Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Audio Technica ATH-A900X Discussion Thread (Formerly A-900X Review)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Audio Technica ATH-A900X Discussion Thread (Formerly A-900X Review) - Page 23

post #331 of 455

Be getting these soon :]

Can't wait :D

post #332 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

maybe the Hifiman HE 400 velours would fit! 
 
I've got a full size ATH can so when my HE 400 comes in I'll try it and see how it goes! If it fits my w1000x it will fit ur A900x [same size drivers so pads are swappable] 

Any update?
post #333 of 455
I'll try these as well.
They should almost certainly fit.
post #334 of 455
Sweet man, let us know how they fit?
post #335 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazen View Post

The other day I tried the a900x with the aune t1. Did not like the vocals.

Not musical, and sounded I guess metallic? Its hard to explain, not proficient in audiophile terminology.

Is this affecting anyone else with more expensive sources?

 

Edit: I realized the previous post was not very well-written, so I re-phrased it to be (hopefully) more useful...

 

Summary: Source is everything with these cans, not so much in terms of driving power, but more in terms of DAC articulation. The A900X really improve quite a lot with a good DAC chip ahead of the amp. I don't think the amp itself is nearly as important, they really don't require a lot of power, despite what you might first think with such bulky cans, and a lot of cheap amps are available that are fairly linear at modest powers. With the A900X it's pretty much garbage in->garbage out, a great amp will just amplify garbage, tube or not.

 

Here's the background...

 

At first I tried these with direct MacBookPro source, and was happy that they performed better than most other cheap cans of lesser cost in this terrible setup. Still, it wasn't the same as I heard in the store, and not why I bought them.

 

The next thing I did was install the trial version of Audirvana, and I noticed a lot of improvement in the bass end, and cleaner at other frequencies as well. The bass was a bit deeper and slightly more linear, and the VHFs had a bit more shine on them. Still, there was something not quite right, and I knew that Audirvana was trying to make up for the flaws in the MBP DAC, and was performing admirably, but just not enough.

 

I then toyed around with converting my digital source files between different formats, it made no difference.

 

I also listened to the A900X with the iPhone5, which surprisingly has no difficulty driving them at higher volumes. But the quality is very noticeably degraded, I was kind of disappointed, was hoping I wouldn't need an iPhone-DAC coupling to get decent sound, but now it is clear that it is a waste of good headphones to use them through the iPhone alone…that is only for emergency situations.

 

Then I realized (doh!) that I had auditioned the headphones on a somewhat decent Audio Technica DAC/Amp in the store (can't recall the model, it seems to be something only retailers use), and that I would need to upgrade my DAC/Amp section to get similar results to what I heard. So I went in search for a suitable DAC/Amp.

 

Then I found the Fostex HP-A3 on sale, and I had to grab it. I had studied them and found that the DAC chip was essentially the same as the DAC chip in their flagship HP-A8, the main difference being that the latter is set up for multiple A/V channels and has a lot more invested around the amp and other components (hence the much higher price tag). So the HP-A3 is basically the same quality DAC as the highest end Fostex, but with other components being quite a bit cheaper but good enough for modest power applications. Nevertheless, I've still been very happy with the linearity of the amp, and how well it performs at 5W USB power.

 

Recently I've been listening to these with only the Fostex HP-A3, I even take it with me on work trips (in fact I'm traveling on business now, listening with it). My DAC source is certainly on a higher budget/quality level than the phones, this box is built around the Asahi Kasei AK4390 DAC chip, I wouldn't be surprised if it is the most expensive component inside. In any case, there is no comparison with anything else I've heard for the A900X.

 

It's nice to have a great amp, but if the DAC is crap then all your amp will be good at is amplifying the crap it is fed. I know there are many who would object to such an emphasis on the DAC, but at least in the case of the A900X I think the DAC is everything. When I have to listen to these headphones off the Fostex, I am always astonished anew when I get them back on this fantastic little DAC, it's like going from low-end audio to middle-grade in an instant.

 

 

Aside from the pitch for a strong DAC, there was some burn-in required. My own pair sounded a bit like cardboard when new, but a long burn-in (>100 hours) has softened up this aspect, and now the vocals and other mid tones perform remarkably well, I would say it is the strongest suit of these cans, besides the higher bass end where you can get good punch and speed.

 

The addition of a decent DAC/Amp has had some interesting effects. It definitely tightened up the bass more, and the mids improved slightly. The vocals sound great. The high frequencies improved enormously with the Fostex DAC, but I'm still missing the very highest in a cymbal crash, etc., and they don't separate as well as the mids and low-mids. So I can definitely now see the limits in these headphones, and I think I'm getting the best possible sound I can reasonably obtain, albeit by spending more money on the DAC/Amp ($280 equivalent) than the headphones themselves ($180 equivalent). But I don't mind this, since I plan to upgrade my cans later and this Fostex will serve me well for a long long time (perhaps just as a pre-amp, and get a tube amp section going…there are many fun possibilities).

