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Audio Technica ATH-900X -- another mini review...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hello!
Here's another mini review, hope you enjoy and let me know
if you have any questions.

Pros: Comfortable similar to AD700s, great sound balance, bass extends well, sturdy.
Cons: Pads (pleather) don't feel that great. Barebone package, no extras and no detachable cable.

 

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Introduction:

So a couple of years ago I started getting more into "audiophilia" by buying my first "real" headphones, the Shure 440s. From there on it has all gone downhill. My ears have taken a hit, my wallet has taken a hit, I no longer have a lot of space to store all my stuff and every time I see reviews or hear something about headphones I can't wait to try them...

Anyway, this new addiction has really hit me hard and although I wasn't really looking for new headphones I got the "itch"... so I ordered a COUPLE of them just for comparison purposes with the cans I already have. Ordered the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80s and these beauts....

 

 

Audio-Technica A900X

What can I say about these?

These headphones look great. They sport an all-black motif with white lettering and silver accents on the plastic outer casing. It seems to be a fingerprint magnet even though you might think that that matte finish should not be doing that. It's really similar to their previous A900 model so it has the Double Air Damping System (or DADS), 53mm drivers and sport, of course, their 3D Wing support which actually is what I loved from their AD700 (so comfy!!!). Given that, I find the earpads not that good. They are kind of stiff. Probably with time they will get better but not sure about that (they will definitely not be as good as the D5000 ones, and of course, I also prefer the velour pads from the SRH940). Clamping is actually quite good but I can see how some people might find it problematic given the stiffness of the earpads. Isolation seems to be good, though I haven't tested for sound leakage yet. (soon) All in all, headphone feels good NOT great.
 


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Stats:

* Transducer type: Closed Dynamic Neodymium magnet

* Driver size: 53mm, Bobbin winding OFC voice coil

* Sensitivity (1kHz): 100 dB/mW

* Impedance (1kHz): 42 Ω

* Max. input power (1kHz): 2000 mW

* Frequency range” 5 Hz - 40 kHz

* Type of cable: non-detachable

* Cord length: 3.0m (Wrapping / Hi-OFC) --> similar to the Denons, not as thick

* Net weight (without cord): 350g

* Plug: Gold-plated 1/8" (3.5 mm) stereo mini jack


Package Contents:

* 1/4th adapter

... that's it! :-(


Sound:

And here we go... I tell you what I expected from these. I expected my Shure 940s but with more low-end. I mean looking at the stats they were pretty similar so I just took a chance and I'm glad to say that it's ALMOST what I expected! If you have read any of my comments or reviews, I don't REALLY believe in "burn-in". Even though internals MIGHT probably change with the cans getting a workout, I usually go the way of "your ears get used to the sound" rather than getting in any engineering talk or assumptions.
Anyway, left the cans playing for 10 hours straight at work (while I listened with my usual D5000s) and when I got home, plugged them in and played my usual "headphone testing" playlist. It consists of:

DJ Hero 2 Soundtrack - Twist Jamrock Out
Kaskade - One Heart
Shiny Toy Guns - Ricochet!
Jon Cleary - When you Get back
Skrillex - First of the Year (Equinox)
Mima - Oigo Voces
Ben Jorgensen - Changed my mind
Skrillex - Amplifire
Miguel Bose and Leonor Watling - Este Mundo Va
Killswitch Engage - Fixation on the Darkness
Thursday - Turnpike Divides
Emery - The Anchors
Esperanza Spalding - What a Friend
Sara Bareilles - Vegas

and a couple extras such from Salsa and Merengue singers such as

Karis - Bandolera
Marc Anthony, etc.

 

 

DSC_0119.JPG

 


Connection: PC --> USB connection to Icon HDP Dac/Amp --> Headphones
Played CDs and MP3s

From the first track (Damian Marley --> Twist Jamrock Out) I knew I would like the headphones. The A900x exhibited a really full sound. I mean, Highs were mot ear-piercing, Bass wasn't so overpowering and I enjoyed the track from beginning to end. A quick comparison on the same track with my other cans:

SRH940: Definitely crisper highs. Bass extends really well even though overall these are "bass-light" but on some sections
it's really lacking.

D5000: Bass KINGS!!! Highs are tamed compared to both ATs and Shures. Bass is the best of the three and personally I enjoy

this track more with the Denons.

I went through the whole playlist a couple of times, pausing and exchanging headphones, making notes, etc. and I have to say, I AM IMPRESSED. Everything I threw at it from acoustic to Metal to Salsa was reproduced great! I noticed what the difference between these and the SRH940s rather quick. It actually made me sad that I enjoyed the SRH940s so much!! LOL. I still do, don't get me wrong, but for some genres, the 940s get their arses kicked so bad!! Take for instance a track like "Amplifire" by Skrillex, on the 940s it sounds so... bland! On the A900X it sounds powerful, it sounds full, it... it makes you want to dance! The D5000s of course, makes the ATs look bad on the same track but I was surprised that I enjoyed it equally on both!

Summary, Highs are Ok (not as great as the 940s and actually similar to the D5000s to my ears.).

Mids are great here! They actually reminded me of the HD600s but not as good (but it's "there...").

