Audio-Technica ATH-WS99 | SOLID BASS Portable Headphones (Japan Import)

  1. saulcxc
    The best bass
    Written by saulcxc
    Published Feb 27, 2016
    Pros - Great Bass!!!
    Cons - Not



    Best serious headphone bass that I have heard, you can listen for hours without tiring, bass are of great quality, his head shakes if you use an amplifier! The best is that bass not disturb the music!

      Hawaiibadboy likes this.
  2. Tyler Nicolo
    Lots of BASS without too many sacrifices.
    Written by Tyler Nicolo
    Published Oct 10, 2015
    Pros - Great low end, very punchy, crisp highs
    Cons - Mids suffer a bit
    First thing you're going to notice with these cans is, of course, the bass. When properly amp'd, these things almost pop off your head. I haven't heard the JVC sz2000 or the Sony XB1000, but these have the most bass I've experienced so far. Some cans have punch but no sub, others have sub but lack punch. The ATH-WS99 has both. The highs are surprisingly clear. The mids are recessed and veiled. I have no problems with build quality and comfort.
    Side note: I got these off of Sears website for $34 bucks with free shipping, refurbished from the factory. A freaking steal if you ask me. I thought it was too good to be true, until they came in the mail. They list for $250. I've seen them on Amazon for less than $150. If I paid $250 for these I'd probably be unhappy. They aren't bad headphones at all. But the lack of clarity in the mids doesn't make them sound like 250 dollar headphones. 
      Hawaiibadboy likes this.
    1. Hawaiibadboy
      $34......You stole those!! That is CRAZY cheap!
      Hawaiibadboy, Oct 11, 2015
    2. GearMe
      Yeah...went to Sears site as soon as read that, no listing/gone which isn't surprising given the price.
      GearMe, Oct 11, 2015
    3. Tyler Nicolo
      I typed in ATH-WS99 into google and clicked "shopping." After I placed my order they disappeared, but I did see them pop up again a few days later. Gotta keep an eye out.  
      Tyler Nicolo, Oct 11, 2015
  3. Mottom
    excellent phones
    Written by Mottom
    Published Jan 24, 2015
    Pros - great bass and better soundstage + midrange than people expect from a $170 phone
    Cons - no carry case
    These phones have largely been ignored because AT did a lousy job of advertising and promoting them.

    I took a flyer on them hoping that they'd be a great portable for commmuting and use at work. After more than a year with them, I'd gladly make the purchase again. I have heard others talk about pain, but I haven't experienced any and I have a very large head. I did flex the metal band a bit to minimize clamping force and that seemed to do the trick.

    I've owned the older M50s and my wife has the new M50X. The WS99's are considerably better than both: wider soundstage, better midrange, and far deeper and cleaner bass. Many would think these phone might be best for rock and pop, but I have had great success with folk, vocal jazz, and classical too.

