Audio-Technica has been well known for producing some legendary headphones like the ATH-M50x or ATH-MSR7. Those wired headphones were highly praised by audiophiles for exceptional sonic performance while costing just over $100. The new Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT are trying to reach the same success in the market of wireless headphones.
Design & Features
The ATH-DSR9BT looks truly like high-end headphones as it comes with aluminum casing on the two earcups and high-quality leather. I love that the earcups can be folded flat and the carrying case will help you transport the headphones easier. However, there are some issues with the design of connection ports and controls.
The first downside is that the micro-USB port is a little difficult to be plugged in; It has a plastic flap and you will need to use your nail to take it out, then the port is hidden beneath and you will need to figure out the right direction to connect the charging cable. Although this is a micro-USB port, I can’t use my existing cables to recharge the headphones because the port is recessed and requires a proprietary cable. Besides, Audio Technica uses an infrared sensor for the Play/Pause button; This is really a weird design and I find it extremely difficult to locate this button. The last problem is that there is no audio port, so the headphones will become useless when they run out of battery.
The earpads of the headphones are quick thick and soft, however, I don’t feel really comfortable because the room inside is not spacious enough. The pads always touch my outer ears and make them sweat during summer days. The clamping force might also shorten your listening session.
The battery life of the DSR9BT is fairly good at 15 hours of continuous use, it is good enough to use in 1-2 weeks without recharging. Since there is no 3.5mm audio port, you can only plug the included USB cable to your computer to listen to music when the battery runs out. In this mode, you will be able to hear Hires Audio but the Bluetooth mode is much more convenient, especially when I listen to music from my iPhone most of the time. The wireless transmission is quite impressive as it supports Qualcomm aptX HD, aptX, AAC and SBC codecs.
I was excited to try the Audio-Technica headphones because they are the first ones that don’t use a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter). Instead, they use the Trigence Semiconductor’s Dnote chipset to receive, process, and transfer the digital signal directly to the drivers. The technology is supposed to avoid degrading the signal during the digital-analog converting processes.
The Audio Technica headphones feature a V-shaped sound. The bass is hugely emphasized and it dominates the whole frequency response. Many people might find the bass overwhelming, however, I am also pretty sure that most will love the rich and full sound. The bass is not dull nor makes the sound muddy, instead, it is really deep and tight. I’ve tested a lot of headphones but none of them is capable of producing such admirable low frequency range. I believe bassheads will appreciate the boosted bass response.
On the other end, the treble is not bad at all. It is actually fairly sharp and almost causes treble spikes in some high notes. Fortunately, there are few noticeable peaks that I’m aware of, so the bright sound is acceptable and it helps reveal details in the highs.
With the boosted bass and treble, it is understandable that the mids are slightly recessed. Therefore, the sounds of instruments and vocals sometime fade away and it makes some music genres less enjoyable. The soundstage of the headphones is quite good as it produces a wide stereo imaging, however, it is still nowhere near my Beyerdynamic closed-back headphones.
- Good looking with premium materials
- Clear and deep bass
- No distortion
- Uncomfortable for long listening sessions
The ATH-DSR9BT is not a good option if you prefer a neutral sound, however, they are among the best headphones that can get you excited with the powerful bass and well-extend treble response.