Introducing, from the New ''X'' Art series, the ATH-A900X
I’ve been a long time lurker on head-fi. As of this post, I’ve barely contributed 315ish posts over the course of 5 years. Having been a member for this long, you can imagine how many pairs of headphones I have gone through (more than 20 pairs).
Normally I feel unqualified to post reviews about things, but with headphones I figured now is probably the best time to contribute—after all, this month marks the 5 year mark since I entered the world of higher end audio. As a token of appreciation, I hope to bring at least one quality review for the community.
The story behind these cans is that I managed to find a shop with a gigantic headphone isle to which we were free to demo various cans while in Japan. After auditioning many pairs, I stopped at these, the ATH-A900X. These seemed to have the best price/performance, though if I could afford, the W1000X would have been my first choice.
This review will be from the standpoint of this kind of guy!
- I love a balanced sound, with slight emphasis on bass
- I -need- a vast and wide soundstage to feel immersed
- I have a large head, I don’t know my cap size but relative to the average head, mine’s larger than normal
- My favourite genres of music are classical / progressive house / trance / jpop
- My favourite pair of headphones is the Beyerdynamic DT880 (250ohm). They have this “airy” feeling that I can’t describe, and that I can’t seem to find in any other pair of headphones!
- Price/performance is always on my mind when I make a purchase.
So if you’re at all like me, you may find this super helpful. If your tastes don’t match mine, I hope I am still able to contribute to your research for your next purchase!
Pictures will speak for themselves here. Enjoy!
Taken with Olympus Pen E-PL1 with M.Zuiko 17mm f2.8 lens.
The Official Specifications:
Type: Closed-back Dynamic
Driver: 53mm, Bobbin winding OFC voice coil
Frequency response: 5-40,000 Hz
Impedence: 42 ohms
Max. Input Power: 2,000mW
Plug: Gold-plating stereo 3.5mm
Cord length: 3.0m (Wrapping / Hi-OFC)
Net weight (without cord): 350g
Earpad part number: HP-A900X
Extra included: 3.5mm to 6.3mm gold plated adapter
The ear pads seem a tad tough, but I imagine that overtime, they will become softer.
The ''wings'' as shown in the below picture, are perfect. Many people have expressed complaints about the wings being too weak, but for my big head, they seem to work very well.
The head-band part seems well constructed. It is plastic, but it feels like there might be metal reinforcing inside? (Needs verification)
The cord is very elegantly wrapped in heat shrink plastic? (Need verification, see pic below). I don't know how to describe it, but it feels much sturdier than the typical cord you might see. The cord is reasonably thick and looks gorgeous. Furthermore, it terminates into a beautiful silver finished, gold plated 3.5mm plug.
Lastly, as you can see, the earcups are giant (around the size you'd find on the ATH-A700). And very nice looking! They have some weight to them, so I expect them to be relatively sturdy and hard to damage without purposely trying.
Areas where I can't describe exactly how I feel about them will get a rating out of 5. This is completely arbitrary and the rating is relative to other headphones in the same price range. The closed-back headphones I've heard that would be thrown into the comparison pool are: Shure SRH840, Beyer DT880's (okay.. semi-open), and Denon D2000's.
Burn-in/Break-in: I played continuous music through them at moderate volume for about 20 hours before writing this section. Prior to burn-in, the A900X’s sounded dull and relatively boring, but the bass was still very good. After 20 hours, they sound a lot better now. More on that…
Isolation - 3/5: While these are closed headphones, they leak a tiny bit of sound at higher volumes. I think this is perfectly reasonable. For isolating outside noise, they’re not any better or worse than the typical closed back headphones.
Highs - 4/5:
The highs are “awesome”! They don’t seem to extend as high as, say, the Sony MDR-V6’s or the Beyer DT880’s, but they still do have a bit of a sparkle. There appears to be near-zero sibilance (big plus), so no complaints here. Instruments as high sounding as triangles are extremely pleasant to listen to with these cans. No fatigue (due to music, that is).
The mids, wow! These are the best mids I’ve heard under for $300. My favourite vocalist is BoA Kwon, so I have been using BoA’s music for a taste of midrange. Her voice is more addictive than ever now, there's some sort of ''lively'' presence that I can feel that was otherwise not present in other closed cans, including my past-closed-favourite pair of cans, the Denon D2000.
Lows - 5/5:
Controlled bass exists in closed cans other than cans as expensive as Denon D2000’s! I’ve owned the Denon D2000’s and the ATH-A900X’s are more than capable of keeping up. It’s not as hard hitting as the Denons, but this allows the mids to really shine over the Denons. Compared to the Sony MDR-V6’s, the A900X’s crush them. The V6 has more bass, but the bass in the A900X’s are much easier to listen to and much less fatiguing.
Soundstage - 5/5:
The A900X's have the largest soundstage of any closed-type headphones I've heard. Granted I have not heard the Denon D7000's, but these definitely beat the D2000's for soundstage and instrument separation! I feel as though only open cans can beat the A900X's in this category.
Comfort - 4/5:
Lastly, these headphones are very comfortable. I'd rate these at the same comfort level as the A700's (not AD700). Here is a short list of headphones I have heard and their relative comfort:
Most grado/Alessandro headphones
Audio Technica A900X (same comfort level as A700X)
Audio Technica AD700
After about 2 hours, due to their closed design nature, I feel like I need to give my ears some air. They get hot, but not sweaty. (Kind of hard to explain that..)
The Audio Technica ATH-A900X are extremely well rounded headphones. I highly recommend them for indoor listening! The mids are very rich, the highs aren't fatiguing and the the excellent lows, coupled with a vast soundstage makes the A900X's fun to listen to! Compared to some popular headphones that cost more (Denon D2000, for example), the A900X's are even more balanced sounding. I'd go as far as to say that these are the most balanced sub-$500 closed headphones I have heard.
Feel free to leave any comments, suggestions, etc.
Thank you head-fi for getting me into this hobby! Thank you for reading, and I hope I have been of help.
I'm at about the 40 hour mark with these headphones. I feel that the sound has opened up more and it seems to be headed for a more balanced sound. As of now, I do think that the closest headphones that have this kind of sound might actually be the Beyerdynamic DT880's.
I should be around 90 hours with the headphones. The sound has settled and has not changed much from what I remember of it. The only difference is now the earpads are more broken in and they are now even more comfortable than before! I have also tried gaming with them and I was able to wear them for about 5 hours before needing a breather (compared to about 1-2 hours with Shure SRH840 headphones). Because the soundstage on them is so vast, first person shooters (Battlefield 3 namely) are more enjoyable to play with them on.
Edited by Mysteek - 8/27/12 at 4:17pm