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Audio-Technica AIR Dynamic Headphones ATH-AD900X

Rating:
4.38462/5,
  1. coen99
    Real "audiophile" headphone, love it!
    Written by coen99
    Published Jun 1, 2013
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Sound, design, no removable cable
    Cons - no removable cable

    History


    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.
     
    AD900x
    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.

    Sound
    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.

    Comfort
    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
  2. manbear
    Fantastic entry-level headphones--clear, natural Sound and don't need an amp at all
    Written by manbear
    Published Oct 21, 2014
    4.0/5,
    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
  3. SageTheWizard
    Great sound stage with beautiful airyness!
    Written by SageTheWizard
    Published Jan 27, 2014
    5.0/5,
    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)
    lollvr.jpg
      trellus, Wilashort and Pokemonn like this.
  4. Johnny Mac
    Audio Technica AD900x, Air we go.
    Written by Johnny Mac
    Published Aug 3, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - SOUNDSTAGE, great upper midrange and detail retrieval
    Cons - Cables coils too much, might sound too bright for some
    [​IMG]
    Intro
    Launched 5 years ago, the open back AD900x headphone is smacked right in between Audio Technica’s High Fidelity series spearheaded by the new ADX5000. With all the contenders in the mid-level open-backed headphones market from the Brooklyn built Grado’s, German built Sennheiser’s to the New York based Hifiman’s. Is the Audio Technica AD900x headphone still even relevant in 2018? Let’s find out.


    [​IMG]

    Packaging and Build Quality
    The packaging was a simple white box with “AIR” printed on the front and opening the front flap reveals the headphones, there’s only a 6.3mm adapter included, would have loved a travel bag. The AD900x weighs 265g and made of plastic all over except for the honeycomb aluminum casing, the cable is wrapped in matte rubber and retains the initial tangle once removed from the box, it also an OFC (oxygen-free copper) cable to note. It’s fairly long which lead me to shorten it and also change the plugs to a standard gold-plated 3.5mm plug, the lone difference we would be having compared to a full stock ad900x.

    [​IMG]

    The foam pads used on this are soft and not irritable to the skin for me, however it gets hot on my head after only about 2 hours of use, that’s even having my hair fresh off the barber. The weight doesn’t bother me at all and is not an issue as well as the ear-wing type support used which I’ve known to be a headache for some. Overall, packaging is downright simple, build is somewhat on the cheaper side specially if you place this beside the Meze 99 yet ample when placed beside the Grado 225e but will last you a long time with proper use. Comfort is a breakeven experience, as much as the earpads are comfortable, it is also vacuum.

    [​IMG]

    Tonality
    Let’s clear this up fast and on point, the AD900x is clearly bright, once again, CLEARLY BRIGHT. I’ve tried to pair it with the warm sounding Sony ZX1 and the bright signature is smack present. It just doesn’t lean on the bright side, it sits and lays there.

    Bass
    When I stated that this set is bright, it’s just best that we get straight to the bass performance of this cans. The bass here is presented rather weak and struggles to deliver weight. The sub bass isn’t powerful and nor does the mid bass provide punch over this region. It is ample not to be honky yet it doesn’t also provide a controlled grip. I didn’t expect much on the ad900x’s bass and I got what I expected, although it didn’t disappoint, it didn’t overwhelm as well.

    [​IMG]

    Midrange
    I first read and knew about the ad900x’s being a strong contender in the 150-200USD region and that was attributed to how well they performed in the midrange and the upper frequencies. When I first got this, I was using the cd900st as my go to cans and this sounded a tiny bit fuller on the midrange as compared to the cd900st however the detail retrieval and on the cd900st is far superior. The midrange on the ad900x also sounded less realistic and natural than the cd900st. It’s just a matter of preference on this one at least it did perform way better than the bass region.

