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A comparison between AD700 / AD900 / AD1000 / AD2000

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Here we go, the AD1000 at the house now. They are not mine, I have to thanks iancraig10 for let me borrow his AD1000
Though there are not much positive comments about them in head-fi, since not many people own them, but I always want to hear them, now they are right next to me
ATM I don't have the AD900, but a few months ago I went to my friend house and make a comparison between the AD700 and AD900. Too bad that he moved, so I can't borrow his AD900, but I still remember very clearly the different between them, so I just going to write it here.

AD700 vs AD900

The equipment I used was my laptop, iBasso D3 (used as DAC/amp), iPod 5.5G, Zune 80GB.

All I have to say is they share the same sound signature. The AD700 are bass light, but that is fine with me, I have never been a basshead. It is very tight, quite fast, sometimes strong and the amount is not little at all, make the overall sound warm. However, the bass lack the punches, it felt very thin and light, the impact is weak to me. Now the AD900 do a better job in the bass department, it is more present, a bit tighter and the impact is slightly stronger, more refined. In bass quantity, the AD900 add a bit more as well, I didn’t hear it went any deeper than the AD700s, but with the better bass, I think it make the AD900 sound more fun.

The mids is one of the strongest point about these cans, smooth, clear, involving and color. However, there is a bit of different in the the upper-mid, lower-treb . In the AD700, it is very recessed in this area, you can feel that something is missing in the vocal, I wouldn’t say that is a bad thing, because it make the AD700 sound very warm. In the AD900, this area is more prominent, it has more sparkles, somehow the mid-to-treb sounds smoother and fuller, it also makes the AD900 brighter. The treb have a better extension than the AD700 and less grainy.

Other than that, I think the AD900 do everything else the same but better, they have more detail, more transparent, more refined sound. The things that make them special, I think it is because of the wide open soundstage and a very airy presentation.
The soundstage normally I would say they have the same wideness, but in some well-record stuff like classical, jazz, the AD900’s soundstage is slightly wider and have better instrument separation. The airiness is still very thick, which give you a nice presentation that many people like about these cans, including me.

AD700 vs AD1000 vs AD2000

Setup: laptop --> Musical Fidelity V-DAC --> Head Direct EF1 --> cans

AD2000, AD700 with EF1

AD2000 and AD1000

Now fun part, the-best-value vs the-unpopular vs the-top-of-the-line. Please keep in mind that my AD2000 have been recabled by Cardas, I have not heard the stock one so can't comment on them. But I assume the different is subtle.

First of all, AD700 and AD2000 have a very different sound signature, they do not share the same sound signature simply because they are all in the AT AD-line. The AD1000 are kinda in the middle, although they are more like the AD2000 IMO. Like I said before, what make the AD700(and AD900) so special is an extremely airy soundstage, the AD2000 are certainly far from that, they have much more aggressive and congested soundstage, though they still sound very open. The soundstage of the AD1000 is more close to the AD2000, they also don’t have that much airiness like the AD700, but slightly more than the AD2000. However, the AD2000 give more accurate image and better separation, more lively, the AD1000 come very close in this aspect. The image in the AD700 sound very muffled in comparison, they are not just as clear and as the other two.

They all have great treble, but the AD1000 stand out the most, their treb is very extended, sharp and crisp. The AD2000 have a very good extension, but treb is flat and less bright. However they have the cleanest treb, the AD1000 still have a touch of grain, and the AD700 is too dull. Because the treb in the AD1000 is very prominent, it sometimes sounds harsh and the upper-mid is piercing to me, probably it would even has more sparkle than the AD900. AD2000 may sound flat, but it is very smooth and no harsh at all, the AD700 is a bit sharper, their treb sound quite right to me, but the upper-mid is way too recessed. Overall, I still prefer the AD2000’s treb, though AD1000 are excellent in high frequency.

To me, all of them (and sure the AD900) have great mid-range, but the color might become annoyed to some people, especially the AD2000. To me, the AD2000 is the real winner, no doubt about that. The forwardness of the AD2000 makes it sound very very clear, full, involving and extremely lush, but also very colored, far from neutral I think. The AD1000 mids is more laid-back, more relax, still great, but less clear and not as colored like the AD2000. The AD700 are even more laid-back than that, due to the wide airy soundstage, it is also less clean, too grainy, duller than the AD1000, but a lot warmer, not as warm as the AD2000 though. Keep in mind that the AD700 is standing against their big brothers which costs a lot more, the AD700 stand alone are still have excellent mids for the $100-ish cans, and sometimes I still enjoy them very much.

I hate to write this, I feel like a fanboy of the AD2000 (could be true lol!) when praising them too much, but I have to say, they are still the best in the bass department, compare to their brothers. It is certainly not bassy, with the enormous impact and punch, but they will give you an extremely tight, textured, detailed and snappy bass. They also provides the right amount, great impact, so dynamic with an incredible speed, very fast bass with fast decay, probably the fastest I’ve ever heard, the attack is simply great. Aw, what can I say more, that kind is a perfect bass for me.
At first I didn’t expect much from the AD1000 in the bass, however in fact, they are come very close to the AD2000, very refined and fast, but a bit less authority, the AD2000 still have warmer, greater impact, tighter and cleaner bass. But probably the AD1000 have better bass than the AD900 as far as I remember.

