Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Headphones Review

By 2016, the Bluetooth market reached a turning point. Apple completely reworked their iPhone 7 smartphone, getting rid of the old 3.5mm earphone jack, and adopting Bluetooth technology. This led to triggering a completely new trend in the smart phone market. Wireless headphones are useful for mobility without having to worry about wires getting tangled around your possessions or body. And having no headphone jack also protects the smartphone interior from water and dust, as it can no longer get inside through the earphone jack. The momentum for Bluetooth technology has just began.

Bluetooth headphones don’t dominate the mainstream market due to the sound quality of the original wired version. Most sound labs still develop wired headphones first, then prepare the Bluetooth version as a variation. There can be challenges in transmitting sound over a limited bandwidth, but Audio-Technica has designed a set of Bluetooth headphones that addresses this issue. Perhaps other headphone manufactures will adopt this new tech, and all wireless headphones will have it in the future.


ATH-DSR9BT Bluetooth Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT headphones are Bluetooth-based, and may just be the leading Bluetooth headphones on the market today due to embracing high-tech. These headphone utilise “Pure Digital Drive” and a “φ 45 mm” True Motion “D / A Driver” and the new codec “aptX HD”.

Full Digital Transmission of Bluetooth to the Last Stage

The ATH-DSR9BT headphones have been designed with a different signal transmission system than your usual Bluetooth headphones. The signals are kept to digital input before the diaphragm, avoiding being converted to an analog signal. This is a new technology called pure digital drive.

In  most Bluetooth audio devices, the encoded audio signal from a PC or smartphone device is converted and must be decoded, then is amplified by the amplifier when that signal is received through headphones. The sound is transmitted to the loudspeaker or driver unit where it then becomes sound.

But in the ATH-DSR9BT headphones, a digital signal is directly transmitted to a digital audio processor, called a Dnote, as well as to the voice coil which drives the diaphragm.

Headphones face challenges in sound quality due to the DA conversion which can cause the alteration of the signal, resulting in sound quality deterioration. But with the Pure Digital Drive, the sound always remains digital.

Advanced Tech of the ATH-DSR9BT

Another great new tech feature of these headphones is called “φ 45 mm” True Motion “D / A Driver”. This is positioned at the final stage of the Pure Digital Drive. Waveform data is generated by Dnote based on the density of the audio signal, and is transmitted to the diaphragm by a high-quality 7N-OFC bobbin that winds through a short voice coil of a newly developed  4-core stranded structure.

On one side, a pure iron integral type yoke that efficiently transmits magnetic energy to maximise driving force. The headphones have also adopted a DLC coating that enhances the rigidity of the diaphragm and secures high-frequency characteristics. These features have also been adopted in another set of headphones in the Audio-Technica line called ATH-A 2000 Z, which are the premium model in the Art Monitor Series called Things.

Now that this new Bluetooth headphone technology is out, it’s important to utilise it in the making of future Bluetooth headphones.

Fast Responsive Times to the Latest Audio Codec aptX HD

The amount of information handled by the sampling frequency 48 kHz / quantisation bit number 24 bits greatly exceeds 48 kHz / 16 bit of the existing codec such as in the AAC and aptX, and contributes greatly to improvement of sound quality. If it’s 24 bits, the sound can be represented with a fineness of 28 powers, or a 16 bit ratio of 256 times, which is a great improvement over other codecs.

Connectivity to Your PC

Most audiophiles enjoy having choices for their musical enjoyment.

Your Bluetooth headphones still connect to a PC with the included USB cable. Now you can enjoy 96 kHz / 24 bit audio through two different methods. You may play also your audio with high resolution software, such as foobar 2000 and Audirvana Plus.

Bluetooth Sound Technology Surprises Audiophiles

Many audiophiles may be surprised by the performance of the ATH-DSR9BT headphones. If you can dare yourself to remove the “Bluetooth” from the name of these headphones, you’ll be hard-pressed to figure out that they are in fact Bluetooth headphones. The sound that comes out is different in dimension that your standard Bluetooth headphones, or even when listening to sound on an iPhone 7. Not only is it crystal clear, but it has a certain power that surpasses even your wired phones too.

You’ll be able to hear the vocals of any song clearly. A single note from an accompanying piano will be clear. You’ll actually be able to hear that first intake of breath from the single. Together, you’ll feel the full depth of the song.

If you tried listening to these songs on the iPhone 7, which has a codec of AAC, you may hear the basic characters of right and left channels, but there is a fading of the sound, and the finish is not very strong. You can quickly begin to see the differences between your usual Bluetooth device, and the ATH-DSR9BT Bluetooth headphones.

Audio-Technica Influencing New Bluetooth Technology

Audio-Technica is a game changer in the Bluetooth headphones market. Perhaps with its new technology, all other audio device manufacturers will soon jump on board with the new digital drives, rather than relying on code conversion. It will be exciting to see a year from now how Bluetooth headphones can dominate a market that’s been traditionally for the wired models. This perhaps may be the entry point for an entirely new era of wireless headphones that are comparable in sound quality to wired headphones, and perhaps one day the sound quality will exceed every audiophile’s expectations.