Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Audio-Technica ATH-AD900

Audio-Technica ATH-AD900

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #81 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Comfort +++ and great detailed sound - all day listening

Cons: Slightly light on the bass

This is the summary from my full review:

For around $300 you'll have a very hard time finding a better pair of headphones in terms of accuracy, staging and comfort. I regularly wear these headphones all day (literally) and actually miss them when I take them off because they are SO comfortable. I have a shaved head so there's no hair to add padding for headphones and most become uncomfortable in time, but the AD900s are hands-down the most comfortable thing I've ever worn on my head (including hats and beanies)!

If you love bass from a variety of music, don't jump at the AD900s until you've had a good listen to a range of tracks to see if the "realistic" bass is enough for you. If accuracy, detail and clarity is your thing, do yourself a favour and check these out. If you're not sure what you like you should definitely give the AD900s a try, but make sure you listen to them for a little while on a range of tracks before making your mind up. Most of us aren't used to the kind of unbiased sound they give and you may feel a little underwhelmed at first, but give them some time, close your eyes and explore the music a bit - you might be surprised.

All-in-all I just love these headphones and often find myself turning to these instead of high quality speaker setups. I love the accuracy, detail and intimacy of the sound. If you're buying headphones and have around $300 to spend you should definitely check these out. Even if you're spending significantly more than $300, take a listen to the ATH-AD900s because they will embarass many more expensive models.

Posted

Pros: soundstage, instrument separation, bass quality

Cons: ear touches speaker = uncomfortable, bass quantity, back of concert hall

This is my first review so forgive me if I make any mistakes. Everything below will be in my humble opinion. I don't have good amp to drive them either, but most people agree that these cans do not need an amp to drive.

 

Comfort:

Supposedly, audio-technica's AD series is a line of very comfortable headphones that has warm sound. I didn't think they were particularly comfortable because I didn't like how my left ear is touching the driver on the left side of headphones. One possible explanation is I have weird ears, that might be the case but I have not had problems with other headphones before. Another explanation is the phones are old and the pads have been worn down. Anyway, this can usually be solved by inserting some sort of spacer(straws, tubes) in the pad. It didn't work for me, but other people has reported that it helped tremendously. 

 

Another positive note to add is that the wing system works VERY WELL. It takes much of the pressure off your ear and you will feel very good wearing them for long time(if the ear touching driver does not bother you).

 

Sound:

From little experience I have with UM3x, RP-21, and Mylarone x3i, I only thought the sound was mediocre. 

 

Make no mistake, ad900 has bass and able to produce bass accurately above 40Hz. But it doesn't have enough bass impact most of the time. Sometimes, I can feel it somewhat but it makes me feel like I want more. It gives me a little taste of quality bass, but doesn't give the full blown smooth bass that I want. I don't think ad900 gives enough speed. It feels like it is always holding on to a note a tad too long. Maybe someone can appreciate this kind of bass and speed.

 

On the high and detail side, I am able to hear some new sound from ad900 that I have not heard from previous headphones. That is really wonderful for me. I really like that feeling that I am now really listening to music now by finding those additional details that I have been misting before. One of the complaints that made me want to sell the phones is the way vocal is presented. I always feel like the people singing are so so far away from me. Maybe this is what people call forwardness. To me, the sound is always there but not in my ears, if that analogy makes any sense. The violin sound is also far away from me, I want to sit in the front row to absorb all the details but I am sitting in the back rows. I can hear the music and see people playing but it just doesn't have the same impact that I want. Of course, if you like this laid back sound, try ad900 by all means.

 

Sound stage/instrument separation:

People say ad900 is very airy. If airy means everything sounds very distant, then yeah. Like I noted before, I feel like I am in the back of the concert hall.

 

Something AD900 does very well is instrument separation. I have a really good sense of direction of where the sound is coming from when I am wearing ad900. I don't know if this is contradictory to what I said before but it is true. I really like this aspect of the phones, being able to tell where the violins, where the singer, where the pianos are.

 

I hope my experience can help you guys decide if they want AD900 or not.

Basic summary:

Excel in: instrument separation, very airy, able to hear the tiny fluctuation of the bass guitar strings.

Not so good in: ear touching driver = uncomfortable(YMMV), not enough bass impact, in the back of the concert hall.

