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Audio Technica ATH-A900X | Art Monitor Headphones (Japan Import)

89% Positive Reviews
Rated #136 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Over Ear, Little Clamp, Quality for the price

Cons: Little Clamp (For some oddballs :P), Pleathery pads, Wing system

I do not have a large head, nor an obscure shaped one.  What I can tell you is that they are by far the best sounding headphone you will get at $99.  
They are genre plastic, and do well with many types of genres.

 

They can be sibilant under poorly recorded / low quality music files using Asian DACs/DAPs.  Under DAPs such as the Zune HD, and the Nokia 808, sibilance is not as common.  This is only a minor gripe, as they have never been sibilant to the point where they fatigue.


Comfort can be a mixed bag for some, my only issue with comfort was giving the pads time to break in.

The Wing System is notorious in the Head-Fi community.  Most people find them comfortable to wear, however some find the supports to be unreliable.  Overall I have not had any issue with the AT line, though I do prefer more clamp than what they offer.

 

If you're looking for a headphone for the home for cheap, this is an easy recommendation.  They do isolate and have good leakage, however, wearing these in public will get you a few good stares (yes, this is coming from personal experience)

 

I haven't gone in detail intentionally, as there isn't anything in this price range worth looking at when you can get the A900x for $99 refurbished.

 

EDIT:

Quality:  5/5

Comfort: 4.5/5

Design:  4/5

Value: 5/5

Posted

Pros: Huge Soundstage! Great Detail, Clarity, Imaging, and Instrument Seperation. Very Balanced!

Cons: Some may not like the fit, others (such as me) find these some of the most comfortable headphones.

Sound

  • Treble: The treble is awesome. The high notes aren't sharp or sibilant, they just sound effortless.
  • Mid-Range: The midrange is a strong part of the A900Xs. Male and Female vocals sound warm and rich, but don't overpower the treble or the bass.
  • Bass: The bass is tight and controlled. That is not to say its bad, I think its very good. For people who want boomy bass, this isn't for them. But for most people, it has a very nice, controlled, but still full bass.
  • Soundstage: The soundstage is incredible. On well-mastered tracks you can hear the sound coming at you from all directions! I've never heard headphones with a better soundstage. If you game, this headphones are awesome due to their wide soundstage. You can always tell where the sounds are coming from (even footsteps!).
  • Instrument Separation: The separation is also fabulous. Because of the wide soundstage and the headphones overall tendency to make every single detail heard with great clarity, you can always pick out the individual instruments.
  • Detail: The A900Xs are very detailed. You can hear the snap in percussion and the cutoffs in singing. My brother was using my computer one night to watch baseball highlights and he turned to me and said "Wow these headphones are awesome!." And I said "How can you tell? All you did was watch baseball." He replied "Yeah but just the sound of the ball cracking against the bat was incredible." Seriously, even the hand snaps in the song I'm listening to right now are incredible! And the consonants in singing sound crisp.

 

Comfort

       I love the fit and I have a very large head. They are very comfortable for hours of gaming, but they do take a day or two to get used to. The suspension wings work very well once you get used to      them.

Build Quality

       While they don't look amazing, they seem to be built very well. They have already taken plenty of drops onto my carpeted floor without any issues.

Price:

       I got these for $140 due to a sale and a promo code, which was an absolute steal. Two days later they were back up to $170. At the time of writing this review, they are $236 on amazon (which may be because amazon itself is out of stock), but it still seems like a fair price because of the headphones these are compared to.

 

You will like these headphones if:

  • You want accurate and detailed reproduction of the sound, without a bias to one particular range.
  • You love vocals. I use these headphones mainly to listen to choral music, and many headphones have trouble separating the voice parts in lets say a men's chorus because all the parts overlap in their ranges. But due to the massive soundstage and their ability to bring out details, you can pick out individual voices very well. Even if you don't listen to choral singers, solo vocalists also sound amazing. Many other reviewers agree with me on these headphones vocal abilities as well as audio technica's reputation for having beautiful vocals.

You will NOT like these headphones if:

  • You want a "fun" headset to play rock or pop with lots of bass and emphasis on particular ranges. These are a more laid back pair of headphones, although that is not to say they are veiled. They reproduce the sound accurately, rather than emphasizing certain parts of a song.

To see more reviews:

     Go look at the reviews on amazon. About 10 of the 20 some reviewers said the A900Xs were better than the M50s and five others said they were better than the DT880s!

Posted

Pros: Highs, price, Fun Factor, balanced bass

Cons: Bass could be tighter, fit for some, and mids for some

 

Ath A900x [$93 used]

 

Test Process

 

Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [0  [w1000x Akg K550/+18 db Gain Lme 49990 OpAmp]

 

Will be enjoyed at face, no comparisons to be made considering the price.

