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Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.8
Mixed Usage
7.6
Critical Listening
6.7
Commute/Travel
6.8
Sports/Fitness
6.9
Office
5.5
TV
5.1
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT are good sounding over-ear headphones. They are comfortable to wear for a while, and their build is made with premium and solid materials. However, they feel a bit tight on some larger heads and they aren’t very versatile since you can’t use them with a regular audio cable. They also take a long time to charge, which is disappointing for the amount of battery life you get. They look and feel like premium headphones, but might not be worth the investment for some.

Test Results
Design 7.3
Sound 7.5
Isolation 5.8
Microphone 5.3
Active Features 6.0
Connectivity 4.2
Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Premium and durable design.
  • Good audio reproduction.
Cons
  • Very long charging time.
  • Sub-par isolation.
  • Bass delivery is prone to inconsistencies across users. Sensitive to glasses.

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7.3

Design

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT are decently well-designed wireless over-ears. They are fairly comfortable to wear but may feel a bit tight on some heads. They look great and their build quality is very good thanks to premium materials. Unfortunately, since they are tight, they trap heat inside the ear cup fairly quickly and are not designed for sports. They also don’t come with an audio cable since you can’t use these headphones passively, which is disappointing. On the upside, their controls are fairly easy to use, and they come with a nice hard traveling case.

Style

The DSR9BT are very nice-looking headphones. They are made of premium materials and the brushed metal finish on the ear cups adds a nice touch to the overall style of these headphones. The cups are big, and their padding is thick. They have a bit of a neutral look due to the different greys but look very high-end.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.71 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.4 lbs

The DSR9BT are comfortable headphones that you can wear for a while before feeling any fatigue. However, they have high clamping force and may feel tight for some people. They also feel a bit heavy once on your head. On the upside, the padding of the cups and headband is soft and comfortable.

7.2 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Decent
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

The ATH-DSR9BT have a decent control scheme that gives you access to common functionalities, but with a mix of physical buttons and a touch-sensitive area. You can play/pause, display the battery information, and trigger your device’s voice assistant on the touch-sensitive surface. On the other hand, you can control the volume, skip tracks, or rewind with the physical slider. The physical buttons are easy to use, but the touch-sensitive area is hard to locate and is easily touched by mistake when taking off or putting on the headphones. There is also no way for you to manually enter pairing mode, which is unfortunate and makes it hard to switch between multiple Bluetooth devices.

5.2 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 8.9 C

Since these headphones are very tight on the head, they create a good seal around your ears that doesn’t let much airflow in. This results in a good amount of heat being trapped inside the ear cups, and most people will feel a noticeable difference in temperature. These won’t be suitable for working out, as you will sweat more than usual.

6.1 Portability
L : 7.8 "
W : 7.3 "
H : 1.6 "
Volume : 91 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like most over-ears, the DSR9BT are not very portable headphones. Their design is quite bulky, but on the upside, their cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to slide them inside a bag or to fit them inside their traveling case.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 8.3 "
W : 8.2 "
H : 2.0 "
Volume : 136 Cu. Inches

These headphones come with a solid hard case that protects the headphones well against scratches, minor water exposure, and drops. There isn't much wiggle room in the case, which is good. The design also doesn’t add too much bulk, which means they won’t be too hard to carry around while they’re in their case.

8.5 Build Quality

The ATH-DSR9BT are very well-built headphones. Materials used feel high-end and the headphones should survive impact and accidental falls without too much damage. Most of the build feels made from sturdy metal, and the headband is solid, yet flexible. The overall build feels very durable, like the Dolby Dimension and the slightly better-built Bowers & Wilkins PX.

7.0 Stability

These headphones are quite tight on the head, so they’ll be fine to jog with, although they aren’t very breathable and won’t be suited for sports. You shouldn’t have any problem with them swaying around if you only use them during casual listening sessions.