Posted

Pros: Comfort, detail, soundstage/air, price, easily driven

Cons: Bass impact not for everyone

 

The AD900 is well known for its patent Audio Technica house sound; emphasizing light, airy highs. Separation of instruments is fantastic, but occasionally can cause the soundstage to sound artificially big. This is readily apparent when playing something like the Beatles’ stereo remasters, which have hard-panned left and right channels. While not common with more recent masters, this panning can be dizzying and fatiguing if the effect is strong or if one channel is favored. This is more a problem that stems in the studio, so I won’t hold it against the 900. Where the soundstage becomes a benefit is in live recordings; you can hear the musicians shift their weight, glasses clinking, low murmurs and clapping, all from their respective places.

 

The AD900 is great for acoustic guitar, strings, vocals, as well as jazz and instrumental records. They reveal a tremendous amount of detail and are best utilized with FLAC files or SACD (though I haven’t had the chance to try SACD for myself since my Panasonic player doesn’t support it). Percussion is brought out very well and feels realistic. I would, however, not use them for distorted rock or bass-prominent music. They are very accurate and balanced, which means that they will not give you the bass impact for genres like techno, house, dance, etc. Music with a lot of distortion or gain tends to be tiring to listen to (the highs can be rather shrill). Distorted rock music often doesn't reveal much detail, so I tend to favor the DT880 for that because the sound is so smooth and has more impact. I have an average sized head and these stay in place pretty well. The comfort is a 9/10 and the complaints about driver angle absolutely do not ring true for me. They are extremely light phones whose pressure is distributed evenly, for a comfortable listening experience. The cups don't provide a seal so expect to listen in a quiet place or turn up the volume. I haven't owned a great deal of headphones, but the 900 bests the Sennheiser HD555 and the DT880 in comfort (admittedly only slightly for the latter).

 

Watching movies with these is fun because the soundstage is so wide and involving. Dialog is articulated clearly and crisp. I would recommend these, but understand this headphones' strengths and weaknesses before buying, otherwise you will be sorely upset. You don't find too many used models online, but they're a good value anyway if you’re looking for a neutral headphone with lots of detail. One thing: packaging could be nicer; they come in a cardboard box with a plastic display and stand. It's fairly sturdy, but you're wondering "how could this be an audiophile headphone, packaged like that?" Thanks for reading, hope this helped!

Posted

Pros: Price to Value. Soundstage.

Cons: Comfort is picky.

I've been a lurker for a long time, but now that I've got some more money and better cans, I thought I'd write a review of the AD900s.

 

I upgunned to the AD900s from my AD700s and an HD 555 modded to HD 595, so my review will be based on that comparison. I'm listening to these through a Asus Xonar Essence STX, and am using v0 mp3 files.

 

So everyone always says the AD700s and HD 595s have a great soundstage, and I'll agree, and the AD900s have an even better soundstage. It's really a cool feeling when you can listen to a song or piece of music and actually feel the instrumental separation that couldn't before. The separation is very clear and distinct, almost to the point where I would say it's almost TOO good for things like gaming, when a left directional sound almost sounds like it's only coming out of the left can, which I guess is good for competitive play, but it sounds pretty unnatural. On the downside, it makes listening to anything Glee insufferable because it sounds so fake by comparison to other recordings.

 

In terms of the mids and highs, there's really nothing much to say that hasn't already been said. They come through clearly and with plenty of punch, and because of instrumental separation it almost feels like you can hear things you weren't able to before in certain pieces. Anywhere where the AD700 excelled, these do even better, with sharper tones, and the HD 595s don't really compare in this department. The most noticeable places are in any song with lots of vocals, where the vocals are presented at a higher volume than the instrumentals, and in the big romantic classical pieces, where the soloist comes out much more than before. Also, in Battlefield 3, where the cracks of sniper shots become much more distinct and impactful than before.

 

The bass is where the Audio Technica AD700 is severely lacking, but I feel that the AD900 makes up for it in every way (although I am listening through an amp). I don't really own or listen to much electronic/techno, or other bass-heavy music so maybe I'm a bad judge of bass, but I feel like the AD900s have enough to satisfy me. Both the powerful rumbles and the sharp percussive sounds are really great here (think subwoofer vs 1812 overture cannons). The HD 595s have pretty decent rumbles by comparison, but the sharp percussive effects don't come through as well. One of the places where I really notice these coming through is in video game explosions, When done right, they don't really blow your eardrums out, but you can definitely feel the rumble in your ears. I'm someone who really isn't a basshead, but I thought the AD700s were actually quite light on bass and I think the AD900 is a marked improvement over them. I don't think I would necessarily want any more than these provide.

 

The design is basically the same as the AD700s, but these feel a little smaller, and have a higher, more metallic build quality. The thing I like most here is the design feels very strong and the frame doesn't involve using plastic which is one complaint I'd have about the HD 595.

