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Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Open-Back Audiophile Headphones
- Open-air Headphones Deliver Clear, Natural Vocal and Instrumental Reproduction.Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Large-aperture 53mm Drivers and CCAW Voice Coils For Superior Sound Reproduction
- No Sense Of Pressure On The Ears, Resulting In A Completely Natural Sensation
- 3d Wing Support Housing Offers A Vibration-proof Mechanism That Provides Comfortable Support For A Better Listening Experience
- Extremely Comfortable Ear-fitting Pads
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|Sold By||Beach Camera Same Day Shipping||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Premium-Japan||LP GEAR|
|Item Dimensions||11.3 x 8.3 x 4.7 in||11 x 5 x 88 in||8.1 x 3.95 x 10.25 in||12 x 5 x 8 in||12 x 5 x 8 in||—|
|Item Weight||1.32 lbs||1.25 lbs||—||—||—||0.55 lb|
|Additional Features||lightweight||lightweight||High-end performance and full-size overhead design||lightweight||dj-style||Frequency response: 5 - 35,000 Hz, Output sound pressure level: 100 dB|
Designed to deliver extraordinary sound quality to satisfy the most discriminating listeners, the ATH-AD900x is ideal for music lovers who prefer the spacious quality of open-back headphones that combine involving sound with long-wearing comfort. The ATH-AD900x features large 53 mm drivers exclusively designed for the headphones, with rare-earth magnets and Audio-Technica's copper-clad aluminum-wire (CCAW) voice coil technology for superior audio reproduction with an extremely wide 5 Hz - 35,000 Hz frequency response. The ATH-AD900x offers an immersive listening experience with clear, natural vocal and instrumental reproduction, a smooth tonal balance, precise imaging and superlative dynamic range. The headphones offer a uniquely comfortable fit thanks to their generously cushioned ear pads, lightweight honeycomb aluminum casing and exclusive 3D Wing Support Housing, which adjusts itself perfectly to each wearer.
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I was excited for this product to arrive in the mail. I looked forward to "falling in love" and being "floored" again by the sound of my beloved AD700s, but this was supposedly IMPROVED! Even if prime wasn't available, I just couldn't wait. After an unfortunately (5 days over my expectation! That sucks, especially if I'm this excited!) long wait, I am sad to say that I wasn't too impressed. I had read in many places that the AD900x's were a "direct upgrade" to the AD700s, however, my initial impression was that it hardly sounded any different from the predecessor. The AD700s seemed to be the overall better headphone (disregarding current price and availability). Why is that? Let me explain.
BUILD QUALITY: 7/10
Aesthetically, these headphones look much nicer than my AD700s (apart from the hollow wing system padding). The honeycomb grill is significantly more transparent on these, which I may suspect is more prone to denting than the previous "purple" grill of the AD700. However, it looks much nicer and professional than my previous. Unfortunately, apart from the actual driver housings, pads, etc., the downfall of the AD900x is found within the cable. On the AD700s, you will find a nice, memory-free cable that will straighten up over the first few hours of usage. Unfortunately, I can't say the same of the AD900x -- the cable would absolutely NEVER straighten out. It comes wound up, and will retain this wound up state for a while. I actually couldn't get them to sit on my headphone stand straight, because the cord kept pulling them crooked. Additionally, the cable's 3.5mm termination is completely rubber/plastic, unlike the AD700s metal one. Overall, I feel much safer "roughing up" the AD700 over AD900x.
Let's start with one of the most important aspects of the headphones, apart from the sound quality itself. The AD700s were the perfect fit for me -- they just sat on my head, making them one of the best fits for at home, on-the-computer headphones for long periods of time. The wing system was relatively easy to adjust to, and I felt the springiness of the individual wings was perfect. The headphones barely gave any clamping force on my jaw/cheeks, which was great (I suffer from TMJ disorder, making this a little more important). However, the comfort of the AD900x's seems to be a slight downgrade. The wing system is one of the most noticeable changes. Previously, the wing system had nearly 1 cm of solid padding. On this revised AD900x, the wing system is hollowed out in the center, and the padding is significantly thinner (~.6 cm). Additionally, the springs have been weakened greatly. The headphones are more likely to slide downwards from the "sweet spot" on my head, over a period of time. This is also contributed by the significantly increased clamping force of the headphones -- I would have bent the two steel outwards to relieve clamping force, but this would make the weakness of the wing system even more prominent. Overall, a combination of a weakened wing system and higher clamping force make this one difficult to wear for long periods without constant adjustment.
