Audio-Technica ATH-A900 Headphone Reviews

Headphone Details
Manufacturer Audio-Technica Model ATH-A900
Headphone Type Closed Circumaural Headband Type Double
Weight (g) 350 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Aluminium Isolation (dB) 15
Impedance (ohms) 40 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 5 - 40000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$179
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 6.5 Bass Impact 6.6
Bass Quality 6.3 Mids Quality 5.6
Highs Quality 6.8 Soundstage 6.9
Detail 7.1 Portability 2.4
Isolation 6.4 Comfort 7.6
Durability 6.9 Improvement With Amplification 3.2
Value for Money 7.0    
Overall Score 6.7 Total Reviews 16

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Reviews by our members

Review by Lead Reviewer commando on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability7
Value9

I've tried a lot of closed headphones, and these are the best i've found so far. They sound great, similar to the much more expensive CD3000, but with better bass extension and bass impact, and they have only slightly less detail. They're also very easy to drive: they'll work fine out of a computer or mp3 player - remember though the A900s aren't at all portable.

These are easily the best cans i've found for use at work, and my favorite headphoes overall.

Review by Senior Member null on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality7
Detail7
Comfort8
Durability6
Value8

The A900s are very good headphones for the money. I have compared them directly to CD3000s and find that these are quite similar sonically. The bass has good impact, but sometimes doesn't extend as far down as I would like it to. The mids are somewhat honky and lifeless, but this is overall a very fun headphone for use with all different types of music.

Review by Senior Member laurend on 29 Nov 08  23:47
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort7
Durability7
Value7

Desapointing at the first run, this headphone needs a 24 hours burnin period.
The first impressions were mudy sound with masking low-mid, recessed mid, and weak presence of the hi. After that period the sound is more balanced with improved mid impression, more natural low balance and very clean hi.

This big headphone doesn't provide a good isolation. Hearing a mono pink noise may produce a hi-mid phasing because of the leaks from one hear to another. Adjusting the headphone correctly solves this issue. This point is very important for critical listening. The 3D wing system is confortable and easy to use once the correct adjustment has been found.

Good non fatiguing headphone despiste a little heavy after many hours.
Note also that the high sensibility may become a problem when using devices featuring digitaly controled volume. You simply can't work with a 0 dB attenuation. That means reducing the level in the digital domain which introduces a significant attenuation of the bit resolution and the sound quality. With an analog volume control this headphone is simply great. The best I ever owned.

Review by Senior Member rkelly on 28 Sep 08  03:23
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality6
Detail8
Comfort6
Durability8
Value7

The ATH ĖA900 headphones are top notch and exactly what I was looking for - something to use while watching DVDs on a Panasonic EZ485V DVD player fed through a DENON AVR 3803 surround sound amp. I am a huge fan of surround sound, but currently do not have the money to upgrade my speakers to a 7.1 setup. Thus, getting a decent set of cans is the best way to go - for the time being. With a commercial audio broadcast background I am rather perceptive to accurate and detailed sound reproduction. The ATH-A900ís are perfect for accurately reproducing what the amplifier is receiving from the preamp. They do not overly pump-up anything and again the detailing of the frequency response is awesome.

The isolation is top notch as well, but, I even wear these when no else is around because certain movies really come alive due to the quality of these cans. Be aware that if your amp setup is not at least to the level of quality of what I listed, you may need to purchase a headphone preamp, and, be prepared to hear every distorted sound that the amplification system makes. I know the amp I use has its own set of nuances, but I can live with them, again, for the time being.

As far as comfort and construction Ė these cans are outstanding. The weight is up there, as my wife has pointed out, but with the pad arrangement, one barely notices they weigh as much as they do. I am pretty sure these can take some abuse Ė not from me mind you, but over the years they will most certainly have an occasion or two to prove my point. And if you have not guessed, these cans are not made to be ďportableĒ, so get over that part right away.

The only thing I do not care for is the straight, uncoiled, cord. I like the fact that the cord is covered with mesh nylon, but it kinks rather easily and one cannot bend coaxial cable to often before it alters line impedance and conductivity attributes, but, taking a little care when wrapping the cord to store the headphones handles the situation perfectly.

For the money, I am REAL pleased with these headphones and highly recommend them for anyone looking to verify the quality of their system and to sit aback and enjoy movies in true surround sound.

