Pros: Highs, price, Fun Factor, balanced bass
Cons: Bass could be tighter, fit for some, and mids for some
Ath A900x [$93 used]
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.]
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.
A little more plastic than I'm a fan of. But overall well built. Feel's sturdy.
Closed Back Dynamic Operating Principle
32 Ohm Impedance
100 db Sensitivity
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)
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!
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!