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Audio Technica updates their open headphones "AD" Series: AD2000x, AD1000x, AD900x, AD700x and... - Page 72

post #1066 of 1906

I now have the Sony MA900 (open box, looks like new).

 

The bass is there but the high are missing in action and I don't expect them to show up anytime soon. The mids are mediocre. The staging lacks compared to the AD700. The AD700 also has better highs.

 

If I wanted bass I would wear my 'closed' A900x because the MA900 lacks the 'open' sound staging so why buy them for the lows? In fact, I think the A900x has better staging, I know it has more clarity, better mids and highs and the bass it truer but not as comfortable a headphone..

 

The MA900 are lite and comfortable, don't really notice the headband across the top. The ear cups are comfortable but not as felt soft as they could be, probably makes for a better seal for the bass sounds. The cord lead is a weak point for shielding capabilities. Has some exposed screw heads in the inside band slot. Glad I didn't pay full price, nowhere near worth it.

 

The MA900 larger 70mm driver/diaphragm reminds of the difference between a skin stretched over a kettle drum or a smaller diaphragm (AD700 53mm driver still larger than typical) compared with a skin stretched over a smaller snare drum. The kettle drum is going to give off a deeper sound.  I have no idea if that was the thinking going into the design of the MA900. Whatever, so far the highs and staging suffer in these headphones esp. for an 'open' headphone.

 

The only disclaimer is I don't know how many hours are on these MA900 so I have to wait to see if the sound changes with use. Highs usually won't increase much over time, the mids could get better along with the bass and give slightly better staging. Not sure it will help with the detailing.

 

So far for the newbies esp. gamers wanting staging, I would buy a pair of 'open' AD700 looking to pay around $80 and save your nickels and dimes for a decent amp and opamp setup either in combination or separate. Different brand amp sound capabilities don't usually vary much except with extra options,  higher quality capacitors are always a plus.  Opamps should sit in a 'socket' to be exchangeable then you swap them out to your liking and experiment, beats buying new headphones every week.  I think the experience would be more rewarding...But what the hell do I know?

 

[Edit: Spelling]


Edited by razzz42 - 5/2/13 at 9:43pm
post #1067 of 1906

thank u for this post, i was contemplating buying the "kettle drum" :P

53mm is gud enuf

post #1068 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzz42 View Post

The ear cups are comfortable but not as felt soft as they could be, probably makes for a better seal for the bass sounds.

 

Lol I don't think the a better seal was ever a design consideration for the MA900 considering the giant hole in the headphone. It's an earspeaker design after all.

 

Thanks for the impressions but I dunno if I can agree. I've been A/Bing the AD1000X against the MA900 and even though the AD1000X improves on what I felt were the biggest weaknesses of the AD900X (the AD1000X is more defined) I still find the MA900 the more relaxing and natural can. (More comfortable too haha.)

 

The AD1000X is just as defined as the MA900 and certainly has the more exciting and dynamic sound - colouration in the upper bass and lower mids that gives a real punch to the sound and energy to the treble. I can see it working well for gaming. However to me the MA900 also sounds a lot more natural and the actual shape of the soundstaging feels more 'right'.

 

I'm actually struggling to find proper words for this because it isn't as though the MA900 has a wider soundstage, it just sounds more transparent to me somehow. It may be the severely angled drivers. Again the lack of treble sparkle compared to the AD headphones means it can't match them for that cavernous echoey soundscape, but in terms of actual placement and staging it seems as good as the AD1000X if not better.

 

Unlike with the AD900X though I actually think the AD1000X and MA900 are technically on the same footing, and the decision comes down to comfort, build quality and signature preference. The AD1000X sounds so stellar with female vocals, classic Audio Technica.

post #1069 of 1906

I've always wondered if some open-box returns genuinely had something wrong with them.

post #1070 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post

I've always wondered if some open-box returns genuinely had something wrong with them.

 

I dunno. It doesn't sound like there is anything severely wrong with razzz42's pair. The MA900 is just a boringly competent headphone.

post #1071 of 1906

I would almost give the MA900 a fail but I have to give them a chance before saying anything more. Have 30 days to send them back minus a 15% restocking fee and shipping.

 

They sound inline with most comments here and elsewhere, I just didn't think "flat response" was a good description of them, more like missing response toward the high end or them lacking staging is an understatement for an open headphone. Getting into the higher retail price ranges, I expect more or better out of them. If your hearing is shot them you might enjoy the bass end of the MA900 but you could buy a closed headphone and do better.

 

The ear cup padding seal is important as it affords some pressure wave resistance to give a bit of back pressure on the eardrum.  Lots of mods using difference ear cup styles or putting some tape on a port hole or across the screens to create more bass or just increase the clamping pressure of the ear cups. Not that I've tried any of those but some guys have.
 

