Review of Audio Technica A55
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dohminator

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It's taken me a while to get around to doing this review, but I wanted to make sure they were fully burned in, and I can get lazy sometimes.

Looks: These things are pretty big, but they are gorgeus, imo. They have a very classy look to them, so if you want something futuristic looking, don't go with these.

Build: These things are built to last. Everything is well put together, and they look like they could withstand some abuse. I'm sure the metal ones, and the wood ones are even better in this regard. They are made of plastic, which is the only possible problem with these cans, but most headphones are made of plastic. The only parts that are at risk of breaking off are the flaps that rest on your head, and even those are protected from being pulled up and off. If you were to push down on them hard they would break.

Comfort: What can I say? These are comfy phones. They have a circumaurial design, so they fit over your ears completely. Most people should not have problems with these fitting comfortably over their ears. The ear pads are nice and comfy. The pads are pleather though, and they can make your ears a bit sweaty if you wear them for really extended periods of time.
They fit well on the head. They fit snuggly, but they provide much less pressure than the HD 280's that I tried on. You don't forget that you are wearing headphones, but you aren't constantly reminded that you have headphones on. They are lightweight considering their size. The only problem with the way they fit, is that it does creat some pressure on my jaw that is noticable. It isn't a big problem, but it can be a bit annoying after a long period of wearing them.
They have to flaps that sit comfotably on top of your head, and provide no noticeable pressure. They adjust automatically to fit any sized or shaped head.

Sound isolation: If you need something to block out outside sounds, or to keep others from hearing you, then these headphones are very good. It takes my parents yelling in my room to get my attention when I'm wearing these. I also have fan by my bed that blows directly on me. When I have my headphones on, I can't hear it at all. This is a first for any headhpone I have had (I've only had crap headphones before so take that with a grain of salt). When other people are listening to them, I cant hear the music that they are lisening to.

Sound: To say that these sound great is an understatement.
Bass: The bass from these is very clear and dynamic. There really isn't any boominess to the bass. A drum will provide a good punch, and it sounds just like a drum should. You can feel the bass on your ears, but it isn't overly pronounced. The bass responce is very clear, with out any distortion.
Vocals: the vocals are very well done. There is some tranparency to the vocals. (I think that's what it is called) They seem to have an airiness to them that makes them sound wonderfull. These headphones are not harsh or overrevealing though. They provide a good amount of detail, and they gloss over the problems.
Instruments: Instruments sound very lively on these headphones. Guitars can easily be distinguished, and they are not muddy when there is a lot of activity. It is possible to hear the fingers slide on the guitar, and other small details of the music that I've never noticed before. Pianos sound absolutley wonderful through these.
One song that I recommend is listened to with these headphones is aqueos Transmission by Incubus. That song employes the use of flutes, and they sound absoulutely fantastic with these headphones. You can really get an idea of the airiness of the flutes. They use an stringed instrument that I have no clue what it is called. You can hear it reverberate after it has been plucked. Wow.

Soundstage: These headphones really do provide an impressive soundstage. Each instrument has its own space. There is a clear distinction between the various instruments. The music is all around you, and there is a distinction between the location of each insturment. It is very much like being in the fron row of a concert.

Highs: The highs are clear and non fatigueing. good detail, but not analytical.

Ease of being driven: These cans can be driven easily by any device. They are rated at 60 ohms. I use a Philips cd plater, and a sound blaster live to drive them, and I can get the volume to good levels with them. You don't need a loud volume because of the isolation, so nobody should have problems.

Overall, these are great headphones. If you want something that is really analytical and detailed these are not your headphones. They do however provide great non fatigueing sound with good detail, but no overdone. These are headphones for people who want to get caught up in the music. I really do enjoy these headphones, and I highly recommend them to people looking for a $100 pair of headphones.

If there are any questions please fire away.

And thanks to Tomcat and Millerdog for recommending them to me.
 
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JML

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Just what I needed. Another little nudge pushing me towards ordering the open ATH-AD10... I WILL RESIST! For now...

Welcome to the club.
 