 

As always gain and volume are adjusted for each headphone. [To ensure each has equal volume levels, despite gain.]

 

7/9 Songs are without EQ, Benga-Invasion and Kidnap Kid-Animaux  do feature an EQ added by me. This should demonstrate the ability of a headphone to handle EQ.]

 

Personal Back-story  

 

I recently sold my old Beyerdynamic Dt 880 Pro 250 ohms, and since then I've been in search of something that captured it's sound! I think I may have found just such a can.

 

 

Build [5/5]

 

A little more plastic than I'm a fan of. But overall well built. Feel's sturdy.

 

Very Sturdy

 

Specs

Closed Back Dynamic Operating Principle

32 Ohm Impedance

100 db Sensitivity

42 Ohms

5 - 40,000k response

 

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

The clamp is very strong, and the Wing system adjustment is seamless for my head. Very easy to put on, the sound does not change to much with fit because they really only fit on your head one way. It may be my big ears but there's only one comfortable fit for me, as opposed to the AKG K550 which slides around a little more with it's fit, changing it's sound as a result.

 

In addition, these cans actually isolate very well! Much more so than the w1000.

 

 

Sound Signature and Character

 

          Sound Stage:  A  wide sound stage, good instrument seperation. Lacking slightly in 3D sense of space.

           

         Sound Signature-  A more fun sound over all, the mids have good attack, as do the highs. Not entirely neutral, but the coloration is mild and leaves the can with a pleasant sound!

 

 

Song by Song (Click to show)

 

Songs

 

1 - Lisa Ekdahl _ Of My Conceit

 

A vocal jazz piece, Lisa's voice is the main focus. Yet behind her is a lovely piano and a delicate guitar strumming! The piano provides a nice upper Mid and Treble balance, while the guitar provides lower mids and some bass. Both of these elements compliment Lisa's voice. A song best on a warm neutral can, a larger sound stage is excellent with this song as well!

 

          Treble-  Good sparkle and nice sense of air.

 

          Mids- Very nice airy detail to vocals, lacks a touch of body. But has a lovely overall tone!

 

         Bass- Good warmth in the bass with a nice little bit of impact. More body than tightness, yet still very clean bass.

 

                   Dynamics- Very nice, the left and right channels feature different instruments, and they flawlessly shift from louder to softer notes.

 

2-  Anne Gastinel & Francois-Frederic Guy Sonata for Cello & Piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5

 

Classical track features heavy focus on mids with sparkles of lower treble and the balance between the Cello and Piano!. Another song benefitting from a larger sound stage and a well balanced head phone. The bass of the cello accentuates nicely against the Piano.  Both having deep beautifully lush tones. Air and extension make this piece come alive and lack of it, can kill the mood entirely! Then entire audible spectrum is equally beautiful through the entire song!

 

          T- The brighter treble is enjoyable. Good sense of air and nice decay.

   

          M- Slight touch of weight, but a little recessed. A little more body would be appreciated. Yet, the mids retain a lovely tone!

 

          B- Well placed, the extra body of the bass does not impede on the mids at all.

                  

Dyna-Light and quick, good shifts from high to low.  

 

3. Yoshida Brothers -Love

 

The two brothers are performers of the traditional Japanese music style of Tsugaru-jamisen which originated in northern Japan. They debuted in 1999 in Japan as a duo playing the shamisen, and it remains a main instrument. In addition to traditional Japanese percussion, this track features a very gusto male shout. What sounds like a verbal battle cry, is over top the delicate shamisen. The punchy yet warm mids of the male vocals pair well with the light upper mids and treble of the Shamisen.

 

          T- Shamisen has a great tight snap to it, good smooth extension to those higher notes!  

          M- The twing in the Shamisen stands out a little, the sharper attack on the Ath a900x is enjoyable.

 

          B- Good bass, the woody body of the unique bass line in this song is apparent.

                   Dyna- Quick shifts, enjoyable. No lingering decay any where.  

 

4 Kidnap Kid- Animaux

 

A nice Vocal DnB Tune. A really demanding tune, as the mids and bass over overly overtop another. The sound is very... wonderful! The beauty of the mids right atop deep tight bass, followed by drops of nice punchy vocals. Best of all, the pesky 150hrz makes a return in this tune for a lovely meaty support for those mids. The layering and texture of the bass is, something I'm still not used to! I feel a little spoiled each time I hear it!

 

          T- Good air and attack on the highs. Very crisp and enjoyable.

 

          M- The mids stand back a little, letting the deep bass really shine. Yet they retain a nice attack. Vocals also have a nice tone.

 

          B- A good balance of tightness, and sheer impact and body. With the Eq bass is a little loose, yet has a great presence and some nice kick.  

 

Being that this is a DnB song, I do prefer to eq my DnB. Using FooBar a +4 @110hrz and -4 @156hrz gives the bass a little more body while not removing any weight and still remaining tight!

