Audio-Technica has made many decent headphones and some of them are even my favorite headphones of all time. Therefore, I had no doubt when testing their new product, the Audio-Technica ATH-WS990BT Solid Bass Wireless Over-Ear Headphones.
Design & Features
The product has the similar packaging to other Audio-Technica products. It comes with some accessories like an audio cable, a micro USB charging cable, and a carrying pouch. The design of the ATH-WS990BT is so dull and boring since the whole exterior is made of black plastic. It looks really cheap for its price, even when comparing it to my previous Audio-Technica products.
Despite the ugly look, the headphones don’t disappoint in other features. I love that the earcups can be folded flat for easier transportation, I don’t have to worry about damaging the headphones when tossing them in my bag. All controls are placed on the left earcup; Here you can find the power switch, a micro USB port, a 3.5mm jack, a playback control, and a noise-canceling touch button.
The active noise-canceling function is turned on by default when you power on the headphones. You can double tap on the touch sensor to toggle the feature. Besides, you can hold this button for a few seconds to enable the hear-through mode; Once enabled, it will lower volume and use the built-in microphone to help you hear the sound from the outside.
The performance of the active noise cancellation is not great; It can’t get rid of the ambient noises completely but I can hear the difference when enabling and disabling the function. Another advantage is that the earcups can block noises very well without sacrificing the comfort. My ears feel very comfortable when using the headphones for a couple of hours. I don’t feel the pressure of the earcups on my head and the earpads are very soft as well. The space inside the earcups is a little cramped but it doesn’t make my ears painful.
The battery life of the ATH-WS990BT is quite impressive. I can use the headphones for more than 2 weeks on a single charge. It is rated at 25 hours with both Bluetooth and Noise Cancellation enabled.
As its name suggested, we all expect a significant bass boost from these headphones. Actually, the headphones have a very solid bass and I guess most listeners will find it enjoyable. Although the bass is not really clear and punchy, it’s not too overwhelming to ruin the music experience. The manufacturer uses the proprietary Double Air Chamber System and 53mm drivers to boost the bass instead of using digital signal processing. Therefore, I can spend more time with the headphones when listening to some EDM and pop/rock tracks. I have no problem listening to music for over an hour with these headphones while with other bass-heavy headphones, my ears often get tired after just 30 minutes.
Although the headphones emphasize on the lows, their mids and highs still have nice details and energetic power. The soundstage is acceptable for closed-back headphones at this size. If you want the best audio quality with these headphones, you might want to use the audio cable. When you use Bluetooth, the audio is converted to aptX / AAC / SBC codec. However, most people buy these headphones for the better convenience of wireless headphones, so the high-res wireless audio transmission is still good enough.
- Comfortable over-ear design
- Long battery life on a single charge
- Boosted bass response
- Reasonable price
- Outdated design
- Not the best high-res headphones
The Audio-Technica ATH-WS990BT is absolutely not the best-sounding headphones for audiophiles. However, it has a lot of convenient features, amazing wearing comfort, and a long battery life, so many people would love to use them as portable headphones.