AD900 sound?
Jul 20, 2008 at 11:41 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

Kernmac

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I'm very close to either swapping or selling my MS2i for ATH AD900. I love the sound of the Alessandros, and they do rock extremely well, plenty of prat, detail and they are fun fons. Although I rarely find them sibilant, they are edgey and as some describe "harsh" at times, and for me they do lack bass, although it is there and it is quite punchy. Recently I purchased the Proline 550 and quite simply these guys do it for me, they are ideal for everthing I liked my MS2i's for. Therefore my MS2i "keepers" are goers.

So I went looking for a headphone that would contrast with my Pro 550s. This is my shopping list.
Comfortable
Soundstage The bigger the better
Efficient-must be able to be driven and sound close to their best from a low powered amp (IE: Porta corda or move)
Detailed -mids particularly for vocals/ballards
Fast,punchy-but not fatiguing, not expecting MS2 punch - doesn't matter if they are bass shy, the Prolines have that covered.
Warmish-leaning that way as opposed to harsh/clinical

Answer = AD900
However like all decisions based on other peoples opinions (I'm not in a position to audition them) there comes a certain amount of contradiction, and therefore I am seeking clarification in this thread about certain things.

Comfort and soundstage seem to be consistent with regard to AD900. (loose fit for small heads aside) Efficient and not needing an external amp is a done deal.

However it is in describing the sound that the debate comes. Detailed with excellent mids, not warm but not clinical and sibilant, or recessed, thin and harsh. Gradoish or nothing like a Grado.

I would love to hear from AD900 and AD700 owners (past owners) who have heard 323i or MS2i to chime in with their impressions of the ATH open sound.

Or anyone, based on my shopping list come in with a suggestion for an alternative to the AD900.

Cheers
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 12:23 PM Post #2 of 17

REB

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The ATH AD900 seems to be pretty popular these days! I have it on loan and although I've never theard the MS2i, I'll try to comment on your shopping list based on my experiences with the AD900

Comfortable Oh yes, it's so comfortable, you forget wearing it. It doesn't weigh much and isn't sweaty at all.
Soundstage The bigger the better Soundstage is impressively big, airy and with great instrument placement.
Efficient-must be able to be driven and sound close to their best from a low powered amp (IE: Porta corda or move) It sounded great when driven by my Voyager portable amp and iPod.
Detailed -mids particularly for vocals/ballards Mids are very good, IMO especially for classical, although Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by acoustic guitar also sounded fantastic. I must admit I like my DT990 better for vocals, but maybe that's not an entirely fair comparison.
Fast,punchy-but not fatiguing, not expecting MS2 punch - doesn't matter if they are bass shy, the Prolines have that covered. They are bass shy, but not to a fault. They are fast, detailed, but at the same time kinda laidback (not in the Sennheiser way!), they don't fatigue you easily.
Warmish-leaning that way as opposed to harsh/clinical Difficult to say, but I'd never say they were harsh or clinical. Analytical maybe but also warmish.

Having never heard the MS2i, I find it difficult to recommend either swapping or keeping. I have no difficulties recommending the AD900 on its own merits, however. For its price, it is a very good, comfortable phone, even if it is a little bass shy.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 12:52 PM Post #4 of 17

Kernmac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gautam /img/forum/go_quote.gif
i would also like some opinions, as i too am in a similar boat, but need them unamped. OP, have you considered the denon ah-d2000?


Thanks REB, your views on AD900 on various posts have been very helpful, and consistent.

gautam, I haven't considered the Denon, the reasons being that they are closed, so I'm not sure about the sound stage and more importantly the price is not competetive here is Australia, the D2000 retails at near MS Pro prices.

AD900=$330 D2000=$799

However I thank you for your suggestion.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 1:25 PM Post #6 of 17

REB

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Through the AD990, I am now listening to music to which the bass is absolutely central, because it only consists of female vocals, a saxophone and a standing bass (Tok Tok Tok). I don't think what I am hearing now can be described as bass shy. Compared to my other cans, the bass is less textured, less defined and has less impact, but it is very present. This may partly be due to my amp (the Solo) which gives the bass very good texturing and impact in general.

I now switched to one of my reference songs, On Green Dolphin Street, played by the Keith Jarett Trio (live). This song also depends on the bass a lot. Here are my impressions:

Detail is great, soundstage wide, piano sounds good, drumming and humming (not sure who is doing it) detailed and crisp and the bass... is definitely 'underdeveloped'. No, I have to go back to my previous view, the AD900 is bass shy and not made for jazz.

Last track: Bach's Mass in B-minor, the opening Kyrie Eleison: spacious, clear, the organ has impact, strings are smooth yet maintain a ruggish undertone (is that a word?), the lows are more than sufficient. You can actually hear where the singers in the choir are standing. Yep, this phone excells in classical music.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 3:13 PM Post #8 of 17

RealDealz

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AD900s have been my primary can for about 2 years now. Of your criteria, I think the only one that is potentially problematic is the warmness. They are not simbilant, but they are not warm - at least not without some EQ changes. I find that these cans react very well to EQ changes and you can really warm them up a good bit with them. However, the 900's strong suit will always be clear, detailed vocals, acoustics, and transients - and these things are bound to be somewhat fatiguing over time.

