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Audio-Technica AIR Dynamic Headphones ATH-AD900X

  1. a_recording
    Audio Technica AD900X: Fresh Air
    Written by a_recording
    Published May 18, 2013
    Pros - Airy, extended highs, good wearing comfort, balanced signature, excellent build quality
    Cons - Slightly incoherent / smeared soundstage, bass roll-off, can sound aggressive on some badly mastered tracks
    Along with the summary below, I have posted a comparison review of the AD900X, AD1000X and MA900 here:
    I've also got a youtube review of the AD900X. If you like the video check out my channel for more reviews :)

    The AD900X has excellent build quality (astounding for the price) and great wearing comfort provided the 3D wing design works for your head. 
    The AD900X has an airy and spacious sound with a particular emphasis on mids and treble energy, though it is not overly analytical because of a good depth and decent extension in the bass. However it lacks a little definition and on densely layered music it starts to sound incoherent or inarticulate. Bass is tight and fast but does not have the same rumble or depth as closed headphones or some orthos. On slower music (say acoustic or slow jazz) the AD900X sounds fantastic. It loves stringed instruments as well. On badly mastered tracks the treble can be too aggressive.
    With the Japanese price of the AD900X and with mail forwarding set up, the AD900X is a veritable bargain. The sound is engaging and exciting. Personally I upgraded to the AD1000X and I think for not too much extra money the AD1000X is easily the better headphone, but the AD900X is still pretty awesome.
  2. coen99
    Real "audiophile" headphone, love it!
    Written by coen99
    Published Jun 1, 2013
    Pros - Sound, design, no removable cable
    Cons - no removable cable


    I'm a audiophile wannabee since I was 10 years. Worked in a hifi shop for 12 years and listened to quite a few systems, mainly higher end.
    I own at the moment a modest set consisting of a Marantz PM17mk2 and Tannoy DM 700 speakers and a Marantz SA11. As I have small children at the moment I do not have much time or chance to listen as much music as I like. One of the reasons is that when they sleep I cannot seriously listen to music as it will wake them up. 
    As I was not a fan of headphones I never payed much attention to them. But given the circumstances I decided recently to have a look for one, so I could listen to my beloved music again.

    I should also mention that I live in a small town in the Netherlands, were we do not have any shop selling headphones above 50 USD, let alone I could listen to any above 50 USD.
    So I rely on my "old" knowledge and mostly on reviews, especially here on Head-fi! I read a lot of reviews on the Internet and I think people here give the more reliable/realistic!
    I hope I can make a worthy addition.

    As I mentioned my search started recently. Just to give you an idea of what kind of sound I'm seeking I like to start with my first recent buy, a Sony MDR-1.
    At the time Sony decided to promote there Sony Xperia in the Netherlands with a free headphone, namely the MDR-1r. As a result a lot of people buying the phone tried to sell their 375USD headphone (listprice in the Netherlands) as an unwanted gift  for "only" 140USD. So why not, I thought. Sony makes (a few) very good headphones and this could be one of them. 
    First impressions were great, it looks awesome and it has a nice removable cable. However this removable cable had it's downsides, the connection was not as solid as I hoped for and already after two weeks it "rattled" a bit. So that's why I have placed "no removable cable" under pros and cons. It will be a pro if it has no effect on the sound quality or gives quality issues, like a rattle.
    Sound quality MDR-1
    I like several genres, pop, jazz, dixieland, classic, (hard)rock, trance, early house and reggae.
    But I decided to start with one of my favourite tests, "Ice cream" form the Dutch Swing College band.
    This was an instant fail for me.The Sony sounded bored, not lively, uninspired. Maybe because of the music [​IMG], it did not like Dixieland that's for sure.
    When increasing the volume things got worse, the bass sounded not controlled, the treble sounded as if behind a curtain and the mids were overdone (getting painful for my ears). I was missing some "punch".
    Trying other music did not gave another listening experience. 
    So for my cd collection this Sony was a real disappointment.