Review by Senior Member Joker on 15 Aug 08  14:26
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort7
Durability7
Value6

I felt I needed to share so others could also join the wonderful experience. I owned the titanium version A900ti which is about double the price comparing to the regular one, not cheap. Since it is limited edition and hard to find. I have been searching for a while and I finally ordered mine from warehouse123. Quick delivery from Hong Kong and took 2 -3 days only.

Similar to other Audio Technica headphones, this baby has manufactured what I would say are some of the best headphones in the world for music enjoyment. These are by far the best headphones I have ever heard for under $400 and will do quite well without a dedicated headphone amplifier. They have a rich, full bass tone and an amazing range of sound stage. I can listen to them for hours without any discomfort. Great buy!

Review by Senior Member nickchen on 30 Jan 08  00:50
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality3
Mids Quality2
Highs Quality5
Detail3
Comfort7
Durability5
Value2

No amp necessary, unbeatable genre bandwidth, very fun and impressive at first contact, but you soon find out that the A900 is only solid midfi. The level of detailling is quite poor, and the mids are -typically for a closed fon- recessed. I had an old DT531 at the same time and definetely preferred the latter in every respect.

The A900 isn't exactly a bad fon, but far too expensive. A reasonable bang-for-the-buck ratio would be around 100$ IMO.

Review by Senior Member 909 on 14 Jul 07  09:31
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact5
Bass Quality3
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality4
Detail5
Comfort6
Durability7
Value7

The A900s were the first full-size headphone I purchased after discovering Head-Fi. Since then Iíve heard a lot of other headphones so my ear has blossomed and perspective evolved. That being said this review is posted and written with my experienced ear.

I owned the A900s for about two years. Within that time I primarily used them with my Sony D-555 and Rio Karma, but towards the end before I sold them I heard them with my E5 amped by the Raptor, MPX3 and the EC2A3. The main reason I purchased them besides the positive reviews and price was that they didnít require an amp. When I purchased my first headphone amp I also purchased the HD650s and the SR225s, yet even a few months prior I started to hear things that didnít suit my ear.

These impressions were primarily formed with the Sony and the Karma, but also Iíve spent substantial listening time with a few different headphone amps. To begin, the two biggest faults Iíve found with the A900s were the bloomy and loose bass and nasally highs. The bass is flat out overpowering and is more about quantity over quality. Out of all the headphones Iíve owned it ranks among the lowest in terms of the control of the lower frequency. The mid range is almost hidden behind the bass and isnít terrible, but still not super detailed or engaging. The highs and especially human voices have a nasally characteristic. The highs are noticeably rolled off too. Being a rock guy and guitar player the A900s never made electric guitars sound right because they just didnít offer that crunch and realism. Even with an amp these headphones didnít make a substantial improvement. Yet I am being extremely critical.

I do think the A900 is a good starter can that provides a taste of the Audio-Technica sound, excellent build quality, and the hi-fi headphone market. Overall it's a decent can for a reasonable price that doesnít require amplification. I think for most people listening with an MP3 player or PCDP and wanting a full-size can for around the house this might be a good choice. And they are also good cans for movie listening and gaming. It has a very nice soundstage thatís fairly large. It does many thing fair to good with nearly all genres of music. Offers fair to good separation and imaging. They are very well built and comfortable to wear, though, the pleather earpads can get hot and a bit sticky after long listening sessions.

Classical: C+
Jazz: C+
Rap: C+
Pop: C
Rock: C-

My ratings:
Bass Extension: 5
Bass Impact: 5
Bass Quality: 3
Mids Quality: 4
Highs Quality: 4
Soundstage: 6
Detail: 5
Portability: 2
Isolation: 6
Comfort: 6
Durability: 7
Improvement With Amplification: 2
Value for money: 7

Review by Senior Member 3lusiv3 on 06 Jan 05  20:30
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality7
Detail7
Comfort8
Durability7
Value8

These headphones a bit like a closed version of the Senn HD 595. In fact I think if you have the AT A900's then going to the HD 595's would not be an upgrade, more of a side-grade although I do prefer the HD 595's overall. The AT A900's are quite big so I would only use them while sitting still. The pleather pads are very comfortable but get a bit warm, as can be expected, after a while. They sound quite neutral, but with very good bass. Most people seem to say that the A900 don't benefit from amplification but I find that they pair very well with my Single Power PPX3 tube amp. Overall they are above average headphones that are so versatile, due to being easy to drive, that they would be my first recommendation if someone asked me to recommend them some headphones for home use. An all-rounder that's hard to beat.

