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?
Edited by razzz42 - 5/2/13 at 9:43pm