Here at Audio46, we believe there’s a headphone for everybody. Each night, before we close down our Manhattan showroom, we take some time to read the headphones a storybook. Then we stand in the doorway, silhouetted a la Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules, before arming the building and going across the street to get hammered in a pub. And while I usually detest Bluetooth headphones, the WS99BT from Audio Technica may be the perfect headphone for a large number of people.
Audio Technica ATH-WS99BT Review & Specs
The WS99BT is packaged well, and it’s fun to un-box. It’s clear from the get-go this a quality headphone aimed at the same kind of person who might opt for an MSR7 over the M50x – one who seeks a sleek look and performance over the one-or-the-other approach of less-expensive models.
Inside the box, there is a leatherette carrying pouch, an audio cable, a charging cable, and an instruction booklet. I actually had to look for these things before writing about them, because I didn’t need them to test the headphones. The WS99BT was so intuitive I could figure it out right away, and there was enough juice in the battery to turn it on right away.
Pairing it is pretty easy, and the sound is really quite decent. Using it with the supplied audio cable offers a tangible improvement in sound quality – enough for me to wonder if this isn’t a Bluetooth-enabled dream-come-true for countless audiophiles out there.
While the box has some print on it about Solid Bass or some such marketing hogwash, I couldn’t really hear that much bass – or at least, not enough bass to warrant such an obvious endorsement. At higher volumes, (80-90%), sure the bass seems slightly more amplified, but isn’t that the case with almost all headphones? That being said, it seems to have a more even sound, with some strong detail detail in the middle of the frequency range.
That frequency range, by the way, is 8-26000 hertz, with an impedance of 37 ohms. In comparison, the M50x has a frequency range of 15-28000 hertz at 38 ohms. Overall it’s a great sound that a lot of people are going to love.
When it comes to build quality, though, these headphones really are an odd beast. The plastic materials lead to a lightweight listening experience, while the luxurious pleather headband and earcups give further accent to the already-sturdy feeling headphones. The major failing, if this headphone has one at all, would be in the controls. The controls on the headphones themselves – for wireless use – are straightforward enough, but I found them to be too close together for my giant sausage fingers: I would mean to hit the Volume Up button, but instead I’d turn the volume down. Then I’d get all flustered and panicky at missing a particular part in the song and try to pause it, only to hit the Power button, thus turning the headphones off. I found myself running my fingertips over the buttons and trying to decipher the purpose of each one by feel before actually pressing it.
When I switched to the audio cable, the volume control is a slider. I know why Audio Technica opted for the volume slider on the audio cable: it makes for a universal fit. No more Android VS iPhone crap. Just use the damn volume slider, nerds.
But it was a little infuriating to have to reorient my self between buttons and a slider when I switch between wireless and cabled playback.
What else can I say about the Audio Technica ATH-WS99BT headphone? If you can get past some small (and perhaps confusing) controls, you will be richly rewarded with some fantastic sound with a slight tincture of bass, as well as a premium (if plastic) build. They don’t offer complete studio accuracy, but then neither did the M50x. And if you liked that headphone, you’ll probably love the sound of this one.
Curious? Interested? Intrigued? Titillated?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these words, you know the drill…
You can order this headphone today at Audio46.