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Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Open-Back Audiophile Headphones
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- Open-air Headphones Deliver Clear, Natural Vocal and Instrumental Reproduction
- 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||Audio Watt Store||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Item Dimensions||8.3 x 11.3 x 4.7 in||5 x 11 x 88 in||5 x 12 x 8 in||8.8 x 9.8 x 4.3 in||6 x 12 x 8 in||4.7 x 8.7 x 9.1 in|
|Item Weight||1.32 lbs||0.58 lb||—||1.46 lbs||—||0.84 lb|
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.
These were my first open back headphones, the headphones I owned before were the sony mdr-nc60 (closed back noise cancelling headphones). The mdr-nc60's aren't really know for being the best headphones, So I had high expectations for the sound stage and the sound quality.
The overall sound quality was pretty good, compared to nc60's. The highs extended far deeper, with a lot more clarity than the nc60's. Mids were also more pleasant and forward. Only thing that wasn't perfect for me was the bass. It had bass, and it was even 'thumping' in a lot of cases. ("Sporty - o - Let Me Hit It" sounded great) but compared to the nc60's, which had amazing bass, there was just something missing. It was hard to say what but the bass didn't feel as complete, as if part of the bass range was missing. Although, the bass was more clean and a bit more expansive. The soundstage of the headphones made the bass feel more natural.
The soundstage was actually a bit underwhelming for me. I expected a huge improvement because of how the nc60's are supposed to close out the outside world really well. The soundstage improvements were there but they were subtle. I never got the archetypal sense that I could spatially place stuff, the sense that one instrument was over there, and another instrument was over there. With 3D binaural recording, there was that sense but only slightly better than the nc60's. At best, it sounded like I was in a movie theater, the sense of the audio being more expansive and present. And sometimes I got the sense that a sound source was moving away from me when it go quieter. More typically, it sounded liked I had regular speakers facing my ears, from about 10 inches away. But I'll give audio technica the benefit of the doubt, maybe sony just managed to get decent soundstage in the their headphones and my expectations were unrealistic.
This is the main reason for my overall score, the headphones simply aren't that comfortable. And I'm actually returning them because of it. I've been trying to get used to them for the past 5 days to no avail. One issue is that the part that faces your ears doesn't pivot up or down. See barnacules nerdgasm's review of the ATH-AD700X, I felt how he does about the fit of these. So what happens is, that the pads end up putting the most pressure on the bottom side, against your jaw. Another issue is that the wings on top simply don't provide enough support for me, I felt like 90% of the reason the phones stayed on my head was because of the friction they applied against the side of my face (mostly against my jaw). It's not heavy pressure since the headphones are very light, but it's still uncomfortable. And it doesn't make you feel confident about the fit of the headphones, you get that sense that they might be sliding or slipping from their original position over time. I've seen hacks for this where you can use a rubber-band but I think it's a bad sign when people have to start hacking your hardware to make it functional.
Another issue I personally have is that the headphone pads are completely circular, they don't conform to the shape of your ears. So what happened for me is that my ears MOSTLY fit, but the edge of my right ear was forced to bend to fit inside the outer pad, or be pressed against the outer pad. Both was uncomfortable and even made the edge of my ear hurt from time to time.
The only positive thing I could say is that if the above issues somehow don't occur for you. If maybe you have a big head or something, the headphones are light and don't apply as much pressure as some other headphones. If you get lucky, these could very comfortable. Because of the wings, they indeed don't feel like they're applying much pressure on the top of your head like regular headphones would.
-plasticy build feels kind of cheap
-cable is the spawn of Satan. Too long, and is incredibly stiff and just will not straighten out. The jack is not threaded for the 6.3mm adapter.
-cable is not detachable. Which would have not even really been a problem is the cable wasn't so awful.
-the headband "wings" are absolutely the worst part of these headphones. They provide no support. The headphones want to droop down your head after a while. The only thing keeping them in place is the limited clamping force of the headphones themselves.
If you love music that has lots of mids and highs, or if you play games that benefit from directional sound, these are great headphones. If you can stand all the negatives when it comes to comfort.
Most recent customer reviews
Comfort is AWFUL. The cups don't rotate or flex in any way and because my head isn't half again as wide, all of the...Read more
the only thing that I don't like is the earpad. it's so small.
I studied them for several weeks before deciding to purchase this model.Read more