 

                   Dyna- Good as always. Clean shifts from high to low. Bass has slightly less decay than the w1000x.  

 

 

5- Dai Qing Tana & HAYA Band- Missing You

 

Beautiful Mongolian vocals, and a world music sound that breaches more than just Asian styles. This track features a lovely guitar to your left, a cello to your right with Dai Qings delicate yet warm deep lyrics right in the middle. A perfect tonal balance is ideal for this track, as it's simplicity does not allow for any distraction from the overall mood of the song as a whole!

 

          T- The highs have great air, the guitar snaps sharply with a nice tone to it!   

 

          M- The lower mids of this song lack a little definition, yet the vocals are crisp and airy. Nice lovely tone to them. The cello as well keeps a good weight and balanced energy. Still the low guitar notes are a bit much,  a little to thick for my tastes.

 

          B- The bass is good, not too overpowering but gives the guitar and cello some nice thick bodied low notes. How ever the bass does not drown out the vocals, only the lowest low mids.  

 

It should be noted these Bass Notes, are in conjunction with the lower mids very much in this track. As the Guitar and cello each have a sense of Mid and Bass in their lower notes due to nature of the instrument.

 

                   Dyna- Clean shifts, very nicely done.

 

 Still though, the extra decay in the bass of this track especially take away slightly from the dynamic quickness of the w1000x. So for a track like this, with multiple heavy mid presence, the K550 remains a little more dynamic than the slightly mid focused w1000x.

 

6- 3nd_ Algorythm       

 

Great tune from a Japanese Rock band, wonderful energy and great layering. A nice high energy rock tune. The kick of the drums and the clash of the cymbals, combined with sweet guitar mids and a mellow bass line. The bass in particular shifts a lot, the skilled bassists really shows off from time to time, combined with dual guitar tracks. Balance is a great benefit, as is a good sound stage to this song.

 

          T- Really like the energy and air to the highs of this can. The guitar as well has a nice tone in it's upper most notes!   

 

          M- The guitars as nice, good attack and decay, with a very pleasant amount of body actually!

 

          B- The bass of the Ath a900x shows it's first weakness, not as tight with the bass guitar as I like. The clarity and detail in the bass is lost a little in the rock song. Yet it's body and thump are always present.  

 

                   Dyna- Nice as always, the lack of tightness on the bass does not affect it's decay, and the overall dynamitic of the headphone!

 

7-  Benga- Evolution  

 

A lovely mid intro, builds to a very aggressive and tight drop. While the mids are an excellent addition to this song, the cymbals and bass are the focus here! Aggression is key in this track, the tighter and deeper the better. The faster and punchier the more enjoyable!

 

I will admit, I do enjoy my Dub Step eq'd ever so slightly. That being said, I do use the same modest eq for both cans. A +1 boost at 55hrz leading to a +4 boost to 110hz, followed by a -6 decrease at 156hz following a slight incline to +2 at 1.2k hz then back to +_0 I prefer the mids boosted a pinch, and that pesky 156hrz when removed or eq'd out bring a VERY tight bass line to any track, As this frequency is a VERY meaty upper Bass... that said I remove it as it lacks deep impact or TIGHT punch imo.

 

          T- Good snap and air to the treble. The highs are excellent in this tune! Delicate yet they stand their own ground.  

 

          M- The mids are pleasant as well, not getting lost in the mix, yet they are a touch veiled by the bass.  

 

          B- Nice big body for this tune, yet I enjoy a slightly tighter bass, over the bigger more full bodied bass.

 

 

                   Dyna-  Excellent, good fast shifts!

 

8- Lenny White, Jamey Haddad, Mark Sherman -Seven [Binarual Recording] From _ (Explorations In Space and Time)

 

A percussion trio, this binarual recording has only one thing that makes it wonderful... imaging. The Width and depth of the recording is really wonderful, not to mention the dynamics of the track as a whole. A headphones Sound Stage, width and height are very important. However too wide a sound stage and the 3D imaging can get a little veiled.

 

          T-  Ahh the brightness and attack in drums that I enjoy, treble is nice on the Ath a900x

         

          M- Good tone overall, but the lack of 3D imaging makes it self know again.

 

          B- Nice body, the extra bit of decay is nice for this percussion tune.  

 

                   Dynamics- once again, pleasantly tight and quick.

 

 

9 The Modern Jazz Quartet- Reunion Blues

 

A lovely classic jazz piece, what makes this such a great tune is the  balance of each instrument, as well as the placement of each in the sound stage. This song... is spilt literally into left and right. A soft Piano and Percy Heath's Double Bass to your right, with the drums and cymbals to your left, Also in the left channel is a magically warm and lush Xylophone! Best of all despite extreme stereophonic sound, the track as a whole is very balanced and incredibly enjoyable! Here a wider sound stage takes heed over a tall one.