Cable
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

The DSR9BT come with a long micro-USB charging cable, but don’t have any regular audio cable. Also, the micro-USB port on the headphones is uncommonly deep, and not every micro-USB cable seems to create a decent and stable connection.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.5

Sound

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT are good sounding closed-back over-ear headphones. Their bass is powerful and decently well-balanced, their mid-range is mostly flat, and they have an excellent treble range performance. However, their bass is prone to inconsistencies across different users and is slightly boomy. There is also a big dip in their mid-range which will make vocals and lead instruments sound noticeably thin. Overall, these headphones will be good, but not ideal, for bass-heavy music, but the dip in mid-range will hurt most vocal-centric genres.

8.1 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.66 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
27.09 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.53 dB
Mid-Bass
:
2.78 dB
High-Bass
:
3.31 dB

The ATH-DSR9BT have a very good bass performance. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 27Hz, which is good. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to EDM, hip-hop, and video game sound effects, is lacking by about 1.5dB, but this won’t be too audible. The mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitar and kicks of drums, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are both overemphasized by about 3dB, which will result in a slightly boomy bass.

Also, their bass delivery varies noticeably across users and is sensitive to the quality of the fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response, and your experience may vary.

7.1 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.91 dB
Low-Mid
:
-5.49 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-1.12 dB
High-Mid
:
0.34 dB

The mid-range performance of the DSR9BT is decent. The response is very flat and well-balanced in mid-mid and high-mid. However, there is an 11dB dip in low-mid centered around 350Hz, which will make vocals and lead instruments noticeably thin-sounding.

8.9 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.42 dB
Low-Treble
:
2.33 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-0.61 dB
High-Treble
:
-0.0 dB

The DSR9BT have an excellent treble range. The response throughout the range is well-balanced and even, which results in accurate reproduction of high frequencies. However, not everyone experiences treble frequencies the same way, so your listening experience may differ.

5.9 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.98 dB

The frequency response consistency is sub-par. Their bass delivery is inconsistent across our human subjects and the maximum deviation at 20Hz is about 6dB. If you have a lot of hair between the headphones and your ear or have glasses that are not flush to your temple, then you may experience a noticeable drop in bass. In the treble range, we measured more than 9dB of deviation under 10kHz, which is not good and will be noticeable.

8.3 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.44
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.97
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.51
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.0

The imaging is very good. Weighted group delay (GD) is at 0.44, which is within good limits. The GD graph also shows the response is below the audibility threshold. This suggests a bass that is tight for the most part, and a transparent treble. In terms of driver matching, our test unit was very well-matched, which is important for accurate localization and placement of objects (voice, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.

6.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.72 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
3.08 dB
PRTF Distance
:
14.45 dB
Openness
:
4.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
3.3
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the ATH-DSR9BT is mediocre. The PRTF graph shows a decent amount of pinna interaction, and it is also decently accurate. There is also a decent notch around the 10kHz, which helps bring the soundstage in front of the listeners head a bit. The soundstage will sound relatively large and spacious, but their closed-back design won’t be as open-sounding as open-back headphones.

7.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
1.955
Weighted THD @ 100
:
3.073

The THD performance of these headphones is decent. In the bass range the THD is within good limits but gets slightly elevated in the mid and treble ranges. The bumps around 300Hz and 6kHz might make these frequencies a bit harsh and impure. On the upside, there is no big jump in THD under heavier loads, which is good.

5.8

Isolation

The isolation performance of the ATH-DSR9BT is sub-par. These headphones only passively isolate and don’t block lower-end frequencies like engine rumbles, which means they won’t be great for commuting. However, their tight seal blocks out a decent amount of work environment noises like chatter and A/C systems. They also don't leak too much, which means you can slightly raise your listening volume to block out more noise without having to worry about disturbing the people surrounding you.

5.1 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-13.37 dB
Bass
:
1.19 dB
Mid
:
-11.3 dB
Treble
:
-31.13 dB
Self-Noise
:
21.51 dB

The ATH-DSR9BT have poor noise isolation performance. They don’t have any ANC feature, which means they don’t do much against low-end frequencies, where the rumble of bus and planes engines sit. This means they won’t be great for commuting. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by about 11dB, which is decent. In the treble range, important for blocking out sharp S and T sounds and A/C system noise, they achieved about 31dB of isolation, which is good.

