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REVIEW: ATH AD900

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey all, this is my first nice pair of headphones, and likewise my first serious review -- so I apologize in advance for any noobishness.

As the title says, I just received my new pair of Audio Technica AD 900 (plz notice it is the AD not the A900 -- this pair is OPEN not CLOSED).

BUILD QUALITY: ##5 STARS##

The build quality on these is great. The outside is magnesium (or so the box says, but either way its some metallic substance), the cups are a nice soft material which showed no signs of fraying ect. The 3-d wing design is great (more on this in the next section), feels very sturdy. The entire headphone is very light, which means it can have a very weak clamp on your head but not be pulled down onto your ears, if that makes sense. Overall -- very happy with the build quality no complaints at all.


COMFORT: ##4.5 STARS ##

Again, comfort on the AD's is amazing.

The 3-d wing on the top puts very little pressure on your head yet keeps them on. (although I would warn against head banging ect, they aren't on THAT tight, so people who plan on being active should probably look elsewhere)

The pads are a velvet-like substance, which makes not only for a sexy headphone, but a very comfortable experience. As I said before, they hardly clamp at all - I wear glasses and feel no discomfort wearing these.

The only reason I would give these a 4.5 and not 5 on this category is that the driver rides quite close to your ear. If you have large ears, or if there is pressure on the side of one of the cups (ie if your laying down with one side on the pillow -- which I would highly recommend against with this headphone, it will not be comfortable), you will feel the driver. That being said, for regular use just sitting normal you can't feel them at all -- so it really is a minor gripe.

SOUND QUALITY: ##4.5 STARS##


A disclaimer before this section: When I first took my headphones out of the box and listened to them I could immediately tell that the sound would change from burn in. They sounded really shrill and "stiff", the high's were fairly abusive and the lows were not quite there. Just in 24 hours of burn in I can already sense that they have warmed up a good bit. That being said, I am judging these phones after ~24 hours of burn in, so it can be assumed they will get warmer as time goes on.
Also, before I go to the specifics, ill say that these phones are VERY clear and even more detailed. I would say the clarity and detail comes second to the sound stage in terms of strengths of this headphone.

- Bass: If there is one area where the AD900 is less than incredible, it would be bass. They offer quick, responsive bass -- but lack the power and authority in many of the deep tones. The track Barbarian Horde by Hanz Zimmer (on the gladiator soundtrack) is a good example of where you would want more boom.

However, 2 caveats to this. 1) As I said before, these are brand new and have not been properly burned in, and in 24 hours have already improved markedly from when they were new, so I suspect in time the bass will improve. 2) Changing a few settings on my sound card did quite a bit in improving this, with no real drawbacks in overall sound. Currently I have my bass at 65% and my treble at 40% (with 50% being neutral). Similarly, I have my EQ upped about 3.5 db at 31 hz, 3 db at 62 hz, and 1 db at 125 hz (the rest being left neutral) I know many of you guys shun messing with this stuff but I have found it to help wonderfully.

- Mids: These phones simply rock the mids. Playing Oye Como Va by Santana on these is simply BLISS. The midrange drums, vocals, and guitar all sound incredible. I honestly have nothing else to say except how good it sounds.

- Highs: Well, as I said before, out of the box the highs were quite shrill and harsh, making me turn down the treble a bit. However, with 24 hrs of burn in this has improved as well, and i suspect time will help as well. That being said, the highs are incredible clear and defined. Definitely makes the high tones of the electric guitar/female vocals/symbols sound great! I would recommend tuning down the treble though to balance out the sound, at least for the burn in. Great song for this would be Halcyon & on & on - from the Hackers sound track.

- Isolation: These are OPEN phones. They offer little to no isolation, either in or out. People around you will hear what your listening to, and likewise you will hear them (granted the music volume permits it).

