ATH WS99BT Discussion & Impressions
Mar 18, 2016 at 6:50 PM Post #16 of 40

Sonic Defender

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  Is there a difference in sound quality between the WS99BT (wired) and the older WS99? Bluetooth connectivity is nice but I might go for the cheaper WS99 if the newer WS99BT sounds worse. I've searched a little bit for this comparison but nothing came up.

Just order the BT version (unless the price difference is that significant). The BT version will have the ability to play wired, but give you the flexibility to go BT, and the BT sounds amazing.
 
Mar 22, 2016 at 1:56 PM Post #17 of 40

Giogio

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@strokerace, just tested.
Buy the WS99BT and never look back.
They sound much better both wired and wireless.
Much more transparent, more highs, more balanced, still with same powerful bass (may be, not sure, too early to say but may be that the WS99 has got a little bit more bass, but it is a much worse bass, less controlled, less natural, muddy, boxy.
 
And the WS99BT can get louder, in BT mode.
 
I have tried them both with the HM5 Earpads (a must have with these both models, maybe more for the WS99BT which have thinner stock pads and are therefore a little bit less comfortable without the HM5).
I did not have two angled pads, so I have alternated, a bit the angled on the WS99BT and the flat on the WS99, a bit the opposite. This is because the flat give a slightly more boomy low region and add a little muddiness.
And result?
The WS99 were muddy and veiled even with the angled, while the WS99BT were transparent and not muddy even with the flat.
 
Go for the BT, absolutely.
 
Mar 22, 2016 at 2:29 PM Post #18 of 40

strokerace

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Thanks for the responses, guys. I will definitely be going for the BT version with that new info. Now to try to find it under $200! The non-BT was interesting because they were going for around $100 used at one point (not any more). I'm kinda excited to get back in the big boy headphones club after years of having only my Superlux since I sold the D2000 and DT990.
 
Mar 22, 2016 at 3:07 PM Post #19 of 40

Giogio

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If you are excited just follow your heart. You know it already, you'll not feel ok till you get the headphones you had your eyes on.
And you are getting a top headphone.
If you were already in the direction of the kind of sound of the WS99, the WS99BT would only be a step up in that direction.
Imo, a big step up.
 
You should anyway also buy the Brainwavz HM5 angled leatherette earpads. They are the twin soul of the WS99BT. Not possible to separate them.
Trust me.
 
May 13, 2016 at 4:54 PM Post #20 of 40

ontheedges

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Hello folks.
I have already purchased a pair of ATH-WS99BT.
I am a musician and a very strong listener.
This version has somewhat disappointed me. Particularly in the vocals of the songs. Ok, the Bass and Treble balance is good, but when it comes to vocals and mids, I am disappointed. The vocals and mids are very sharp (or harsh in another way of saying), and I need to reduce the volume to avoid such harshness at the cost of my joy for loud music. Some synth accompaniments in the songs also sound very harsh to me, therefore I now tend to keep the volume range in the centre and try to keep a balanced distribution. Is there anyone experience the same? Do you think the headphones need a burn-in to correct such sharpness in mids?
 
May 26, 2016 at 2:21 PM Post #21 of 40

Giogio

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Is there anyone experience the same? Do you think the headphones need a burn-in to correct such sharpness in mids?

I don't experience this, but I have noticed that their response on the mids (specially the low mids, in my perception, as I have found them a bit accentuated at the beginning) improves over time.
Now that I have a second, new pair, I can confirm that there was a real burn-in, no mental inurement.
 
But I also always suggest the WS99BT with the Brainwavz HM5 pads. For me it is just the way to go. One can choose this or the other version of HM%, I personally prefer the angled leatherette, the bass becomes a bit rounder and at times slightly boomy, but all the rest improves very notably (the bass too, apart for the slight boominess, it is less aggressive in the punch and more balanced in its sub).
You can return the HM5 is not satisfied so I would suggest buying  few different versions (leatherette flat, leatherette angled, velour flat and angled, hybrid 3 material) and decide.
Strangely enough, one of the things I love the most in the WS99BT are their mids.
I really look forward to reading what you think of them with the HM5, and which HM5 will you finally keep.
 
May 27, 2016 at 12:26 AM Post #22 of 40

ontheedges

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Thank you for your detailed answer. I am living in Turkey and Ebay seems to be only option for buying these pads although most of the providers unfortunately do not offer international shipment to Turkey, and some do it at very high prices.
Anyway, at the time of my decision for a BT set, I had to make a decision between Sony MBR-1ABT, ATH-S700BT and ATH-WS99BT, and I chose the latter. I tested it on 3 different devices. One is Samsung Galaxy S3 mobile phone (yes it is outdated but still has the Wolfson DAC sound chip on it), the other is a Toshiba Satellite notebook (S70-A-11E) and the last one is a tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab S2). With some EQ settings, Sound on tablet is a little bit finer. Due to the newest sound chip or infrastructure I think. I achieved to lower the sharpness in the mids and the vocal, but this time a new hissss sound, most probably due to the EQ settings, emerged in the background of the music. Anyway, I will try to change the pads and test. I am still hoping for an improvement in the sound, but if I was offered a second chance to buy a BT set, would I chose W98bt again? Probably no. What I am trying to do now is just to fine-tune a wrong choice into an acceptable one by some alterations. But if this situation persists, I will probably buy a new one.
 
