Having been released a while ago, but just now reaching my review desk, the Audio Technica SR9 is begging for a review. Here at Audio46, we’re unabashed fans of everything Audio Technica. But with a price of $449, how does this headphone sound?
The SR9 comes with two 4 ft (1.2 m) detachable cables. One cable sports a built-in mic and remote, and both cables utilize A2DC connections. Also included is a hard carrying case.
Not unlike the much-lauded MSR7 in appearance and feel, the SR9 exudes a certain air of quality. The headphones are solidly built, with thick, durable cables that won’t disappoint. And they’re also built with a lay-flat design for easy transport.
Pleather padding on the earcups and headband offer a high level of comfort, too.
Frequency Range: 5-45,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 47 ohms
Sound Pressure Level: 97 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion: NA
These specs reveal a headphone with a surprisingly wide frequency range. The impedance was also a bit shocking, as well – I was expecting something along the lines of 32 ohms or less. In all honesty, though, while not as efficient, 47 ohms is still apt enough for mobile use.
Volume shouldn’t be an issue, as 97 dB is fairly close to standard Sound Pressure Level. Finally, total harmonic distortion isn’t given by the good folks at Audio Technica, but I’d posit that it’s somewhere around the <0.2% mark.
With strong, emotive bass and decent detail, the low end on the SR9 offers an impressive listening experience. This is helped along by a competent sense of control, minimizing any bleed and keeping the sound clean. In all, this part of the frequency range is powerful without being too overpowering.
The midrange provides good detail and fidelity for the price. While there may be the slightest amount of distortion in the upper mids, it’s hardly a deal breaker. Only noticeable with some vocals, this slight hiccup is hardly enough to condemn these otherwise-immaculate mids.
Bright with tons of detail, the high end on the SR9 is the real selling point of this headphone. While the strong high end can wax just a tad bit piercing on the highest high notes, the sound is never too uncomfortable.
With good placement and depth, the soundstage here is incredibly lifelike. More than a match for symphonies or complicated tracks, the realism of the SR9 livens up just about any track you can throw at it.
Comfort is much more noticeable as opposed to other Audio Technica models. The headband is a bit wider than the one on the MSR7 – a sole point of contention for many of us here at Audio46. Where the SR9 is concerned, though, fatigue is very much a non-issue. But you may want to have food and water stocked up somewhere nearby, because these things are difficult to part with once you have a listen.
There are plenty of bass-heavy models from Sennheiser and Audeze that one could choose from. But no other headphone at this price really offers the balance of highs and lows like the SR9. Truth be told, this headphone will shine with just about any genre you throw at it, but the lifelike sound and even-keeled profile will definitely entice beginner audiophiles.
At a price of $449, the Audio Technica SR9 offers and impressive mix of balanced sound and lifelike soundstage. Add to this equation some fantastic build quality and next-level comfort, and you’ve got a recipe for sonic bliss.