Customer Review

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AD900x: Excellent detail, air and soundstage., January 30, 2013
This review is from: Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Open-Back Audiophile Headphones (Electronics)
I took a chance and bought a pair from Amazon Japan and I am very happy I did. Out of the box, not impressed. Seemed light, no body to the music. But with 24 hours on the Clip+ burning in, they have come alive. Now, I use them with a nice combo of iPod Classic (160GB) and the Arrow 4G amp, which has toggles for two levels of bass (and treble, but not needed here). Admittedly, I am using the BB at II, but no matter. It's perfect and is a hardware EQ so no distortion or over coloration. Perfect. The soundstage and detail retrieval is excellent across genres. Would I recommend them out of a DAP without the amp? No. They really do need amplification for the best sound. But give them 24 hours before listening too. Recommended but with the amp caveat.

Comfort-wise, they are large and do seem to droop a bit on you your ears, but overall, light as a feather and very stable. However, they are home phones, not for the iPhone on the go.

I have Grado SR80s (originals with new cable) and have heard a few full-sized phones (Grado 225i, Senn HD598) and prefer the AD900x.

Update: I did some direct comparisons with the Grado SR80s I have on hand (originals, a decade old) and now I am starting to feel that the distance between the Grados and the AD900x is not that wide, using the iPod/Arrow amp as a source. I still find the ATs very pleasant sounding, especially with classical music, but I decided to give them 60-70 more hours on the burn-in machine (my Clip+) before deciding how much I like them. They also respond very well to EQ on the JRiver Media Center app on my PC, running them through an Aune T1 tube amp/DAC. Very nice in fact.

I am a little put off by the size of the ear cups (seem to droop) but just put on a baseball cap and that helps. Again, they are large, very large. But light. Can't say I will own them forever, but right now, I think I will keep them around and see if they improve with age. If so, they will be well worth the price of admission. If they do not improve at all, still a very good value.

I rated them 4 stars because they do need an amp, which may not be fair considering they are mid-fi priced so made to be amplified. But if they improve in the next week or so with burn-in, I will raise it to a 5.

Update:
With another 50 hours of run in, the AD900x are proving to be an excellent purchase. They still really need an amp, but the somewhat hidden bass has shown up, not overpowering, but powerful enough to balance out the sound a bit more. I am still using the "1" setting on my Arrow portable amp (and the EQ on Media Center), but not as much and I wonder if eventually I no longer will need to EQ. No matter, they are the perfect complement to the Senn HD600, giving me real variety in full-size phones. Comfort is excellent, but I still need to wear a baseball cap with them. 5 stars now.

Update to update: I ended up selling the AD900x, but not because I like the sound any less. I just decided that full-size phones are not for me when it comes to long-term listening. I have some Grado SR80s here and some Senn PX 100 IIs, and either is fine for on-ear use. I just prefer in-ear phones I guess.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 13, 2013 6:16:27 PM PST
I was looking for gaming headphones and after hours researching discovered that 5.1 & 7.1 sound is beat by good audiophile cans like these. Get a separate mic and get a studio monitor set like these and you will be more impressed than a "gaming headset". The extra cost of the mic isnt worth it when you can get your own mic and place it on your desk.

I am an avid Battlefield 3 player and have discovered sounds like grenade bounces, foot steps, water fountains and ricochets that I never heard before. Look at the frequency response of these vs a pair you are looking at. The wider the range the more discreet sounds you will hear. And dont worry about directional positioning I can distinguish where a sound is coming with accuracy.

In a few paychecks I'm going to pair this with a Creative SB Zx sound card (also comes with a mic). Right now Im using onboard sound from a P8z68 vpro (realtec).

Also want to note that with music the lows can be a bit weak but I think with the addition of a real sound card that will be fixed. They are super comfortable and don't get very hot.

Posted on Jul 1, 2013 6:43:46 AM PDT
Op. 133 says:
Thanks for your review! You mentioned that you prefer these to the Grado SR80's for Classical music? How so? And does your opinion still stand?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2013 9:13:43 AM PDT
Stuff Lover says:
Actually, I ended up selling the AD900x. I decided the SR80s were good enough and decided to save the money. I need to update my review. I also sold my portable Arrow 4G amp for a cheaper, but very good replacement.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2013 11:30:16 AM PDT
Op. 133 says:
Ah! Interesting. What did you get for an amp? I just ordered the Objective 02 to go with my Grado SR80's.

PS -- Did you at least find the soundstage on the AD900x outshined the Grado's? I kept hearing how much better it was for orchestral music.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2013 9:21:13 AM PDT
Stuff Lover says:
Sorry for the late response. I have a Chinese amp, the C&C BH, and I love it, especially for $99. Very nice, airy sound, with some decent features and very small footprint. In two months, I have had to charge it twice (80 hours on a single charge).

I did think the AD900x had a wider soundstage than the Grados, but not enough to bother me. I don't listen to all that much orchestral music, either.
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