 

          T- Just as airy as the w1000x, with equal energy!  

 

          M- Mids have a nice attack on them, and a good tone. A little more body would be enjoyed.  

 

          B- The bass is a little forward on this track,  while the tone is excellent. The  3D placement is a little off again.  

 

 

 

 

                   Dynamics- As always, fast and accurate. Great for this classical Jazz piece!

 

Sound [4/5]

 

Treble [5/5]- Awesome highs, great attack and air with good decay as well.

 

Mids [4/5]- Good tone, has a nice attack. Body is good but could be a touch lusher.

 

Bass [3.8/5] - Maybe a matter of preference over technicality, but for me the bass has a nice body to it. Very full, yet I'd like a little tighter bass. Still more natural and wooden bass tones where lovely!        And honestly, this can needs no eq for a kicking EDM experience!

 

Conclusion- For $100 used you really can't go wrong!  

 

     As always check out my full review [with song by song break down] at head-fi! 

Posted

Pros: Detailed, sparkly treble. Warm, sweet mids. Good soundstage and imaging.

Cons: Mid-bass bloat. Bass isn't particularly tight and extension isn't great (not much sub-bass). Treble is noticeably grainy compared to K550.

Comparison Review: ATH-A900X, AKG K550

 

Two years ago, when I was looking to upgrade my aging ATH-A9X, I came across the AKG K550 and the ATH-A900X, both then newly-released, with several head-fiers reporting that they are tonally-similar headphones. Unable to decide which one to get, I bought both to do a comparison. I ended up keeping the K550 for myself and giving the A900X to my wife (who still uses it and loves it).

 

Below are my thoughts regarding how these two cans compare.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Craftsmanship & Comfort

 

Audio-Technica ATH-A900X

  • The A900X isn't a bad-looking headphone, but lacks K550's elegance. That said, comfort level is excellent and I in fact prefer it over the K550 in this department. The AT "winged" headband design makes putting them on and taking them off a breeze, and the angled drivers do not press against my ears even after my prolonged use (whereas the K550 causes discomfort).
  • One particular thing another reviewer complained about was the "poor quality" of the wings on the A900X. I looked into this issue, and did not personally find this to be true (relative to previous models). Below are my observations:
    • On the old model A9X/7X/5X, the wings only pivot in one direction (let's call it the Y-axis), which is up and down.
    • On the A900, AT implemented the "3D Wings" which pivot in two directions (X- and Y-). The way they achieved this is by making the wings themselves into a 2-piece design - there's an "outer rim" that pivots around the Y-axis (like the old wings), and an "inner piece" that pivots back and forth (X-axis).  This is actually a fairly intricate design and I imagine, harder to manufacture.
    • On the A900X, AT simplified the "3D Wings" to ease manufacturing process while still retain pivots in both directions. The wings themselves are now back to a 1-piece design and pivots up and down (like the old wings on A9X), but the T-shaped joint where the wings are clipped onto the arms now pivots back and forth (in the older models, this joint is fixed). The joint on the new system makes the wings feel loose, giving the appearance of flimsiness, but having owned this headphone for two years I can attest that the construction quality on the wings are solid.
  • Material quality on the A900X is decent but not great. It's a step up from the A900 (which had the cheapest pleather possible and several plastic bits just look like sub-$100 headphones), but it's not at the same level as its older cousin, the A9X (which had supple protein leather earpads and wings). The earpads on the A900X is a durable-looking pleather that feels a bit on the hard side, and the wings remain fabric-covered like on the A900.
  • One nitpick: The stereo plug on the A900X is the exact same one AT has been using since the mid-90's (starting with the old ATH-AX series). It might have looked ok in the 90's, but looks a bit gaudy by today's more understated aesthetics.

ATH-A900X

 

AKG K550

  • The K550 is simply one of the most tastefully-designed headphone I've seen. The construction, materials, and appearance are all superb (my photos don't do them justice).
  • Comfort level is good but there are some nitpicks here... The earpads could be a bit deeper. The top of my ears do press against the drivers because the foam used in the earpads are extremely soft. The earcups are a bit stiff when it comes to pivoting, so they may not conform to the shape of your head without manual adjustment. The clamping force of the headband feels a bit loose, especially if you have small heads (and this is a headphone that already has sealing issues)
  • The plastic used for the signal cord, while fairly high-quality, is still more prone to tangle and deform in comparison to Audio-Technica's fabric-wrapped cords, which retain their shape better. I personally prefer AT's implementation.
  • One material nitpick... The headband padding is pasted onto the headband using basically a double-sided tape. Unfortunately the adhesive becomes a black goop as it ages and, in my case, actually started oozing out from the headband and making a mess on whatever surface I leave the headphone on. I ended up tearing out the padding, cleaned off all the adhesive, then glued it back using a glue gun.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sound Quality 

 

Several Head-Fiers have claimed that the A900X and K550 are tonally similar, which was the reason I was interested in these two cans to begin with. They turned out to be very different-sounding cans, heh.

