I had never owned a pair of Sony headphones before, so I didn't know what to expect on its packaging. Inside and outside, the packaging was all made out of cardboard. Inside the box, there was the headphones, small booklet, and an 1/8" to 1/4" adapter. After opening, I burned in for 12 hours. I would put more time in burning in, but I didn't have much time to do this.
The headphones was very lightweight. For a pair that was made out of plastic, it did not break easily as I stretched the headphones sideways. I have a very small head, but I am sure it will fit for a person with a very big head. As I put it on, it felt comfortable. The headphones was so lightweight that it felt as though I didn't put it on at all. I tried shaking up, down, left, and right. The headphones didn't fall off my head.
I listened to several genres: pop, electronica, hip hop, and classical. I was very disappointed in the highs for each genre. It was so dull that it was lifeless.
My impression for the mids was just as bad as the highs. I couldn't find any piece of music that would satisfy me in the mids. My DAC makes some headphones aggressive-sounding in the mids. The MDR-MA900, however, just could not make mids sound extraordinary. Most vocals are in the mids. I love listening to both male and female singers. Interestingly enough, they sounded like they were behind the bands. It was like they weren't putting any energy in their voices.
Even though I was disappointed in the highs and mids, I was at least glad to say that the bass is tight, crisp, and clean. As a basshead, I enjoyed listening to the tight "oomphs" in the bass guitar. As I also listened to 2Cellos "Smooth Criminal," their pacing is not draggy; the cellos sang without losing its rhythm.
I was am very surprised that for an open headphones like Sony MDR-MA900, its soundstage was worse than some closed headphones like ATH-A900. I did not hear much distance between instruments. The instruments were practically close to my ears. I don't understand why the headphones are open-back. Even when I used my DAC (known for its soundstage signature) and my amp, the soundstage was way below my expectations.
There are many headphones for street price $200-$250. I am not a big fan of ATH-A900 headphones. If I were to pick my poison, I would rather take my friend's ATH-A900. For a pair of somewhat neutral-sounding headphones with features like 70mm drivers and open-back, Sony did not put much effort in making this pair of headphones sing. The only feature I was impressed with was its bass. Sony did a decent job angling the bass, but this did not compensate for other several weaknesses. I had listened to several Sony headphones like MDR-SA 5000 in the past, but the MDR-MA900 didn't sound as great as its previous generation headphones or the generation before. I thought about factors like extended burn-in and recabling, but I think this MA900 can do only so much. If a basshead wants to look for a pair of headphones without sounding euphonic, this pair of headphones could potentially be the one. If someone doesn't want to bother with getting a dedicated DAC/amp to drive this headphones, this could also be the one. Recabling is highly recommended. However, I am sure headphones like open-back Sennheiser HD555/HD595 and any closed-back Ultrasone Pro series headphones are much more worth the investment (recabled or not).
Edited by gzone3lement - 4/23/12 at 1:26am