I would recommend them to you for your criteria, however. They are by far the most comfortable headphone I've ever worn and the best sound stage as well. They are super easily driven (I do notice an improvement in sound when connected to my x-fi vs my ipod but it is relatively minor). Really, the only warning I would have for you is the fact that they are not warm/creamy - I wouldn't say their clinical, but I do recommend warming them up with EQ. (really helps a ton)

edit: btw, the bass really is capable of some very decent output with the EQ changes as well. (and it doesn't sound bloated or distorted either - I'm pretty picking in this area too)

Hope that helps.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 5:53 PM Post #9 of 17

REB

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I don't listen to much rock, but I just did a session with what rock (and assorted stuff) I could find
smily_headphones1.gif
. I listened to Bruce Springsteen (Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town), Radiohead (Karma Police), Keane (Everybody's Changing), Crash Test Dummies (Mmm Mmm Mmm). The AD900 sounds quite good. I don't think it did all that can be done with the older Bruce Springsteen records. Soundstage and in particular instrument separation were less than with other songs. With Radiohead it did well and with Keane I was surprised. I like their Hopes And Fears album, but it suffers from an all too common fault on many contemporary albums: its bass is boosted, which makes it hard to listen to on my Beyers (and I am too lazy to use an EQ and change settings
wink.gif
). With the AD900, the bass was just right and reproduction of the song overall was very musical. So it really depends on the recordings, I'd say, whether it does well with rock. It did very well with the acoustic Crash Test Dummies BTW.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 6:00 PM Post #10 of 17

REB

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Kernmac /img/forum/go_quote.gif
the price is not competetive here is Australia, the D2000 retails at near MS Pro prices.

AD900=$330 D2000=$799



Wow, that's expensive for a D2000. When I worked in Canberra, I went looking for a K701, but I decided against buying one, because it would have cost me AUD $1000... I left with an AKG K181DJ which still cost me an arm and a leg, but significantly less than $1000.
 
Jul 20, 2008 at 6:06 PM Post #11 of 17

REB

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I just A-B'ed Radiohead's Exit Music (For A Film) with my DT990 and the AD900. The AD900 does pretty well, but it is no comparison with the DT990. It also seems to lose some of its soundstage and imaging with rock. It's OK if it is not your primary can for rock, but if it is rock you mainly listen to, I wouldn't recommend the AD900. To my ears, it is a classical can more than anything. That's it for me today, I'm going to interact with my family
smily_headphones1.gif
.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 8:48 AM Post #12 of 17

Kernmac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RealDealz /img/forum/go_quote.gif
AD900s have been my primary can for about 2 years now. Of your criteria, I think the only one that is potentially problematic is the warmness. They are not simbilant, but they are not warm - at least not without some EQ changes. I find that these cans react very well to EQ changes and you can really warm them up a good bit with them. However, the 900's strong suit will always be clear, detailed vocals, acoustics, and transients - and these things are bound to be somewhat fatiguing over time.

Really, the only warning I would have for you is the fact that they are not warm/creamy - I wouldn't say their clinical, but I do recommend warming them up with EQ. (really helps a ton)

edit: btw, the bass really is capable of some very decent output with the EQ changes as well. (and it doesn't sound bloated or distorted either - I'm pretty picking in this area too)

Hope that helps.



G'day RealDealz thanks for reply it does help. They have been your primary fon, what music do you mostly listen to? Have you listened to any of the mid high end Grados and if so how does the sound of the AD900 compare? That word "fatiguing" worries me. I am hoping for smooth, not laid back go to sleep but not sibilant or harsh.

Thanks also to you REB, your comments are appreciated.

Cheers
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 9:15 AM Post #13 of 17

Chris Tch

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The AD900 is not good for anything with good bass, and if you enjoy deep, punchy bass, look at the Denon D2000. I have both of these headphones, and while the AD900 has really rich, vibrant mids, the bass is lacking unless you EQ a LOT, and the D2000s don't really require any. I think they are both very detailed and high-end headphones, but sometimes that extra kick helps.
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 12:09 PM Post #14 of 17

Kernmac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Tch /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The AD900 is not good for anything with good bass, and if you enjoy deep, punchy bass, look at the Denon D2000. I have both of these headphones, and while the AD900 has really rich, vibrant mids, the bass is lacking unless you EQ a LOT, and the D2000s don't really require any. I think they are both very detailed and high-end headphones, but sometimes that extra kick helps.


Part of my shopping list
Fast,punchy-but not fatiguing, not expecting MS2 punch - doesn't matter if they are bass shy, the Prolines have that covered. "They are bass shy, but not to a fault." REBS reply.

I'm not concerned if they are bass shy, as my 550s will handle bass centric music when I need it. But I am looking for detail, particularly in the vocals, not harsh, not fatiguing, not sibilant, not gradoish, I am looking for a different sound signature to my MS2i.
I am interested in opinions from AD900 users on REBs comments below.
"They are fast, detailed, but at the same time kinda laidback (not in the Sennheiser way!), they don't fatigue you easily."

If this is a common opinion, then I am on the money with the choice of the AD900.

Cheers
 
Jul 21, 2008 at 2:11 PM Post #15 of 17

sonq

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If the AD900 is anything close to the AD2000, I'll say they're excellent. I've heard the AD2000 sounding really delicious with the EC ZD - certainly a lot more engaging and balanced than GS1000 in the same the same system.
 

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