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Remarkably average

A Review On: Sony MDR-MA900 Over the Head Style Headphones

Sony MDR-MA900 Over the Head Style Headphones

Rated # 66 in Over-Ear
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Recent Pricing:
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $350.00
colgatetotal
Posted · Updated · 6674 Views · 3 Comments

Pros: Super comfortable, smooth treble

Cons: Veiled midrange, weak bass, limited availability

 
 
 

70mm drivers, fully open design, premium materials, and simply the best comfort of any headphone at any price. The MA900 has many things going for it. The sound signature is a little laid back, but ever polite. One would think that a 70mm driver could provide a hearty slam. This isn't the case -- sub-bass is almost nonexistent, and midbass is inferior to that of a Grado. Decay is slow on the MA900, so the midbass isn't super-crisp. Treble, on the other hand, is quite smooth on this headphone. It's not a bright headphone, so even the shrillest of instruments, such the piccolo, won't pierce your ears.

 

The big problem, however, is the midrange. It's clouded. At $350 (imported from USA to Canada in June 2012 -- Sony Store only carries up to MA500) I wanted a headphone that was crystal-clear. Unfortunately, I think the thick fabric covering the driver has ended up muffling the headphone a little. Soundstage width is a little congested unless the MA900 is worn in reverse. But in reverse, bass extension and impact are reduced even further.

 

I suspect the frequency response is tuned to more of a studio monitor headphone than a musical headphone. Unfortunately, it means the MA900 is miserable-sounding at a low listening volume, as the bass is too neutral to provide any spark to the music. Ultimately, while the MA900 is a good headphone if you blast your music, I like to normally listen at <75dB SPL. For that, my Grado vented SR225i (2 large holes, 8 small) bettered it in most aspects, as its frequency response better follows the equal-loudness curves. I ended up returning my MA900.

 

There's a good reason why the street price has dropped from $300 to $200, and that Sony Canada only carries the lesser models (MA100/300/500) in stock. It just isn't very good. The lesser models are even worse, however, so I don't know what Sony's thinking.

 

3 Comments:

Ah, I was going to say try removing the fabric =O
I thought about doing that, but the fabric seemed to be glued on, so I couldn't do it without voiding the return policy. In fact, this headphone is one of the least mod-friendly ones I've seen because of the need to reduce weight and provide maximum comfort above all else. That's why it only got 3 stars for design from me.
Sony when will you be competitive in the audiophile department? *sigh*
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