    Just curiously I tried my MP3 collection, here the MDR-1r did a relative better job. I think MP3 is nice for on my phone but in no way comparable to a real CD or SACD. But the Sony made them sound ok, it's very forgiven when compared to my speakers.
    But the saying "garbage in = garbage out" is a unavoidable truth, although in this case this is a bit exaggerated. Let's say when you are looking for a headphone that's looks awesome, is portable and is forgiven for MP3 (eg. if you are a ipod fanatic) this is a good buy for around 140 USD. But not for me!
    So I sold it as quick as possible.
    I had money to burn again and I was determined to make a better choice this time.
    So I read some reviews on head-fi and on some Dutch Hifi sites. Audio Technica, especially the predecessors, the ad900 and 1000 caught my attention as they seem have a punchy not overwhelming bass and good controlled mids and treble and they seemed to be fond of Jazz. Most systems that can deal with Jazz and natural instruments have my preference. 

    Then I read and viewed (on youtube) the review of the successor ad900x by "a_recording" that convinced me this could be interesting. After reading the review on Sound and Vision I was convinced. 
    Ordered one from Hong Kong, arrived in just 4 days!
    First impressions:
    Great look and feel! For a wannabee audiophile just the right design. Not to flashy, solidly build with a sort of minimalistic design (in a good way). If you think the headphone is minimalistic, try the box it comes in. This somewhat plain white box just includes the headphone and a jack adapter (6,3mm). For a headphone that costs in the Netherlands 500 USD this is a bit of disappointing. At least include some sort of travel box/sack?!
    The "famous wings" look promising and the 3 meter cable is just perfect.

    Ok, now quick to the important stuff, the sound.
    Again, I decided to start with one of my favourite tests, "Ice cream" form the Dutch Swing College band.
    I just listened, and listenend for 2 hours, tried all my "important" cd's. Wow, loved everything about the sound of this headphone. Playing music at whispering level or loud, it sounded just like it should. 
    1. Bass: Punchy, precise and not overdone!
    2. Mids: Articulate, no low-mid exaggeration (many headphones annoy me on this point)
    3. Treble: No hiss, just perfect balance.
    It just loves natural instruments and voices. The stereo view is also great.
    I do not find in anyway the bass to be under-represented. Maybe it's due to my preference for a punchy not oversized bass or because of the amplifier I use, which has a firm bass? I don't know but it's perfect for me! Anymore will just annoy me and give me, like my cheap headphones I use for watching video, listening fatigue.
    BTW: I always have my amplifier on "source direct", so no bass or treble added by the amp.
    Like the Sony, I tried the AD900x on my ipod, it sounds ok, just like the Sony. But can be somewhat more critical, especially on the treble part.
    Still, a good performance and easily 20 times better than the standard earplugs from apple.

    I like the cushins being from some sort of cloth. Also it feels great on my head, not too heavy and not crushing my ears.
    However, the "wings" are in my opinion too "weak" or the headphone too heavy, anyway it doesn't stay in place even though I have a modestly big head.
    I will be trying a few things next week to prevent this from happening, and I mean not growing a bigger head [​IMG]. When I find a solution I will let you know!.

    That's it for now! Any questions? let me know. 
    1. Wraith13
      LOVE the sound of my AD900x and they are extremely comfortable but I just can't seem to get used to the 'wing' supports. Maybe it is designed for someone with a bigger noggin than me but it never feels secure enough when it is on my head. Other than that, it is a fabulous headphone.
      Wraith13, Jun 1, 2013
    2. kvtaco17
      Put a hair tie or rubber band between the wings and boom sliding issue fixed!
      kvtaco17, Jun 1, 2013
    3. Theta Alpha 1
      AD900X an amazing effort by Audio Technica.
      Theta Alpha 1, Jun 3, 2013
  3. cdst
    Great for the price
    Written by cdst
    Published Sep 7, 2013
    Pros - Sound quality, comfort
    Cons - Cord, plastic, bass quantity
    Bought these ad900x for resell, cause it was impossible to get them in my country and prices for previous model was around 500$, but after listening them for a while I tempted to leave them for myself:) or buy 1000 model. So... the sound is great and clear, trebles are magical, mids are good and stright forward, soundstage is decent. Actually I'm even listening crystal method with them, bass is lacking thorough. Yeah, the only minus is the bass. Coming from m50 unamped with flat eq, bass is lacking indeed! It is present a little, quality is quite nice and detailed, but it's lacking the amount totally. The next step I tried foobar parametric eq and sony clearbass on walkman a864 with fiio e07k bass adjust and damn, they are very good eqing phones!!! Bass is very punchy and detailed, has enormous impact while retaining treble and middle crispness and quality in overall sounding. Now I'm thinking of ad1000x and bought momentum as closed ones:) Sources fiio e07k, sony a864 and fiio x3.

