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[REVIEW/COMPARISON] ATH-AD900X vs ATH-AD1000X vs MDR-MA900 - It's STILL over 900!!!! - Page 13

post #181 of 320
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RMiller View Post

 

Well, HD650 is usually 2x-2.5x more expensive and probably same goes for orthos, I guess it would've been pretty disappointing (for 650) otherwise :P

 

Right, right.

 

Though I do think the MA900 gives the HD650 a run for its money which is why I love it so much :D

post #182 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

Whoah. I was freaking out a little until I read that last line.

 

As I understand it, the principle of the bass lens is a little more complex than simply changing the pressure. Any shape in the pathway of sound waves (megaphone, trumpet, reverse trumpet, SE846 low-pass filter, etc) introduces particular resonances in sound and decreases others. Keep in mind that if you put a narrow nozzle on a vacuum hose, not only will the pressure change, but the flow of the air will change and the sound of the suction (which is actually just flow of air anyway) will change.

 

I don't know if it was ever confirmed that the MA900 uses the XB1000 driver. I doubt that the use of LCP would make a huge difference anyway, given that for instance the EX1000 only exhibit improvements in distortion at high volumes (100db) over the 7550 due to the use of LCP in the EX1000.

 

Since the XB1000 has earpads that are much thicker than the MA900 and the MDR-R1, swapping pads alone alone would change the sound completely. I do not think that it would be possible to increase bass on the MA900 without decreasing sensitivity and thereby increasing the already quite high distortion at lower frequencies. Now if you combined a stronger low pass filter with the LCP driver you might see some sparks fly! :D

 

That's my theory anyway.

Oh yeah, forgot about that (pressure change from lens= sonic change). Although it's a cheap way of tuning the driver, it works, and it's effective.

 

The reason why I said the MA900 uses a variation of the XB1k driver is because the driver membrane is the same, and the structure looks about the same too. For reference, it's like comparing the AD900 driver to the AD700 driver. It's the same overall structure, but tuned differently, and maybe having a different sized magnet or different magnet design along with the headphone enclosure changes (like the driver angle). I'm sure there's a different magnet behind the MA900, and possibly a different felt material for the ports behind the driver than the xb1k. Since I don't have both headphones, I can't make a legit statement, but it makes sense.

 

Well, I listen to most of my music at roughly the same loudness a movie theatre is (around 100dB), so I guess I, and any others who listen somewhat loudly, could reap the benefits of a better membrane material. I'm just curious to see what the differences between LCP and the membrane material used in the ma900 is. Is it lighter, thinner, more rigid, etc.? I know that the thinner and lighter the membrane is, the easier the magnet is able to manhandle the voice coil (which is attached to the membrane), which should improve the speed and transparency of the driver, as well as reducing any distortions, like you said.

 

The earpads won't alter the sound as much as you think. With my AD2000MKIV (a major mod of the AD900s), swapping the earpads improved the headphones in every aspect (improved transparency, greatly improved bass response, soundstage is larger and more transparent, blah blah. The review will give you a more detailed analysis on them). Then again, we're dealing with a different earpad material and thickness, so that could subtly change the characteristics (like absorbing x frequency range, or making x frequency range sound hollow or recessed because of the increased distance). I'm thinking they would make the headphones sound a bit darker and improve the bass quantity. Maybe improve the soundstage width due to the extra distance from your ears from the drivers. I don't know. I just have to get both pairs and take them apart to see what I'm dealing with.

 

I don't really understand your theory tongue.gif If you decrease the sensitivity, that basically means that it will take more power to listen at the rated dB level (700mW@ 104dB vs 700mW@ 95dB or 800-ish mW @ 104dB) Well, it really isn't 700mW for the ma900. That's more like the maximum amount of power the driver is able to handle before you start seeing sparks, but it's along the lines of that. It's also the reason why orthos and other hard to drive headphones need a powerful amp in order to get it at the desired volume level (without any distortion). They aren't very sensitive/efficient headphones (the HE-6, for instance has an 84dB sensitivity), so they need a lot of power in order to get the headphones up to a louder volume level. Afaik, a low pass filter attenuates the frequency range past the lower frequencies (it passes the low frequencies, and attenuates the rest, wherever x cutoff frequency is at). So, I don't know how that correlates to increasing bass quantity.

