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[REVIEW/COMPARISON] ATH-AD900X vs ATH-AD1000X vs MDR-MA900 - It's STILL over 900!!!!

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by a_recording, Mar 5, 2013.
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  1. BigCabDaddy

    I think you're over thinking. :wink: If the genres you post are your go to ones, seems like the MA900 easily wins out over my beloved AD900X. From what I know them, the Philips would be a step further away on the treble end, wouldn't they? Bottom line is you can't get one hp that does it all. From what you say, it seems the MA900 would be your best option... And this from a AD900x fan boy.
  2. BloodAwaits
    My main issue with the AD900X is the lack of bass and according to this review the ear fatigue. The fatigue is what I'm most worried about. When you use the AD900X do you get ear fatigue after a while, and is the bass really that underwhelming? I'm not looking for brain-melting bass, just that nice satisfying oomph. I would go straight to the MA900's if they were better built, that's what worries me the most about them. I understand that it's all done to be as minimal and light as possible, but I'm a clumsy college student and I'm worried about their durability in my hands.
  3. pngwn
    I've had my AD900x since January and often use them for several hours at a time -- gaming, listening to music, watching movies. I've never noticed any sort of ear fatigue related to comfort, frequencies, or anything else. The bass isn't terribly strong, but it's just enough, to my ears, at least. I would really recommend pairing it with an amp that has a quality bass boost as the AD900x benefits a bit both from ampage and from some extra kick in the bass regions. If one wanted to, one could EQ a healthy amount of bass into the 900x, which is what I occassionally do when I listen to trance.
    BigCabDaddy likes this.
  4. waynes world
    I`ll just mirror what pngwn said. I never get ear fatigue with the AD900X`s. I could listen to them forever. And they are the most comfortable headphones I have by a large margin. And the bass is NOT that underwhelming at all.  Are they bass canons? No. But as pngwn said, throw in an amp and some bass boost, and the bass is very nice. I often listen to trance and electronic music with the AD900X`s, and they sound great.
  5. Trae
    Well, if you want a satisfying oomph, you may have to look elsewhere. Both of those headphones don't seal around your ears very well, their clamping force is weak, and those factors will seriously hamper bass performance, even moreso on the MA900 because of the openings on the rear sides of the headphones. The "bass lens" can only do so much. The holes on the rear sides of the MA900 will really roll off the bass.
    So, in my perspective, the AD900x is just less worse in bass impact performance than the MA900 mainly because you get a more transparent and direct transition from the drivers to your ears than the MA900s. My AD900 at stock had no oomph to it whatsoever, and that was when I eq'd the lower frequencies by a good 12dB or so (can't really remember how much, but the bad seal let all the bass escape). The only frequencies that I could somewhat feel was the 80-100Hz range. The AD900x's have thicker earpads than the AD900s, so the bass performance should be a bit better, but it's not going to be a huge step above the AD900 (The ADx series is 95% cosmetic, 5% sonic). 
    The oomph you're talking about is probably the sub-bass frequencies, and those frequencies are around 20-60Hz. That range is sharply rolled off on both of these headphones (AD900 Charts, MA900 Charts). I couldn't find any measurements on the AD900x, but the AD900x will be a couple decibels louder at best in the lower frequencies due to having slightly thicker earpads than the AD900. The better the seal you get (a combination of a somewhat tight clamping force paired with earpads that seal around your ears very well is the ultimate for bass) the more bass you will have, since there will be less gaps and stuff for the sound to leak out. 
    If you're a headphone modder, then both of these headphones have the potential to have gargantuan amounts of bass (earpad swaps/modification, bending the headband, sealing the holes on the MA900, etc.). If not, then I'd advise you look elsewhere. I don't feel comfortable recommending you any headphones, so I'll just give you a brief list of open headphones that have above-average bass performance that you can take a look at (not exhaustive):
    Audeze LCD series
    Hifiman HE series (e.g. the HE-400)
    Beyer DT990 (bright)
    Ultrasone Pro2900 (bright)
    Although I said this wasn't exhaustive, this is the majority of the open headphones that have good bass performance.
  6. a_recording
    I agree with what's being said so far. Neither headphones are going to deliver visceral bass slam if that is what you want, though the MA900 is better in this regard.