I am using a Prodigy HD2 Advanced stereo sound card with my favorite opamps, that hasn't change. No enhancements but the opamps I am using give a really satisfying clean bass to the AD700, of course not punchy but definitely more satisfying along with enhancing the highs, staging and everything else, very nice.  I was breaking in a pair of AD500, even lighter than the AD700. They are really fatiguing in the highs and absent bass but the staging is good, mids fine. Thought about a modification to them with AD1000 drivers maybe sometime later.

post #1072 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzz42 View Post

The ear cup padding seal is important as it affords some pressure wave resistance to give a bit of back pressure on the eardrum.  Lots of mods using difference ear cup styles or putting some tape on a port hole or across the screens to create more bass or just increase the clamping pressure of the ear cups. Not that I've tried any of those but some guys have.

 

This is off topic and I would agree with you for most headphones. Surely the giant air gap in the MA900 earcup would render any differences in the amount of air damping / resistance provided by the ear cup material insignificant? The air won't compress much in the chamber of the earcup, it will just equalise though the port. You could seal the port and I'm sure the earpad material would become a huge difference. As I understand it that is the disadvantage of earspeaker designs - the driver is essentially in free air and there is no damping / resistance that will help the driver return to a neutral position - meaning very high levels of THD distortion for low frequency notes. 

post #1073 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzz42 View Post

I would almost give the MA900 a fail but I have to give them a chance before saying anything more. Have 30 days to send them back minus a 15% restocking fee and shipping.

 

They sound inline with most comments here and elsewhere, I just didn't think "flat response" was a good description of them, more like missing response toward the high end or them lacking staging is an understatement for an open headphone. Getting into the higher retail price ranges, I expect more or better out of them. If your hearing is shot them you might enjoy the bass end of the MA900 but you could buy a closed headphone and do better.

 

The ear cup padding seal is important as it affords some pressure wave resistance to give a bit of back pressure on the eardrum.  Lots of mods using difference ear cup styles or putting some tape on a port hole or across the screens to create more bass or just increase the clamping pressure of the ear cups. Not that I've tried any of those but some guys have.
 

I am using a Prodigy HD2 Advanced stereo sound card with my favorite opamps, that hasn't change. No enhancements but the opamps I am using give a really satisfying clean bass to the AD700, of course not punchy but definitely more satisfying along with enhancing the highs, staging and everything else, very nice.  I was breaking in a pair of AD500, even lighter than the AD700. They are really fatiguing in the highs and absent bass but the staging is good, mids fine. Thought about a modification to them with AD1000 drivers maybe sometime later.

What opamps do you use with the AD700?

post #1074 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazen View Post

What opamps do you use with the AD700?

I know it is off topic...

 

LME49990MA in the two I/V-filter sockets  and  LT-1028CN8 on the one buffer-output socket, needs a certain type of adapter board like this. Some opamps are drop in replacement and don't require adapter boards. For reference this site lists more common opamps in use but I would try to beat their prices.  I have no problem using parts from China. If you are handy at soldering you can buy the parts much cheaper but it is delicate work. Threads on this site go into great detail and discussions about their favorite opamps.

 

The (3) removable opamps chips with the little silver legs showing can rock you world when you find the ones you prefer.

 


Might end up looking like this when if adapter boards are needed...

post #1075 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzz42 View Post

I know it is off topic...

 

LME49990MA in the two I/V-filter sockets  and  LT-1028CN8 on the one buffer-output socket, needs a certain type of adapter board like this. Some opamps are drop in replacement and don't require adapter boards. For reference this site lists more common opamps in use but I would try to beat their prices.  I have no problem using parts from China. If you are handy at soldering you can buy the parts much cheaper but it is delicate work. Threads on this site go into great detail and discussions about their favorite opamps.

 

The (3) removable opamps chips with the little silver legs showing can rock you world when you find the ones you prefer.


Might end up looking like this when if adapter boards are needed...

 

 

I'd rather solder, much cheaper.  I always wanted to get down into opamp rolling but there is way too much contradictory opinions on what opamps sound better, etc.  Though yeah, way off topic!

 

On a more topic oriented note, I noticed the AD700 has better imagery for gaming compared to Audio Technica's A900X and AD900X.  The AD900X while not terrible seems to slack in FPS games.

 

 

I had the MA900, the highs weren't engaging but they were present.  Very relaxing music from the MA900, the AD900X is very much the opposite.

 

Where did you get your open box from?  I got mine from Sonic Electronix and they waived the restocking fees.

 

a_recording is going to break me once he gets a review done on the AD1000X >.>


Edited by Yazen - 5/3/13 at 8:25pm
post #1076 of 1906

beachaudio had a pair of MA900 marked down that I am trying out. That is what I'm hearing, some missing highs or just toned down highs and even some toned down mids besides missing a lot of openness. Can't speak to the AD900 series, never had any of them.
 