 

The earpads aren't going to make the drivers magically produce more bass. It'll just increase the pressure, given you have a good set of earpads that seal well. You have a bad seal, the bass is going to leak out, which will roll off the lower frequencies (which means little pressure on the low end). You plug in those gaps with earpads that seal well, as well as having a good clamping force, the bass has nowhere to go except to your ears, which will greatly increase the pressure (especially with a 70mm driver), and perceived bass quantity. It's the main reason why many higher end closed headphones have better bass performance than open headphones. They usually clamp more and have better sealing earpads on them, which increases the pressure. None of the lower frequencies are rolled off because of that, and instead of having an attenuated low end, it may/will look closer to many other closed headphones (like a bell-shaped or convex lower frequency range). Well, if you don't cover those holes on either channel on the ma900s, the pressure will still be the same, since the bass has somewhere to escape, but cover those holes with your hands, or rip out some duct tape, and I'm pretty sure the MA900s will have noticeably more bass pressure. The only problem will be how to absorb any resonances or reverberations that the increased pressure will create. The headphone enclosure isn't made to handle that amount of pressure (which will, in turn really vibrate the enclosure), so you probably have to put some kind of dampening material like dynamat in order to help absorb those mechanical vibrations. Then again, the headphones may have a pretty sturdy construction, in spite of their minimalistic looks, so you may have to do nothing to them.

post #183 of 320
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trae View Post
I don't really understand your theory tongue.gif If you decrease the sensitivity, that basically means that it will take more power to listen at the rated dB level (700mW@ 104dB vs 700mW@ 95dB or 800-ish mW @ 104dB) Well, it really isn't 700mW for the ma900. That's more like the maximum amount of power the driver is able to handle before you start seeing sparks, but it's along the lines of that. 

 

What I mean is that any attempt to increase the bass on the MA900 is the same as applying a filter on the highs. That's what the bass lens does, that's what the felt does. They are all low pass filters which means that to get the same volume of highs you need to increase the overall volume.

 

This is why the 7550 is warmer than the EX1000 despite the 7550 being just a ~3db low pass filter applied to the EX1000. The 7550 doesn't have *more* bass at the same power input level, it just has less highs at the same power input level. Since the highs are softer, you turn up the volume, and thus get a relatively greater amount of bass/mids in the mix.

 

Since turning up the volume puts more power into the driver, you get more inefficiency in terms of heat produced by the voice coil, mechanical inefficiency and I would wager more audible distortion. I'm not an electrical engineer though so I'm not sure how this exactly works, but I imagine it's analogous to putting a car into a lower than optimal gear. You get more torque but the engine revs up higher and gets more inefficient / noisier.

 

If the engineers have done their job properly, the driver in a headphone has been optimised for a certain set of physical characteristics. That said, tuning the driver a specific way and having specifications handed down my marketing are also factors, but I suspect the MA900 was a very engineering-led design considering, well, how weird it is.

post #184 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

 

What I mean is that any attempt to increase the bass on the MA900 is the same as applying a filter on the highs. That's what the bass lens does, that's what the felt does. They are all low pass filters which means that to get the same volume of highs you need to increase the overall volume.

 

This is why the 7550 is warmer than the EX1000 despite the 7550 being just a ~3db low pass filter applied to the EX1000. The 7550 doesn't have *more* bass at the same power input level, it just has less highs at the same power input level. Since the highs are softer, you turn up the volume, and thus get a relatively greater amount of bass/mids in the mix.