FR Graph of ATH-A900X (Left) & AKG K550 (Right)

 

Audio-Technica ATH-A900X

  • Treble: The A900X has a fairly clear and resolving treble. It appears to be tuned to offer sparkle without being offensive or sibilant (there's a dip at 7K which, I suspect, was intentionally introduced to reduce sibilance). Extension is absolutely brilliant, going full up to 20KHz. The only complaint I have is that it's noticeably grainy-sounding compared to the K550, whose treble is simply silky-smooth in texture.
  • Mid-Range: The A900X's mid-range is thicker, fuller, and more engaging than the K550. It is definitely a more engaging presentation (more "musical" if you will), but clarity suffers a bit here. The K550 in comparison is more clean-sounding.
  • Bass: The bass is my biggest gripe with the A900X - there's quite a bit of mid-bass bloat and the control isn't particularly tight. Bass extension isn't very good either - the rolloff starts at 50Hz, which means there's not much sub-bass compared to the excellent extension of the K550. Without any earpad mod, the A900X has a bit of a consumer sound to its lower end (I personally found that swapping the pads for the oval-shaped ones from the A1000X helps dial the bass down a bit)
  • Soundstage: The A900X has a very wide sound stage, likely owing to its excellently-resolving treble. Imaging is likewise excellent - I feel this is one area where it has a definite upper hand against the K550, whose soundstage - while large - feels a bit indistinct.

 

 

AKG K550

  • Treble: The treble is a bit of a problem area for the K550. Many users have complained about it being "peaky" or "sibilant". I don't find this to be the case, though the lower-treble is definitely too forward, causing the slightly unnatural treble presentation noted by many reviewers (a problem compounded by the thin-sounding mid-range. Both issues were addressed in the K553). I also wish there were less roll-off in the higher octaves, as the K550 could benefit from better extension (it's rolled off from 1.5KHz onward). Complaints aside, clarity is good and treble texture is superb - there is absolutely no grain on the K550.
  • Mid-Range: The mid-range on the K550 has excellent clarity, which I really love. However it is sometimes dominated by the lower-treble, which as I mentioned, is too forward. Additionally it could use some additional body - the overall presentation does sound a bit bright & thin.
  • Bass: The bass on K550 has excellent tightness and extension, however it could likewise benefit from some additional body. I personally do find K550's bass to be thin-sounding due to the lack of mid-bass. There's ample amount of sub-bass and upper-bass, but the mid-bass is intentionally recessed. A 2-3dB boost in the mid-bass would provide a more balanced bass presentation (exactly what the K553 did).
  • Soundstage: The K550 is well-known for its spacious soundstage, and I do agree it feels very wide and airy. However, I feel the imaging is a bit fuzzy and indistinct. Watching movies and playing games, it's much easier to tell where a sound is coming from on the A900X.

 

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Final Thoughts 

The A900X and K550 are both good headphones with distinct personalities. Neither are perfect, though. I would say the A900X is the more balanced-sounding of the two and more versatile when it comes to musical genres and other usage (games & movies).

 

The K550 offers better clarity and may be more desirable for analytical listening and editing tasks, but it's not as musical as the A900X and many will find its treble presentation to be problematic.

Posted

Pros: (none)

Cons: Ineffective 3D wing support system means they're not suitable even for home use

I owned the original A900 for many years, it was a fantastic headphone. After it was stolen I ordered the A900X from AudioCubes in Japan, slightly nervous because I'd read of problems with the new 3D wing system.

 

I was dismayed when the A900X headphones arrived that the widely reported problems with the wing system were true. The only thing holding them to my head (slightly smaller than average) was the low to moderate clamping force, the 3D wing provided no support at all. Sitting entirely still they stayed in place, but as soon as I moved at all in my seat they slid down. Before long they ended up resting on my ears, which is uncomfortable. Putting a rubber band between the two wings mitigated the problem, but was too ugly IMHO, and you shouldn't need to fix brand new $200 headphones. They were returned to AudioCubes who sent them to Audio Technica for repair, but I was told they worked as designed.

 

I never even listened to the headphones, as if they don't sit on your head properly there's no point. I'm sure they sound fantastic, like the original A900.

 

I recommend against these headphones on the basis of poor design and support.

Posted

Pros: Great highs, punchy lows, surprisingly wide soundstage for closed cans, fits pretty much any head with the 'wings' and looks very stylish!

Cons: My ears are too big for the cups, others will likely have no issues with this. No detachable cable, which then makes me say the cable is too long.

My first review on a pair of cans and also the very first pair that introduced me into the Audiophile family!