    [​IMG]

    Highs
    The ad900x is borderline edgy on the higher frequencies and the polar opposite of the mellow highs which I found on the Audio Technica WS1100is which was also almost steely but since I prefer the strong emphasis on the highs, I regrettably parted away with my ws1100is over the ad900x. Take note that despite the ad900x’s borderline edgy highs, it still handles the higher frequencies excellently. I found it delicate and crisp. Absolutely a recommended can for audiophiles who adore their highs and put a premium on it over other frequencies.

    [​IMG]

    Imaging and Soundstage
    Being a frustrated gamer, I was looking for superb performing cans on the imaging and soundstage aspect and boy did we hit jackpot with the ad900x. Going back to the build being plastic all over just adds to the fact that this is light on the head and with the imaging on this which articulately spaces the dynamic facets of audio resulted in a great gaming performance. But you ain’t all gamers so back to audiophiles, Pink Floyd and Chris Botti did great on this, delivery was fast, had depth on each and pace was on time and definitely distinct. This one held up the marketing of Audio Technica being airy with that bold caps “AIR” on the packaging.

    Synergy
    The ad900x is easy to drive, it sounded good even on the Oneplus 3T and did sing lightly on the Sansa clip+, on the Sony ZX1 player, it was not hard to like and a nice departure with the noticeable edgy highs you’d get when used with the Hidizs ap200. It sounded most natural on the Opus 1 but most of the time I’ve been using it with the Sony CAS-1 which gave the most compelling performance of its strengths and uplift the bass weakness it had specially when paired with the Hidizs ap200.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion
    The ad900x is a compelling offering from Audio Technica specially those unfamiliar with their other series except the M series. I haven’t tried any of those since I didn’t have any reason to except now to finally see how the A, M, R and WS series of Audio Technica diverges. The WS series is clearly the way to go is you are after overall aesthetics and knowing how popular the M series, it’s a typical safe choice. You’d only be convinced to pick the ad900x if you’re after the best possible gaming headphone while also hitting the right boxes of your audiophile side (except the mic function). The extended highs and great midrange and overall easy drivability makes the ad900x easy to love and keep. I still have my doubts of keeping this can until I try the rivaling Grado’s on this price range (only tried the sr60e, sr80e and ps500e) but since I already half-pulled the trigger with modding this with a removable cable to roll with one’s that has the mic function, the Audio Technica ad900x just might be a keeper after all.



    Note: Some tracks used during the realview are as follows;



    True Colors – The weekend (FLAC/24-44)

    Over and out – Foo Fighters (FLAC/16-44)

    Starting Over – The Crystal Method (FLAC/16-44)

    Grey Skies – Josh One (FLAC/16-44)

    Pink Panther theme – Henry Mancini (FLAC/16-44)

    Money – Pink Floyd (DSD 2.8)

    Tomorrow – Alicia Morton (FLAC/16-44)

    Bangarang – Skrillex (FLAC/16-44)

    Don’t Know Why – Norah Jones (DSD 2.8)
      trellus and B9Scrambler like this.
  5. kite7
    Excellent value, good representation of the ATH AD sound
    Written by kite7
    Published Apr 16, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Crispy highs, wide soundstage, great with vocals
    Cons - Lacking bass impact, highs can be slightly fatiguing, can be picky with genre
    Note: This headphone is for music that does not rely heavily on bass for enjoyment; it doesn’t have that body at the lower end that is for that genre. If you listen to mainstream pop a lot, these are likely not for you. These headphones are not all rounder headphones like the HD558 which can sound good with everything but does not wow me in ways the AD900X can.
     
    These headphones do not have that metallic sheen over the upper midrange and highs like the AD700 which turned me off. That was the least enjoyable aspect for the AD700, not sure if it is fixed on the AD700X .
     
    First thing I thought was that these headphones lacked dynamics when I put them on because they sound light in the sense that they don’t exert the authority in bass. My first day with them I did not like them but that’s because my mind did not yet adjust to its sound signature. It took a week for my ears to adjust and to enjoy these headphones. I am glad I did as I know where the headphones excel .
     
