Audio-Technica ATH-WP900
May 30, 2021 at 7:24 PM Post #781 of 903

Shane D

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I got these after doing lots of research and I'm really disappointed in them. I'm not an audiophile, so forgive me if I'm using the language incorrectly, but their only distinguishing characteristic seems to be that they have wonderful sound separation and a larger, airier, sound stage for closed backs (they have probably the best soundstage of any close-backed I've heard). However, in almost every other category they are mediocre. Bass is OK, much more emphasized than other AT's I've heard, and it isn't muddy like some bass-heavy headphones can be, but it's definitely not powerful enough for a basshead (as I am).

Treble is also too bright for my tastes. They have a very bright, almost sparkly sound, which is novel and attractive for about a minute, but I just find it exhausting to listen to for too long. And it's not just high-treble stuff. I was listening to the new Julien Baker album (who's not exactly a soprano), and after a while just hearing her singing voice got grating. Comparing the WP900 to my other headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-M50X and VMODA-Crossfade 2), the WP900s do the best job of separating all of the various sounds with clarity, but to my ears, it ruins the music. It makes everything sound too bright and deconstructed, and actually sometimes seems to emphasize the wrong stuff. Like, I was listening to St. Vincent's "Pay Your Way in Pain" and I heard all sorts of new, random, sounds I hadn't heard before with these, however the central synth-line that is the backbone and driving force of the entire song seemed to get lost in the cacophony of noise at times. I actually think the V-Moda's have a very similar sound profile as these do, only the V-Moda's have slightly more emphasized bass (which can get muddy at times) and slightly less bright treble. Which is absurd as these are twice the cost of the V-Modas, yet the sound very similar.

Which is kind of the main issue that's underlying all of this. These WP900s sound OK. If they were $300 I'd be blown away by them. However, I do not see anything about how they sound that justifies the $650 price tag over comparable headphones in the $300 range and the accessories they come with are a joke on top of it (just a flimsy, cloth, carrying case and nothing else). Are they as expensive as they are merely because they are made out of wood? Honestly, I don't really understand who their target audience is. They have better bass than other Audio-Technicas, for example, but the base isn't good enough for bassheads. They also aren't really reference headphones, as they don't treat the soundstage equally.

I bought these because I accidentally crushed and bent my V-Moda's, so they stick into my head now (which is really painful). I thought I'd spring for something more expensive, but I think I'm going to return them and just get another pair of Crossfades. These might be marginally better than the crossfades when it comes to sound separation, but the Crossfades have slightly more powerful bass (which I prefer), are $300 cheaper, have bluetooth, and come with a bunch of accessories.
I agree with much of what you said. I love the look, the feel, the size, the clamp, etc.

However, when it comes to the sound, I find them pretty unsatisfactory. The recessed mids are no-go for me. Pulled them out today to try with my new-to-me amp and they started annoying me almost immediately. I set up Florence and the Machine as I love her voice.
I haven't used these for a few weeks and all I remembered about them was the recessed mids.
Shortly after putting them on I noticed two things:
1) Recessed mids
And
2) Weird presentation of some sounds. Some instruments sound different from what I am used to.

After an hour I pulled out my CFA Cascades. Wow! What a difference. And what an upgrade! The vocals are out front, the clarity is awesome and the horns sound great. If only the Cascade headband didn't suck so bad! :grin:

Retail on these two phones is about the same in Canada, which is funny because they are SO different. I think the WP-900's will be leaving my home next month.

PS: I just traded my LCD-2 Classic's for the new Beyer T5, gen 3 headphones. I hope they fill the role that I bought the WP-900's for.
 
May 30, 2021 at 7:44 PM Post #782 of 903

Slim1970

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I got these after doing lots of research and I'm really disappointed in them. I'm not an audiophile, so forgive me if I'm using the language incorrectly, but their only distinguishing characteristic seems to be that they have wonderful sound separation and a larger, airier, sound stage for closed backs (they have probably the best soundstage of any close-backed I've heard). However, in almost every other category they really don't do much that significantly cheaper headphones don't already do. Bass is OK, much more emphasized than other AT's I've heard, and it isn't muddy like some bass-heavy headphones can be, but it's definitely not powerful enough for a basshead (as I am).

Treble is also too bright for my tastes. They have a very bright, almost sparkly sound, which is novel and attractive for about a minute, but I just find it exhausting to listen to for too long. And it's not just high-treble stuff. I was listening to the new Julien Baker album (who's not exactly a soprano), and after a while just hearing her singing voice got grating. Comparing the WP900 to my other headphones (Audio-Technica ATH-M50X and VMODA-Crossfade 2). I actually think the V-Moda's have a very similar sound profile as these do, only the V-Moda's have slightly more emphasized bass (which can get muddy at times) and slightly less bright treble. The WP-900s also probably have slightly better sound separation, but for being a bass heavy headphone, the Crossfades actually have really good sound separation, so not by much. Which is absurd as these are twice the cost of the V-Modas, yet they sound very similar.