 

I haven't used a hell of a lot of closed cans. They mostly comprise of a few 'gaming headsets' and my last ever headset which these replaced, the G4ME ZERO from Sennheiser. The only other pair of cans I have used that were closed back were the DT770's at a local shop on demo. Unfortunately, the DT770's were not hooked up to a good audio source so I can't really use them for comparison... What I can say though, is going from generic gaming headsets to standalone headphones was the best decision I have made in regards to anything to do with audio. Along with getting my hands on the A900X, I also got the Soundblaster Z and the Blue Yeti microphone to complete my setup. Listening to music on the A900X is a dream compared to the G4ME ZERO. The bass is more present and the highs are just crisp enough for my taste. Playing games as well is more pleasant with the extra bass and highs the A900X gave me. Bullets whizzing past my head and explosions going off right in front of me had me more immersed than I thought possible with stereo cans. And using the SBX Surround software that comes with the Soundblaster Z made these cans even more amazing in game, giving them a much wider soundstage!

 

To the negatives... The wing design is a little bit of an oddball. At first I thought it was fantastic! Didn't have to adjust when someone else wanted to use them. Just put 'em on and away you go! Over 9 months of use, lots of use, the springs that are used for the 'wings' have slightly weakened, thus they don't have quite the same amount of support as they once did. So now the tops of the earcups tend to slide ever so slowly down to rest on the tops of my ears, which after hours of use tends to hurt and needs repositioning. This could be because I do have a fairly large head and they are stretching more than if I had a medium sized head, but every now and then I would have to re-adjust. Speaking of re-adjusting, going from the Sennheiser G4ME ZERO which has amazing comfort with wide, deep cans to something that has more clamping force and shallow pads, took my ears over 3 weeks to get used to! I would have to take them off after 2 hours to let my ears breathe and massage them. It probably doesn't help that I have large ears, but after a months use, my ears didn't hurt anymore! They didn't hurt, but were annoyed by the shallow earcups. Constant adjustments are needed now to keep them in a position where they are comfortable. If the 'wing' design had more tension, had some other method of head support or the cans were a little lighter, this wouldn't occur.

 

This isn't much of a review, I apologise for this, but if you are looking to move away from headsets and get a really decent pair of headphones, I would definitely recommend looking into the ATH-A900X.

Posted

Pros: If You've a Large Size head, Then These Will Fit Well. Outstanding Sound Clarity - Unquestionably Better Than the Popular ATHM50S. V Comfortable.

Cons: Definitely Avoid these if your head size is Medium or below. Due to Design, They will only fit you well if you head size is Large or Extra Large!

PLEASE NOTE:

 

(1) This reviewer rates headphones relative to the price paid. 5 stars at £1000, in other words, will not be directly comparable with 5/5 at £100. Unless, that is, it's specifically stated to the contrary, my ratings are given strictly relative to other headphones in the item's approximately comparable price range, only.

 

 (2) *AN IMPORTANT CAVEAT ON HEAD SIZE*

Firstly, do not even consider buying these if your head size (or hat size) is anywhere less than 'Large'. Please take that as fair warning. Seriously, *if* your head is sized medium, they simply won't fit you; what's more, you'll (unjustly) feel like giving these one star, just like the female reviewer below, who (by her own admission) didn't even listen to them, before slating their design, with a one star review. With all respect, this reviewer feels that that was unfair. OTOH, Audio Technica really ought to do more to warn potential purchasers that these particular phones, are specifically designed for those with larger heads only. 'Nuff said.

 

LOOKS?: These cans are large, dark and somewhat imposing, so are for indoor use only, unless you enjoy being stared at... Still, their comparatively low impedance rating, means that they are easily driven by portable devices, as well as most anything else - even if you'd rather not venture outside while wearing these. Their cable is sufficiently long (at nearly 2 metres) yet is non-detachable. Nonetheless, it must also be said that they feature a very unorthodox clamping mechanism, which is not at all obvious when successfully worn - yet such very much makes wearing them all day, absolutely a joy. BTW, there is nothing complicated about wearing these phones - simply place them on your (large!) head, and voila!

 

COMFORT?  I've owned a lot of headphones in my life, and none have come even close to the comfort experienced, when wearing these. They have the most perfect fit on my head, with just the most exceptionally pleasing clasp, on one's ears. I've an extra large head, mind you, but they couldn't fit me more comfortably, which is just as well, as these are not designed to be adjusted. It's a case of one large size fits all large size heads and there you have it. But again - they couldn't fit more perfectly nor more pleasingly. They fit so very snugly, with such sublimely light pressure, yet never is there a danger (unless, that is, you intend exercising vigorously...) of their falling off your head. Wonderful!!

