Next to the wireless DSR9BT, the SR9 marks the upper class in Audio-Technica’s Sound Reality series, a line that the company claims will deliver the latest driver technology. In the case of the ATH-SR9, high-res True-Motion audio drivers are built in to provide an exceptionally clear and defined sound.
Measurement ResultsMore measurement results
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 45.000 Hz
- Impedance44,9 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)97,52 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head439 g
- Weight with cable316 g
- Weight without cable276 g
- Cable length300 cm
What's in the box
- 3m cable
- 1.2m cable with microphone and remote
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Travel case
The technical data of the SR9 read, in any case, impressive. The 45-millimetre True-Motion drivers move a voice coil of OFC-7N (an extremely oxygen-free and thus particularly conductive copper), which a carbon-coated membrane then drives. In addition, the membrane was placed, despite slender housing dimensions, so that it sits exactly in the middle and should thus deliver a uniform air flow and a correspondingly natural sound in the wide range between 5 and 45,000 Hz.
The light ear-concealing headphone weighing just 270 grams has reversible earcups on both sides. Visually, the headphone, with its subtle colouring in silver and black, definitely pleases. With its small screws (trigram), which are visible on the back of the case and on the hanger, it looks pleasantly technical and solid. However, not everything about it is aluminium; rather, only the drive tray and the slider of the headband—the rest of the case is plastic. It comes with two connecting cables: A long three-metre supply line and a short (1.2 metres) into which a microphone and a controller are integrated for answering calls. The ends of both cables are plugged into the appropriate sockets with A2DC connectors.
The ATH-SR9 is comfortable to wear over longer listening sessions thanks to its lightweight and soft “memory foam” used in the head and ear cushions. In addition, the ear cups on the back—although it’s a closed headphone as per the specification—have three small ventilation slots, which somewhat mitigates the infamous heat build-up on the ears.
The good news first: the high-resolution technology works because the SR9 adapts very well to the music. Especially in the heights and mid-peaks, it covers everything down to the last detail. It gives the greatest attention to every little bit of transience and presents it with steely clarity and precision. The downside: with so much height information, the bass clearly takes a back seat. Those who prefer heavy bass performance will not be particularly happy with Audio-Technica, as the sound signature of the Japanese hi-fi smith traditionally tends towards “fine highs, subtle basses”. It provides a precise, surgical sound with strong high-mid-presence. That’s great when it comes to exposing mistakes in professional sound work, however, such as in editing or post-production. Even high-end connoisseurs will feel comfortable. For the extended enjoyment of music, it is quite a demanding companion.
Chic, comfortable to wear, analytically accurate but also demanding and not very cheap—that would be my description in one sentence. In length, one notices (and hears) the experience of Audio-Technica in the development of high-quality headphones to the ATH-SR9. Especially in the area of critical highs, the new True-Motion hi-res audio drivers do a great job. For audio professionals who rely on a spotless height display, the SR9 is also an excellent work tool. However, the question of how much “high-end” the “normal” consumer wants and needs, in a literal sense. Anyone who can clearly define for his personal listening preference that he prefers very detailed highs and highs in the midst of a rather restrained bass reproduction will certainly be more than satisfied with the ATH-SR9.