    As for comfort:
    They fit perfect for my mid sized head, I could spent a whole day listening them without any discomfort. The only issue is a plastic feel, not sure about durability. They are not portable though, so, it should not be a problem. Wing support is just perfect for me, they are not sliding down and clamping could not be felt at all.
    1. Mshenay
       Nice, I love the Audio Technica Wing System, it makes even my super heavy w1000x feel likt it's floating on my head 
      Mshenay, Sep 8, 2013
  4. Mshenay
    Audio Technica ATH AD900X Firey Little Tart
    Written by Mshenay
    Published Sep 17, 2013
    Pros - Spacious airy sound, fantastic bass, sound stage and imaging
    Cons - Slides a little, to little decay, aggressive, terible with lossy

    Audio Technica  ATH AD900X {$180 Used} {$299 New}
    Personal Back-Story  
    I recently emailed Mr. Doris a Public relations professional with Audio- Technica U.S., INC. I would first of all like to thank him for allowing me to do this review as well as for his great communication with me! Non the less, I’ve been doing reviews for about a year now and wanted to apply my trade toward a great cause and do a more professional review.  So I emailed Mr. Dorris to see if I could do a review for Audio-Technica U.S and he graciously agreed. My interest in the ATH AD900x is rooted in my love for open back headphones, as a happy owner of the Beyerdynamic Dt 880 I was curious to see how the Audio Technica open back within the DT 880 price range performed, and I was not disappointed.
    Pros: Spacious airy sound, fantastic bass, sound stage and imaging
    Cons : Slides a little, to little decay, aggressive,
    Build [3.8/5]
    Not the toughest headphone ever made, a lot of plastic. But it feels very sturdy, and has a good weight in the hands. Visually is very well made, a very attractive headphone to look upon.
    Type Open Air Dynamic
    Driver Diameter 53mm
    Frequency Response 5-35,000
    Maximum Input Power 1,000mW
    Sensitivity  100dB/mW
    Impedance 38ohm
    Weight 265 g
    Cable 3.0 meters
    Ease of Use [Comfort/Fit/Isolation] [4/5]
    Very comfy, the clamp is wonderful the only issue I have with them is the wings. While the wing system is implemented very nicely, the wings themselves has slightly less padding than the A900x and W1000x… making the headphone slide around a millimeter or so if you’re moving around. While this does not have a bearing on sound, it is a little distracting at times.
    Price to Performance : [5/5]
    Compared to the DT 880 which is in the same price range, I’d say that the AD900x like the Dt 880 is a fantastic bargain! The sound is very detailed and spacious, and over all the mix of elements on the headphone are wonderful for it’s price range!
    Complimentary Genres:  Metal EDM and Classical   
    Sonic Test Process
    Source Win 7[Foobar2000 WASAPI] -> oDac -> MonoPrice Premium Coaxial Cables -> Matrix M Stage [Lme 49990 OpAmp]
    Headphone reference notes- I like to demo all headphones against my Beyerdynamic Dt 880, as they are a well know reference can.  Reference notes will always be in italics, and are included in the Video Reviews and Head Fi review posts.
    Reference points, will be in bold italics.  In each of the seven reference songs I will specify what parts of the song I am listening to, to evaluate the 3 parts of the spectrum.  In addition to other aspects of the overall sound presentation.
               In addition, I always like details  presented in all frequances
    Highs- looking for and evaluating air, nice extension and good energy and placement within sound stage
    Mids- looking for and considering weight, body and tone
    Bass- listening for, control, texture and punch/impact
              Sound Stage- reported after listening to all tracks
              Imaging –Track #3 and #4 are well mastered for 2D and 3D imaging
              Instrument Layering-reported after listening to all tracks
              Timbre- realism of sound, fun versus real
              Speed- ability to retain mirco-details  in ultra-fast tonal shifts
    Music Auditioned [All Lossless quality, tracks vary from 16 to 24bit]
              Sound Signature- Very neutral but with an aggressive tight bass, very spacious and quick natured. Detail presentation and imaging are fantastic, as is instrument layering and separation.  Lean, mean and airy
    Dynamics- Super quick, sometimes a little to fast
    Timbre- Very real, great timbre on the highs and mids, yet the bass can be a little too lean… a little mechanical in nature.
    Speed-  VERY fast, even the bass is super tight and very quick!
              Sound Stage: Great sound stage, a nice sense of air throughout.  2D and 3D imaging are nice as well, could be slightly deeper though.  Instrument separation though is wonderful!
    Highs- Wonderful sense of air and detail, very spacious with a surreal extension and energy.
    Mids-  On the aggressive side, not forward but with a great edge and crunch to them, very punchy. Yet with a delicate enough body for vocals and classical.
    Bass-  VERY tight sub and mid bass, pairs magically with EDM, Classical and Metal,  but a little too lean for other genres. The decay is a bit too short, timbre is a little mechanical. Still a very tight and enjoyable bass, in addition the bass is presented ever so slightly forward… a nice mix of elements really, overly lean yet slightly forward bass… works very well for the headphone!
    Amplification Need or Suggested – These do not need an amp, but they would sound fantastic with a nice hybrid tube amp!   