Review by Senior Member walkman666 on 18 Dec 04  09:46
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability7
Value8

I used these headphones at home and need isolation to keep from bothering my wife. The A-900s are very large, but very comfy, and sound very good. Unfortunately, they are only available from 1-2 vendors, and technically do not come with a warranty from A-C. The phones have strong, deep bass with good detail, great soundstage, and high high's. The mids are bit recessed though. The isolation is very good and the comfort is quite high. However, one cannot take these cans with them on any kinda portable mission. These headphones are meant for home/office listening where you do not want to disturb others or hear others. They sound good with my music, rock, but I do prefer my Grado 225s to rock. I have read from others that the A-900s sound good with all kinda of music, but I have only tried acoustic, rock and rap. They excel at anything with bass, and are very detailed. Fast rock is not as exciting as my Grados, but these are very good all-around closed headphones.

Review by Senior Member TrevorNetwork on 17 Dec 04  11:09
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality5
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality5
Detail6
Comfort6
Durability6
Value7

The ATH-A900 are very decent headphones. However they do have a metallic edge to their sound. The bass has great impact thanks to the DADS technology borrowed from its higher-end siblings. The ATH-A900 is similar to the higher Audio Technicas in house sound, however the ATH-W2002, and ATH-W1000 are a significant step up. The A900s have good isolation, that is superior to its wooden brothers. I do find however that the pleather pads become quite warm in comparison to the ATH-W2002's leather. The durability of the pads is also somewhat dubious. They are easily powered by a decent MP3 player (iPod, Karma, IHP-140, etc...) to about 90% of their sonic capability in my opinion.

Review by Senior Member jessem on 16 Dec 04  15:57
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability4
Value8

Mid-range occasionally exhibits some odd coloration. Heavy headphone, can become uncomfortable if you dont hold your head straight. I find them uncomfortable with glasses.

Review by Member vai0 on 08 Dec 10  11:06
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact6
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability8
Value7

Let me start by saying these headphones need a huge burn in time. I honestly believe it took near 300 hours for these to fully open up and show detail within clarity. I will review these along with the rating.

Bass all around is decent, but the worst part of these headphones. In short if your looking for a large amount of bass these aren't the headphones for you. On lower levels the quality is good though, but their isnt much their and even with an amp large amounts of bass become sloppy.

The Mids seem to be saved by the detail and soundstage, while the highs are already good and only benefit more.

Soundstage is very impressive on these headphones. They will be great for gaming and of course instrumental separation and direction. This is one of my favorite aspects of these headphones.

Details noticed the biggest improvement after burn in, and too this day seem to be getting better.

Comfort wise the design is excellent. At first they seemed a tad big but that feeling goes away. Also the wing supports you literally cant even feel.

The durability of the actual headphones seem very sturdy. However the pads stared to fall apart after a year of daily use. This was disappointing but i found that the pads from ATH-A1000 headphones fit on them and they of higher quality.

Relating amplification these headphones really dont need it. They sound fabulous on an ipod or even my phone (evo).

Overall id say these headphones are great for a super soundstage with great detail, good highs but not for bassheads.

Review by Member MS3 on 12 Dec 08  15:20
Individual review
Bass Extension6
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality6
Mids Quality6
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value7

I use this headphones for nearly two years.
I'm quite happy with them...good all-around model (also for games and movies).
My current sound source is:
Creative SB X-Fi XG FPS > van den Hul Optocoupler MKII > Audio-Technica AT-HA25D

My ratings:

Bass Extension: 6
Bass Impact: 7
Bass Quality: 6
Mids Quality: 6
Highs Quality: 7
Soundstage: 7
Detail: 8
Portability: 3
Isolation: 7
Comfort: 8
Durability: 8
Improvement With Amplification: 5
Value for money: 7

Review by Member Cyrix_2k on 02 May 07  11:18
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality10
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value7

My favorite headphones by far. They are very neutral sounding so the bass is not pronounced at all; however, it does go low and sounds great all the way down. Highs are amazing with a proper recording and source. Honestly, these headphones gave me chills when I first got them, they really do sound as though you were in a live performance, at least with orchestral music. Again, the bass extends low, but is not convincing of a live performance. I think this is because you feel the bass in a live performance and headphones don't provide that sensation. As for comfort, I think A-Ts are known for their 3d wing design. They feel like they're floating on your head and are extremely comfy, though warm in the summer.