 

SOUND QUALITY?: Yes indeed, the 'meat 'n' two veg' of any headphones review - how do they sound? Well the easiest way of describing their sound quality, is to reminisce about how the ATH M50 sound, and then add a further pinch of sonic perfection. You've now arrived in ATHA900X territory. I now hear some of you think "...so these are just ATHM50S with 'go faster stripes'. Hmmm, I think I'll pass then" No sir/ma'm, the actual difference in SQ is unquestionably distinct. Rather that's because there is no question as to which of these phones exudes the greater detail and aural range:  those which feature the words 'Art Monitor'.

 

Sound is delivered with assured confidence throughout the aural range, with a strong, yet subtle emphasis on carefully balanced neutrality and clarity - which is, then again, to be expected, given that these are monitor grade phones. They are, accordingly, neither too 'trebley' nor too bass weary: moreover - they're as close to perfect as you'll find in, or anywhere near, their price range. Speaking of which, the most valuable headphones I own (Ultrasone Ed 8's), are also given an extremely impressive run for their money, by these Art Monitors. That's how excellent these sound. Sound staging is also lively enough to be perfectly engaging.

 

Notice in fact, just how muted is any criticism on their SQ, from anyone, as the vast majority of 'naysays' are from those whose heads do not wear well with these. So I must stress again the point made about head-size above. Otherwise, some headphones have varying degrees of sound quality; by contrast, these have sound which is quality.

 

VALUE? I paid in the mid hundreds for these over a year ago. Which, given both how extremely comfortable they are to wear for days on end (never-mind just hours!) plus their exceptionally engaging sound quality, their value cannot be faulted. They'd be cheap at double the price.

 

CONCLUSION: As we all know, Audio Technica do bad headphones in much the same way that Porsche do bad sportscars: They don't! However, good as all Audio Technica Phones are, there are still certain differences (sometimes subtle, sometime marked) between their offerings. However, in this instance, you'd be hard pressed to find better sounding nor more comfortable Phones, from any brand, anywhere near this price range. I know because I've tried.

Posted

Pros: Amazing sound quality for the price. Extremely comfortable.

Cons: "Wing" design system. Very long cable.

Hello everybody!

 

So just like last time im gonna start with where to buy these headphones. They can be bought for $160usd and a whooping $326cad on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca respectively. I didn’t buy these from any of those sites though. I bought mine off of Kijiji, Canada’s Craigslist, for a mere $100cad. Id highly recommend looking to find a nice used pair of these headphones on Kijiji, Craigslist, or whatever used classified site you know. Thankfully my pair was in near perfect condition. Even the box was mint. Speaking of the box, lets get on to the packaging.

 

So these bad boys come in a standard black box with a little flap with a window to reveal the headphones themselves. As we open the packaging the little plastic mount is easily the worst packaging material ive ever seen… Im not gonna lie, the unboxing experience is pretty lackluster with this pair of cans. They come with a single accessory being a 3.5mm to quarter inch adapter.

 

The design of these headphones are nice, but personally not my style. Ive never been a fan of the “tubes over the top” design aesthetic, but that's just me. One other thing that you may not like is the winged headband design. These wings can either be a huge deal breaker with these headphones. The wings may provide too little support for people with smaller heads, so make sure to try on these headphones before buying if possible. I had no problems with the wings as I have a fairly large head. I wouldn’t recommend doing any working out with these either due to the little support of the wings. Also wearing these around your neck will probably be almost impossible. On the positive side these headphones are nicely designed in almost all other aspects. The winged design does give it a very nice cloud like feel on your head, not to much clamping force, yet not too little clamp. Its id say perfect clampiness. They seem to be quite sturdy and can probably take a few drops to the floor if necessary. 

 

The metal housing of the earcups make these feel high quality. On the flipside of the earcups we are greeted to very circular pleather earcup cushions. Personally I really don’t care too much that they are pleather but your opinion will vary. Also note that the earcups are a circle and not an oval, so far I haven’t had any problems with this as the earcups themselves are quite large so they fit my ears fine. The cable is actually very aesthetically pleasing for a cable, I love braided cables and this one is very nice. On the downside it isn’t removable and very, very long. In total it's a whooping 3 metres long. I’ve tied mine with an elastic band and a velcro strap.

 

 

Now the real reason I bought these headphones, the sound quality. First of all these headphones are the best things to happen to my ears, ever.

-The highs are absolutely amazing, not too sharp and sounding detailed.

-The Mids are warm and engaging, both male and female vocals sound phenomenal. In most songs you can always hear the vocals bouncing off the walls and echoing ever so slightly, and it sounds amazing.   

-The lows are also great, the bass is tamed and not overwhelming. If you want boomy bass that rattles your skull, these simply aren't for you.