 

The comfort is the one area where I feel these come up short. I am coming from the AD700s primarily, which I will admit are the most ******* comfortable headphones I've ever worn in my life. But where I could easily have 8-10 hour work sessions with the AD700s, I definitely can't with these. The angle of the driver is an annoyance, and they are smaller, so they fit much tighter on my head. With the driver angle, it's mostly an issue of getting the position on your head right. I feel the optimum comfort is when the back of the pad touches the back of my ear, but I really can't figure out why AT would do away with the angled drivers when they were so ******* awesome to begin with. I may be looking to put a little padding in the rear of the pads to increase comfort, but I'm worries this will dampen and muddy the sound too much.

 

Overall, I would say that these are a very good buy. And one strength is that it doesn't take the veteran audiophile to hear the differences here. Even a casual user can easily tell the changes between the AD900, the AD700, and HD 595 without jumping between them. At $200 I feel they are a steal, and even if you dislike the particular sound signature, you won't be disappointed in the purchase like you would for other cans. They have a sound that works very well for certain genres of music, they're relatively inexpensive, easy to drive, and even if you are a basshead they may fill a niche in your lineup that you didn't know you had before.

 

 

Posted

Pros: price to value, airy sound, comfort

Cons: bass, slightly muddy

These are great headphones for quite a budget price (at least in Japan and America). 

I also own the AD2000 and the W1000X so here is a little comparison:

 

The W1000X would be the warmest sounding of the bunch. The AD900s openness also takes away something from the bass area that would be needed for a warm and embracing sound. The AD2000 is airy as well, but a lot closer and tighter than the AD900. In direct comparison the AD900 seems to be rather muddy with not quite as clear mids and highs than the AD2000 or W1000X. Whereas the AD2000 doesn't seem to be needing any amplification (of course it scales well), I would highly recommend to amplify the AD900. Comfortwise it's en par with the W1000X or maybe even better, considering that the W1000Xs pleather pads can get pretty hot on the ears. Listening to the AD900 I can understand people complaining about a certain detachment from the music, as if one is floating in outer space with the music being everywhere. If that is not your cup of tea, better stay away. All in all the AD900 is extremly non-fatiguing even at higher volumes. The W1000X has to be seriously EQed before being comfortable for longer sessions and even the AD2000 needs some adjustment at higher frequencies for that. The slight muddiness of the AD900 on the other hand let's you dive right in without any adjustments at all. I like Audio Technicas adapter to 1/4 a lot, it's a sturdy unobstrusive construction. 

I can highly recommend the AD900 to anyone listening on a budget and preferring a translucent and open soundstage.

Great for classical music, might not work as well for close quarter chamber music or tight cellar jazz recordings though. It's pretty good for electronic stuff as well, mind the lack of bass though.

Posted

Pros: Detail, soundstage, build quality, comfort, weight

Cons: Bass quantity

I'll start of with the physical aspects.  The headphones have a magnesium and plastic construction and feel light but well built.  The 1/8 to 1/4" TRS adaptor is nicer than most and the cable is good (thick, no memory, strain relieved etc.) but single entry which I don't care for.

 

Fit is very good, the self adjusting wings work exactly as advertised and put very little pressure on any part of my head.  Despite the very large size of the cups, the driver housing (not the driver itself!) still comes into contact with my ears, kinda like a on-ear phone.  I don't find this to be a problem, it never bothers me and ears don't get warm in there.  There are mods to correct this but I don't like the change in SQ.

 

The AD900 is midrange forward phone that is quite a bit on the bright side.  However, the treble is clean and not at all harsh sounding so it is not as jarring as it can be in the Grado/Alessandros.  The midrange is the highlight of the sound signature which I find to work quite well for the rock based music I listen to.  It puts the guitars forward which I like but isn't thick sounding (for want of a better description) so it remains non fatiguing and doesn't detract from the rest of the range.  Bass is tight and well controlled with decent punch but very little weight.  This is my only complaint.  Extension however, is very good.  Soundstage is large but I never considered this to be an important factor, it is impressive though, if you are into that.  The phones are very detailed and fast so they can easily keep up with complex music.  The overall sound signature is quite easy to listen to, slightly warm.  I would not call them neutral or transparent.  Power requirements are low.

 

To sum up, a very nice phone.  I listened to them almost exclusively with rock:  indie, folk, acoustic, hard rock, extreme metal, punk, prog and some others.  I find them to work well with these genres but haven't heard them with much else.