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dohminator

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Go for it. Tell us what the open AT's sound like. Do it now. Buy. Buy. Buy.
 
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millerdog

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Nice review!
I like my ATs so much, I keep going over to audiocubes to try and figure out which set to get next.
JML, those AD10s do look nice, don't they?
md
 
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lini

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Hmmmm, interesting... I guess, I 'll just have to try the open ATH-AD5 soon. And I'll probably feel inclined to order that Aiwa HP-AK100 (looks like a comfy tv headphone...) and acidtripwow's Pioneer-discovery from AudioCubes, too... Oh man, that collectitis really kills me.


Greetings from Munich & thanks for the review!

Manfred / lini
 
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dohminator

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Excellent!!! Team AT expands by the day.
 
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Tomcat

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dohminator,
that's a great and non-fatiguing review. With good detail but not overdone. Easy to get caught up in.


It's great that you like them so much and that taking the risk of getting a headphone little was known about paid off.

Now you are the envy of lowly mortals!
 
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JML

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millerdog, I sent out the money for the ATH-W100 based solely on hints from MRael about the review Tomcat had yet to release, and Solomon's short note. I've paid my "living dangerously" dues. I think it's your turn!

And they'd get to you in Hawaii faster than to me on the East Coast.

The AD10 and AD9 both look cool...
 
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puck

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i've listened to the ad5, 7, 9, and 10 a little at a demo station. they all sounded quite good. very comfortable-even more so than the w100-and very light. i didn't listen to them very long but they seemed to have good detail and range. basically everything that you would expect from mid to upper range AT cans. i thought that the ad7 was the best of the lot in terms of price for sound but then again, i only listened at a demo station for a short time. i thought that the ad9 and ad10 sounded very similar and, if i remember correctly, the price difference was pretty big (could be wrong here, i don't remember because i wasn't looking to buy them), so i think i would probably go with the ad9 first of those two higher end models. i'm actually tempted to get a pair of the ad7's but i really don't need a new set of cans right now-gotta save money for parts for a meta42! i hope that some of you will get these so i can read all about them!
 
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Reposted from another thread I did:

I'm on the ball today. I went down to the store that sell the senn's, and they let me plug my A55's into their system.

Overall there is very little differenct between the two headphones in sound quality.

Differences are:
Bass: The a55s had a deeper bass extension than the hd 280s. The bass was more punchy and less boomy than the hd 280s.

Soundstage: The A55s had a larger soundstage than the hd 280's. They just felt larger than the 280s. More spacious.

Comfort: The hands down winner was the A55s. The Hd 280s had that very annoying headband that put pressure on the top of my head. They just weren't comfortable at all. The A55s just rest nicely on top of my head.

Treble: The Senns win this. They had clearer treble than my A55s. clearer and more pronounced. Not a huge difference, but they did have a better treble.

The Senns have a brighter sound, and the ATH-A55s have a warmer sound. There really isn't a huge difference between the quality of the headphones. They both have strengths and weaknesses that are complimentary. Someone who likes a lot of treble should go with the senns. Someone who wants a warmer sounding headphone with good bass should go with the Audio technicas. If comfort is a big issue, then avoid the hd 280s at all cost.
 
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JML

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Puck, you had to say that. You just had to tell me this. You are evil. You're cruel. I was planning to spend some cash on a non-headphone toy I've wanted for months.

AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! DAMN IT! NO, NO, NO!!!

And your user name is too damned accurate.

And as the old US TV commercial said, "It's Miller[dog's] time."
 
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puck

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temptation is fun to share! which model did you order? when will it get there and when can we expect a review?
 
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millerdog

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Hey! My ATH A9X are hardly even broken in. I bought them with no recommendation! I was going for the A55's but stepped up a little. Maybe in a couple of months I may try the A10s. I actually was saving up for some HD600s, just so I could try them but I like being different.
Until then......I'm pretty happy with my Grados.
md
 
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dohminator

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They'll be there before you know it. Audio cubes is really good about getting them there quickly. I was amazed at how soon my new headphones were here. It should take no longer than 5 days. I wouldn't be suprised if they show up on monday.
 
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