    With a note to amplifiers, I prefer the Dt 880 with a solid state, how ever seeing as the AD900x has slightly less lower mid and bass decay, it would pair very well with a tube, unlike the DT 880. The AD900x would defiantly be the headphone for Tube fans!
    Check out my full review with the songs I used to review as well as song by song break downs VS the Dt 880 here 
      trellus and Wilashort like this.
    1. RobSys
      Agreed - totally!
      Only bought them a couple of days ago and they're the best sound I've heard in years!
      Only one other con... The springs on the head paddles are too weak! I find that the headphones slide down my head and rest on top of my ears. Annoying and tiresome...
      However (!) a rubber band tying the two paddles together works a treat and keeps the drivers pointed properly at my ears...
      RobSys, Jul 4, 2014
  5. SageTheWizard
    Great sound stage with beautiful airyness!
    Written by SageTheWizard
    Published Jan 27, 2014
    Pros - Sound stage is super wide, Punchy Bass, Sparkly highs, really detailed!
    Cons - Without the rubber band mod they're kinda uncomfortable, not for bass heads
    Let me start be addressing the "le no base XD" ... No these cans are definitely not for bass heads by any means (so they could use a bit for for those who mainly listen to things such as dubstep or really bassy rap and what not) but these headphones can definitely produce nice, sharp and clean bass!
    To get a bit more bass I read in another review here that they can be EQ'd very nicely (I just haven't tried quite yet seeing as I'm very pleased)
    The highs on these headphones are very sparkly and beautiful! Female vocals are astounding (I love to listen to Lorde on these headphones!)  The mids are also very clear and crisp. 
    The sound stage is very wide as you would expect... Nothing much more to say on this topic.
    Last is the comfort: I have worn these headphones for 14+ hours at a time (Long skype calls with friends while playing games and such) and they were never uncomfortable at any point during this time period... Only thing was.. I am using a rubberband for added support.. without the rubberband the headphones would it on the tips of my ears and make them sore after a few hours (which is a major flaw, even though it can be easily fixed).
    Love these headphones! Don't plan to upgrade for a while until I get the dosh for some Audeze LCD2's (which.. will be a while)
      trellus, Wilashort and Pokemonn like this.
  6. Reticence
    Excellent detail, Excellent price
    Written by Reticence
    Published Jan 31, 2014
    Pros - Beautiful sound, solid design
    Cons - Un-boxing is a little anti-climactic, Felt a little loose until rubber band mod, No removable Cable
    Today I went into my local headphone store with a mission to find a set of headphones to pair with my iBasso DX50. I had been running with a pair of UE6000's up until this point but felt I wasnt getting as much as I should be from my DAP so I took it in to find something it played well with. These were the first pair that the helpful chap behind the counter suggested to me when I told him the range of music I listen to. Not wanting to cheat myself I decided to pit it against the Beyerdynamic DT880, AiAi TMA-1 Studio Young Guru and the Shure SRH 940's.
    Being a Audiophile Padawan I had trouble describing how and why I made the choice I did. Against the ATH-AD900x's the DT880's felt muted, the 940's felt boxed in and the TMA-1's were close but just not as engaging as the 900x's. That being said I like my bass a little more understated than most so I was quite happy to sacrifice that aspect for a better all round performance. The bass in these headphones is by no means poor, Its punchy, you know it's there but it doesn't smack you in the head. It's like a bass drum in the corner of the room rather than against your head, but if I was chasing club bass I probably would have gone the DT880's or the TMA-1's.
    So far I have gone through most of my catalogue including Eminem's latest, Holst's the planets, Ludovico Einaudi's In a Time Lapse, Train, Rudimental, T.I. and not once did I ever feel the headphones were lacking in any department, Ludocivo Einaudi sounds particularly amazing. They are extremely comfortable, but if you have a small to medium size head I'd recommend the rubber band mod, it makes a world of difference.
    The disappointing thing for me was the un-boxing. There was nothing exciting at all, the presentation kind of sucked and a protective bag/case wouldn't have gone astray. That being said I soon got over it once I started listening.
    Overall I am exceptionally happy with these headphones and would thoroughly recommend them to someone looking to take the next step up. You wont be disappointed.
      trellus likes this.
    1. GL1TCH3D
      Glad to see they fit your sound preferences.
      I didn't enjoy them much =/ Didn't sound natural with the lack of bass but if that's your thing, good for you!
      GL1TCH3D, Jan 31, 2014
  7. fumobs
    Written by fumobs
    Published May 14, 2014
    Pros - sound quality, sound stage, comfortability, light weight
    Cons - not adjustable to fit my head so it slips downwards a bit, as many others have reported
    New to headphone hobby/obsession, but i am loving it with these bubs!