    The aluminum cups and thin build actually make them lighter than the M50 series, but the materials touch on the 99's is better, without feeling flimsy. These phones are a great all-around choice. You won't be disappointed.
      spitf1r3 likes this.
    1. rgwrjs
      Very nice review. Thanks
      rgwrjs, Jan 24, 2015
  4. tan1415
    Great all rounder that can bring on the bass with the best of them
    Written by tan1415
    Published Nov 6, 2014
    Pros - Sound, Bass, Weight, Looks on your head, great close out pricing
    Cons - Open or closed, Portable or not, Not exactly a premium feel to it in looks, accessories or gimmicks
    Got a secondhand WS99. Previous owner got them on (closeout) sale for 110€ and he was selling it for 60€. Just 4 months old. Couldn't resist.
    First of all...what poor packaging. no case or cover. Just two cables. Both quite short. And pretty cheap looking. Cables can't be removed  and goes into both cups. (How durable are these headphones). Build all plastic except for steel headband and alu cupcoverings and swivels. Definite lacking in premium feel or look.
    Very very poor isolation. Is it actually semi open?(oops missed that it was an semi open headphone) Everyone can hear what i am playing and I also can hear outside noise quite easily when no music is playing. So you tend to play the volume up a bit.(Carefull). For my big ears it's semi on ears to me.(Hmm seems its on ears and not over ears!! Damn bad reaseacrh on my part. its a HUGE on ears. bigger iMO than teh momentums over ears) Thankfully it's quite comfortable.So light.(Still to be honest after a few hours of continuos wear like 5 hours, my ears start to hurt) And I like how flush it sits when i wear it. Looks quite nice and sleek  like the B&W p7 and P5 on your head.
    To be honest cant believe this headphone was selling at more than 200€. The marketing at AT is nuts. Compared with the competition it just doesn't deliver. Lacks the premium looks and feel.
    Weak in accessories. But what really baffles me...short cables, lightweight, sleek look it screams mobility to me. But when you consider it's terrible isolation(for closed), its'semi open design(Still not good iso for semi open). how risky is its design to outside rain or humidity. Should I treat it as an open or a closed headphone?!
    It's something i need to seriously think about...because this headphone is a keeper. The reason is quite simple...the sound is AMAZING. Fits my taste to T.
    People consider this a Bassy or Basshead headphones. So first song I tried was something from Adele. it messes up most of these bass heavy headphones. Adding unnecessary bassiness to her songs and voice. TERRIBLE. To my surprise...i didnt hear anything. No bassy undertones. After a few songs...I was doubting if it's  a WS99?!? Sound was almost balanced.Couldnt believe these were considered basscanons.Still cant call it neutral. Not a laidback sound.A bit to forward and trebly, But all this without being in your face and fatiguing. 
    But what really sets it apart is the bass. Cant forget the first time it kicked in. I started an EDM song. Holy crap. All of a sudden there was the bass. Like someone suddenly turned on a (small) subwoofer. Where did all the (mid) bass come from? Simply wondrous. It doesn't go as low in rumble like the Q40. But it's still there when the song asks for it and it has much much better slam than the Q40.
    The sound fits my taste.A fun balanced sound without sibilance in it's highs, good bass with a nice thump that doesnt bleed to the mids. It comes so close to the HP50. Much better Bass, but mids and highs are not as good. Lacks clarity and spaciousness.Otherwise would have been perfect. 
    A while back I joined a discussion on Beats Solo 2. It was praised so much by Innerfidelity. When i tried the Solo 2...this was the sound I expected from it after reading the review. 
    Anyway at € 60 I think it's an incredible steal. Even around 100€ if your taste in sound is similar to mine or are simply looking for a bass heavy headphone...than this headphone is almost perfection.Literally a no brainer.
    Just be warned about its lack of isolation. I still have to figure out if I can use it outside or not.
    Quite an allround headphone who can turn out the bass with the best of them. 
    It leaves me with a question it's old pricepoint...what the hell was the AT marketing guys thinking? Did they want to make the best possible headphone with a certain sound. and it ended up  so expensive to produce that they couldnt add in any extras without going even higher in price.
    Or did they think they had a winner soundwise and just wanted to cash in as much as possible. Fullfilling a niche market. Anyway right now the result is that it's pulled from production and I feel lucky to have gotten my hands on one..
  5. dailysmoker
    These sound much better then expected,the bass is just amazing so full of texture and detail yet so powerfull.....
    Written by dailysmoker
    Published Aug 2, 2014
    Pros - Almost everything the detail,texture of the bass, the looks, standard pads are pretty comfi headphone i own
    Cons - Cable not detachable and is dual wired.
    The impact from the bass does not go directly into your ears,but dances around your ears,so lushy and textured the bass sounds,so much better then my Q40's where i could not follow the basslines like i can on the WS99, i hear things i never heard before,like basslines going from left to right [​IMG] and it's so more unique and fun sounding then Q40's which is a beast but sometimes just too much....This WS99 is not as powerfull in mid and subbass like Q40's,it's just beneith it....And what it brings it does it with extreme detail, punch, texture and speed and of more quality then any headphone i owned.The way the bass impact sounds and feels/vibrates on your head is just pure awesomeness [​IMG] And will get a second pair for back up for sho.....
  6. pro1137
    Versatility and style put together
    Written by pro1137
    Published Dec 26, 2013
    Pros - Style, sound, soundstage, detachable cables
    Cons - No carrying pouch
    The WS-99 are Audio-Technica's top of the line headphones in the Solid Bass line- and rightfully so. 
    These headphones are among the best that I've heard.
    Build - The WS-99 shares a lot of its overall design with the the mid-level WS-77. However, the parts and quality of the WS-99's build are much, much above that of the 77's. 
    The outer circles of the cups are much more high-quality. The ridges are more deep and give the headphones an even better look when hit by light at any angle. The ridges are actually quite sharp. They're able to cut through a shirt if rubbed on it. Learned that the hard way. They're made out of a high quality what I believe to be aluminum. You can easily see Audio-Technica's Dual Chamber technology with the way that these are designed. Really impressive to me. 
    Under the pads is mostly aluminum, contrary to the WS-77's plastic. 
    The headband is almost identical to the WS-77 in terms of shape. It feels a little more sturdy, though. The padding on it is very soft and plush. 
    The pads are a bit more soft than the pads on the WS77, which contributes to both comfort, and, for me, a higher feeling of elegance. 
    Comfort - Simply excellent. The WS99 is easily one of those headphones that you can sometimes forget that you're wearing. 
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    Sound - The WS99 has a bass heavy (obviously) sound signature with a slightly sparkly lower treble. The WS-99 shows to be a headphone that can be used with whatever genre the user throws at it; from electronic, to jazz, to classical and beyond. 
    Bass - As with all of the Solid Bass headphones from Audio-Technica, the WS99 delivers controlled, impactful, and punchy bass. While it does not have as emphasised of bass as the V-Moda M100, the WS-99 is still a good bass-heavy headphone that I think anyone can enjoy. I prefer to use these headphones with EDM and jazz due to their excellent bass response. 
    Mids - There's a little bit of recession going on here. It kind of reminds me of the midrange recession in the M50, but just not as severe. Much less recession than the M100 also. Vocals do sound quite natural still. Female vocals seem to have a little more energy when compared to male vocals with these. 
    Treble - The WS99 has a well-extended, detailed treble response. Lower treble is much more sparkly than the WS-77, which gives it a more natural and powerful sound in comparison. 
    Soundstage - As with the WS-77, the soundstage is very good for a portable headphone. Positioning and space is excellent for a portable. In comparison to larger headphones, like the DT770, though, it obviously won't compare well. 
    Overall - The WS-99 has style, build, and a powerful sound. While it has a less warm sound than the WS-77, both consumers and audiophiles alike should find these headphones to perform exceptionally well. 
  7. QuestionMeister
    Good sound, uncomfortable
    Written by QuestionMeister
    Published Jun 25, 2013
    Pros - Excels at bass and also is versatile
    Cons - Uncomfortable
    This device play music good but typical audio technica uncomfortabilityness.
  8. TheGame21x
    Top of the Heap
    Written by TheGame21x
    Published Jun 5, 2013
    Pros - Well Defined Bass, Comfortable, Rich Mids, Detachable Cables
    Cons - The WS77 is Almost as Good for Significantly Less, No Carrying Case