    Comfort:
    The comfort is excellent and these headphones simply disappear overtime. I never felt the clamping force was too much at all. The drivers are angled and the pads are firmer than the AD2000X which is great as my ears do not touch the driver grill. These are probably the most comfortable headphones I have ever owned.
     
    Build quality:
    Feels solid, looks appealing. Not much to complain about, no creaking anywhere.  I prefer they didn't cover the "headband" with rubber but I guess ATH wanted to make users spend on th AD2000x for that...
     
    Sound
     
    Mid:
    These headphones have a bright sound signature and lush mids; AD2000x is even more so. Some people like the mids to sound a little more recessed as it lets them perceive it as clarity since the mids are more in balance. The midrange is forward on these; just like how I like it on my grado but the mids sound thicker meaning at times it could sound very rich or muddy depending on the song.  As mentioned many many times already, these truly excel with female vocals; sound very lifelike because it does not sound sibilant with female voices. Female voices sound breathy Male voices sound quite good as well but nothing truly out of the ordinary which is perfectly fine. If you really like listening to female singers, I highly suggest trying a ATH AD headphone sometime.
    These headphones offer a good amount of detail, better than the HD558 at picking out nuisances for example plucking on guitar strings is more distinct and edgy. The soundstage also helps with these as the spacing makes things seem less blended in. The background seems more obviously separated from the vocals. Since the midrange is forward, I feel it is hard to perceive depth with these. The soundstage is fairly wide left and right, almost right up there with the K701. Listening to music which already has a wide soundstage because of the way it was mixed will sound quite good on these. I don’t think these headphones sound particularly good with rock music but it is acceptable as the midrange makes the guitars sound too thick for my liking.  
     
    High:
    The highs give everything that crisp top end but depending on the song it could be overwhelming but I am personally used to it by now as I am with more bright headphones. The higher end ATH AD headphones have toned down the highs quite a bit, doesn’t sound nearly as bright but further improves the midrange and bass impact. AD2000x highs sound blanketed compared to AD900X; it doesn’t stand out. I am personally not sure if I want to give away the soundstage and highs going to the AD2000x for its magic mids and better bass.
     
    Bass:
    Do not expect it to amaze you in anyway. Expect light sounding headphones and keep expectations of bass very low. Of the mids and highs, bass is the frequency range I personally care least about which is why I decided to give ATH a try.
     
    If you listen to the right songs (such as songs from M83, Explosions In The Sky, She & Him, Sara Bareilles, Lindsey Stirling) these can wow you but on the other hand, listen to something it is not suited (Bullet For My Valentine, Linkin Park,  Lady Gaga, Sum 41)  for then the wow factor is gone and it becomes an average sounding headphone. You can cripple these headphones by playing the wrong music really. When it sound good it is amazing but when it’s bad it’s not pretty at all. 
      trellus and Wilashort like this.
  6. Mshenay
    Audio Technica ATH AD900X Firey Little Tart
    Written by Mshenay
    Published Sep 17, 2013
    4.5/5,
    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.
     
    Specs
    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
               
              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...
       
      Rob
      RobSys, Jul 4, 2014
  7. M-Techn1k
    Audio Technica have done a brilliant job with the ATH-AD900x
    Written by M-Techn1k
    Published Oct 31, 2014
    4.5/5,
    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.
  8. Reticence
    Excellent detail, Excellent price
    Written by Reticence
    Published Jan 31, 2014
    4.5/5,
    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!
      Enjoy
      GL1TCH3D, Jan 31, 2014
  9. talon1212
    Great headphone, Can use it for hours without fatigue
    Written by talon1212
    Published Nov 8, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very comfortable (best part for me), Good sound quality
    Cons - Cheap cable
    My personal thoughts on audio hardware
    When I heard these headphones, I wasn't blown away at all.
    But headphones never did this with me, and in my opinion, all headphones sounds kinda the same anyway.
    When I heard the LCD-2, my thoughts were, sure these sound kinda good I guess. but yeah... not anywhere near a crystal clear difference compared to any decent but not expensive headphone.
    With an EQ you can make all headphones sounds similar.
         If you never bought high end headphones, and finally get them in the mail, after you read all those amazing reviews.
         and you finally put them on..... Its just gonna be sound, it sure won't sound bad at all !! but don't expect to be blown away.
         So keep that in mind when you buy those 500 dollar headphones.
    Sound quality comes mostly from the music itself and the artists composing skills. for me, comfort comes next, and then a sound signature that I like.
     
