Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Headphone Review

Audio Technica ATH-AD900X Headphone

Now the thing we’re going to be looking at the Audio Technica ATH-AD900X headphones. I’m a big fan of Audio Technica, they’re a big name in Japan and I’ve owned and traded a fair number of Audio Technica headphones in the past. I used to have a pair of AD900’s and while I liked them I thought the bass response was a little lacking. So the AD900X’s are updated versions and I wanted to see if any improvements in the AD900 design and also how the AD900X compared to other open headphones for around the same price like the MA900 from Sony, which is a personal favourite of mine.

Speaking of pricing, I got the AD900X’s from Amazon Japan through the mail forwarding service Tenso, and what that is basically, Tenso is a forwarding address where you buy the product in Japan, they ship it out to a warehouse in Tokyo and then that is shipped to you in Australia or America or wherever you are. It’s kind of a little difficult to setup, but once you do get it setup it’s really great because you can get Japanese audio, headphones, any sort of gear, for well below overseas prices.

So for instance I got the AD900X’s including shipping for about $190 US Dollars and once you’ve got it all setup, it’s really easy just to keep ordering. Which is not great for your wallet, but it’s convenient so I really recommend it. Anyway, back to the AD900X’s, now what you can see from just looking at it that the AD900X is a beautifully, gorgeously well put together headphone.

We have this metal grille here, this really nice Audio Technica gold logo. You can see right through the grille into the driver, it’s really cool, you can see some of the internals. You get these big velour earpads, and overall you can see that this design is elegant and well put together. You get this nice thick cable here, nice and substantial, and just at the end of this long 3m cable, because it is a headphone for home use, you get this nice substantial plug here.

So, really nice build quality. Now you may have noticed these things here and you’re wondering what they are because they look like landing pads for a lunar module or something. And this is basically something that is unique to Audio Technica, they call it the 3D Wing Support system, and what it is, is basically Audio Technica’s selfadjusting headband mechanism.

So the great thing about Audio Technica cans, their full-size headphones, is that you don’t need to adjust the headband for your head, you get these two wings here, they plop on the top of your head, the headphone just sits there. You don’t have to adjust it. And it’s really comfortable, once you get the right positioning on your head, they just sit securely and it’s really nice.

In terms of comfort the AD900X is quite a comfortable headphone. The 3D wing support mechanism works really well provided that your head is the right shape for it. There are some people who the 3D wing support system just doesn’t work for. And the velour earpads are not the most breathable material in the world, they soak up sweat and won’t degrade as quickly as, say, pleather earpads.

So how do they sound? Well the AD900X’s kind of remind me of AD900’s with better bass response. So you get this really sparkly, beautiful, extended treble. You get this remarkable clarity in the sound, this kind of airy breathiness that absolutely loves stringed instruments or female vocals. In terms of bass, you get something that’s quite defined, well extended, quite deep, though it’s not the last word in terms of authority.

It doesn’t have a particular mid-bass emphasis, so male vocals, while they sound very clear, they don’t sound particularly deep or engaging. The mids and vocals are crystal clear, you get this kind of sense of breathiness and voices hanging in the air, and again, there’s a reason why Audio Technica cans are considered some of the best headphones for female vocals, they are absolutely beautiful with them. The treble is sparkly and you get a really sense of atmospherics, so the way things echo or the way reverb just kind of just hangs in the space, you get this illusion of a really wide soundstage.

So what do the AD900X’s not do well? Well, the thing is, the treble gives you an illusion of this really wide soundstage, but if you listen a bit closer, you’ll find that individual instruments and the actual kind of physical feel of everything doesn’t have that much depth to it. There’s actually not a great deal of definition of, of sounds within that kind of, artificially wide soundstage. So this is a problem especially with faster music because what you get, is, you get a sense when there’s lots of layers of music that everything kind of bleeds together slightly.

On slower music, this is not so much the case, you get that excellent clarity, but on faster music, things start getting a little smeared. The other issue with the AD900X’s is that because they have such an energetic treble response that if you listen to badly recorded music or electronic or pop music which is, you know, recorded quite aggressively, the AD900X’s can actually be somewhat painful to listen to, especially for long periods of time, you get ear fatigue from the high-frequency sounds.

Now, this is why I wouldn’t recommend the AD900X’s if you listen to a lot of that kind of music, they’re not the most forgiving pair of headphones. I personally prefer the Sony MA900‘s, just because they have a bit of a better definition in sound staging and also because they have a bit more of a forgiving sound which works for a wider variety of music. And also a bit more comfortable. But if you want something that’s built really well, that works really well with female vocals and stringed instruments, that kind of thing, the AD900X’s are fantastic headphones.

If you are interested, have a look at the MA900 review that I’ve uploaded and also have a look at the written review that I have which goes into detail comparing the MA900 to the AD900X. I’ve got a link to it in my description. It’s on Head-Fi, and if you don’t know what Head-Fi is, it’s a community forum for headphone and audio enthusiasts. It’s an awesome forum if you want to start out in the hobby of collecting headphones.

I don’t recommend it, because it costs a lot of money, but, if you are interested in that kind of thing, have a look at Head-Fi, it’s pretty cool. Anyway thanks for watching this video, I hoped it’s helped you if you are looking at the AD900X’s.

What Others Have to do

Matthew Orlandini
Matthew Orlandini
Matthew Orlandini

Audio-Technica's ATH-AD900X's are a $300 pair of headphones discounted to around $130 due to poor sales compared to the Air line's lowest and higher end models; the incremental aspect of this headphone family means that the middle tiered headphones tend to lack in sales compared to say the AD500X an AD1000X's. The 700X and 900X's sit in the middle, and due to this discount, pose the best bang for your buck as originally intended. That being said, how do they sound? Well, amazing to be short. They have a great sound stage, leave no pressure on your ears, and have a great frequency range. Lows are deep, but not thumpy. I would recommend a DAC with bass boost if you like deeper, fuller bass with a punch. Mids are clear and precise, and the highs are simply amazing. They're comfortably, but don't exactly fit your head that well due to a flawed design. If you sit still they're fine, but you can't get up and roam, or move your head all too much before they begin to sag off your head awkwardly. That being said, they're extremely light weight, but the head band need to be tighter to create a better seal to the ears.

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