ATH-DSR9BT

General Information

The ATH-DSR9BT over-ear wireless headphones employ Audio-Technica’s new Pure Digital Drive system, which allows the headphones to operate without a sound-degrading D/A converter that conventional wireless headphones rely upon. Instead, the ATH-DSR9BT utilizes Trigence Semiconductor’s Dnote chipset to receive the digital audio signal from a Bluetooth wireless transmission, process and transfer it to the driver where the digital pulses of the chipset move the voice coil and diaphragm forward and backward to create the sound waves heard by the listener.

The Pure Digital Drive system likewise depends on a re-engineered 45 mm True Motion Driver, which features a lightweight diaphragm with DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating for superlative fidelity and extended 5 Hz – 45,000 Hz frequency response. The driver’s 4-core twisted OFC-7N voice coil provides precise control of the diaphragm displacement, and an acoustic resistor controls the airflow in front of and behind the diaphragm to ensure smooth, natural audio reproduction across the entire frequency range. The entire driver assembly is housed within a layered aluminum structure that minimizes unwanted resonance and isolates the electric circuitry from the housing’s acoustic space, resulting in optimal phase and transient response.

The Pure Digital Drive system also enables the ATH-DSR9BT to overcome the sonic limitations of conventional Bluetooth wireless transmissions by supporting the 24-bit/48kHz Qualcomm® aptX™ HD codec. (aptX, AAC and SBC codecs are also supported.) The headphones can reproduce Hi-Res Audio when connected to a computer or other digital playback device via the included 2.0 m (6.6') USB cable.

The ATH-DSR9BT is equipped with a microphone, volume control and simple tap control for answering/ending calls and playing/pausing music on a smartphone or other device. Three LED indicators allow you to easily monitor pairing and charging status, battery level, and the codec currently in use. The headphones’ internal lithium polymer battery provides approximately 15 hours of continuous use (up to 1000 hours in standby mode) and can be recharged using the included USB cable.

Latest reviews

KinGensai

New Head-Fier
Pros: Clear sound quality, decently comfortable, Adequate battery life
Cons: Bad passive isolation, A bit cumbersome to carry/store, Build Quality is a bit on the cheap side
These headphones are quite something. I have been using them for about a month now, and I have no plans on selling or switching at this point. Note: I am writing my thoughts on these after having swapped the pads for Brainwavz angled memory foam earpads.

Build Quality: I'm coming to these from the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless, and these are relatively a step down from those. There's creaking and rattling coming from the plastic slider buttons and the headband, which is annoying when quiet music is playing, but I have stopped noticing it as much during active use. It's still a miss, and I'm on the lookout for any kind of build failure that may indicate poor quality control, but so far it's been just a minor annoyance.
I have heard complaints about the mic, so I gave it a try to see if I had the same problem. It seems that my particular unit doesn't have this same issue when using it with a smartphone, so I have nothing bad to report on that front. It is apparently not good at reducing ambient noise though, so there's something to consider.
[Edit: 3/2/2018] After some more use, I'm encountering some problems with the mic's gain. Some people can hear me fine, some others apparently can't hear me at all. I'll have to recommend that you look elsewhere if you plan on using your phone extensively while using these cans.

Accessories: Not much here, just a hard case and a thick USB 2.0 to micro USB cable. Note about the cable: It's really annoying that the micro USB port is recessed into the left driver housing. I have tested the port with different data USB cables and they all work, you just need to either find one that is narrow enough to fit or cut away enough rubber to force a fit.

Connectivity: I haven't had problems with the connectivity beyond the first day. Plugging into my computer took a while as Windows had to look around to find the drivers, but once it installed the proper drivers it functions fine. Bluetooth pairing is quick and relatively good on operational distance. From what I see, it can't handle multiple connections or anything fancy like that, but I don't have any need to do things like that, so no loss to me.
[Edit: 3/2/2018] Something interesting I found here is that the on/off switch position matters when the cans are plugged in for wired use. The manual says it doesn't matter as the cans switch off when wired, but the volume slider changes the volume when the power switch is on. Nothing else seems to function besides this though.

