ATH-WP900 Review: Beautiful headphones accompanied by great sound
Tech Week score:
This model in the Audio-Technica classification falls into two sections at once. First, the ATH-WP900 belong to the so-called Wooden Headphones, i.e. headphones, in the production of which certain types of wood are used. Secondly, ATH-WP900 are placed, without too much modesty, in the “Best for Audiophile” section on the official website.
The price tag for the model is far from the most humane, which is understandable. But it is unlikely that real Japanese headphones from a world-famous brand, made with the use of modern technologies and wooden construction elements, will be in the budget segment. In addition, according to the manufacturer, the Audio-Technica ATH-WP900 headphones are hand-assembled in Tokyo.
Audio-Technica headphone models have always been interesting to me, so let’s move on to the review.
Technical characteristics of Audio-Technica ATH-WP900:
Type of acoustic design: closed;
Driver type: dynamic;
Speaker size: 53 mm;
Resistance: 38 Ohm;
Sensitivity: 100 dB;
Frequency range: 5-50000 Hz;
Detachable cable: unbalanced – 3.5 mm, balanced – 4.4 mm, length of each 1.2 m;
Weight (without cable): 243 g
Audio-Technica prefers to pack its full-size headphones in large cardboard boxes. The packaging of the ATH-WP900 is a basic black box, over which a white dust jacket with a tree structure pattern in the form of a stripe is worn. The dimensions of the package are approximately 25x25x9 cm. The dust jacket does not contain any technical information. Interestingly, it is only a Hi-Res Audio icon and a rather rare inscription on the back – Made in Japan.
The inner space of the main box is divided into two levels. From above, we are met by a protective (packaging) cover made of thin synthetic fabric, which contains a soft but dense cover for headphones. In this case there are two cables – a standard 3.5 mm and a balanced 4.4 mm, as well as the usual documentation.
In the lower part of the box, on a plastic bed, tightened with a thin fabric, there are headphones tightly fixed in the recesses. This approach to packaging ensures reliable transportation – the headphones and accessories do not rattle or hang around the box.
Among the observed shortcomings of the packaging, I will note the following fact. The factory packaging of the headphone case in an additional thin case, and of a smaller size, resulted in severe wrinkling of the main case. Accordingly, the appearance of the headphone cover was noticeably affected (see photo). I don’t understand why another cover had to be put on top of one cover. Perhaps this was a special case and there is no such thing in other copies. I would like to add that the complete headphone case visibly collects various dust. A hard case, given the price of the headphones, would be more appropriate and would add to the presentation, but alas.
ATH-WP900 keep up with the times and are equipped with two cables – unbalanced 3.5 mm and balanced 4.4 mm. Each cable has a double-sided attachment to the earcups. For this, the A2DC (Audio Designed Detachable Coaxial) connector is used, which provides the best connection and reduced scrolling. The attachment is really reliable, and changing the cable is not difficult.
The length of each cable is 1.2 m, so the headphones are convenient to use with portable sources. Apparently, such a scenario was assumed as the main one, because the adapter from 3.5 to 6.3 mm is missing in the kit. On the Audio-Technica website, I did not find the composition of the cables, only a modest inscription Two detachable cables (two detachable cables). In terms of their appearance, the cables look quite simple. However, they are soft and not prone to tangling. Although sometimes there may be a small microphone effect.
Design and ergonomics
Since these headphones belong to the Wooden series, it is the wooden bowls that immediately draw our attention. Spectacular fire maple covered with varnish is used. It is known that maple, as a hard and dense wood with a pronounced pattern, is used in some musical instruments. I’ve seen fire maple most often when working on electric guitar bodies. So it’s no surprise that Japanese guitar maker Fujigen supplies Audio-Technica with such a wood.
Like many headphones made using wood, the ATH-WP900 are distinguished by their special pattern on the cups, which makes the appearance of each copy unique. By the way, the bowls of the ATH-WP900 are not oval, but round. They are connected to the headband using a plastic fastener. The cups turn and lie flat, which is convenient when transporting or storing the headphones.
The material of the ear cushions and headband is eco-leather, it is soft and pleasant to the touch. The headboard is black, sliding, its position is fixed. The designation of the right and left channels is located on the inside and is written in small letters on a white background R and L. On the outside of the headboard, slightly above the place where the cups are attached, there is a plastic insert painted in gray-bronze color.
The form factor of the headphones fits under two definitions at once. That is, the external size of the cups (about 8 cm) speaks of “full size”, but the company itself refers to ATH-WP900 as portable over-ear headphones. Indeed, the headphones seem small. They feel light on the head, the headband does not oppress. The ear pads completely covered my ears. I had no problems with ergonomics. Since the ATH-WP900 is a closed-back headphone, your ears will feel warm after a while of listening.
Special 53-mm drivers with a powerful magnetic circuit are used to ensure high-quality sound of the ATH-WP900. The diaphragm is coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC). In addition to what I’ve encountered before with the ATH-MSR7, Audio-Technica points to a special distribution of airflow in the bowl design. The declared technologies are designed to provide sound in the full range, reproduce low and medium frequencies with high quality, as well as improve high-frequency response. Of course, this can only be attributed to information from marketers, the main thing is a personal opinion after listening.
ATH-WP900 headphones do not require the power of the source, remember the phrase “portable” and can sound even from an ordinary smartphone. Another thing is how much their potential will be revealed by the budgetary source.
The ATH-WP900 model is placed in the Best for Audiophile section, but the general handwriting of the headphones is difficult to call strictly audiophile or analytical. Headphones are not characterized by the decomposition of sound into musical molecules, the presentation is devoid of asceticism and monitor “dryness”. Headphones, in a good sense, are musical, at the same time, it is difficult to call them distinctly mixed. They strive to convey details and various nuances. That is, the ATH-WP900 skillfully balance on the border between melomancy and audiophilia. Despite the closed design, the sound of the ATH-WP900 is not cramped, there is a sense of space between the stage and the listener.
Bass is heard everywhere, it has depth, but its quantity does not go beyond the limits. Basses are served neatly and neatly. This range is characterized by accuracy of transmission and a certain layering. When changing the cable to a balanced one, the bass is slightly emphasized, and the sound of the bass becomes more massive.
This range is calibrated between macro- and micro-detail. Instruments and voices differ in authority, their sound is natural. Midrange is slightly softened and I did not hear clean analytics in the middle frequencies. This feature adds more musicality and makes the ATH-WP900 a good choice for listening to music.
For some listeners, the HF was sometimes a stumbling block when choosing headphones from Audio-Technica – someone talked about a slight overdrive on the HF, someone wrote about “sawing out the brain”. In my opinion, ATH-WP900 are free of this drawback. High frequencies in the headphones do not reach heights, are not sharp and aggressive. HF is well controlled. They are beautiful, clean, clear and do not cause fatigue during listening. No sibilants were detected.
Audio-Technica ATH-WP900 headphones turned out to be quite interesting. Effective appearance, portability, ergonomics, lack of increased requirements for sound amplification, universality of sound – strengths of ATH-WP900. If we prioritize the price-quality ratio, then the headphones are not without certain shortcomings, which, in my opinion, include: plastic construction elements, a soft cover, cable braiding material.
Naturally, all the listed shortcomings do not affect the sound, and I liked it, as well as the headphones themselves. Audio-Technica ATH-WP900 is exactly the model that I would advise high-end headphones to pay attention to for a pleasant time with your favorite music. It is also a great option for lovers of solid sound on long trips or various business trips.