sound, design, no removable cable

Cons: no removable cable


History



I'm a audiophile wannabee since I was 10 years. Worked in a hifi shop for 12 years and listened to quite a few systems, mainly higher end.

I own at the moment a modest set consisting of a Marantz PM17mk2 and Tannoy DM 700 speakers and a Marantz SA11. As I have small children at the moment I do not have much time or chance to listen as much music as I like. One of the reasons is that when they sleep I cannot seriously listen to music as it will wake them up. 

As I was not a fan of headphones I never payed much attention to them. But given the circumstances I decided recently to have a look for one, so I could listen to my beloved music again.


I should also mention that I live in a small town in the Netherlands, were we do not have any shop selling headphones above 50 USD, let alone I could listen to any above 50 USD.

So I rely on my "old" knowledge and mostly on reviews, especially here on Head-fi! I read a lot of reviews on the Internet and I think people here give the more reliable/realistic!

I hope I can make a worthy addition.


As I mentioned my search started recently. Just to give you an idea of what kind of sound I'm seeking I like to start with my first recent buy, a Sony MDR-1.

At the time Sony decided to promote there Sony Xperia in the Netherlands with a free headphone, namely the MDR-1r. As a result a lot of people buying the phone tried to sell their 375USD headphone (listprice in the Netherlands) as an unwanted gift  for "only" 140USD. So why not, I thought. Sony makes (a few) very good headphones and this could be one of them. 

 

First impressions were great, it looks awesome and it has a nice removable cable. However this removable cable had it's downsides, the connection was not as solid as I hoped for and already after two weeks it "rattled" a bit. So that's why I have placed "no removable cable" under pros and cons. It will be a pro if it has no effect on the sound quality or gives quality issues, like a rattle.

 

Sound quality MDR-1

I like several genres, pop, jazz, dixieland, classic, (hard)rock, trance, early house and reggae.

But I decided to start with one of my favourite tests, "Ice cream" form the Dutch Swing College band.

This was an instant fail for me.The Sony sounded bored, not lively, uninspired. Maybe because of the music cool.gifit did not like Dixieland that's for sure.

When increasing the volume things got worse, the bass sounded not controlled, the treble sounded as if behind a curtain and the mids were overdone (getting painful for my ears). I was missing some "punch".

Trying other music did not gave another listening experience. 

So for my cd collection this Sony was a real disappointment.


Just curiously I tried my MP3 collection, here the MDR-1r did a relative better job. I think MP3 is nice for on my phone but in no way comparable to a real CD or SACD. But the Sony made them sound ok, it's very forgiven when compared to my speakers.

But the saying "garbage in = garbage out" is a unavoidable truth, although in this case this is a bit exaggerated. Let's say when you are looking for a headphone that's looks awesome, is portable and is forgiven for MP3 (eg. if you are a ipod fanatic) this is a good buy for around 140 USD. But not for me!

So I sold it as quick as possible.

 

AD900x

I had money to burn again and I was determined to make a better choice this time.

So I read some reviews on head-fi and on some Dutch Hifi sites. Audio Technica, especially the predecessors, the ad900 and 1000 caught my attention as they seem have a punchy not overwhelming bass and good controlled mids and treble and they seemed to be fond of Jazz. Most systems that can deal with Jazz and natural instruments have my preference. 


Then I read and viewed (on youtube) the review of the successor ad900x by "a_recording" that convinced me this could be interesting. After reading the review on Sound and Vision I was convinced. 

Ordered one from Hong Kong, arrived in just 4 days!

 

First impressions:

Great look and feel! For a wannabee audiophile just the right design. Not to flashy, solidly build with a sort of minimalistic design (in a good way). If you think the headphone is minimalistic, try the box it comes in. This somewhat plain white box just includes the headphone and a jack adapter (6,3mm). For a headphone that costs in the Netherlands 500 USD this is a bit of disappointing. At least include some sort of travel box/sack?!

The "famous wings" look promising and the 3 meter cable is just perfect.


Sound

Ok, now quick to the important stuff, the sound.

