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Audio-Technica ART Monitor Series Refreshed: A2000Z, A1000Z, A900Z, A500Z

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by lalala6, Oct 8, 2015.
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  1. FrostyP
    I want to try some pad rolling with these, what pads are compatible?
  2. ColossalKiwi
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  3. Josz27
    Hi, Do you think that a1000z is overpriced at the price tag of 400 dollars? Does anyone have compared them to something like AKG 712,HD600(i know that it's a somewhat unfair comparison, open vs closed)
    I had m50x and hd 598.
    Now I have ad900x, I like them , but I Would want a little more bass, anyone here could write a comparison of a1000z and ad900x?
    Also a comparison of m50x vs a1000z would help, I Thought that m50x had too much bass, hd 598 were right and ad900x lacks sub bass.
    I'm also worried about the highs quantity, how does it compare to m50x and ad900x?I Think I Would not want more highs than ad900x xD...
  4. kvzrock
    $400 is a fair price for the ATH-A1000Z since there's not much closed back competition in this price range. Usually secondhand ATs are discounted by a significant enough margin to be worth holding out for, but that doesn't seem to happen as often with the ATH-A1000Z, unfortunately. I do enjoy listening to it as much as the HD 650 and ATH-AD2000 though.
  5. maheeinfy
    Does AT sell refurbished headphones?
  6. kvzrock
    Going by USA's market, they did with certain models that were domestically available (no 1000/2000 series though, AFAIK). Manufacturer refurbished ATH-A900X's were available for $99-$129 fairly often a couple of years ago, which was considered one of the best sub-$200 options for a closed back and my personal favorite. Something similar could happen with the ATH-A990Z, which seems to be following the same price trends the ATH-A900X did. Might be because a bunch popped up on eBay after Amazon had them for $98 a couple of months ago. Impressions of the A990Z are more mixed though.
  7. maheeinfy
    I like a990z a lot, which piqued my interest in other cans in that series. A1000Z seems like a winner, but yeh it doesn't seem to go on sale at all
  8. kvzrock
    Currently the lowest price I see for the A1000Z is $323.96 at American Musical Supply for an open box pair, which is pretty solid. Hopefully more deals like that will crop up over time since the most I listen to it, the better of a value it seems even at MSRP (as someone who exclusively purchases secondhand audio gear).

    On a side note, I've had good success with the Shure Alcantera pads (HPAEC1540) for a comfort upgrade that preserves the sound signature of the A1000Z.
    maheeinfy likes this.
  9. Mad Max
    Brainwavz earpads, for one
  10. arteom
    Picked up a pair of 990z's on the FS forums here. I have a pair of MSR-7's that I recently plugged into my main system, was very much impressed by it's resolution and how it reproduced room dynamics of recordings. I've always preferred open headphones but the MSR-7's have me scratching my head about that. Want to give the 990z's a shot to see how they fare against the MSR7, as well as the HD650 and HE500 that have been my go-to's (though imagine that will be more of a apples and oranges thing).
  11. maheeinfy
    990z is more detailed than MSR7
  12. arteom
    I'm interested to see how they are similar and different in a more "complete" way. I think AT did a great job of getting tuning on the MSR7 just right, will be interesting to see how that fares with the 990Z.
  13. arteom
    Do you have the same experience if you listen to music at lower levels than you would listen normally? Try lowering the volume down a few notches and see if that changes the sound for you. Do you use an amp or connect headphones directly to your source?
  14. arteom
    Got the 990Z a few nights ago. They are really a great set of headphones, very much impressed by their sound. It really makes me appreciate all the mid-fi stuff that I've passed on as my focus has been higher up. Will say that I did get some listening fatigue with them o more than an hour. It may be due their bright nature, and might be cured by some mental burn in. Besides that I also found my ears touching the drivers, might try stuffing some tubing or cotton under beneath the earpads to get some more height out of them, though honestly don't like modifying headphones like that.
  15. arteom
    Someone asked me for a comparison between the MSR-7 and the A990Z, thought I would post it here. I also threw the A1000Z in there as well, which I ended up getting. I used Pink Floyd's The Wall as the test album, mostly CD2 - first 3 tracks & Comfortably Numb, which I am very familiar with. Used a Cavalli EHHA rev 1 (DIY) and Rudistor RPX-33 MK2 for amplification, and a Soekris dam1021 R2R DAC.

    MSR-7 – All the sound is there, not as filled out as the others (might be described as lean). Crisp, clean, PRaT is well executed, attack and decay can be well observed. Highly resolving, but not overly analytical or sterile. Bottom end does not have as much quantity as the others, not as big, but it fits well with the rest of the spectrum due to the headphones relatively lean nature overall. The other side of this is Instrument separation, which is excellent. Lots of room to breathe from top to bottom; This is at the core of the sound profile of this headphone, I feel.

    A990Z – Vocals come through with more emotion, compared to the MSR-7. More musical overall, but a bit "soft". Presentation is more forward and up-front than the MSR-7. The instruments have a bit more weight, but compared to the MSR-7 there is less perceived space between them. Bottom end is bigger, perceived texturing is not as well done as the MSR-7, especially during complex passages. Bottom end leaves you wanting a bit more separation from rest of the spectrum. Midrange is slightly recessed. Great sense of room dynamics / reverb, edges out even the A1000Z in this regard.

    Switching from A990Z to MSR-7 has you turning the volume up. Not as easy to listen to, edges are harder compared to the A990Z. One can see how the MSR-7’s might be a better fit in a studio vs the A990Z which might be better suited for home listening. Though if you aren’t switching back and forth between it and a more “musical” headphone, you would not jump to this conclusion all too quickly, I know I didn’t!

    A1000Z – Instruments separation is noticeably better, compared to the A990Z. Allowing them to be better resolved and display texture without as much difficulty. Instruments have more dimensions than the A990Z. The other side of this is that sound is perceived to be just a bit further from listener. While the A1000Z is not as upfront sounding as the A990Z, it retains most of the emotional expression of its younger sibling. Sound profile is not as “soft” as the A990Z, but still a great contrast to the MSR-7.

    The A990Z is great if you like a very upfront sound, but you will sacrifice instrument separation for it. It’s also a bit softer approach to an upfront sound than say a Grado headphone. I will say that if you keep this on your head without switching to its bigger brother you will be very happy with it.

    The A1000Z is very well put together, the changes between it and the A990Z are enough that the it has a different sound profile altogether. It puts the listener a further from front row, has better instrument separation which yields quite a few technical advantages sonically. It also comes equipped with nice earpads, a stiffer suspension on the wing system (headphone does not slide down as far compared to the 990). It's also a bit better detailed aesthetically, as one would expect, the red cups are pretty cool.

    The MSR-7 is more a cousin to the other two than a sibling, and will perform well in studio / monitoring environments. Though many, including myself, have found it a pleasure to listen to at home.

    I would recommend using an amp best suited for low impedance headphones for all three. A tube/hybrid might have better synergy with the A1000Z or the MSR-7 than solid state.

    I will probably end up selling the A990Z, as it was really purchased as a backup in-case I could not acquire the A1000Z. Even though the upgrade was not completely vertical, currently I'm trying my best to keep my headphone collection low ..ish.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    JohanDavid85, trellus and davek like this.
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