 

Since turning up the volume puts more power into the driver, you get more inefficiency in terms of heat produced by the voice coil, mechanical inefficiency and I would wager more audible distortion. I'm not an electrical engineer though so I'm not sure how this exactly works, but I imagine it's analogous to putting a car into a lower than optimal gear. You get more torque but the engine revs up higher and gets more inefficient / noisier.

 

If the engineers have done their job properly, the driver in a headphone has been optimised for a certain set of physical characteristics. That said, tuning the driver a specific way and having specifications handed down my marketing are also factors, but I suspect the MA900 was a very engineering-led design considering, well, how weird it is.

Oh, I understand, but I don't think that will apply to any attempts of increasing the bass on the ma900s, well at least my attempt. I can see a very dense felt material in front of the driver attenuating the higher frequencies a bit, but from the looks of it, the felt material on the ma900s looks pretty fluffy and plush. I'm pretty sure that serves more as a comfort reinforcement than a sonic tuning device, like the bass lens.

 

As far as the felt material behind the driver, I can see the felt material affecting the sound much more. The felt behind the driver mainly serves as a tuning material to keep the resonances under control  (as well as allowing the driver to properly reproduce the frequency range), and to prevent the diaphragm membrane from over-fluctuating and blowing. Too little felt behind the driver can cause some bad resonances, depending on the tuning of the driver (open headphones usually have a thinner, less restrictive felt material), and the little to no amounts of air resistance can cause the membrane to move more than it's supposed to which can lead to a blown driver. I should know because that happened to me on one of my driver mods.

 

For the modification I'm thinking about, you're not increasing the volume of the lower registers, but you're increasing the pressure of those frequencies at a given volume level (dB SPL). Sealing in all those gaps and putting on better sealing pads will increase the perceived volume of the lower frequencies, but all that's really happening is your containing the pressure that was lost with the holes on the rear sides of the headphone, and the light seal the pads gave you. The pressure was already there to begin with, but with the way the headphones were constructed, most of that pressure was lost. Since the goal of the MA900s was to offer a headphoneless, comfortable, and open-aired presentation, the light frame and the minimalistic approach to the design had a higher priority than bass performance, especially since they already have the XB1000 for that. I'm just the kind of guy that wants everything in one package instead of being tied over with multiple sets of headphones that don't completely satisfy my tastes (I'm not the kind of person that want bass one day and soundstage the next. I want it ALL very_evil_smiley.gif ). Since there are no headphones out there that can really satisfy me, I have to modify them so that they will. Plus, I'm just curious.

 

For the IEMs you noted, you also have to take into consideration that the EX1k has twice the impedance of the 7550, which can change the sound a bit, especially in the higher frequencies. I don't know how sensitive IEMs are to material changes, but I'm guessing that if there is a little filter in the 7550, that, along with the low impedance, could make them sound darker than the EX1k at a given volume level, and with an amp with x output impedance. But hey, you have both of them, so you know should more about them than I ever could tongue.gif


Edited by Trae - 7/3/13 at 8:22pm
post #185 of 320
Thread Starter 

Welp, this is a fascinating discussion but I am very rapidly going out of my depth lol.

 

You might find some interesting stuff in the write up Rin did of the MA900 over at his website though:

 

http://rinchoi.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/sony-mdr-ma900-in-depth-analysis.html

post #186 of 320

Great review a_recording!

 

Your video on the ATH-AD900x has really got me interested! I currently have a pair of Shure 215LTD iems that I use for everything, games, transit, music, movies...etc.

 

However I really want a pair of headphones just for home use mainly when I am using my computer, the AD900x seem to almost be the perfect pair!

 

Currently Im waiting for my funds to transfer into my paypal, then I will most likely buy sometime next week. Cant wait, these will be my first pair of higher end headphones!

 

What worries me a bit is how the bass of the ad900x's compare with my somewhat bassy iems, I mainly listen to pop, rock, a tiny bit of rap, however recently I have been enjoying female vocals and some instrumental music especially when I am studying.

 

I'm not a basshead or anything and by the review the MA900 may suit a broader range of genres but for some reason I still feel like the AD900x are the ones. I'm sure once I have the AD900x ill enjoy them either way since I never had headphones that were over 20 bucks.