7.1 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
39.15 dB

The DSR9BT are slightly leaky. The significant portion of their leakage is between 500Hz and 4kHz, which is a relatively broad range spread across the mid and treble ranges. This means their leakage sounds fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds, but not as full-bodied as that of open-back headphones. However, the overall level of the leakage is quite low; with the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage averages 39dB at 1 foot away and barely peaks at 50dB, which is lower than the noise floor of most offices.

5.3

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT have a poor integrated microphone. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic sounds noticeably thin, muffled, and lacking in detail. In quiet environments, this microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, but it will struggle in moderately loud places like a busy street.

4.8 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
310.89 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
4.4 dB
HFE
:
1298.62 Hz
Weighted THD
:
5.554
Gain
:
41.99 dB

The integrated mic of the DSR9BT has poor recording quality. The LFE of 310Hz results in recorded or transmitted speech that is noticeably thin. The HFE of 1.3kHz suggests speech that lacks a lot of detail and presence. This result is worse than most Bluetooth headphones and will make speech recorded sound even more muffled.

5.8 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
9.01 dB

The integrated microphone has sub-par noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 9dB, indicating it's best suited for quiet environments. However, it will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise in even moderately loud situations.

6.0

Active Features

The ATH-DSR9BT have a decent battery life with 16 hours of continuous playback, which will be enough for most users. However, they take a long time to charge fully with 5 hours of charge time. On the upside, you can use them while they are charging, but you can’t use them passively since they don’t have a jack for a regular audio cable. They also don’t have an app for customization and control options.

6.7 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
16.5 hrs
Charge Time
:
4.8 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
No

The DSR9BT have a good 16-hour battery life that will be more than enough for a typical workday of casual listening. However, this amount is disappointing considering they take 5 hours to charge fully, which is noticeably longer than most over-ear headphones. On the upside, they enter a standby mode when idle for a few minutes, which saves battery life if you forget to turn them off. You can also use the headphones while they are charging, which is convenient. However, they don’t have a regular 1/8" audio cable, meaning you can’t use them passively.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones don’t have a companion app to offer customization and control options.

4.2

Connectivity

The ATH-DSR9BT are wireless Bluetooth headphones that unfortunately can’t be used passively with a regular audio cable. However, you can use the USB cable to get Hi-Res Audio. When used wirelessly, their range is pretty good. Their latency is like most Bluetooth headphones, which might not be ideal for watching videos and playing video games. On the upside, they support NFC and you can also use aptX and aptX HD codec for an overall better performance.

8.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
Yes

The DSR9BT are Bluetooth wireless headphones. They can only be connected to a single device at a time, but they remember the last 8 synced devices. On the upside, they support NFC for a quicker and easier pairing procedure, which is convenient since there is no way to manually enter pairing mode once you’re paired to a device.

2.8 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
No
USB Audio
:
Yes
PS4 Compatible
:
No
Xbox One Compatible
:
No
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only

You can’t have audio over a 1/8" audio cable since these headphones don’t have a jack for it. However, you can get Hi-Res Audio with the USB cable on PC only. Unfortunately, this isn't compatible on consoles. Note that not every micro-USB-to-USB cables seem to be compatible with the port on the headphones.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

These headphones don’t have a dock.

9.1 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
56 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
158 ft

The wireless range of the DSR9BT is excellent. With 56ft of obstructed range, you should be able to walk around a small apartment or office without too many problems. However, wireless range is dependent on many factors such as your device’s signal strength, the thickness and material of the walls blocking the signal, interference, etc., so your results may vary.

1.8 Latency
Default Latency
:
201 ms
aptX Latency
:
212 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

The DSR9BT have average latency for Bluetooth headphones. With around 200ms of delay, some people may notice a delay when watching video content or gaming. They also support the aptX codec, which could give you an overall better performance. You can also use the aptX HD codec with the same amount of latency (213ms).