 

So there you have it. The ATH-A900X are excellent HPs for the price, but you'll run up against fundamental limitations which reveal themselves when you try all the various options to improve them. Sometimes I listen to songs where my ears are left begging for the sub-100Hz depth that I know exists, but just isn't delivered. Note that playing with an equalizer did not help at all, just added rumbles when I tried to boost the lowest end, so I went back to neutral because that is where these cans perform best in the low mid to high mid range. The bass is still very tight and punchy without EQ, just not deep and extending to ULFs. With any artificial bass boost the rumbles degrade the tightness, and you lose one of the best characteristics of the headphone.

 

I'm getting impatient for an upgrade, but have to wait a little while longer. In the meantime, still very happy to listen to these, and still think they're a wonderful value for the price. I think my desire for better VLF and VHF performance is exacerbated by my constraints of living in a small apartment in Tokyo. My home system is a pair of Dali Zensor 1s with Marantz M-CR603…these Dali's are also exceptional value, and also perform extremely well in the mids. Honestly, these sound way better than the ATH-A900X in many respects (I wonder when they'll start making headphones?). But they are also weaker in the lowest and highest ends, so I guess it is quite analogous to the ATH-A900X. In any case, I think all these mid-rich VLF/VHF-limited sound scenarios are making me ache more and more for a pair of cans that deliver better results on both ends (that's what she said?)…something I'll probably have to pay $500 or more to achieve. Oh well, I guess that's the slippery slope of getting into hi-fi. If anyone has any strong recommendations for my next cans given my thirst for VHF and VLF performance, I'm quite open to suggestions. I'm very sensitive to spikes and at this point I prefer a U-shape response spectrum with very mild slopes on either end.


Edited by JHern - 10/29/13 at 7:41am
post #336 of 455

Has anyone tried installing Hifiman: Velour Pads onto their a900x? Id like some instructions or a direction onto how i should install them. Many thanks.

post #337 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by renren View Post
 

Has anyone tried installing Hifiman: Velour Pads onto their a900x? Id like some instructions or a direction onto how i should install them. Many thanks.

 

Yes, I did.

You just take the rings off and "force" the pad on the A900X.

It requires quite a bit of stretching but they can be fitted on them.

Be extra careful around the fat lip part or you might tear one like I did.

I find the tonal balance comparable to the stock pads, which are good IMO.

I am gonna fit the stock pads or the velour pads on the W1000X once it arrives :]

Good luck!

 

Here, some encouragement photos - 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #338 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post
 

 

Yes, I did.

You just take the rings off and "force" the pad on the A900X.

It requires quite a bit of stretching but they can be fitted on them.

Be extra careful around the fat lip part or you might tear one like I did.

I find the tonal balance comparable to the stock pads, which are good IMO.

I am gonna fit the stock pads or the velour pads on the W1000X once it arrives :]

Good luck!

 

Here, some encouragement photos - 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the "fat lip" part of the headphones? When you say force, how much force are we thinking? Thanks for your help!

post #339 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by renren View Post


What is the "fat lip" part of the headphones? When you say force, how much force are we thinking? Thanks for your help!

That's the thick part of the mounting, first picture for example.
You can use a lot of force, you even have to. Just try to be somewhat careful.
post #340 of 455

Ordered my Hifiman Velours the other day! Can't wait!

post #341 of 455
Hi guys, I'm planning to get these hp's for Christmas! I'm looking for a cheap amp or amp/dac.I'm looking at fiio e7k,e12,any other suggestions?(under 150$)thanks!
post #342 of 455
Anyone?
post #343 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsamod View Post

Hi guys, I'm planning to get these hp's for Christmas! I'm looking for a cheap amp or amp/dac.I'm looking at fiio e7k,e12,any other suggestions?(under 150$)thanks!

They are fine straight off a good DAP [that is Clip+ and above] but if you wanna amp them, they will surely probably improve a bit.

Fiio products are good value for money, the higher model, the better sound.

post #344 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post

They are fine straight off a good DAP [that is Clip+ and above] but if you wanna amp them, they will surely probably improve a bit.
Fiio products are good value for money, the higher model, the better sound.

This ^. They are really efficient and don't need an amp imo. They improve a little with one. When using a computer a dac will make a bigger difference.
post #345 of 455
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioKyle View Post


This ^. They are really efficient and don't need an amp imo. They improve a little with one. When using a computer a dac will make a bigger difference.

Yeah, out of an integrated soundcard [Realtek and the likes] they sound TERRIBLE.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Audio Technica ATH-A900X Discussion Thread (Formerly A-900X Review)