     
    REVIEW:
     
    Pros
    -VERY comfortable, I love the 3d wings, the only headphones that I actually wear for more than an hour. I HARDLY notice I have them on my head, Unlike every other headphone I ever wore.
    And the only headphones I can wear while high on drugs (because when on stuff, any slightly uncomfortable headphones are REALLY annoying, and I will just revert to speakers)
     
    -Nothing wrong with the sound quality, I really don't like boomy-bass, And these have Accurate, Punchy bass, which is perfect!
    All the bass is there, but it wont rumble.
    (I still recommend using the EQ to make the lower frequencies slightly louder, but not too much, also between 1khz and 2khz about +2db)
     
    -The highs are not fatiguing, yet very bright
     
    -Soundstage, I played some Bioshock Infinite and CS:GO with this, with properly configured virtual surround. And I could pinpoint sounds around me very well. But not significantly better than with some cheaper headphones. Again, wasn't blown away or anything.
    >But with music, When listening to music I noticed a significant improvement in soundstage, I listened to some good recorded instrumental, and could really hear the sound all around me. Unlike with closed headphones.
         Sadly I listen mostly to PsyTrance Psybient and IDM. which won't have much of this 'directional'(?) audio
     
    -People report that it feels like a cheap headphone.
    But it just feels cheap because its light, which makes it very comfortable.
    They might feel cheap, but IMO they are just fine.
     
    Cons
    -The cable is too long for me
         Not detachable
         Made of plastic that stays in its curly shape from the package-ing forever.
    -You look silly due to the design
    -Not very suitable for outside use, recommend to keep them in your house.
    -Well it was 160 bucks, so you need to have that kinda money, but if you want the most comfortable headphone with perfectly fine audio.
    And will last you for years and years. then do it!
    -Not for bass heads, the bass is accurate and punchy, but not boomy
    And dubstep is just boring without the boomy part. Probably because most dubstep tracks, if you remove the the frequencies from 1hz to 500hz, you're left with silence
     
     
    Tricks/hacks/mods
    To solve some problems with the 3D wing design:
    If the headphones don't sit on your head properly,
    Push the 3d-wings down, pretty hard. for a few minutes.
    They will fit better after that.
    If it clamps on your head too much, I recommend stretching the entire headphone apart to bend the headband structure, and lessen the clamp
    Do this bit by bit, trying how it fits before you stretch it too much.
    Mold it into perfectly to your heads shape
    Also search google for "the rubber band" mod for this headphone, you put a rubber band between the 3d wings, this is very easy to do.
    and makes it so that the 3d wings are always properly applied to your skull, It doesn't defeat the purpose of the 3d wing design though, the wings are FAR more comfortable than a full headband that goes along your head.
     
     
    If you have any questions, leave them here in the comments.
    I'll try to notice the email in time and reply
     
    EDIT:
    I just cant stop thinking this, they are SO comfortable, It's like you don't even have headphones on.
    See the Tricks/mods section to make them the perfect shape for your head.
    1. Sonic Defender
      Thanks for the review, but I can't even slightly agree with you that all headphones sound similar. Differences can be quite significant. For instance the PM 3 I just picked up sounds very different overall from my KEF M500 it is sort of replacing and that sounded quite different from the Sony MDR 1A. I think I know what you mean in some respects, a good $500 headphone might not sound much different from a $1500 headphone, but it could.
      Sonic Defender, Nov 8, 2015
  10. NineRedTools
    Wonderful sound and soundstage
    Written by NineRedTools
    Published Feb 27, 2015
    4.5/5,
    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