- Sound Stage: I have saved the best for last. The soundstage on these is like nothing I have **ever** heard. It is simply insane. Every piece in the orchestra has its place, down to literally feet within the room (if you can imagine yourself standing in the middle of them). I bought these phones for both music and gaming (CS:S), and I can tell you my gaming has improved just in one day of wearing these. I can hear EXACTLY when someone is coming around a wall and fire almost exactly as they come in sight. However, if your looking for being immersed in the "atmosphere" of the game, you might want to go with the closed version for more "boom", however I would really really recommend sacrificing some of the boom for the soundstage that these offer. As before, Oye Como Va sounds simply incredible with the soundstage that these offer.

Again, I am making some assumptions as to where these are going in terms of burn in based on the first 24 hours. ATM they are still a bit cold / shrill -- but seeing as how they have warmed up in so far I expect they will warm up perfectly.

I feel like I'm leaving out tons, but I'm tired and haven't eaten today. So, just ask questions if ya got them, and I'd be more than happy to give my best shot at answering =) That being said, I am very happy with these phones and would recommend them to anyone not in need of isolation and who doesn't need tons of boomy bass.
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
bump for the people who asked for my review.
post #3 of 26
Great review. I currently have the hd555 and I am looking to get either these or the AD700 soon depending on the price. The ad900 are about $100 more than the AD700 so I would like to know how much of a difference there is if possible. I would also like to knoe if you ever heard the hd555? If you have, how does the soundstage compare to the ad900? The hd555 has too small of a soundstage in my opinion.
post #4 of 26
the 555 are not 100 more than the ad700. They only cost $100. Unless youre getting your ad700 for free
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by donunus View Post
the 555 are not 100 more than the ad700. They only cost $100. Unless youre getting your ad700 for free
lol. I wish I could get them for free. I was referring to the ad900 being $100 more but didnt specify. I edited my post to make it more clear.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
I haven't heard the 555's -- however I have heard the 280's and I can say that these blow them away for sound stage. I've never heard a headphone not only with the SIZE of the sound stage but the precision. As for the ad700 vs the ad900...I can't speak directly but from what I've read the difference is worth while.

I can also add that at the 48 hour mark these phones have warmed up even more and are simply a joy to listen to, with almost all of the original shrillness and lack of bass nearly gone.
post #7 of 26
Could anyone comment the ATH-AD900 compared to Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro?
post #8 of 26
1. How much diferences are between ATH-500 and ATH AD900?
2. In general, open cans have better soundstage than closed cans?
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sorry I've never used the DT990's - perhaps someone else can help you there. Regarding closed vs open -- yes open will have a larger sound stage and in general more accurate sound. Closed will offer boomier bass due to the sound staying isolated. I'd say youd find the 900's to be vastly superior to the closed 500's for sound quality in every way.
post #10 of 26
Nice review.
I was looking for headphones with great soundtsage, and someone actually recommended me the AD900s.
Your review has just convinced me to get them even more!
Where did you buy them?
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Audiocubes -- it was the cheapest. They do take about a week+ to get to you under normal shipping though bc their imported from japan.
post #12 of 26
Good review. It's nice seeing that you have found a real winner of a headphone
post #13 of 26
RealDealz,

Quote:
Originally Posted by denl82 View Post
Good review. It's nice seeing that you have found a real winner of a headphone
X2

No worries about being a noob mate - nicely worded and a well organised, easy to read write up.

Enjoy your new cans.

Cheers,
Garry
post #14 of 26
I've read that the A900's (not AD) is fine without an amp. Is this the same for the AD900's?

@OP: What kind of gear were you using the AD900's with?

I'm using my iPod with a Pocket Amp 2 v2. Is this enough to get the most out of the AD900's?
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
The short answer to this would be yes. I believe the AD are about (maybe even easier) the same to drive as the A's.

Currently I'm using an X-fi Xtreme music card without an amp. I have tried it directly from my Ipod (5th gen) and it works perfectly fine. It gets plenty loud and I see no difference in sound quality. I really don't think an amp is necessary here. Then again, I haven't actually heard it WITH an amp so I can't attest for sound quality differences, but I can tell you it gets plenty loud (I never have it turned much more than 60% volume).
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