Like I said before, the bass in the AD700 is just ok, decent to me, the AD-line cans kinda share the same bass, but the AD2000 are in different level, compare to AD700. I realize there are some bass attack that I missed in the AD700 when I listen to the AD2000. They both very warm, however their warmth is different. The AD2000 are warm due to the nature of the bass, the body is more natural, the AD700 don’t have that much bass, but they are also warm because the upper-mid is recessed, I think. They both are also warmer than the AD1000, these cans I consider is more lean into bright side.

With the AD2000, they just beat the others in terms of transparent, I think this is the result of getting rid of the extremely airy soundstage in the AD700/900. It makes the sound so clean and clear, due to the fact that they are very forward and involving. The AD1000 are better than the AD700 in these aspects, but the gap between them and the AD2000 is still bigger. The AD2000 also have lots of detail. A lot! The AD1000 might closer but the AD700 are nowhere near to that.

After all these praising about the AD2000, they might not necessary an upgrade from your AD700 or AD900, simply because they have very different presentations. If you put the airiness and the soundstage of the AD700/900 on the top, AD2000 are nothing like that, as I wrote before, they are more aggressive, more forward and congested soundstage. The AD2000 might less forgive for bad-records, reveal too much flaws, but IME, even with mp3, the AD2000 sound a lot better than my AD700 on pop, RnB, hip-hop… stuff. So I don’t think the analytical side is not that bothered, at least in my case. On the other hand, the AD1000 are very good, they are just like a better AD900 but a bit brighter and the soundstage doesn’t that airy, more AD2000-soundstage-like.

A bit comment about comfort, AD700 is very comfy but too loose, while the clamping force in the AD2000 a bit too much. They are quite good at first but after a long session of listening, it feel a bit uncomfortable, if you have this problem, then you should stretch the headband more. The AD900 and AD1000 probably the most comfy, not too much clamping force but tight enough on the head.

So the last thing is, which cans should I go for? I think the at $270, AD900 is the right price, people think they are not worth like $150-170 different from AD700, it just because AD700 are a real bargain at $100. So after all these hypes about the AD700 and they make you curious how they sound, then go for AD700. But if you plan to use them as the main cans, then go for AD900. The difficult choice would be the AD1000, they are better than AD700/900 IMO, but like a half-ass upgrade from AD700/900, they don’t have that nice soundstage, they might still not that much different to consider with the price about $350. But if the AD2000 weren’t exist, I would go for the AD1000 for sure.
What about AD2000, aw expensive, at the current price about $699, twice as much as the AD1000, certainly they don’t better that much, but the gap between them is rather larger than other lower cans, they also scale up with your setup better. And if you really like them, then, tough, your wallet has no chance, like in my case

So which one to go for is up to you really. I hope this help

Cheers, and one more pic

AD1000, AD2000 and AD700 respectively

post #2 of 49
I recently upgraded from AD700's to AD900's and found your review to be spot on.
post #3 of 49
Bookmarked. Thanks for the comparison. I find that male vocals are a bit recessed with my portable setups. This is with the AD700.

I'm thinking of upgrading to the AD900 in the future. Are vocals noticeably better on the AD900? Does the 'spark' that you talk of equate to fuller sounding vocals?
post #4 of 49
Nice Review, must've been really nice having the upper-echelon of the AD series to compare with (So Jealous).
post #5 of 49
Great write-up!
Right now I'm all geared up for a RS-1i purchase, but the AD2000 have been on my list for a long time and this comparison only tickled my buying bone further. I'll most likely go for the AD900 as well. Always been curious about those.
post #6 of 49
Nice review. The AD700 is the best value for me in the AD line, but it's always fun to read about the different models.
post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by dissembled View Post
I'm thinking of upgrading to the AD900 in the future. Are vocals noticeably better on the AD900? Does the 'spark' that you talk of equate to fuller sounding vocals?
Yes, the vocal in AD900 is noticeably better, the more prominent upper-mid really make it sound more natural in vocal to me. Indeed the AD900 mids is already a bit smoother and fuller.
post #8 of 49
Nice review! Man...would somebody be willing to lend me a pair of AD700 to try?
post #9 of 49
And also, that's a real nice headphone stand. Pretty tempted to invest in one myself.
post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Thanks. The stand is headphile double stand, made from zebra wood, though it is not my first choice wood, it still looks very nice
post #11 of 49
Originally Posted by nhat_thanh View Post
Thanks. The stand is headphile double stand, made from zebra wood, though it is not my first choice wood, it still looks very nice
Yeah, I was just browsing headphile.com and noticed that I quickly approached the $200 mark with my double lambskin cocobolo design.
post #12 of 49
You swapped the wings on your AD700's and AD2000's? Looks cool.
post #13 of 49
Wow. Great comparison. It looks like the AD900 fixes most of my problems with the AD700 (upper mid/lower treble, bass quantity/impact, loose fit) even if just a bit. Would you say the upper mid/lower treble on the AD900 is a lot more prominent or only a bit. I don't want the A900 to loose too much of the AD700's warmth and I'm a bit sensitive to those frequencies.
post #14 of 49
Nice review, very glad I decided to get the AD2000. The female vocal with the AD2000 is simply amazing. Very good can for pop, jazz, and rock. When it comes to classical, I prefer the AT woodies...
post #15 of 49
Nice review. The AD2000s are special headphones. They are starting to challenge my K501s for overall favorite and I love my 501s to death. They are not for everyone though and the rolled off (or less bright) treble might turn many off from it. They have the best combination of bass extention and bass detail (tightness) that I have heard yet in a pair of headphones.
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