Review by Member infiskik on 22 Jan 05  01:17
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality5
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability8
Value9

They are just great cans, and im not sure i can anything to whats already been said and my ratings, but...

Sound - Must say even better.
High's - Still very clean and concise, but the forced feeling seems to be gone. They keep up with some very fast J-pop, and dont fade from fatigue on the long notes in other music. They dont stumble through each other and just simply very clean and pleasant.
Mid's - Still prolly the weak link, they are helped out with time. They are not really sluggish anymore(cant think of better wording, sorry), but still are a bit ressed. but are definetly better then brand new.
Low's - Still great and even better. they got cleaned up from my initial impressions a decent amount. Very quick, nice impact, but not bloated. They are no Subs but handle the low lows very well, i just cant complain.
SoundStage - did it get bigger? no prolly not. but with the rest of the sound being cleaned up, this is just such an enjoyable aspect of the headphones. Personally i didnt realize the small scales of soundstages ive head before, until these.
Detail - Fantastic. I was listening to a 320kbs Dave Matthews Band live rip. and you can make out the strings vibrating between his fingers and the pickups, and his fingers slide on the strings on fast chord changes. The little things come out with these cans.

Comfort Same as above basically, ive grown to love the wings and cant say how nice they are. I pose this question to other owners, can they be bent to give a little clamping action to stop the minor leakage out? because if i apply a tiny amount of pressure to the cups towards my head it cuts the leakage out to zero. i wear them for hours at a time(think 6 was prolly the longest), and you forget they are there. zero head/neck fatigue, and virtually no sound/listening fatigue, i usually only get it from listening for hour straight and being up till 4-5 am.

Review by Member strogg on 27 Dec 04  21:58
Individual review
Bass Extension7
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality4
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality4
Detail6
Comfort8
Durability8
Value5

B/M/H:
Bass:
wow... Audio technica really wants to tell you that the bass is there. they do that by introducing some loud (and annoying imo) bass on us. the detail is there, but implied flabbiness (i'm sure it's only mostly there) of the bass makes me not like it very much. btw, i gave the bass extension and impact high marks cuz it really is extended and impactful. the quality just isn't there, imo.

mids: it's good and all.... but it's hard to hear them without an eq of a bell shaped curve. so i rated it low on quality

highs: and i thought grados were peircing. my ears are a bit more sensitive to treble than most other ears, and for some reason, this one really hits me. the cymbals through these cans is almost like chalk on a chalkboard to me. with the eq turned down, it's reasonable, but it sounds like it has a veil due to the eq. it's hard to describe, but i'm sure this is an isolated problem (isolated to me:( )

detail: What this headphone lacks in eq is made up in detail. these have the best darn detail i've ever heard in any closed headphone of that price. everything you want is there. the only problem is hearing it without an eq...

soundstage:
imagine yourself very sick, and you head feels all bloated and airy and just feels big. that is the shape of the soundstage. i know it's hard to imagine, but it's the best i can come up with that describes it near perfectly.

comfort:
mmmmm..... on a warm day, these are bad since they're so soft and plush, but on any other day, these feel just great. imagine the softest pleather with the softest padding around your ear. that's what it's like.... mmm....

headbangability:
maybe one or two cycles, but these will fall off afterwards.

isolation:
turned off, those things will let most sounds in with a lot of muffle, but turned on, be prepared to not notice anything that goes on around you. and be happy to know that people around you wont' be able to hear your music anyway.

durability:
they seem fragile, but it's sturdy. stuff on it may fall apart, but i consider it a good thing since on any impact, the energy is transfered to breaking the pieces apart so you can assemble it again. better removable parts than, say, the driver, right?

other stuff: thse are pretty much all around headphones, so treat them as such. the headphones started pissing me off a bit since the eq was so bad, but that's to be expected. also, be prepared for a bad case of headphone hair if you have spiky hair like me.

amplification: people say that a meta42 or a cmoy would help it or something, but imo, it doesn't do squat.

overall:
These are some pretty good isolating headphones at the expense of the overseas customer. my recommendation to all of you is to sit on your money and buy the little brother A500 instead. honestly, these are overrated, but still some pretty good headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-A900