In the box

  • Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT headphones
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Cable pouch
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT are okay mixed usage headphones with good sound that set themselves apart by their looks and build quality. However, they might not offer the best value for Bluetooth headphones, especially since you can’t use them passively and they take a very long time to charge. We suggest taking a look at our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, and the best budget wireless headphones.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are better and more versatile headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT. They have a great noise cancelling feature, are more comfortable, and have a great companion app that offers plenty of controls and customization options. While the ATH-DSR9BT have a better out-of-the-box sound profile, you can EQ the XM3 with their app to suit your preferences. The XM3 also have amazing battery life and can also be used wired with phones, which you can’t do with a normal 1/8” cable with the DSR9.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better and more versatile headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT thanks to very comfortable fit and great sound quality. They are also one of the best noise cancelling headphones we’ve reviewed so far, making them suitable for commuting as well. They offer more battery life and take less time to fully charge and you can also use them wired with a phone, even if the battery is dead. On the other hand, the premium materials used for the Audio-Technica are superior to that off the Bose QC 35 II, but overall the Bose offers a better value.

Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bowers & Wilkins PX are more versatile headphones for everyday casual use than the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT are. The PX have a great noise cancelling feature, a longer battery life, and their metal build is very sturdy. On the other hand, the sound quality of the PX is more suited for bass-heavy genres. The Audio-Technicas have a flatter frequency response and are more comfortable. However, they can’t be used wired with phones since you can’t use them with a 1/8” cable. The PX also offer more battery life and can connect to multiple devices simultaneously.

AKG N700NC Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The AKG N700NC are overall better headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT. The AKG are noise cancelling headphones that are decent at every use case, on top of having a very good audio reproduction. They offer about the same battery life, but take half the time to fully charge, which is nice. The AKG can also be EQ’ed in their app and be used wired with phones. On the other hand, they feel a bit more plasticky than the very well-built Audio-Technica. Overall, the N700NC will offer better value.

Conclusion

6.8 Mixed Usage

Okay for mixed usage. The Audio-Technica DSR9BT have a good audio reproduction but sound thin on vocals and leads, which will be better suited for bass-heavy music. They won’t be a great option for commuting since they don’t block out lower-end frequencies like engine rumbles. They also trap quite a bit of heat inside their ear cups, and the over-ear design won’t be ideal for sports. On the other hand, they can be used at the office since they don’t leak too much and have a good battery life. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be a bit too high for watching TV and gaming.

7.6 Critical Listening

Good for critical listening. Their bass is powerful and decently well-balanced, their mid-range is mostly flat, and they have an excellent treble range performance. However, their bass is prone to inconsistencies across different users and is slightly boomy. There is also a big dip in their mid-range which will make vocals and lead instruments sound noticeably thin. Overall, these headphones will be good, but not ideal, for bass-heavy music. Also, the dip in mid-range will hurt most genres with vocals.

6.7 Commute/Travel

Passable for commuting. The Audio-Technica DSR9BT don’t do much against plane and bus engine rumbles, which means noise will seep into your audio. Their bulky design is also a bit harder to travel around with, but the cups swivel to lay flat so you can wear them around your neck, or store them in their nice hard case. On the upside, they are quite comfortable and their 16-hour battery life should be more than enough during long rides and flights.

6.8 Sports/Fitness

Okay for sports. These headphones are tight on the head and are fairly stable. However, this means they also trap quite a lot of heat inside their ear cups and would make you sweat more than usual when using them during physical activity. These headphones weren’t designed for sports.

6.9 Office

Passable for the office. They are comfortable to wear throughout a workday, although they might be a bit tight for people with larger heads. They have decent isolation against ambient chatter and A/C systems, and their 16-hour battery life should be long enough for a typical workday. You can also use them with their USB cable to get Hi-Res Audio when plugged into your work computer. They also don’t leak too much so you shouldn’t bother too much surrounding colleagues when playing music at high volumes.

5.5 TV

Sub-par for watching TV. While they are comfortable and can be used wirelessly from your couch, their latency might be slightly too high for this use case. Some people will notice a delay, but some apps and devices offer some sort of compensation, so you might not notice it as much. You can also use them wired with their USB cable for Hi-Res Audio, but you’ll be limited by their 6.5-foot cable.

5.1 Gaming

Poor for gaming. When used wirelessly, these headphones won’t be a good option for this use case due to their Bluetooth latency. Their microphone is also sub-par for online games. On the upside, if you don’t need a mic, you can use them with their USB cable for Hi-Res Audio and eliminate the latency as well.

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