Comfort: These are relatively good stock. There's enough room for most peoples' ears to fit comfortably. I noticed a little chafing after a while, and it was starting to irritate me at the end of the day. Thankfully, these earpads are easy to swap out, and the angled memory foam earpads provide a huge amount of real estate for my ears, making these leagues ahead of any over-ears from V-moda (not that big a hurdle) and sufficient for continuous use over almost half a day for me. The headband is too straight as is, which makes a hotspot at the top of the head. I bent the headband until the center was curving over my head and more of the headband is touching my head now, so I don't have the hotspot problem anymore. While the outside of the headphone may feel too plasticky for my taste, the inner components seem to be quality as they survived almost as much bending as I subjected both my V-moda cans to.

Sound Quality: Now, I have heard various cans that are considered neutral in passing over the last 2 years (HD600, STAX L300, ATH-M50x, etc), but not for long enough to really acclimate to what those sound like, so my impression of what these sound like may be incorrectly framed at the moment. Listening closely, I'm surprised to hear what sounds like a slightly V-shaped response curve from these. Given that these are in AT's Sound Reality line, I was expecting a FR curve closer to neutral than what I'm hearing. The low end is slightly elevated above neutral up to ~270 Hz, at which point it dips sharply (valleying out at around 320 Hz) before rising back up to normal at 340 Hz. The mid range seems relatively normal, although I am noticing some recession in the vocal ranges. The treble has no roll-off, so we're in for the full experience here. I hear relatively small but noticable peaks throughout the treble range (notably at ~8kHz). This all comes together into a headphone that is quite bright in character without leaving the low end behind, and yet it somehow manages to not be sibilant in most cases (Metalheads, look elsewhere. These do not render distorted guitars in very pleasant ways if the mastering doesn't specifically reduce those frequencies). The big dip at 330 Hz doesn't seem to detrimentally effect music to me, in fact I tried dipping that range on an equalizer with my other cans, and it noticably improved the sound of those too. Interesting.
The clarity in the sound is extraordinary for wireless cans, in fact I hear much more detail and clarity with these than I do with my wired cans (M-100, CF2W, HE-400S, M-40x) which very much surprised me. The soundstage is wide without being obnoxiously spacious, the imaging seems accurate to me when listening to electronic music. I have heard the sound described as a hollow kind of sound, which I suppose is understandable considering, but I prefer this kind of sound to what I perceive as a bloated low mid range present in most other cans I listen to.
Overall, I really like the sound signature of these. It's not exactly neutral, but since I'm not an audio professional I'm not looking for something like that.
[Edit: 3/2/2018]: I did some A/B testing comparing 16/44.1 MP3 to 24/96 FLAC formats of the same electronic song (Mont-blanc from Tokyo Audio Waffle's Maple Mont-Blanc in particular) on these headphones, and I was surprised by the imaging precision. Sounds that I had previously perceived as just being to the left and pulsing on the CF2W were coming through as if the source was circling clockwise 6~8 inches away from my head.

Portability/Mobility: Like most AT headphones, the driver housings swivel, so that's nice. However, they are still uncomfortable to have around my neck, and since they don't compact down like the CF2W does, I'm kind of stuck with them like that. Now, I have these on normally for most of my day anyway so it's not a big issue, but it is an issue to consider. Another thing to consider is that these are semi-open (there's a small port right on top of the driver housing, which is what I think is letting air in for the driver to generate as much low end as it does), and as such is not very good at attenuating noise. I can hear cars passing and people talking while playing music at a moderate volume, which is a problem if you want to shut out the world and live in the music, but it's not so bad that it's unusable in my opinion.

Audio Technica is on to something with these headphones. If they can tighten up the build quality,flatten out the V curve a bit, and make these better at being portable headphones, I think these would be close to perfect.

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