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Audio-Technica ATH-WS99 lacking bass?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Not sure if I should post this here or in the Audio Technica ATH-WS99 specific thread, so mods please move if necessary.  Before continuing, please keep in mind that I am not an audiophile and have relatively little experience with high end (or even mid) equipment.  Many years ago I did have a Focal system in one of my cars and have had Klipsch PC speakers, but that's as close as I've come to high end.  


After talking with a few people and reading a few forums, I was under the impression that the WS99 do well enough without an amp.  Well, I received my WS99 a week or two ago and am having some issues with the sound.  Basically I'm very disappointed with the range and/or bass of these.  Everything I listen to is full of midrange with a touch of high and basically no bass at all.  The sound is very clear with good detail, but that's about it.  I have tried listening to what is typically very bass heavy music such as dubstep, drum and bass, and hip hop.  Everything I listen to sounds as if it is being ran through some sort of high-pass filter, regardless of how much bass boost I apply or how much I play with the EQ.  

I also have some old Bose in-ears and a very old pair of Sennheiser opens (don't recall the model) that both produce FAR more bass than these.  I don't expect Beats muddied up over emphasized bass but I do expect some sort of bass.  


I am using these headphones off of an iphone, galaxy s3, desktop PC (onboard audio), and laptop.  I have noticed that they sound slightly better at super high volumes, but this is at volumes that would more than likely be damaging to ears.  As a plus, they at least don't distort at such high volume.  


I bought them direct from Amazon (as in not a reseller on amazon) and believe them to be authentic after careful inspection of both the headphones and the packaging.  


So, anyone have any ideas on how I can get some sort of bass out of these?  Is this purely because my devices just cant push the headphones?

post #2 of 5
They have to be defective, the ws99 has a ton of bass, much more than I need.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Are you using any type of amp?  I decided to see if I could make any bass at all with these so I went to youtube and found a bass test song like they use at sound competitions.  I plugged the headphones into the headphone jack on my PC speakers rather than directly to my sound card so that I could force more volume through.  With the volume up at a pretty high level (much higher than normal listening level) I was able to hear the bass I would expect.  The bass was strong enough that the cups were vibrating with each note.  The fact that I have to turn the volume up so high almost makes me think that the problem is I'm just not providing enough wattage which would be solved by an amp.  

I may go ahead and exchange them anyways though because I feel like I shouldn't have to max out the volume, EQ, and select an extremely bass heavy song thats only used for sound comps just to be able to hear the bass in these.  I worry, though, that the replacements will be the same way.  I never thought myself to be much of a basshead but this makes me wonder, lol.. 

post #4 of 5

They don't absolutely need an amp since they're are pretty efficient cans but an amp does bring out their full potential. I feel that they have tons of bass but I'm definitely not a basshead at all. When I pair them with the E12 and bass boost on, the bass is already too much for me. It sounds to me like you just might be a basshead yourself though lol. You might want to try burning them in to loosen the drivers a bit and give them another try.

post #5 of 5

The WS99 indeed has good amount of bass. It must be your source that is the problem, not producing enough juice to power it up. The damsel indeed is quite sensitive but a bit so-so when it comes to SPL (only about 100 db) Try using other portable source like a cowon or sansa, or buy a cheap amp like a FiiO E5/E6.

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