 

Thanks for the awesome review and videos! I don't think I could've ever made a decision to buy the ad900xs without your information!

post #187 of 320
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcety View Post

Great review a_recording!

 

Hey thanks!

 

I actually have the SE215LTD right now. The question is, how much do you like their sound? Would there be anything you would want to change about them? I can tell you now the SE215LTD does not sound anything like the AD900X and perhaps not even too similar to the MA900...

post #188 of 320

The Shure 215LTD's have served me well, I've been using them for a little more than half a year now. I think I enjoy the mids of the shures the most, vocals sound great to me, but sometimes I feel the treble is a bit lacking? Im kinda new to the whole audiophile thing I'm not too sure how to describe sounds yet. The bass on the 215's are quite satisfying to me for the occasional bass heavy tracks, and I never have the feeling that I need anymore bass. TBH I really do enjoy my 215's, I do expect the AD900x to be much different, but in a good way?

 

That's awesome that you have the Shure 215LTD's as well! I guess its kind of hard to directly compare the Shure 215LTD with the ATH AD900x, but from what I read on the internet and through the forums I think impressions towards the AD900x if I get them will be like:

 

-much more sparkle (I think compared to the Shures, again newbie here..)

-huge soundstage, much more detail

-wayyy less bass quantity and punch than the 215s

-perhaps even a 'hollow' feeling since I am coming from iems??

 

am I being too obvious? lol

 

Would it be kinda hard If I asked you to compare they 215s with the AD900x? Is it one of those apples and oranges comparisons where they are completely different things, they are IEMs vs Headphones after all I guess.

 

I have been listening to some stuff like this on the Shures, while I study:

 

 

also stuff like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luM6oeCM7Yw

 

And Im pretty pleased with the way they sound, however I do want headphones so I don't have my iems plugged in my ear all the time.

 

EDIT: GAHH the more I read about the MA900 and other headphones the harder it is for me to confirm my decision on the AD900x!! I have about a week before any funds transfer to my paypal so I guess ill just read as much as I can before I actually make a purchase.


Edited by Dcety - 7/4/13 at 2:39pm
post #189 of 320
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcety View Post

-much more sparkle (I think compared to the Shures, again newbie here..)

-huge soundstage, much more detail

-wayyy less bass quantity and punch than the 215s

-perhaps even a 'hollow' feeling since I am coming from iems??

 

am I being too obvious? lol

 

It sounds like you have done your research and know exactly what you are in for! Yes they are definitely going to be different in all the ways you have described but since you seem prepared (and made curious) by that I think they would make a good complete 180 in terms of sound. You may learn something :D

 

Unfortunately I can't compare the two since I no longer own the AD900X but my advice would be, take a chance and see how you like them. Just make sure you get them for a good price so that if you don't like them you won't lose too much on the For Sale forum!

 

And keep us updated! :D Welcome to Head Fi btw!

post #190 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_recording View Post

 

Glad to be of service!

 

Honestly at the Amazon.co.jp prices these two headphones should be near the top of the list for anyone just beginning their collection. They are both great benchmarks.

 

If there was some secret love-child between the two it would be glorious. 

 

I personally think a secret love-child between the two headphones is probably the AKG Q701. That's what I least get the impression from your review, I've heard both the MA900 and Q701 extensively, I have not heard the AD900x or AD1000X, so I can't say for sure. The Q701 is a bit brighter and has slightly less bass presence compared to the MA900. I also found the Q701 treble non-fatiguing.

post #191 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by kman1211 View Post

 

I personally think a secret love-child between the two headphones is probably the AKG Q701. That's what I least get the impression from your review, I've heard both the MA900 and Q701 extensively, I have not heard the AD900x or AD1000X, so I can't say for sure. The Q701 is a bit brighter and has slightly less bass presence compared to the MA900. I also found the Q701 treble non-fatiguing.

