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Upgrading from Audio-Technica ATH-A900

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi Head-Fi,
 
I've been using my primarily my home theater system for music listening in the past year -- my roommate has been borrowing my headphones (AudioTechnica ATH-A900) and finally just offered to buy them from me. I accepted, thinking it would be a good time to upgrade.
 
My decision to purchase the ATH-A900's was anything but technically well-informed -- I went to a friend's house, listened to his set, and bought a pair of my own a week later. I haven't tried out many high-end headphones, so my understanding of the terminology and capacity to evaluate the complexity of a headphone's sound signature is somewhat limited in comparison to you guys!
 
So, in laymen's terms, here's what I'm currently looking for in pair of headphones:
 
1. Versatility: I listen to everything from Miles Davis to Brahms to Nick Drake to Sonic Youth to death metal. One thing I noticed about the A900's is that they tended to be a bit weaker with heavier music.
 
2. Closed vs Open-back: I have a slight preference towards closed-back headphones, but it's not so overwhelming as to rule out open-back headphones altogether. My listening environment is such that I'm usually not in a position to bother anyone else.
 
3. Amplifier Independence: The A900 sounded basically the same plugged into an amplifier as it did plugged directly into my computer. I could theoretically grab an amp to pair with a new set of phones, but I'd prefer to avoid the added cost if possible.
 
4: Openness: I don't know how else to describe this, but I enjoyed the airy/spacy feel of the A900's and would like my next pair to put an emphasis on this as well.
 
 
I've been primarily looking at the A2000X and W1000X so far. I'm leaning towards the A2000X because it seems to be the more neutral and versatile of the two. I've read that the W1000X has boomier bass and a more colored sound, so I assume the A2000X would be better suited to a wider range of music. Bass is important to me, but it doesn't need to be earthshattering. I don't consider myself a "basshead" by any stretch.
 
Information about the A1000X is relatively scarce, so I haven't done as much research on those as the others.
 
My budget is ~$600. Any advice?
 
Thanks!
 
edit: changed thread title to be more accessible for those not familiar with the headphones i discuss in this article!!

Edited by auralsun - 7/29/12 at 1:01pm
post #2 of 9

What amplifier are you using?

Audio technica ATH-A900s are easy to drive, so do not need much of an amplifier to work decently.

But a better DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) might help improve your audio quality.

Something to hook between your computer and your current amplifier.

post #3 of 9

I own the A900. I actually really like them and I think they are a great value at ~$200. Very underrated headphone IMO. I would characterize them as having warmish bass, forward mids, and rolled-off highs. Sounds good with vocals, jazz, and instrumental music. Not so good for "heavier" music like hard rock and electronic. You'll probably hear the biggest difference if your next headphone is an open-back instead of closed. My next headphone upgrade will probably a HD600, but from what I've heard, the HD650 have a warmer sound that would be more similar the the A900. There are a few other open headphones in that price range that might be worth looking at too.
 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Sorry -- to clarify, I'm not using an amp with my headphones right now. I A/B'd them using my friend's amp vs using no amp and there was no discernable difference. I know this is not the case with many headphones, but it seems to be more common with AT's.

 

I know HD650s are one of the more popular audiophile headphones on this forum (and the world) -- will look more into them!

 

Any other recommendations?

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralsun View Post

Sorry -- to clarify, I'm not using an amp with my headphones right now. I A/B'd them using my friend's amp vs using no amp and there was no discernable difference. I know this is not the case with many headphones, but it seems to be more common with AT's.

 

I know HD650s are one of the more popular audiophile headphones on this forum (and the world) -- will look more into them!

 

Any other recommendations?

That airy/space feeling is called soundstage, and how well you can identify the carious instruments at various positions in the soundstage is called imaging.

 

AKG is known for soundstage, The Q701 being one of the biggest soundstage headphones out there, but they aren't for everyone, and need a good amp, preferably tubes to make them more musical. I think the odds are you will enjoy them, but they apparently don't do rock so well.

 

They are on sale on amazon. 

 

I DON'T own them, so you will haveto do your own homework. Just giving options.

post #6 of 9
Hello, I have both headphones the ath a 900 and the ath w1000x.

I updated my ath a 900 by sein hd650 but didn't like their sound signature that much then got some athw1000x and was very happy with them
It is right to get a correct DAC would be a good choice. A sound card like essence st is already a good start
post #7 of 9
Ath w1000x are fun headphones very dynamics making the music sounds fast with a good soundstage. They have more treble over atha 900 so bad recordings won't be favorised

"Openness: I don't know how else to describe this, but I enjoyed the airy/spacy feel of the A900's and would like my next pair to put an emphasis on this as well."
W1000X are better for shure
Edited by TontonJoK - 8/4/12 at 11:41am
post #8 of 9
Between ATH A900 and ATH M50, which is a better choice in term of comfort, wider sound stage, clear separation and deep extended bass?
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberalpha11 View Post

Between ATH A900 and ATH M50, which is a better choice in term of comfort, wider sound stage, clear separation and deep extended bass?

The A900 stomps the M50. The A900X stomps it even further.

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