 

Continuing on with sound quality the instrument separation is fantastic, you can always pick out the different instruments quite easily on almost all tracks. This is also due to the amazing soundstage of these headphones. In the past i never even considered the mastering of audio until these headphones. In well mastered songs the audio sounds even better, my favorite example of this is the beginning of Bastille’s Tuning Out where the sound goes from left to right over and over again and its absolutely mind bendingly perfect. Another example would be Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories which is just so beautifully mastered and these headphones really let you experience the album.

 

These headphones aren’t a “fun” headphone per say, they are more of a relaxing headphone that you listen to with your eyes closed and just get lost in music.

 

Moving away from the music side of things these headphones also sound amazing for video games, movies, and anything really. In games the huge soundstage of these really give you an advantage, footsteps are very easy to hear and locate. Potentially giving you an advantage.

 

In conclusion these headphones are a fantastic buy, take a look in your local classifieds for a pair and pick them up if you can. The sound quality of these easily outclass everything in the $100-$200 price range, and finding them for somewhere in that price range isn’t hard. Last thing im gonna say about these is that if you can find a pair in good condition for no more than a max of $160 do your ears a favor and pick them up. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

 

Just a quick message for all you done the review! 

Thanks for reading :) If you enjoyed this review please check out my YouTube channel and website!

 

Thanks!

Posted

Pros: Big, slight warm, dynamically fluid and textured sound

Cons: Dryish texture can become grating

These headphones generally are excellent.

They possess this remarkable mixture of openness and intimacy at the same time.

There’s a true sense of soundstage, with a good width and depth and still they manage to sound pretty direct, upfront and dynamic.

Their tonal balance is well judged, with a (slightly bigger than) slight emphasize on the low mids and mid bass, which gives any music a pleasant body, I particularly like this with classical. The highs are spot on, I never encountered any nasty sibilance.

 

As said they generally are great…when I’m feeling fine that is, and luckily most of the time I do.

I am greeted by a big cloud of effortless and dynamically fluid music reproduction. 

Everything to Mahler symphonies, Baroque concerti, indie music, singer song-writer etc. sound fantastic.

Instruments sound beautifully textured, I like the rasping at my ears of brass, low cello and distorted guitars.

 

But this texture is dry in nature and this dryness can become metallic when I am not feeling 100%. Then this textured sound gets irritating and grating. I have to stop listening or start passive listening - with this I mean focus my attention on something else, like browsing the internet and not directly at the music.

My Denon D5000s are brighter and with some recordings even colder sounding, but their texture is not as dry, instruments sound softer (not rounded per se) and although the D5000s are more prone to sibilance, they are generally less fatiguing.

But I don’t see this as a fault of the A900Xs per se, because at this price point there are compromises to be made. You can’t have it all.

And when my ears are up to it, say 80% of the time, this dryish texture is very pleasing.

 

What I also like about them is that they - just like the Denons - are easy to EQ without sounding off.

A900Xs mids can become shouty with recordings that have big dynamic range. Sopranos, woodwind can distort slightly (I suspect because of their closed design, the sound cannot 'escape' so to say), so with classical music I sometimes lower the mids a bit and with this it gives the soundstage a little more depth as well, yes artificially but it works.

Just like I up the mids of the Denons a bit to make the sound a bit fuller with some recordings (but only after I have used the A900xs for a long period D5000s recessed mids are noticeable)

 

A lot has been written about A900Xs fit and comfort.

It is true, they are not the most comfortable headphones, they sag too low on my ears, but I got used to it.

Overall these are excellent headphones.

 

Edit:

I forgot to mention that these headphones can be truly magical with vocals, both male and female!

And I am doubting a little if I weren't a little unfair by mentioning they can sound slightly hard because of their dry texture when I am physically not 100% ok...wouldn't this be the case with a vast majority of headphones?

Audio Technica ATH-A900X | Art Monitor Headphones (Japan Import)
Description:

Audio-Technica's ATH-A900x closed-back dynamic headphones deliver audiophile-quality acoustic performance with superior, deep bass and vocal projection unmatched in its class. The headphones feature large-aperture 53 mm drivers for high-fidelity playback. Equipped with A-T’s innovative self-adjusting wing support mechanism, the headphones offer long hours of remarkably comfortable listening. Type: Closed-back Dynamic, Double Air Damping System Driver Diameter: 53 mm Frequency Response: 5 – 40,000 Hz Maximum Input Power: 2,000 mW Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW Impedance: 42 ohms Weight: 330 g Cable: 3.0 m Connector: 3.5 mm gold-plated stereo plug Accessory Included: Detachable 1/4" (6.3 mm) adapter

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandAudio-Technica
EAN4961310114299
Feature1 year Japan warranty
Labelaudio-technica
Manufactureraudio-technica
ModelATH-A900X
MPNATH-A900X
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
Publisheraudio-technica
Studioaudio-technica
TitleAudio Technica ATH-A900X | Art Monitor Headphones (Japan Import)
SKU4961310114299
Part NumberATH-A900X
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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