 

Q and K are the same right? If so, I found the treble of the K701 "grainy" and "unrefined" compared to the AD900X in a recent meetup.

post #192 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCabDaddy View Post

 

Q and K are the same right? If so, I found the treble of the K701 "grainy" and "unrefined" compared to the AD900X in a recent meetup.

 

No they aren't the same, that's a misconception many people have about the Q701, they are different headphones, the Q701 has more refined and smoother treble, is darker sounding, and has more bass than the K701. Then the K702 65th Anniversary Edition is even darker, has even smoother treble, and a lot of bass. Basically the K701 is bright, the Q701 is neutral/slightly bright, and the K702 Annie is dark. It's kind of like the Sennheiser HD 580/600/650 family of headphones.

post #193 of 320

Long time lurker, creeping on these forums for audio advice. I don't know the terminology I didn't even know what I liked until recently I come from speakers and stuff. Alright so I want your guys's opinion so I don't keep sending stuff back to amazon. My first headphones were HD555's, I was unimpressed, then I got superlux 668b's a year or two ago and they are GOOD. But I want an upgrade to these superlux's because I'm never happy with sound quality I just keep needing more. Based on this review I got the ma900 from sony, they were comfortable. Holy crap were they comfortable. But the sound just wasn't right it was too warm, turns out I guess I'm more into neutral? Because after using the sony ma900s for a while then going back to the superlux's I was like WHAT WHAT?! ITS SO CLEAR. So I tried v-moda m-80s from amazon, good sound, great bass, like wearing subs on my head but still not clear/neutral like the superluxs. I chalk this up to just personal preference but based on what I'm reading and my shallow wallet do you recommend the ad900x's? They sound like more of the sound signature I seem to like. THANKS! and great reviews on this thread.

post #194 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by thatsmyburger View Post

Long time lurker, creeping on these forums for audio advice. I don't know the terminology I didn't even know what I liked until recently I come from speakers and stuff. Alright so I want your guys's opinion so I don't keep sending stuff back to amazon. My first headphones were HD555's, I was unimpressed, then I got superlux 668b's a year or two ago and they are GOOD. But I want an upgrade to these superlux's because I'm never happy with sound quality I just keep needing more. Based on this review I got the ma900 from sony, they were comfortable. Holy crap were they comfortable. But the sound just wasn't right it was too warm, turns out I guess I'm more into neutral? Because after using the sony ma900s for a while then going back to the superlux's I was like WHAT WHAT?! ITS SO CLEAR. So I tried v-moda m-80s from amazon, good sound, great bass, like wearing subs on my head but still not clear/neutral like the superluxs. I chalk this up to just personal preference but based on what I'm reading and my shallow wallet do you recommend the ad900x's? They sound like more of the sound signature I seem to like. THANKS! and great reviews on this thread.

The Superlux's are considered bright headphones. The MA900 is a slightly warm headphone but its quite neutral, it does seem to appear to have a veil if you come from a brighter headphone or a headphone with more prominent treble, but I found if you let your ears adjust to their sound the veil lifts. I noticed when swapping from the AKG K240 to the MA900, the MA900 sounds less clear, less dynamic, and less transparent than the K240, also going from the MA900 to K240, the K240 seems to lack some detail and speed. But oddly I found the MA900 to sound very clear and transparent after having my ears adjust to them. If you want very clear sound, I would look into something like the AKG Q701 or Beyer DT 880. I haven't heard the AD900X but from what I read about it, it will probably be very clear sounding as well.
post #195 of 320

Hey cool I'll give those a try the only thing for me is that I kind of don't want to spend more money on amp/dac if I can get cans with low impedance and perform...roughly as well. I've heard lots of great things about the q701 and dt880, but what drives me more towards the ad900x is the low impedance I would consider getting amp/dac further down the line. But if you say that superluxes are considered bright, doesn't that put me into grado territory? I've heard the sr60i and wasn't impressed do you think coming from superlux's I would like anything from their line?

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