    Just a quickie on the stars: half-star off because it's not really adjustable for head-size unless using a rubberband or shoelace like many others have said.  Quarter-star off because it doesn't have enough bass for my taste.  Quarter-star off because the design is...not pretty.  Sorry if you don't like my taking off a star due to my personal preference.  Also a side-comment: someone said unboxing this was anti-climactic....I quite agree.
    Being a newbie here with barely any technical experience and more of consumer-joy experience, I wasn't quite sure I fully understood what anyone meant when they would use words such as soundstage, coloration, imaging, low, mid, and high ends, etc.  In reading reviews about the ATH-AD900x, many described the following:
    - very great and wide soundstage
    - clean punchy bass
    - mostly neutral (I assume this is a synonym for "flat" in terms of EQ)
    - sparkly, wonderful high ends
    - light weight
    - comfy pads
    - depending on head size, may sag or even slip downwards (with enough movement on my head, it starts to slip so I also resorted to using a shoelace)
    - fragile-looking wing system (or whatever you call it...feels fragile...even looks fragile in movement when I shake the headphones up and down a little)
    I'm sure there were more/better descriptions...but that's all I remember right now.  In donning these headphones and reading so many reviews, I think i'm beginning to have a grasp on what people mean...especially on soundstage, the clean and punchy bass, the neutral sound, and the sagging.  AGAIN, I am just starting to learn...but I think I have a decent footing to help me understand with all the research i've done.
    Everything I pretty much listed above...except for the following: "sparkly, wonderful high ends"...still trying to figure out what this means.  Oh--and as I'm writing this, I am listening to music with these HPs and...goodness gracious...THE SOUNDSTAGE...WOOOOW...AMAZING.  I am learning to appreciate the neutral sound to this.  Also, in terms of "coloration", I think people use this to describe the way a headphone may be geared towards specific genres...if so, then I have to say this thing is not really colored.  In listening to different genres, live tracks and studio recordings, I am learning to appreciate a clean sound...no overbearing bass killing the higher ends, and not too much treble that it's annoying.  I guess what i'm trying to say is that i'm enjoying it for the multiple genres i've run through so far...on a few tracks, I didn't like the output but on the rest, they were clean if not wonderful.
    I do love me some bass...  When I go to concerts, they're typically a mix of rock, pop, indie, hip-hop, or techno-upbeat-pop-ish genre.  I am quite a fan of the creative mixes that a drummer places on the kick-bass and tom toms, along with a nice deep bass guitar accompaniment...but not the sound of electronic dub-step bass (don't mean to knock you if you're a fan of dub-step).  With that said, I do love listening to my Klipsch IO-II's and I wish the ATH-AD900X did what the Klipsch does for me while retaining the clean, rich treble and wide soundstage.  The clean punchy bass is nice but just not enough for me.
    If this is your first foray into some nice starter headphones or looking for a nice $200 pair, I do recommend these as a very good start.  I enjoy the headphones for what they reveal to me which is a whole new side to sound quality and a new appreciation for the level of sound quality brought to my ears.  However, because I am somewhat of a basshead, I will be adding a portable headphone amp to this to hopefully give it the kind of oomph I like without messing up everything else I enjoy about it.  Also...using Spotify on my Samsung S3 has a better output sound than my laptop.  On my laptop, I listen to a few FLACs (or whatever the no-compression version is called) now, but an overwhelming majority of my files are still 320kbps mp3.  Now, this has to do with the more technical side of things, which i'm not well-versed in, but I think I can conclude that my laptop sound card sucks (haha).
    1. Mshenay
      I hate to say it BUT... you might want to see if you can Return the AD 900X, and get your self a BeyerDyanmic DT 990 Pro 250 Ohm, and a Fiio E11 which would cost about $200 total for both products new [minus shipping] and if you REALLY want some BANG for you buck, for another $30 grab the Beringher UAC 202 Dac, plug it into your USB on your lap top then RCA out into 3.5mm into your E11 then to ur DT 990, for about $250ish you should be in for a real treat! The DT 990 has some BASS TO IT, and the E11 can give it EVEN MORE BASS, plus I had the DT 990 and AD900x side by side, the DT 990 has the treble and Mids of the AD900x, maybe even more sparkle [which the E11 can tame] 
      Mshenay, May 15, 2014
    2. TheDreamthinker
      From the short time i had with the AD line up, i had the impression that the AIR line all seemed quite similar...only (very) slightly more refined as the model numbers go up
      ...just my 2 cents...
      TheDreamthinker, May 15, 2014
  8. manbear
    Fantastic entry-level headphones--clear, natural Sound and don't need an amp at all
    Written by manbear
    Published Oct 21, 2014
    Pros - Aggressive but not harsh presentation, bass impact, natural mids, unique and large soundstage, no amp needed
    Cons - Some grain and not the most resolving
    Background and listening experience: I bought these as a complementary headphone for my ZMF Vibros. I wanted something open and I've been curious about Audio Technica for a while. In the past, I've owned the MDR-V6, DT-990 Pro, Q701, and HE-400. Listening was done straight off my laptop as well as through my Concero to Ember desktop setup. 