Again, I decided to start with one of my favourite tests, "Ice cream" form the Dutch Swing College band.

I just listened, and listenend for 2 hours, tried all my "important" cd's. Wow, loved everything about the sound of this headphone. Playing music at whispering level or loud, it sounded just like it should. 

  • Bass: Punchy, precise and not overdone!
  • Mids: Articulate, no low-mid exaggeration (many headphones annoy me on this point)
  • Treble: No hiss, just perfect balance.

It just loves natural instruments and voices. The stereo view is also great.

I do not find in anyway the bass to be under-represented. Maybe it's due to my preference for a punchy not oversized bass or because of the amplifier I use, which has a firm bass? I don't know but it's perfect for me! Anymore will just annoy me and give me, like my cheap headphones I use for watching video, listening fatigue.

BTW: I always have my amplifier on "source direct", so no bass or treble added by the amp.

 

Like the Sony, I tried the AD900x on my ipod, it sounds ok, just like the Sony. But can be somewhat more critical, especially on the treble part.

Still, a good performance and easily 20 times better than the standard earplugs from apple.


Comfort

I like the cushins being from some sort of cloth. Also it feels great on my head, not too heavy and not crushing my ears.

However, the "wings" are in my opinion too "weak" or the headphone too heavy, anyway it doesn't stay in place even though I have a modestly big head.

I will be trying a few things next week to prevent this from happening, and I mean not growing a bigger head blink.gif. When I find a solution I will let you know!.


 

That's it for now! Any questions? let me know. 

Posted

Pros: sound quality, sound stage, comfortability, light weight

Cons: not adjustable to fit my head so it slips downwards a bit, as many others have reported

New to headphone hobby/obsession, but i am loving it with these bubs!

 

Just a quickie on the stars: half-star off because it's not really adjustable for head-size unless using a rubberband or shoelace like many others have said.  Quarter-star off because it doesn't have enough bass for my taste.  Quarter-star off because the design is...not pretty.  Sorry if you don't like my taking off a star due to my personal preference.  Also a side-comment: someone said unboxing this was anti-climactic....I quite agree.

 

Being a newbie here with barely any technical experience and more of consumer-joy experience, I wasn't quite sure I fully understood what anyone meant when they would use words such as soundstage, coloration, imaging, low, mid, and high ends, etc.  In reading reviews about the ATH-AD900x, many described the following:

 

ON THE SOUND

- very great and wide soundstage

- clean punchy bass

- mostly neutral (I assume this is a synonym for "flat" in terms of EQ)

- sparkly, wonderful high ends

 

ON THE FEEL

- light weight

- comfy pads

- depending on head size, may sag or even slip downwards (with enough movement on my head, it starts to slip so I also resorted to using a shoelace)

- fragile-looking wing system (or whatever you call it...feels fragile...even looks fragile in movement when I shake the headphones up and down a little)

 

I'm sure there were more/better descriptions...but that's all I remember right now.  In donning these headphones and reading so many reviews, I think i'm beginning to have a grasp on what people mean...especially on soundstage, the clean and punchy bass, the neutral sound, and the sagging.  AGAIN, I am just starting to learn...but I think I have a decent footing to help me understand with all the research i've done.

 

WHAT I ENJOY ABOUT THESE (IMO)

Everything I pretty much listed above...except for the following: "sparkly, wonderful high ends"...still trying to figure out what this means.  Oh--and as I'm writing this, I am listening to music with these HPs and...goodness gracious...THE SOUNDSTAGE...WOOOOW...AMAZING.  I am learning to appreciate the neutral sound to this.  Also, in terms of "coloration", I think people use this to describe the way a headphone may be geared towards specific genres...if so, then I have to say this thing is not really colored.  In listening to different genres, live tracks and studio recordings, I am learning to appreciate a clean sound...no overbearing bass killing the higher ends, and not too much treble that it's annoying.  I guess what i'm trying to say is that i'm enjoying it for the multiple genres i've run through so far...on a few tracks, I didn't like the output but on the rest, they were clean if not wonderful.

