HD 595 vs ATH-A900? (sry)
Jul 24, 2008 at 6:38 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

Shinsei

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I assume that this type of thread has been done to death but im still not quite convinced on which headphone would be better for my style of music (mostly indie rock and a bit of trance)

If it helps i listen to:

Amon Tobin
Bloc Party
Broken Social Scene
Daft Punk
DJ Fresh
Digitalism
Franz Ferdinand
Interpol
Feist
Malajube
Mobile
Pendulum
Phoenix
Sondre Lerche
The National
Tokyo Police Club
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 6:56 AM Post #2 of 10

catscratch

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If you know this has been discussed to death a thousand times, then why not use the search function to find those discussions? I hate to sound like a jack***, but us older members really do not enjoy regurgitating the same information 10,000 times in a row.

But, I'm being confrontational. There's a time for that, but this isn't it, so I'll be helpful.

The A900 sounds very different from the HD595, but in absolute sonic performance they're about on par. The HD595 is relatively well balanced, but does tend to roll off at the frequency extremes. Upper treble is a bit soft, and deep bass is very lacking. What's there is nice and tight and pretty slamming, but it's not a basshead phone by any means. The mids are warm, the soundstage is definitely not bad, and the overall sound is fairly forward, not laid-back as it can be on some underdriven Senns. The sound does tend to be a bit grainy and overall resolution is not bad but could definitely be better. It's this lack of fluidity and grain that I really don't like about the HD595, so pair it with a liquid-sounding amp (check the amp forums).

The A900, on the other hand, has very good performance at the frequency extremes. Well, good for the price, anyway. The bass is powerful, deep, and could be tighter, but certainly not bad in terms of control. The treble is extended and pretty detailed, though the lower treble is emphasized and a bit steely. The midrange has issues though; there's a bump in the upper mids that screws up midrange tone somewhat. You're not going to get the same sense of warmth with the A900 as it's definitely a cold(er) sounding phone. But, at the same time, that elevation in the upper mids tends to give the headphone an artificially large soundstage, which works quite well with electronic music.

Honestly, it comes down to practicality, and which sound signature you prefer. Do you want an open or closed phone? Do you value nice warm mids over solid bass and detailed treble? Because in objective terms, they're both about on par, and both not bad, but nowhere near the top tier.

If you have an amp already, check out the HD600, it's in another league. But, if you don't have an amp, you will have to include it in the price, since the HD600 will not give you good performance for the price unamped. 300 ohms is way too much for a soundcard or mp3 player to handle.

If you want the maximum sound quality for these kinds of prices, check out the Stax SR-001 system, or the SR-005a - maybe even the 2050 if you stretch the budget a bit. A used K340 with a used powerful tube amp to drive it will also work well, but with used headphones and K340s especially, you have to make sure that your pair sounds good and is in good condition, which isn't always the case. So, it's a risky buy, but if you get a good one, you'll have a high-end headphone for a mid-fi price.
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 7:01 AM Post #3 of 10

Radioheadache

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Personally, I prefer my A900s over the 595s on the basis that the soundstage is noticeably larger. Also, whether it is a "veil" or not, there is definitely something to the overall 595 sound that bothers me. Interpol and Feist sound great with the A900s.
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 9:01 AM Post #4 of 10

glac1er

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I think you've narrowed your choices nicely. IMO those 2 match well with your music. Good starter headphones too.

I think catscratch has explained their sound very well. My memory is not as distinct as his, but my main gripes with them are same. Grainy sound for the HD595, and weird mids with the A900. The HD595 sounds more natural to my ears, but A900 grooves a bit better.

You can get them for very good value in the F/S forum here. I see HD595 for around $130 and A900 for $150-ish.

Off course, people are going to sway with those vintage headphones, but some come with hidden costs, you'll have to spend money to extract good performance from them.
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 9:58 AM Post #5 of 10

donunus

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Catscratch,
When I'm not using the hd600s with my glite/dps I use it with my ipod beside my bed. Its actually very decent and I actually prefer it even to the 595 unamped
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The a900s were good the first 2 days i got them but after the new toy syndrome faded, it was just too boomy and thin sounding because of the lower mids suckout. Besides that, I agree with your a900/hd595 comparison notes but would give the nod to the 595s for listening to alternative/pop/rock/jazz/classical. The a900s for hip hop and r&b maybe.......Then hd600s I prefer with all genres to the 2
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 10:48 AM Post #6 of 10

nickchen

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Both are bad. The Hd595 is an overrated superbore (Amon Tobin or Daft Punk on a HD595, LOL
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), and the A900 is overpriced midfi with mids recession.

Allover, I'd say the AT would suit better to your genres.

There are better alternatives available, but most of them require an amp though...
frown.gif
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 5:05 PM Post #7 of 10

Shinsei

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Yes i know Catscratch and I apologize but after all the reviews and opinions on these 2 phones, i still had a niggling doubt in my mind on which would sound better with my genre (cause not everyone listens to indie rock it seems =P)

Sorry if i haven't mentioned it before but do not have an amp, nor do i have the budget for one =(
 
Jul 24, 2008 at 5:58 PM Post #8 of 10

windrider

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i agree with the comment about hd600; i think even unamped the hd600s sound better than the hd595s so you might wanna consider that too.

cant comment about the ad900s though.
 
Jul 25, 2008 at 9:50 PM Post #9 of 10

donunus

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A recabled hd600 even better
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Probably not worth getting recabled if used without an amp but still better nonetheless. I'm so happy with what the equinox does for my hd600s. oh the juiciness of these headphones is priceless
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Jul 26, 2008 at 12:28 AM Post #10 of 10

bergman2

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i was just mentioning on another forum how a recabling of the hd595 also helps...i got the cardas cable upgrade available from soloz audio and it did wonders for the unit...better and tighter bass; less muddy all around; better extension, clarity and widening of the soundstage...the best thing is the cans cost me $160 shipped on sale with f/s and the cardas upgrade cable $85..so for $250--less than the cost of a new and stock hd600---i have a smoking pair of cans
 

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