Posted

Pros: Clarity (Mid/Highs), Soundstage

Cons: Slight Comfort Issues, Bass, Packaging

This review is written from the perspective of the Ad900 stock, no external amp or DAC to give readers an idea of what to expect if they buy these without an amp/DAC. I would also like to preface this by stating I will be comparing these to the Ad700 often as they are the next logical step in the Ad series.

 

Packaging:

I was very surprised to see that the packaging was no better than the Ad700 headphones. They came in a cardboard box with a plastic headphone stand, including a 1/8 to 1/4 adaptor. While the headphones always sell cheaper than the MSRP, you would think that $400 MSRP headphones would come with a higher quality packaging. It's not that big of a deal though, because ultimately what matters are the headphones.

 

Comfort:

I bought these to replace my beloved Ad700s which had served me well for almost a year of every day use. I didn't think that I would possibly have any comfort issues with these as I did not have any with my Ad700. Little did I know that the Ad700s are shaped slightly different in the cup, super-aural sized, while the Ad900 are circumaural, at least this is how my ears fit in them. Naturally circumaural would be thought of as more comfortable, but the stock velour pads are sometimes scratchy and could very well be softer given the MSRP. Some users also complain about their ear touching the driver, which also causes slight discomfort. If this does happen I suggest repositioning the headphones as I've fixed this problem. The Ad700s use, from the looks of it, the same pads but for some reason were slightly more comfortable. 

 

The Audio Technica wing technology for headphone fit worked well for me. I have no fitting problems, absolutely no clamping. They feel very light on my head, in-fact I barely notice them on sometimes. This is a double edged sword though, as some users do complain about fitting issues with smaller heads. Overall though the comfort is acceptable and I have no problem wearing these for extended periods of time.

 

Design:

There's not much to say about these. They are light when on your head, and I personally think they look fantastic. The quality is solid and I've had no complaints or problems within the four months I've owned these. In comparison to the Ad700, these do feel more solid.

 

Sound:

Coming from the Ad700s I was very excited to hear what the Ad900 were capable of. Once I found the perfect positioning of the headphones I was ready to go. The first thing I noticed was the tightened up, more punchy, bass. The bass is very responsive and never seems to drag, definitely quality. You'll noticed I listed this as a con, while the Ad900s bass is improved over the Ad700, they are still lacking some bass without an amp. Even with an amp though, the low end still cuts off earlier than I'd like. I feel the bass is adequate though for non-bassheads and it works well for almost any genre from drum & bass to rock, though it doesn't do well with bass heavy genres like dubstep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I first got my Ad700s I was impressed by the clarity, especially for the price. Going up to the Ad900 I was further impressed with clarity that makes the Ad700s seem grainy. These headphones have an excellent mid range that suits female vocalists and acoustic instruments with amazing clarity. The highs are clear and I've not noticed them cutting off at all. Everything sounds great/clear through these.

 

The soundstage is what makes the Ad700 praised throughout Head-Fi and the Ad900 are not missing out one bit. In-fact the soundstage is even better, adding slightly better instrument separation. The best way to describe this is a feeling of the music surrounding you, you are not at the front of the concert, rather towards the mid-back. Some users describe them as having an airy sound to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I may not be the most knowledgeable member here, or most experienced member for the price range, or in general, but I can not think of one headphone that sounds like these in the price range. They are engaging, while not causing fatigue. They aren't aggressive, nor relaxed, hanging somewhere in the middle. They are fantastic for almost every genre, though these headphones shine through though with "clean" music. By clean music, I mean acoustic instruments and music without distortion, for instance folk, jazz, or classical, though they are by no means restricted to that. I would highly recommend these headphones to anyone who has a varied music taste looking for the best bang for their buck. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Value:

The only thing that kept me from giving these a 5 star on value is the price fluctuation. For example, in November I bought these for $270 from Musician's Friend, while they were $320 on Amazon. In January I noticed they were $350 on Amazon. Now they are currently, as of February 19, 2011, sitting at $200. I feel that these headphones are almost impossible to beat for the $200 price tag overall.

 

Please keep in mind my ratings are in comparison to similarly priced headphones, not $1,000 headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-AD900
Description:

Details:
DetailValue
FeatureAudio-Technica ATH-AD900 audiophile headphones give you stunning stereo; crisp resolution; and deep, balanced bass.
LabelAudio-Technica
ManufacturerAudio-Technica
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameCONSUMER_ELECTRONICS
PublisherAudio-Technica
StudioAudio-Technica
TitleAudio-Technica ATH-AD900 Open Air Dynamic Headphones
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Audio-Technica ATH-AD900