 

WHAT I THINK IT NEEDS (IMO)

I do love me some bass...  When I go to concerts, they're typically a mix of rock, pop, indie, hip-hop, or techno-upbeat-pop-ish genre.  I am quite a fan of the creative mixes that a drummer places on the kick-bass and tom toms, along with a nice deep bass guitar accompaniment...but not the sound of electronic dub-step bass (don't mean to knock you if you're a fan of dub-step).  With that said, I do love listening to my Klipsch IO-II's and I wish the ATH-AD900X did what the Klipsch does for me while retaining the clean, rich treble and wide soundstage.  The clean punchy bass is nice but just not enough for me.

 

CONCLUSION: DEAR READER...

If this is your first foray into some nice starter headphones or looking for a nice $200 pair, I do recommend these as a very good start.  I enjoy the headphones for what they reveal to me which is a whole new side to sound quality and a new appreciation for the level of sound quality brought to my ears.  However, because I am somewhat of a basshead, I will be adding a portable headphone amp to this to hopefully give it the kind of oomph I like without messing up everything else I enjoy about it.  Also...using Spotify on my Samsung S3 has a better output sound than my laptop.  On my laptop, I listen to a few FLACs (or whatever the no-compression version is called) now, but an overwhelming majority of my files are still 320kbps mp3.  Now, this has to do with the more technical side of things, which i'm not well-versed in, but I think I can conclude that my laptop sound card sucks (haha).

Posted

Pros: Beautiful sound, solid design

Cons: Un-boxing is a little anti-climactic, Felt a little loose until rubber band mod, No removable Cable

Today I went into my local headphone store with a mission to find a set of headphones to pair with my iBasso DX50. I had been running with a pair of UE6000's up until this point but felt I wasnt getting as much as I should be from my DAP so I took it in to find something it played well with. These were the first pair that the helpful chap behind the counter suggested to me when I told him the range of music I listen to. Not wanting to cheat myself I decided to pit it against the Beyerdynamic DT880, AiAi TMA-1 Studio Young Guru and the Shure SRH 940's.

 

Being a Audiophile Padawan I had trouble describing how and why I made the choice I did. Against the ATH-AD900x's the DT880's felt muted, the 940's felt boxed in and the TMA-1's were close but just not as engaging as the 900x's. That being said I like my bass a little more understated than most so I was quite happy to sacrifice that aspect for a better all round performance. The bass in these headphones is by no means poor, Its punchy, you know it's there but it doesn't smack you in the head. It's like a bass drum in the corner of the room rather than against your head, but if I was chasing club bass I probably would have gone the DT880's or the TMA-1's.

 

So far I have gone through most of my catalogue including Eminem's latest, Holst's the planets, Ludovico Einaudi's In a Time Lapse, Train, Rudimental, T.I. and not once did I ever feel the headphones were lacking in any department, Ludocivo Einaudi sounds particularly amazing. They are extremely comfortable, but if you have a small to medium size head I'd recommend the rubber band mod, it makes a world of difference.

 

The disappointing thing for me was the un-boxing. There was nothing exciting at all, the presentation kind of sucked and a protective bag/case wouldn't have gone astray. That being said I soon got over it once I started listening.

 

Overall I am exceptionally happy with these headphones and would thoroughly recommend them to someone looking to take the next step up. You wont be disappointed.

Posted

Pros: Sound stage is super wide, Punchy Bass, Sparkly highs, really detailed!

Cons: Without the rubber band mod they're kinda uncomfortable, not for bass heads

Let me start be addressing the "le no base XD" ... No these cans are definitely not for bass heads by any means (so they could use a bit for for those who mainly listen to things such as dubstep or really bassy rap and what not) but these headphones can definitely produce nice, sharp and clean bass!

To get a bit more bass I read in another review here that they can be EQ'd very nicely (I just haven't tried quite yet seeing as I'm very pleased)

 

The highs on these headphones are very sparkly and beautiful! Female vocals are astounding (I love to listen to Lorde on these headphones!)  The mids are also very clear and crisp. 