    I would love to hear the Philips but I just cannot find a demo in Australia :frowning2:
  7. waynes world
    Which Philips? X1?
  8. a_recording

    Any of the Fidelio series. I know where to buy them but not where to listen.
  9. elwappo99
    I'm not sure where everyone is hearing that the MA900 have great bass impact. I think it could definitely have some people disappointed. 
  10. a_recording
    I may well be guilty in part for spreading this impression (I hope not) but I sometimes get the feeling that the MA900 is perceived as having great bass impact because Sony used such a larger driver and specifically detailed an engineering solution to improve bass. People perhaps got the impression that Sony was trying to boost bass from a neutral starting point rather than the anaemic point they were starting at with such an open driver and no bass lens.
    The MA900 has a decent bass response but the HD650 audibly outdoes it in terms of linearity and the various orthos easily walk all over both.
  11. elwappo99
    Ehh, I wasn't thinking you, but I do have someone picked out who might have been contributed to it. 
    I thought the MA900 was actually awesome overall, except for one flaw that for some reason really bugged me. I found way too much grain in the sound from the bass and midrange that just didn't sit well with me. 
  12. Trae
    the Main Point Of The Bass Lens Is TO focus The Lower Frequencies Away From The Gaps On Either Side Of The Headphone, AnThd More Towards Your Ear. It's Kinda Like Putting A Smaller Nozzle On A Vacuum Hose: It Increases The Pressure And Distance If The Air While Shortening The Area That It Covers.That, Along With The Fact We're Dealing With A 70Mm Diaphragm Membrane Means It Can Really Create Some Pressure. Unfortunately, The Enclosure The Headphones Are In Isn't Constructed To Fully Utilize That Potential.

    The Main Benefit Of The Large Driver Is That It's Able To Reproduce The Frequencies With Less Movement Of The Diapgragm Membrane Than A Smaller Driver Would. in Other Words, A smaller Driver Would Have To Move More In Order To Reproduce The Frequency At A Given Volume Level. This Applies To The Sound Pressure Too. Because Of This, Any Potential Resonances Are Lowered And The Degree Of Separation From high And Low frequencies Is Enhanced (May Be Wrong On This, But It Makes Sense To Me). Pair This With The Low Impedance And the Sensitivity Of The Drivers, And You Have A Very Capable Driver, Even When Sony Didn't Use Their Best Membrane Material (Liquid Crystal Polymer). Maybe That's A Hint That We May Have An Ma-1000 In The Future, Since The Ma-900 Is Just Using Revised Version Of The Xb1000 Driver.

    if Sony Combined The Xb1000 (Earpads), the Ma 900 (Open Headphones, Disregarding The Openings On The Sides), And The Mdr-R1 (Clamp And Membrane Material), You'd Have A Seriously Good Set Of Headphones. I Guess The Closest We're Going To Get To That Is By Rigging The Xb1k's Pads On The Ma900, Closing Off The Gaps, and Bending The Headband A bit. Anyone Want To Try?

    Sorry For All Of The Capitalization. The Phone I'm Typing This Post On Does It By Default...
  13. a_recording
    Whoah. I was freaking out a little until I read that last line.
    As I understand it, the principle of the bass lens is a little more complex than simply changing the pressure. Any shape in the pathway of sound waves (megaphone, trumpet, reverse trumpet, SE846 low-pass filter, etc) introduces particular resonances in sound and decreases others. Keep in mind that if you put a narrow nozzle on a vacuum hose, not only will the pressure change, but the flow of the air will change and the sound of the suction (which is actually just flow of air anyway) will change.
    I don't know if it was ever confirmed that the MA900 uses the XB1000 driver. I doubt that the use of LCP would make a huge difference anyway, given that for instance the EX1000 only exhibit improvements in distortion at high volumes (100db) over the 7550 due to the use of LCP in the EX1000.
    Since the XB1000 has earpads that are much thicker than the MA900 and the MDR-R1, swapping pads alone alone would change the sound completely. I do not think that it would be possible to increase bass on the MA900 without decreasing sensitivity and thereby increasing the already quite high distortion at lower frequencies. Now if you combined a stronger low pass filter with the LCP driver you might see some sparks fly! :D
    That's my theory anyway.
  14. RMiller
    Well, HD650 is usually 2x-2.5x more expensive and probably same goes for orthos, I guess it would've been pretty disappointing (for 650) otherwise :p
  15. bassboysam
    edit: sorry, posted in wrong thread.
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