Not necessarily what I was looking for ... but it will suffice. Why? Because, my first impression of the sound, was uncannily similar to ... well, you guessed it -- the AD700s. In these headphones, you'll be getting the signature Audio-Technica house sound (bright, sparkly treble, airy, transparent). I'm not so much a firm believer in mechanical burn-in as much as psychological burn-in, but even after two days of using these headphones exclusively, I can say that the AD700 sounds slightly smoother than the AD900x. The soundstage is even slightly smaller than the original AD700s. As for the promise of increased bass, I wouldn't exactly say that. The low tones seem to be tighter, and cleaner than the AD700s; but as for amount, they're pretty similar. In fact, I really wanted to love the sound of the AD900x, but it just sounded too similar to the previous. If you came looking at this headphone in search of more bass, more low end, more oomph, you probably won't be satisfied. Keep in mind my listening preferences -- I auditioned a lot of electronic (house, pop, etc.) in my tests.
+ Similar sound signature to the AD line
+ Airy, crisp, transparent sound
+ Fantastic vocals, orchestral, classical, etc.
+ Large soundstage**
+ Looks clean and professional
+ Could be good for gaming if comfort works for you
- Significantly reduced comfort compared to previous versions. Clamping force, weaker wings, less padding. (bearable)
- Cable very hard to straighten (if possible)
- **Reduced soundstage in comparison to AD700.
- Rubberized plastic connector vs. previous metal.
It hurts me dearly to have to be unimpressed with a pair of AT headphones ... but overall, I think I will be sending these headphones back. I've actually found what I was looking for in another headphone (Fidelio X2). Airy sound, nice treble, good midrange, and substantial bass notes. If this is what you were looking for, or if you were in the same deciding factor as me, you should be looking elsewhere.
Otherwise, if you are simply in love with the AD700s, and your current pair have been lost, torn, or broken, maybe this is the one for you.
So, I was able to compare the AD900x headphone side by side to the ATH AD1000x (the upgraded version of these headphones). I was convinced by other reviews that the AD1000x was worth the $100-$150 increase in price.....until I tested them out....
This is not to say that the AD1000x does not have certain qualities that outshine the AD900x - such as: clearer sound in both the mids and highs, along with a slightly more recessed bass, yet punchier. If I were buying headphones strictly for music, I would prefer the AD1000x. While it is more crisp and clear you give up the some width/size of the soundstage. For example, if I am listening to acoustic guitar - with the AD900x the guitarist seems like they are further away from me (so it is slightly more recessed and echoed/muffled)....with the AD1000x the guitarist feels closer to me because it is more pronounced and sharp. The difference is very similar to how a real guitar sounds right up close to you, versus further away.
This is not necessarily a bad thing for the AD900x, just a little different. In fact.....I prefer it significantly while playing a game like Call of Duty where environment and distant audio is preferred. In Call of Duty, I could hear things better in the distance with AD900x. The 1000x emphasized my own footsteps and closer environmental sounds which drowned out the noises of what was going on a little further away.
The AD900x has a larger soundstage complimenting game audio, while the AD1000x can sound more realistic and detailed in acoustic, string, instrumental music (mids and highs).
I have been listening to music with the AD900x and I am very happy with the way it sounds also. So for me it was finding that upgraded balance. I would highly recommend the AD900x over the AD1000x if you are looking to play games and listen to music. If you are wanting the best mids and highs in certain genres of music...I would highly recommend the AD1000x.
I hope my experience and opinion helps you decide if you are teeter tottering between the two.
First - comfort. The fit is nice, they are fairly lightweight. The "wings" are a neat feature, but on my head, did not apply enough pressure around my ears, and felt as though they slipping down on my jaw. Easily cured with a small elastic cord to add pressure. I kept adjusting the length of the elastic until I had a perfect fit, and comfort for my head / ears. Can use now for hours and hours...
Next, the sound of these headphones. I have come to realize all sound reproducing systems (headphones, speakers, etc.) have their own tonal characteristics, or coloration. Having said that, these are somewhat weak in bass and upper treble response. The bass is deep, but needs a push. Also, treble seems to roll off leaving you with a lack of brilliance. To that end, using an amp, with EQ will help these headphones perform.
These have an "in the middle" soundstage, as though you were on stage with performers - whereas my Beyerdynamic seem to be a bit more "open soundstage" - as though you were in audience.
However, I have found a couple "cheapie" headphones that seem to have more balanced sound - stronger and deeper bass, and brilliant highs - at far less. Still love the look and comfort tho....