 

The sound stage is very wide as you would expect... Nothing much more to say on this topic.

 

Last is the comfort: I have worn these headphones for 14+ hours at a time (Long skype calls with friends while playing games and such) and they were never uncomfortable at any point during this time period... Only thing was.. I am using a rubberband for added support.. without the rubberband the headphones would it on the tips of my ears and make them sore after a few hours (which is a major flaw, even though it can be easily fixed).

 

Love these headphones! Don't plan to upgrade for a while until I get the dosh for some Audeze LCD2's (which.. will be a while)

Posted

Pros: Spacious airy sound, fantastic bass, sound stage and imaging

Cons: Slides a little, to little decay, aggressive, terible with lossy

 

Audio Technica  ATH AD900X {$180 Used} {$299 New}

 

Personal Back-Story  

 

I recently emailed Mr. Doris a Public relations professional with Audio- Technica U.S., INC. I would first of all like to thank him for allowing me to do this review as well as for his great communication with me! Non the less, I’ve been doing reviews for about a year now and wanted to apply my trade toward a great cause and do a more professional review.  So I emailed Mr. Dorris to see if I could do a review for Audio-Technica U.S and he graciously agreed. My interest in the ATH AD900x is rooted in my love for open back headphones, as a happy owner of the Beyerdynamic Dt 880 I was curious to see how the Audio Technica open back within the DT 880 price range performed, and I was not disappointed.

 

Pros: Spacious airy sound, fantastic bass, sound stage and imaging

Cons : Slides a little, to little decay, aggressive,

 

Build [3.8/5]

Not the toughest headphone ever made, a lot of plastic. But it feels very sturdy, and has a good weight in the hands. Visually is very well made, a very attractive headphone to look upon.

 

Specs

Type Open Air Dynamic

Driver Diameter 53mm

Frequency Response 5-35,000

Maximum Input Power 1,000mW

Sensitivity  100dB/mW

Impedance 38ohm

Weight 265 g

Cable 3.0 meters

 

Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]

Very comfy, the clamp is wonderful the only issue I have with them is the wings. While the wing system is implemented very nicely, the wings themselves has slightly less padding than the A900x and W1000x… making the headphone slide around a millimeter or so if you’re moving around. While this does not have a bearing on sound, it is a little distracting at times.

 

Price to Performance : [5/5]

Compared to the DT 880 which is in the same price range, I’d say that the AD900x like the Dt 880 is a fantastic bargain! The sound is very detailed and spacious, and over all the mix of elements on the headphone are wonderful for it’s price range!

 

Complimentary Genres:  Metal EDM and Classical   

 

Sonic Test Process

 

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]

 

Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.

 

Reference points, will be in bold italics.  In each of the seven reference songs I will specify what parts of the song I am listening to, to evaluate the 3 parts of the spectrum.  In addition to other aspects of the overall sound presentation.

 

           In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances

Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage

Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone

Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact

 

          Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks

          Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging

          Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks

          Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real

          Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra-fast tonal shifts

Music Auditioned [All Lossless quality, tracks vary from 16 to 24bit]

 

Sound

           

          Sound Signature- Very neutral but with an aggressive tight bass, very spacious and quick natured. Detail presentation and imaging are fantastic, as is instrument layering and separation.  Lean, mean and airy

Dynamics- Super quick, sometimes a little to fast

Timbre- Very real, great timbre on the highs and mids, yet the bass can be a little too lean… a little mechanical in nature.

Speed-  VERY fast, even the bass is super tight and very quick!

          Sound Stage: Great sound stage, a nice sense of air throughout.  2D and 3D imaging are nice as well, could be slightly deeper though.  Instrument separation though is wonderful!

 

Highs- Wonderful sense of air and detail, very spacious with a surreal extension and energy.

Mids-  On the aggressive side, not forward but with a great edge and crunch to them, very punchy. Yet with a delicate enough body for vocals and classical.

