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Before we dive right into the ATH-AD900x vs. HD598, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
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What I will bring you in this review
I will outline the AD900x, and then compare/contrast it with the HD 598 towards the end. 🙂
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Similarities & Differences
- HD 598 Video Review
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
Audio Technica ATH-AD900x
- Type: Open Back, Dynamic. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
- Fit: Circumaural (over ear)
- Impedance: 38 ohms
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
- Sound Output Mode: Stereo
- Sensitivity: 100dB/mW
- Color: Black
- Connector: Mini-Phone Stereo 3.5mm with 6.3mm adapter
- Weight: 265g
- Additional Features: CCAW voice coil
The AD900x’s are a pretty comfortable set of headphones with an impressive soundstage. They are open back, and the bass response is somewhat soft. They excel in genres where the bass isn’t prominent.
The biggest gripe with these is the headphone cord. First off, it isn’t replaceable, and secondly, it will not straighten out. This has infuriated some folks, and understandably so. They are also not too comfortable over long stretches of time without the Hybrid HM5 pads.
The best qualities about these headphones are the soundstage and their excellent sound reproduction in gaming.
- Good bass and sub-bass extension.
- Mid-range very neutral.
- Vocals are natural and not sibilant. What does sibilant mean?
- Treble is airy and detailed.
- Great Soundstage, perhaps the highlight of this phone. What is Soundstage?
- Cable has a tough time straightening out. Much like John Bender from Breakfast Club. Lol. This is pretty much unanimous. The cable is also not replaceable.
- Wearing them for an extended period of time may be uncomfortable on your jaw. For the most part however, people are saying that they can be worn for a long time without discomfort. You may even forget you’re wearing them.
- Wings on the top do not provide enough support. As mentioned above, the bulk of the pressure comes from the ear-cups clamping force, against the side of your head. See Thoughts from Stu’s notepad on a potential fix.
- The highs can be overwhelming.
These headphones do not need an amp.
Who these headphones benefit?
- Female Vocals
- Gaming(Call of Duty, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Overwatch, Battlefield 4, World of Warcraft, Far Cry 4). They allow you to pinpoint the location of player footsteps.
- Classic Rock (Pink Floyd)
Not as good for:
- Bass heavy music. The bass response is good but lacks impact. It’s accurate but soft.
- Synthesized music.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- You may opt to replace the stock pads with the HM5 hybrids. They are reportedly much more comfortable.
- They may make you want to go back and take a listen to your old music collection because of the fact that they are so detailed.
- Make sure your audio source is of good quality before listening. Low quality MP3’s won’t sound too good with these. Think 320Kbps and above for optimal listening. A good rule of thumb: GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out). 128Kbps will sound pretty crappy with these.
- The headphones may need some break-in time. Only specifically saw a guy say it took them about a week to get acclimated.
- You can use a rubber band for the wings at the top to keep the headphone from sliding off of your dome. To me, a band-aid fix for a design flaw in a relatively expensive pair of headphones is unacceptable.
- A few people mentioned that the ear-cups didn’t conform to their ears well, and weren’t deep enough.
Great set of headphones for gaming with a phenomenal soundstage. The comfort factor and somewhat poor build hold these back from being top tier. The sound quality is pretty fantastic for certain genres, and the bass is accurate but does lack impact.
Similarities & Differences
- Both are open back and circumaural, which means they will leak sound and you will be able to hear stuff going on outside of the phones as well.
- Both headphones excel in many of the same genres and have very similar sound signatures.
- Both are great for gaming and have a pretty amazing soundstage.
- You don’t need an amp with either. The 598 is said to pair well with the FiiO E10K however.
- Both have velour ear padding.
- The HD598 comes with a replaceable cable while the 900x does not.
- The 598’s are touted as some of the most comfortable headphones you can buy. The 900x’s may need replacement ear cups to achieve that same level of comfort. They do well with large heads, but there were quite a few gripes about overall comfort and construction.
- The build quality of the 598’s is fantastic, while the 900x’s received complaints regarding the wings at the top.
- The treble range on the 900x’s can become fatiguing after a while, unlike the 598’s. The 598 overall has a much more balanced sound across the frequency spectrum.
- The 1/4″ adapter snaps in place on the 900x, while it screws on with the 598.
- The soundstage of the HD598 is less wide but brings about more depth, and precision. The 900x has a very wide-open, airy soundstage.
- The HD598’s instrument separation is far superior to that of the 900x. It’s definitely more precise.
My Video Review
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I would definitely go with the HD598’s over the 900x’s, without question. I think the reasons are pretty obvious, but the 598 is just about a perfect headphone by the majority of accounts and doesn’t come with the issues that plague the 900x.
Interested in learning more about the 598?
If you’re looking for an open back headphone that won’t break the bank, the HD558 is the solution for you. The HD598 is a little better overall, but there’s a trick that you can employ to make the 558’s sound really open up. It’s the foam mod, and it’s very simple. So if you don’t want to pay the price for the 598, but want roughly the same sound, go with the 558. Interested in learning all about them + the foam mod?
CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL SENNHEISER HD 558 REVIEW!!
If you’re looking for the absolute best headphone in terms of mixing, neutrality, and a sound that suits any genre, I would give the HD600’s a whirl. They get nearly perfect reviews everywhere you look, and serve as the Gold Standard of audiophile headphones. Learn more about them in my:
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the ATH-AD900x vs. HD598.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
What do you think about the 900x? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,