Like headphones, people have already done most of your homework for you to narrow down your choices, same with opamps. If you prefer highs, lows or whatever there is certain headphones or opamps waiting to be tried.

post #1077 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzz42 View Post

beachaudio had a pair of MA900 marked down that I am trying out. That is what I'm hearing, some missing highs or just toned down highs and even some toned down mids besides missing a lot of openness. Can't speak to the AD900 series, never had any of them.
 

Like headphones, people have already done most of your homework for you to narrow down your choices, same with opamps. If you prefer highs, lows or whatever there is certain headphones or opamps waiting to be tried.

 

They seemed open enough to me, maybe you need some more time with them.  You said earlier the A900X had better soundstage, but I'm certain I felt the opposite.

 

The A900X is way more exciting, if the A900X was a sunny day the MA900 would be cloudy with a chance of rain ;)

 

A little dark, lows and highs seem a bit tweaked, great sound to relax with.

 

So yeah I agree with you there completely.


When I lifted the MA900 from my rack I had to force myself not to look at the AD900X, usually when I want to listen to music I tend to lean towards treble-oriented music.

post #1078 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazen View Post

 

They seemed open enough to me, maybe you need some more time with them.  You said earlier the A900X had better soundstage, but I'm certain I felt the opposite.

 

The A900X is way more exciting, if the A900X was a sunny day the MA900 would be cloudy with a chance of rain ;)

 

A little dark, lows and highs seem a bit tweaked, great sound to relax with.

 

So yeah I agree with you there completely.


When I lifted the MA900 from my rack I had to force myself not to look at the AD900X, usually when I want to listen to music I tend to lean towards treble-oriented music.

I think we are hearing the same things. You say the MA 900 is relaxed, I say it misses the boat entirely. If I want relaxed sound, I will just turn down the volume. Might do better with more time on them but I don't know how much better. Hard to believe they actually were new with no usage.

 

The A900x is fine for me for a closed headphone with its bass and decent staging but my AD700 gets the majority of use with its superb mid to high frequency range, separation, detail and staging. I prefer the highs. A lot going on in that range with bells, lead guitar licks on the lower part of the neck, cymbals, altos, echos, etc. l like those sounds.

 

Dare say the opamps I run add 50% or more to the sound esp. detail than if I plugged directly into a MP3 player, so I can tell when any headphone is responsive or not or where it is weak.

post #1079 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by razzz42 View Post

I think we are hearing the same things. You say the MA 900 is relaxed, I say it misses the boat entirely. If I want relaxed sound, I will just turn down the volume. Might do better with more time on them but I don't know how much better. Hard to believe they actually were new with no usage.

 

The A900x is fine for me for a closed headphone with its bass and decent staging but my AD700 gets the majority of use with its superb mid to high frequency range, separation, detail and staging. I prefer the highs. A lot going on in that range with bells, lead guitar licks on the lower part of the neck, cymbals, altos, echos, etc. l like those sounds.

 

Dare say the opamps I run add 50% or more to the sound esp. detail than if I plugged directly into a MP3 player, so I can tell when any headphone is responsive or not or where it is weak.

No matter what volume I set my AD700 to I cannot listen to electronica, the piercing treble aaaaaaaaaaagh!  I bought the AD900X hoping it would be an AD700 with better bass extension, I was half wrong.

 

The AD900X does not have the amazing highs like the AD700, cymbals do not give me goosebumps like they used to.  The airy-ness signature remains, but is less emphasized.

 

Don't be surprised, my A900X was refurbished and I'm 100% sure it had no more than a handful of hours usage out of the box.  

 

I use a Musiland 02 for my desktop, and currently a Walkman Z + Cmoy (opa2227) as my portable source/amp.  opa2227 isn't very musical, but some of my vintage material gets really hard to hear.

post #1080 of 1906
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazen View Post

No matter what volume I set my AD700 to I cannot listen to electronica, the piercing treble aaaaaaaaaaagh!  I bought the AD900X hoping it would be an AD700 with better bass extension, I was half wrong.

 

The AD900X does not have the amazing highs like the AD700, cymbals do not give me goosebumps like they used to.  The airy-ness signature remains, but is less emphasized.

 

Don't be surprised, my A900X was refurbished and I'm 100% sure it had no more than a handful of hours usage out of the box.  

 

I use a Musiland 02 for my desktop, and currently a Walkman Z + Cmoy (opa2227) as my portable source/amp.  opa2227 isn't very musical, but some of my vintage material gets really hard to hear.

Brown Dog addition with LME49990 in a M-02 with these results (guaranteed not to be your imagination). The Cmoy thread will get you good advice for an opamp. majkel has a clue.


Edited by razzz42 - 5/4/13 at 12:08pm
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