Which is kind of the main issue that's underlying all of this. These WP900s sound good enough. If they were $300 I'd be blown away by them. However, I do not see anything about how they sound that justifies the $650 price tag over comparable headphones in the $300 range. The accessories they come with are also a joke on top of it (just a flimsy, cloth, carrying case and nothing else). Are they as expensive as they are merely because they are made out of wood? I admit they look great, but they aren't really made for travel, so who cares how they look?

I bought these because I accidentally crushed and bent my V-Moda's, so they stick into my head now (which is really painful). I thought I'd spring for something more expensive, but I think I'm going to return them and just get another pair of Crossfades. These might be marginally better than the crossfades when it comes to sound separation, but the Crossfades have slightly more powerful bass (which I prefer), are $300 cheaper, have bluetooth with APTX, and come with a bunch of accessories.
I think the WP900’s have a more refined sound than the two headphones you mentioned. The V-Moda’s and M50x’s are more fun sounding headphones with boomy bass in comparison. Neither have the build quality of the WP900’s, but everyone hears differently. I have a set of these coming and I plan on using them at work.
 
May 30, 2021 at 7:46 PM Post #783 of 903

Jcar

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I agree with much of what you said. I love the look, the feel, the size, the clamp, etc.

However, when it comes to the sound, I find them pretty unsatisfactory. The recessed mids are no-go for me. Pulled them out today to try with my new-to-me amp and they started annoying me almost immediately. I set up Florence and the Machine as I love her voice.
I haven't used these for a few weeks and all I remembered about them was the recessed mids.
Shortly after putting them on I noticed two things:
1) Recessed mids
And
2) Weird presentation of some sounds. Some instruments sound different from what I am used to.

After an hour I pulled out my CFA Cascades. Wow! What a difference. And what an upgrade! The vocals are out front, the clarity is awesome and the horns sound great. If only the Cascade headband didn't suck so bad! :grin:

Retail on these two phones is about the same in Canada, which is funny because they are SO different. I think the WP-900's will be leaving my home next month.

PS: I just traded my LCD-2 Classic's for the new Beyer T5, gen 3 headphones. I hope they fill the role that I bought the WP-900's for.

I'm not really hearing the recessed mids, honestly. They sound fine to me, and clarity of mids has been pointed out on many reviews I've read. As I said, I'm not an audiophile, so maybe I'm not using the right terminology, but I assume by mids you mean vocals and stuff that falls in the middle range between bass and treble? If so, yeah. They sound fine to me.

Honestly, as I'm listening to the WP 900s more I like them more. My biggest issue with them is that I don't really see them as an upgrade (as I said they aren't really much better than what I currently own, just slightly different), but maybe I'll give them a day or so before I return them.
 
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May 30, 2021 at 7:46 PM Post #784 of 903

JML

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And the WP900 is revealing enough that what's feeding it is quite important: the quality of the signal from your source and the match of the output to what this headphone "likes."
 
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May 30, 2021 at 7:50 PM Post #786 of 903

Jcar

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And the WP900 is revealing enough that what's feeding it is quite important: the quality of the signal from your source and the match of the output to what this headphone "likes."

For what it's worth, I'm using the Fiio Alpen 2 USB DAC/Amp and lossless FLAC files played through Music Bee. I did turn up the bass output on the amp and liked the headphones slightly better after that.
 
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May 30, 2021 at 8:26 PM Post #787 of 903

Slim1970

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What does that actually mean, though? Audiophiles always say stuff like this as if what it means is self-evident. What does "refined" mean in this context?
The music presentation sounds more coherent, cleaner on the WP900’s compared to those other two headphones you mentioned. The bass is more controlled, tighter. It’s easier to hear were the artist are on a stage or in the studio because the imaging and instrument separation is bit better on the WP900’s.
 
May 30, 2021 at 9:12 PM Post #788 of 903

Jcar

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The music presentation sounds more coherent, cleaner on the WP900’s compared to those other two headphones you mentioned. The bass is more controlled, tighter. It’s easier to hear were the artist are on a stage or in the studio because the imaging and instrument separation is bit better on the WP900’s.

Yes, that makes more sense and, honestly, I've been switching back and forth between WP900s and my V-Moda Crossfade 2's all afternoon now and I definitely think the WP900s are slightly better. If you turn up the bass on a DAC/Amp, their bass profiles can be made to sound very similar, but the sound separation holds together slightly better on the WP900s vs the Crossfade 2's when the bass is turned way up. I just don't know if the difference is big enough to merit the increased price as, despite all that, they are very, very similar sounding. If anything, this just illustrates how underrated the Crossfade 2's are.

I don't know if I'll keep the WP900s or exchange them for new Crossfades. I'll wait a day or so and see how I feel.
 
May 30, 2021 at 10:51 PM Post #789 of 903

Slim1970

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Yes, that makes more sense and, honestly, I've been switching back and forth between WP900s and my V-Moda Crossfade 2's all afternoon now and I definitely think the WP900s are slightly better. If you turn up the bass on a DAC/Amp, their bass profiles can be made to sound very similar, but the sound separation holds together slightly better on the WP900s vs the Crossfade 2's when the bass is turned way up. I just don't know if the difference is big enough to merit the increased price as, despite all that, they are very, very similar sounding. If anything, this just illustrates how underrated the Crossfade 2's are.