    First off, I’d like to thank the folks at Audio-Technica for the sample of the WS99 for review.
    Here it is, the pinnacle of Audio-Technica’s “Solid Bass” line of portable headphones, the WS99. Arriving in a big, audacious black box, the WS99 makes its presence known with its sharp (literally) aluminum accents, its large but not heavy construction and promises of excellent bass and sound quality. Jumping into the premium price bracket, with an MSRP of $250, sending it into direct competition with the Beats by Dre Studios, the original consumer focused portable headphone and, frankly, fashion accessory. So, does the WS99 measure up as a suitable king of the Solid Bass hill and make a solid case for your cash? Read on to find out.
    Accessories: The WS99 includes two interchangeable cables. The first cable is a standard extension and the other features a built in microphone, sliding volume control and one button remote.
    Design and Build Quality: At the top of the Solid Bass food chain, the WS99 is a hefty and beefy portable headphone that feels heavier and more solidly built than the WS77. The detachable cables are nicely built and feel durable.
    Comfort: The WS99 is actually quite comfortable with its bigger and slightly softer pads. Despite the fact that I don’t particularly love on-ear headphones, I found the WS99 to be quite comfortable over long periods.
    Isolation: The WS99 isolates well for a non-circumaural headphone, despite the fact that the WS99 is semi-open.