Bass-  VERY tight sub and mid bass, pairs magically with EDM, Classical and Metal,  but a little too lean for other genres. The decay is a bit too short, timbre is a little mechanical. Still a very tight and enjoyable bass, in addition the bass is presented ever so slightly forward… a nice mix of elements really, overly lean yet slightly forward bass… works very well for the headphone!

 

Amplification Need or Suggested – These do not need an amp, but they would sound fantastic with a nice hybrid tube amp!   

 

With a note to amplifiers, I prefer the Dt 880 with a solid state, how ever seeing as the AD900x has slightly less lower mid and bass decay, it would pair very well with a tube, unlike the DT 880. The AD900x would defiantly be the headphone for Tube fans!

 

 

Check out my full review with the songs I used to review as well as song by song break downs VS the Dt 880 here 

Posted

Pros: Sound quality, comfort

Cons: Cord, plastic, bass quantity

Bought these ad900x for resell, cause it was impossible to get them in my country and prices for previous model was around 500$, but after listening them for a while I tempted to leave them for myself:) or buy 1000 model. So... the sound is great and clear, trebles are magical, mids are good and stright forward, soundstage is decent. Actually I'm even listening crystal method with them, bass is lacking thorough. Yeah, the only minus is the bass. Coming from m50 unamped with flat eq, bass is lacking indeed! It is present a little, quality is quite nice and detailed, but it's lacking the amount totally. The next step I tried foobar parametric eq and sony clearbass on walkman a864 with fiio e07k bass adjust and damn, they are very good eqing phones!!! Bass is very punchy and detailed, has enormous impact while retaining treble and middle crispness and quality in overall sounding. Now I'm thinking of ad1000x and bought momentum as closed ones:) Sources fiio e07k, sony a864 and fiio x3.

As for comfort:
They fit perfect for my mid sized head, I could spent a whole day listening them without any discomfort. The only issue is a plastic feel, not sure about durability. They are not portable though, so, it should not be a problem. Wing support is just perfect for me, they are not sliding down and clamping could not be felt at all.

Posted

Pros: Airy, extended highs, good wearing comfort, balanced signature, excellent build quality

Cons: Slightly incoherent / smeared soundstage, bass roll-off, can sound aggressive on some badly mastered tracks

Along with the summary below, I have posted a comparison review of the AD900X, AD1000X and MA900 here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/654161/review-comparison-ath-ad900x-vs-ath-ad1000x-vs-mdr-ma900-its-still-over-900

 

I've also got a youtube review of the AD900X. If you like the video check out my channel for more reviews :)

 

 

Summary

 

BUILD

 

The AD900X has excellent build quality (astounding for the price) and great wearing comfort provided the 3D wing design works for your head. 

 

SOUND

 

The AD900X has an airy and spacious sound with a particular emphasis on mids and treble energy, though it is not overly analytical because of a good depth and decent extension in the bass. However it lacks a little definition and on densely layered music it starts to sound incoherent or inarticulate. Bass is tight and fast but does not have the same rumble or depth as closed headphones or some orthos. On slower music (say acoustic or slow jazz) the AD900X sounds fantastic. It loves stringed instruments as well. On badly mastered tracks the treble can be too aggressive.

 

Overall

 

With the Japanese price of the AD900X and with mail forwarding set up, the AD900X is a veritable bargain. The sound is engaging and exciting. Personally I upgraded to the AD1000X and I think for not too much extra money the AD1000X is easily the better headphone, but the AD900X is still pretty awesome.

Audio-technica AIR Dynamic Headphones Ath-ad900x
Description:

Dynamic Headphones

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandAudio-Technica
EAN4961310118594
LabelAudio-Technica
ManufacturerAudio-Technica
ModelATH-AD900X
MPNATH-AD900X
PublisherAudio-Technica
StudioAudio-Technica
TitleAudio-Technica ATH-AD900X
CatalogNumberList - CatalogNumberListElement4961310118594
Package Height5.08 inches
Package Length11.42 inches
Package Weight1.41 pounds
Package Width8.43 inches
PackageQuantity1
PartNumberATH-AD900X
ProductGroupCE
ProductTypeNameHEADPHONES
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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