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REVIEW / Audio Technica ATH-A900X

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Tristan François Published on March 6, 2012
Translated by

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Headphone Type Closed
  • Speaker Dynamic
  • Cable Length 3 m
  • Weight NC
Audio Technica may not be the most well-known headphones maker in Europe, but it's top dog in Japan. The firm is therefore no newbie on the audio scene. In fact, it already has a sound reputation for its professional audio equipment, high-quality microphones in particular. To mark the firm's 50th anniversary, it's releasing a generation 'X' of its 'A' range headphones, including the ATH-A900X.

Design: Floating!


Audio technica ATH-A900X review

The infamous 'wings' are back again in these Audio Technica headphones, but we've got no complaints about that. This suspended arc is similar to the system used in AKG headphones, making them particularly comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, in the A900x, a firmer suspension system would have been nice. When you put the headphones on to your head they tend to slip down a bit too far and overshoot your ears slightly. That's even more of a problem in this particular model as its aluminium casing makes it heavier than other, plastic models in the range.

Although that can be a little annoying—especially since this design system is already quite sensitive to user movement—the headphones are just as comfortable to wear as the original ATH-A900. That's particularly good news given that you're likely to be using these headphones around the house while kicking back and relaxing.

On the downside, the only accessory supplied is a mini-jack to 6.35mm adapter. In this kind of high-end product, we'd at least expect a removable cable.

Audio Quality: Perfect Balance

Although Audio Technica has a reputation for being heavier on the high frequencies rather than the bass (which is true of the AD range), Audio Technica has been moving its headphones towards a more balanced output. In fact, only a very small handful of manufacturers can boast a frequency response as balanced this. Lower mediums, in particular, are reproduced better than before and are genuinely present in the output. The same can be said for lower frequencies too. The peak at around 100 Hz gives the sound a lively, punchy edge that's not unpleasant.

ATH-A900X frequency response
ATH-A900x: Frequency response – no complaints here!


Listening to the output merely confirms that these headphones do a top job. The output is clean, crisp and accurate. Sources can be positioned with ease and the sound stage is wide—very wide, in fact—for closed-back headphones.

You could find yourself very slightly surprised the impression of audio projection and compression that's typical to closed-back headphones. However that's merely down to a design choice, and isn't related to the intrinsic quality of the product.

ATH-A900X THD
THD+N in %
ATH-A900X distortion
Harmonic distortion in dB


On the whole, if you haven't yet had the pleasure of encountering Audio Technica, you won't be left disappointed once you hear these headphones in action. Whether for listening to music or audio monitoring, the ATH-A900x will do a great job.
3D Wing or Suspended Arc?
There are two different takes on 'suspended' headphones in today's market, with systems designed by Audio Technica and AKG. While AT uses a spring-mounted pad to grip either side of your head, AKG has a self-adjusting elasticated leather headband.
In terms of comfort, there's very little difference between the two. With the AKG system, pressure tends to be concentrated on the top of your head, while you can feel the AT system more on the sides of your head.

One major difference, however, is the lifespan of the two systems. The Audio Technica set-up is more likely to break with a clean full-on break while the elastic in the AKG models tends to wear down slowly and consistently over time. Think about how and where you'll use you headphones before making a decision.

Great as these systems sound, we'd recommend you try a pair of these headphones out before you buy, as some users just don't like the way that they feel (and that goes for both systems). It kind of depends on the shape of your head! In any case, try before you buy to avoid disappointment.

PROS

  • Excellent frequency response
  • Very good audio quality
  • Feels light to wear

CONS

  • Not many accessories included
  • Suspension system could be a bit firmer

CONCLUSION 5/5

A slightly updated pair of headphones, the Audio Technica A900X doesn't break too much with tradition while still bringing some nice improvements to the original model. It's just a shame that there are still a few small annoying details.
5 Audio Technica ATH-A900X DigitalVersus 2012-03-06 16:02:00
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