    Overall: I'm very pleased with these headphones for the price. I would not hesitate to recommend these to anyone making a first headphone purchase, as long as you are not looking for monster bass. The fact that they can reach 99% of their full potential without an amp makes them a particularly practical choice. The AD-900x is a clean, open sounding headphone with natural timbre, relatively unfatiguing treble, and a moderate but still satisfying bass response. I particularly enjoy it with ambient, IDM, and all sorts of folk, rock and metal. I don't listen to much classical or jazz but I think it's well suited to those genres too. 

    Bass: The bass is satisfying for most genres aside from rap and bass-driven EDM like dubstep. It's clean and tight with excellent impact and decent though somewhat rolled-off extension. These headphones put more emphasis on percussion and snap than on rumble. Drums and other acoustic instruments sound fantastic. Note that I am using a wide-bandwidth EQ bump of about 2 db centered at 35hz--this really brought the bass up from meh to satisfying for me. 
    They can certainly reproduce sub bass but it falls back in the mix and doesn't give the music as much foundation as, say, the HE-400. The Q701 digs down maybe a tiny bit deeper, but the AD-900X has substantially better punch and impact. It actually comes pretty close to the HE-400 in terms of punch but doesn't have the same effortless, visceral sense of texture.

    Mids: Fantastic. The mids are slightly forward and have a natural timbre. Acoustic guitars, voices, etc. come forward in the mix, but not too forward--they are emphasized but not enough to throw the balance off IMO. 

    Treble: These headphones are bright but not excessively bright. I find the treble less fatiguing than any of the other headphones I've owned aside from the ZMF. After EQing the 9khz region down by about 2 db, the highs are smooth and sweet. Sibilance still rears its head occasionally on bright material but it is mild. 

    Soundstage: Excellent. These have a very wide and deep soundstage, but they don't sound distant like the Q701 either--some sounds are close to you, others are far away in the background, others are in between. I'm still not sure if I know what "airy" sounds like, but these have a very open, spacey kind of sound. Diffuse is a good word. 