Bass definitely on another level when compared to the 940s. Compared to the D5000s, totally lacking.
Soundstage was a bit similar to that of the Shures so although it's not as constricted like, let's say, the famous AT M50s, they don't reach the levels of the D5000s nor HD600 (again, to my ears!)

 

 

FIGHT

 


If I were to order these closed cans by preference.

Comfort: D5000s --> SRH940 --> A900X

Build: A900X --> D5000s --> SRH940

Sound Quality: D5000s --> A900X --> SRH940s

Contents: SRH940 --> D5000 == A900x


Finally, these headphones seem easier to drive than the D5000s. I connected them to my laptop and my Archos PMP and they sounded great. Also used my JDSLabs c421 for a bit and it also sounded quite tasty! ;-)


Conclusion:

Really a "tuff" choice! I love the sound produced by these headphones! They excel in most/every genre I threw at it (I did not test classical BTW...) and are fun sounding. Not once I felt the need to stop listening, or do adjustments, etc. BUT a couple of things bother me:

1) Earpads REAAAALLY suck. Maybe I'm used to the Denons, or the Shures but I expected more I guess...

2) PRICE! These guys are retailing for $270 (with shipping) straight from Japan. Seriously, I don't see it. Yes the headphones sound good, and seem to be built to last but lets compare the Shures (priced similarly) to the ATs:

Shure extras: Replaceable velour ear pads, Two included detachable cables (coiled & straight), Zippered hard travel case

AT extras: NOTHING.

I know sound is everything, but come on! I could recommend these with more enthusiasm if they were priced at $170 or something like that.
 

 

DSC_0117.JPG

 


Anyway, like I just mentioned, it will all boil down to sound... if the cold, analytical nature of something like the SRH940s (or KRKs 8400) are not your bag, you could look into cans with similar signature as the ATs (Beyers have not arrived yet, so I will update this once I get them...)


If they break apart, would I buy them again?
Not sure (it will depend on whether the pads become softer with use).


Hope you liked this mini-review.

Some bonus pics…

 

 

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post #2 of 29

Thanks for the write-up gelocks! Looking forward to a DT770 comparison...

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks! ;-)

 

Hopefully the DTs will arrive today/tomorrow so this weekend I'll have something to do

(besides cleaning my house! lol)

 

 

post #4 of 29

 

Quote:
Sound Quality : D5000s --> A900X --> SRH940s

frown.gif. Again ... Meh , lot of people seem to find that the srh940 are overpriced anyway.

I suggest you increase the depth of srh940 ear cup a bit , you might like the result. I used a rope for this (you can see the recent addendum section from my review)


Edited by extrabigmehdi - 1/25/12 at 6:27am
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

;-)

 

As I wrote though, the 940s are NOT bad, they just DON'T excel on most genres due to their

"bright" nature. It's inevitable to not notice it against warmer headphones.

 

For example, when I got the KRKs (from my local music shop) to try them during a weekend, they were extremely similar in

sound (the Shure's feel sturdier though, are more comfortable and for me the sound is crisper and better

overall!) and suffer the same fate with a lot of genres. But once you popped in some acoustic, indie, etc.

they were great!

 

So it's not that they are bad, it's that, in my opinion, you wouldn't enjoy them with most

mainstream genres.

 

 

P.S. Haven't tried your mod, but I did see the changes. I probably try first with the cotton balls and see

if there's any changes, but I don't like messing too much with cans ;-)

post #6 of 29

Nice review =)

post #7 of 29

Audio Technica seems to do that with their products, doesn't come with much and the package is pretty subpar as well.
However the quality of their products are really solid IMO.

Is the frame of the 900x magnesium or plastic?

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

Seems like plastic to me!!

But who knows, it's probably a "hybrid" plastic made up of God-Knows-What

with a made up name like a lot of companies do to market their products! :-p

post #9 of 29

 

Quote:

Seems like plastic to me!!

But who knows, it's probably a "hybrid" plastic made up of God-Knows-What

with a made up name like a lot of companies do to market their products! :-p

 

Hum, a downgrade?? I don't have the old A900 to confirm but the AD900 has a magnesium frame.

 

When you touch the frame, its feel more cold (like most of the metal,alu, magnesium...) or normal like plastic, if its cold, its probably not a plastic frame,imo.

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Well... I doesn't feel cold to me!

(in fact, the cups seem colder to the touch than the frame)

post #11 of 29

Nice review man.. I love my pair. I see what your saying about the pads. You figure for a $300 phone they would throw in some nicer less stiffer pads.

post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

I know!!!

The same thing happens in my opinion to the AT M50s!!!

 

Wonder if other/nicer pads from other AT phones fit this one well...

post #13 of 29

I'll bet they'd be real nice with some velour ADxxx pads, or maybe some leather woody pads?

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 

The only negative is that the pads are almost $100 (at least for the ATH-W5000 leather pads

which actually kind of remind me to the D5000s ones...)

post #15 of 29

Wow. Yeah, the price does make those kind of prohibitive. At least the velours are very cheap, or in my case free. They change the sound and you kind of have to stuff them with something though, so no guarantee of a win for each individual. redface.gif

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