May 27, 2016 at 7:30 AM Post #23 of 40

Giogio

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Well, your experience confirms that there is no universal headphone and confirms that ratings and rankings and "top best this and that" lists are useless.

Yes please try the several hm5.
And can you post your eq settings? Screenshot?

Do your devices have aptx?
 
May 27, 2016 at 8:24 AM Post #24 of 40

ontheedges

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Sorry but I have no idea about the aptx support,
And my EQ settings on my PC are on the following image.
Here, the very first and last band is useless, I mean they have no effect on the sound.
And I had to apply a preamp of app. 20 units as shown on top of the image. This balances the accenuation a little bit more and renders the overall sound more bearable.
And one more point, this EQ creates somewhat an artifical sound (a slight robotic compression effect that can be recognized by an audophille), maybe other folks may be using a better EQ software for PC. 
 
v4QBn4.png

 
May 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM Post #27 of 40

Giogio

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You have lowered nothing.
Your 0 is -21db.
You have all frequencies above your 0.
With the 4 and 8 k on +5db as you have them now (21-16=5) and a Q of 1.41, you have the presence zone (6k) boosted around +3.5db. This is the harshness you feel.
Then you are boosting the low mids which are exactly what the WS99BT have a bit too much before burn-in.
And if for "reduced mids" you mean the 2k, they are not reduced, they are boosted +3.5db.
I think you should first of all get a decent EQ, and possibly a graphic parametric one so you can see what you are doing.
 
As you seem quite confused about how to apply subtractive EQ I would suggest making it easier. Just leave the gain in 0 and decrease one fader -3db. Listen, remember, and put it again in 0, then go for the next fader.
Harshness is typically on the upper mids, so you should reduce 6k and around.
But if you call "harshness" just the result of the direct impactful present sound of the WS99BT on any given frequency besides the upper mids, then you should find the frequency causing that harshness. Eventually you could reduce the whole mid-range.
The WS99BT are indeed a direct HP with an impactful sound.
With the angled leatherette HM5 you would get a more round sound and you may not need any EQ at all.
 
May 28, 2016 at 5:05 AM Post #28 of 40

ontheedges

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Actually the pre-amp in the EQ software does not create a lineer boost on each frequency, that's why, I think, this setting achieved the best sound for me with w98bt. I will try your recommendation for the EQ as well. And when I disable the EQ, the music immediately turns into a harsh sound with sharp and shallow mids, with no problem in the upper and higher departments. However, the best sound so far with this headphone is on Spotify with my Galaxy tab s2 tablet, with track quality set to excellent, and custom EQ..
 
May 28, 2016 at 7:08 AM Post #29 of 40

Giogio

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Where do you see that the pre-amp does not affect all frequencies? And which frequencies do you mean to be affected by the pre-amp?
If this would be so, it would be worse. You would have 30db differences between the frequencies affected by the pre-amp and the other ones.
As far as I know the pre-amp is always a general gain and can be pre or after eq but it affects the overall sound.
 
Can you please define which frequencies you call "mids" and which you call "upper and higher"?
Can you please define "shallow"? In my understanding of its meaning it is not compatible with sharp, so I can't get how can something sound sharp and shallow at same time.
 
Cheers
 
May 29, 2016 at 7:55 AM Post #30 of 40

ontheedges

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  Where do you see that the pre-amp does not affect all frequencies? And which frequencies do you mean to be affected by the pre-amp?
If this would be so, it would be worse. You would have 30db differences between the frequencies affected by the pre-amp and the other ones.
As far as I know the pre-amp is always a general gain and can be pre or after eq but it affects the overall sound.
 
Can you please define which frequencies you call "mids" and which you call "upper and higher"?
Can you please define "shallow"? In my understanding of its meaning it is not compatible with sharp, so I can't get how can something sound sharp and shallow at same time.
 
Cheers

Well, I know the pre-amp setting should apply to each of the frequencies, but on the actual sound part, I do not experience a linearity, that may result from the EQ software's effect in my PC's audio chip. 
What I mean by lows is the bass side, and highs is the treble side,
mids is 166-4000 range (in relation to the image I have sent in my previous message)
And what I mean by shallow is non-detailed. The mids are both sharp and non-detailed. This is the case particularly with a female singer in the music. Her voice sounds steep (sharp) and not detailed. This is also the case particularly with piano, synth or string accompaniments in the music. They sound sharp and not detailed. I cannot feel the depth of the instrument. Like watching a 380p movie instead of 720p. I tried several FLAC tracks with a little bit improvement, but as an audophille, I am still dissatisfied. Maybe my musical equipment is not that advanced. I even think to switch to a better smartphone with a superior performance on BT with my WS99bt. LG V10 or Iphone 6s maybe. Do you have any experience in that?
 

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