    Sound Quality

    Burn in: These were given 100+ hours of burn in prior to review. A lower treble spike I noticed early on mellowed out over time.
    Having heard its siblings, I was hardly surprised by the type of sound signature the WS99 presents. Put simply, it’s an evolution on the signature of the WS77 but with refinements in key places that make it audibly superior.
    The low end is, like the WS77, very full bodied and well detailed but with a bit more sub bass extension to really liven things up. Though the bass is obviously emphasized, it’s totally unobtrusive and really only steps forward when asked. In some cases, you might not notice that it’s emphasized until you put on a song that calls for a meaty low end, say Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and the WS99 really shows how punchy and engaging it can be. That 53mm driver can produce some powerful, but controlled, bass.
    The midrange is lush and smooth, lacking the slight hollowness I noticed in the WS77 and sounds quite full and pleasant. It’s quite clear despite its warmth and smoothness and sounds absolutely lovely with Jazz and R&B pieces. The lower treble is a bit forward which occasionally results in a tiny bit of sibilance but nothing especially annoying or irritating. The treble presence is neither forward nor recessed but carries a nice sense of sparkle and is well extended.
    The soundstage is fairly wide and deep for a closed portable can but the WS99 is also quite good at presenting a sense of intimacy due to the smooth and lush nature of the midrange and the sonic image is quite accurate. Its overall presentation is a well-balanced one, despite the enhanced bass, one that isn’t neutral but is well controlled with good linearity through the midrange and treble that makes for a quite pleasing sound.


    The WS99 sits at the pinnacle of the Audio-Technica’s “Solid Bass” line and unsurprisingly sounds the best of the three headphones in that line. Its sound is rich and engaging and works with a wide array of different genres. The casual crowd should love it for its emphasized bass and good looks while the audiophile will appreciate its attention to detail and engaging sound.
    The Audio-Technica WS99 is available from a number online retailers for prices hovering between $170 and $220 on Amazon and even higher than its $250 MSRP, which is rather mind boggling. At the $211 price (at the time of writing) from Amazon directly, I think the WS99 is a great portable headphone that earns its keep with its sound quality alone.
    The only problem is, at about $100 more than the WS77 based solely on its MSRP. If I were to grade the two, I’d say the WS77 is maybe 85 to 90 percent of the WS99 in terms of pure sound quality but the WS99 gains more points over the WS77 in terms of build, comfort and versatility. So, if money is tight, the WS77 is still an excellent choice but if you can afford the extra cash, the WS99 is definitely the headphone to buy for its more refined and engaging sound signature and certainly the best I’ve heard in a portable headphone. I hate sounding like a shill, especially since I’m not being paid for this, but if you’re willing to pay the relatively high price (and seeing as Beats Audio holds a commanding portion of the upper end headphone market, I’d imagine many are), the WS99 is a great headphone for the price.
    This review was re-posted from my site Musical Musings
    1. gelocks
      Cables are not detachable... (i.e. they are not removable from the earcup up top...) Good review.
      gelocks, Jun 6, 2013
    2. dbdynsty25
      Great review. I find that my WS99s fit over my ears as intended and I'd say mine are about average from a size standpoint. These are significantly more comfortable than say the M100s because of this fact. The true circle shape probably helps. Just want some people to be aware that these aren't intended to be ON-EARS (at least that's what the box tells me) but it all depends on your ear size.
      dbdynsty25, Jun 26, 2013