I don't know if I'll keep the WP900s or exchange them for new Crossfades. I'll wait a day or so and see how I feel.
Cool, I'm glad you can hear some of the differences in sound between the two. Whether they warrant the price bump is up to you. I think they'll be a good work headphone for sure. I have plenty of other headphones I can put on for more critical listening.
 
May 31, 2021 at 1:30 AM Post #790 of 903

LostnAmerica

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The music presentation sounds more coherent, cleaner on the WP900’s compared to those other two headphones you mentioned. The bass is more controlled, tighter. It’s easier to hear were the artist are on a stage or in the studio because the imaging and instrument separation is bit better on the WP900’s.
Greetings Slim1970, I have read whereas many owners (not all) have stated that WP900's start to send really really nice after about 10 or so hours of play. Just curious, does a "couple of days" give these enough time to really shine as they seem to be cable of? I appreciate and value your feedback on this...
Cheers
 
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May 31, 2021 at 2:01 AM Post #791 of 903

Jcar

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Greetings Slim1970, I have read whereas many owners (not all) have stated that WP900's start to send really really nice after about 10 or so hours of play. Just curious, does a "couple fo days" give these enough time to really shine as they seem to be cable of? I appreciate and value your feedback on this...
Cheers

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I don't think he's actually heard the headphones yet. He ordered them and is defending them because......he spent money on them? I don't know why, but he's not defending them based on owning them.

For what it's worth, they seem to have become slightly less shrill/bright in the upper registers since I've been listening to mine. I might just run white noise through them for a few hours and see what happens.
 
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May 31, 2021 at 2:31 AM Post #792 of 903

KPzypher

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What does that actually mean, though? Audiophiles always say stuff like this as if what it means is self-evident. What does "refined" mean in this context?

lol. This made me chuckle. There's nothing special about audiophiles. It's definitely not a certification nor a profession. You're right it's mostly mumbo jumbo without a reference point.

If you don't like the sound, that should be the end of the story. Who cares what other people say?

Thanks for your honest assessment. I found your impression way more useful than any "audiophile" reviews.
 
May 31, 2021 at 2:31 AM Post #793 of 903

LostnAmerica

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I've been researching a bit more. Anyone have experience with the Fosterx th-610's? I might try these instead.


Maybe I'm mistaken, but I don't think he's actually heard the headphones yet. He ordered them and is defending them because......he spent money on them? I don't know why, but he's not defending them based on owning them.

For what it's worth, they seem to have become slightly less shrill/bright in the upper registers since I've been listening to mine. I might just run white noise through them for a few hours and see what happens.
For what its worth, If the "He" you referred to is me, I do have a pair, and yes I have listened to them as they arrived 5/21...As you probably know, different people hear different things, thats just the way it is, and thats ok as I seem to not have the same level of issues with the mids as you are. Thats why there are so many choices to make in headphones...It keeps things interesting I believe. They were a little congested in the beginning (I bought with <4 hours on them). Also I might add: not just the source, but the actual recording is also important, hi-res or not if it was not mastered properly, it will sound like junk, as there are differences in various recordings and the sound that is produced. And these seem to reveal the shortcomings rather nicely. And in the short while I have had these, I have already seen some clarity occurring and gives me hope of more to come. As for my question to Slim1970, it still stands.. And don't forget, to Enjoy the Music!
Cheers
 
May 31, 2021 at 2:39 AM Post #794 of 903

Jcar

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For what its worth, If the "He" you referred to is me, I do have a pair, and yes I have listened to them as they arrived 5/21...As you probably know, different people hear different things, thats just the way it is, and thats ok as I seem to not have the same level of issues with the mids as you are. Thats why there are so many choices to make in headphones...It keeps things interesting I believe. They were a little congested in the beginning (I bought with <4 hours on them). Also I might add: not just the source, but the actual recording is also important, hi-res or not if it was not mastered properly, it will sound like junk, as there are differences in various recordings and the sound that is produced. And these seem to reveal the shortcomings rather nicely. And in the short while I have had these, I have already seen some clarity occurring and gives me hope of more to come. As for my question to Slim1970, it still stands.. And don't forget, to Enjoy the Music!
Cheers

No, I was talking about Slim, not you. He said he ordered a pair for his office, but I don't think he's actually received them yet.
 
May 31, 2021 at 2:46 AM Post #795 of 903

LostnAmerica

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No, I was talking about Slim, not you. He said he ordered a pair for his office, but I don't think he's actually received them yet.
of course, as usual, I am mistaken. Another thread mis-read by me...:) (PS, I will state the more I use these, the better they sound...) And if in the end (after some good listening hours) I am not happy, I'll just move them to a good home. And go back to the Denon D5000's (or 7000's).
Cheers
 

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