    Imaging: I wouldn't say the imaging is bad, but these headphones have a unique approach to imaging. The sound is very diffuse--you can tell that different parts of a mix are coming from separate locations, but at the same time, the exact location is not clear. For example, the HE-400s are much better at giving me those moments where it sounds like something is behind me and I turn the music off to check. AD-900X positioning is less precise and doesn't have those moments where it tricks you, even though it has a larger soundstage than the HE-400. 

    Resolution and detail retrieval: I'm not sure what to think here. On the one hand, these headphones have revealed details that I've never noticed before, even through the HE-400. I think the huge soundstage helps there--it makes certain background noises very easy to pick out. 

    At the same time, my biggest complaint with these headphones is that they are grainy and lack microdetail. They just can't render sonic texture and inner detail with the delicacy, richness, and subtlety of the HE-400, for example. Instead, sounds have a papery sort of flat one-note texture to them. A little hard, but not offensive or metallic. The sonic pixels just aren't fine enough. Honestly, though, I think the resolution is fine for the price and more or less on par with the DT-990 and Q701. It's just that, IMO, this is the primary area where the AD-900X falls short of higher-end models like the HE-400 or ZMF. 

    Amping: These don't need an amp at all. They sound 99% as good straight from my laptop as they do from my Concero and Project Ember. They are very efficient, but I think this also has something to with the lack of resolution mentioned above--they just can't reveal everything the Concero picks up. 

    Also, I didn't like them at all using the 0.1 ohm output resistance setting of the Ember. The bass was anemic. They sound much better with the 30 ohm setting (the sound at this setting is similar to my laptop). They sounded fine through my phone as well. 

    Comfort: The AD-900X is supremely comfortable. I can barely feel them on my head. It seems like the 3D wings don't do much and the clamp is the main thing keeping them on. Since they are so light, I don't even notice the clamp after a few seconds though. 

    Build quality: OK but not great. They are made from plain matte plastic and they seem to be put together well enough, but their light weight combined with all the swiveling parts also makes them feel a little rickety. The Q701 is almost as light but its construction is more solid and its materials feel more premium. 

      trellus, Wilashort and slmckay73 like this.
    1. Sounding
      Thank you so much for the review. I'm going to buy my first open headphones and I'm considering this pair. However, you said the imaging isn't that good as they can't show you the exact location of the sound. Would you consider this for FPS gaming or gaming in general?
      Sounding, Dec 27, 2014
  9. M-Techn1k
    Audio Technica have done a brilliant job with the ATH-AD900x
    Written by M-Techn1k
    Published Oct 31, 2014
    Pros - Audio quality, comfort, easy to drive (38-ohm), nice looking albeit large
    Cons - Made of lots of plastic parts, cable not replaceable
    Having a V-Moda Crossfade LP2 for a while now and very impressed with its sound quality and comfort as closed-back headphones, I was looking for a set of open-backs for certain genres of music that the LP2 does not deliver too well: live music and slow rock. For some reason live music just sound too much like studio recording and Bon Jovi's tracks like Always sounds too restricted.
    After doing a bit of research, I came across the AD range from Audio Technica. I have had the opportunity to audition the AD300 and whilst I love the openness of these cans (compared to the LP2, especially for the above-mentioned genres), I couldn't listen to the AD300 for too long as the treble was fatiguing. I liked the sound signature though, so at least I was on the right track with the AD series. I then heard that AT recently launched the updated X series for the AD range and did more research on the AD700x and made a decision to purchase it, until I saw the AD900x for some $40 more and thought I'd get the upgrade instead.
    The AD900x came with a rather plain jane box, a 1/4" adapter, a few pieces of paper describing the product and warranty, and..... that's it. (In contrast, the V-Moda Crossfade LP2 came with two cables, one that can be used to control music, an exo-skeleton case, two cable management pads for use with the case, and even the case requires you to cut a ribbon to open - it's almost like the difference you get in customer service at Hyundai vs. Mercedes). However, when I plugged them in and started listening (iPad + Fiio E1), I couldn't stop smiling for a while. They are very good, plain and simple.
    Everything sounds spacious and airy as advertised. The highs are crisp and clear, but not fatiguing like the AD300. The mid-range is very nice, amazing for female vocals. The bass is there, precise and clean, but not as punchy as the LP2.  Impressive...
    Playing live music through these headphones makes you feel like you are there. Bon Jovi and Axl Rose sounded like they now have all the stage space they need to rock. The AD900x is everything I was wishing for, to complement the V-Moda Crossfade LP2. They are both great, just different.
    The two things that I think AT could improve would be to make the AD900x have replaceable cable like the AD1000x and AD2000x (come on AT, the 900x is not an entry level set!) and to use more Aluminium parts on the body instead of plastic to make it feel more premium. The V-Moda Crossfade LP2 has plenty of metal parts that makes the ATH-AD900x feel a bit cheap, or rather, less premium.
      trellus likes this.
  10. NineRedTools
    Wonderful sound and soundstage
    Written by NineRedTools
    Published Feb 27, 2015
    Pros - Great soundstage; good, balanced sound; VERY open (can be a con for some); sexy-looking pair!
    Cons - Non-removable cable that can slightly irritate your shoulder; some buzzing when using my amp at low voltage;
    I'll start off by saying I am by no means an audiophile, just a kid with some money and a passion for music.
    These headphones, as far as I can tell, have more prominent mids than most headphones. They really bring out vocals and instruments, but the highs aren't too harsh like most pairs, and the low/bass frequencies are there as well. For an open pair, I'm surprised by the bass. It's nothing like a closed pair, but the bass has impact nonetheless. A very balanced (and amazing-sounding sound) overall!
    If you have a closed pair of headphones and you'd like to imagine how much these leak, get an open pair of headphones and hold them off your head. They isolate literally no noise at all. I can hardly tell I have them on right now as I type this. So if you live in a house with others, be careful if you're shy about your music selection as people in the next room may hear your music at loud volumes. Even at low volumes in a quiet room your music can be heard across the room.
    As far as gaming, I mostly play Battlefield 4 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These headphones get the job done. Much better than my DT770s, which already have a broad soundstage (for a closed pair, too!). I can hear instruments around me in some well-mastered songs. Some people say these headphones don't resolve well with poorly encoded MP3s or 128kb/s, but it's not too bad, really. Although, lossless is still worlds better.
    These are one of the most comfortable headphones I've worn. They're even more comfortable than the DT770s from beyerdynamic. These headphones don't clamp at all, while the DT770s put some pressure on the top of my head after a few hours use and it stars to hurt. I'd say the only thing wrong with the comfort of these is the cable. It's just the spot where the cable comes out. That thing that holds the cable in place. I don't know what it's called, but that thing can irritate my shoulder at times because of its placement. Other than that, very comfortable headphones.
    While we're talking about the build, the build quality is pretty nice, except for one thing. It's not that they feel cheap, but the way they're held together kind of bothers me. I feel that the "poles" that support the "3D Wings" could snap at any given moment if handled incorrectly. I don't know what they're made of, but I can easily squish them and even bend them a little bit, but I'm afraid too much tension (like from a 3 foot fall at the wrong angle) could kill these headphones. Without that support, you're going to have a hard time wearing these headphones. I hang my headphones by these poles. Also, the 3D Wings things are really better with rubber bands. It's not awful without them, but it gives you much more support at the expense of pulling a few hairs out here and there (albeit looking a little bit silly, as well). Maybe I have a small head, but the earpads kind of hang off the back of my head ever so slightly. I don't even notice until I feel back there, but, since it's an open pair, this really doesn't change the sound at all.
    Overall, I'm impressed with these headphones. They go for around $160 in some places, but can easily be had for $145 or less if you catch the price drop on amazon. They usually drop in price on amazon for about a day, then go back up to $160. If you don't care too much about bass and prefer a much more balanced sound with spacious soundstage, I highly recommend this pair. The only reason I had to give it 4.5 stars was because the non-removable cable and slight worries with the build. Get these if you're in the market for open-backed gaming headphones and if you listen to classical/rock/well-mastered music. They're an amazing value from a highly-reputable brand.
    1. onebigunion
      If by "poles" you mean the upper headband, it is magnesium alloy.  It can be bent, but it is very strong, you don't need to worry in any way about it breaking if dropped.  You would have to really be trying to break them in order to do so, The plastic wings are more fragile though, but still they are fine with reasonable care.  Nice, accurate review though.
      onebigunion, Feb 27, 2015