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Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Apr 17, 2019 at 09:58 am
Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
6.7
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
6.8
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
6.6
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
6.8
Wired Gaming
5.5
Phone Calls
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.

Our Verdict

6.7 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.

7.0 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral 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.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
6.8 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.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
7.0 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.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.6 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.

See our Office recommendations
5.3 Wireless 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.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.8 Wired Gaming
5.5 Phone Calls
  • 6.7 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 6.8 Commute/Travel
  • 7.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.6 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.8 Wired Gaming
  • 5.5 Phone Calls
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.
  1. Update 3/11/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
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
Design
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.

6.5
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

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.

5.0
Design
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
Design
Portability
L 7.8 "
W 7.3 "
H 1.6 "
Volume 91 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

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
Design
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
Design
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
Design
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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

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

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.7 db
Treble Amount
0.27 db
5.9
Sound
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.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.27 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
31.29 Hz
Low-Bass
-2.52 dB
Mid-Bass
2.94 dB
High-Bass
4.3 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.

7.2
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.78 dB
Low-Mid
-5.4 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.18 dB
High-Mid
0.49 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.

7.9
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.76 dB
Low-Treble
2.02 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.25 dB
High-Treble
-4.35 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.

6.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.19 db
Dips
2.26 db
8.3
Sound
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.

5.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.72 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.08 dB
PRTF Distance
14.45 dB
Openness
4.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
3.3

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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.196
WHD @ 100
0.128
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 4.0
Codec
aptX, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated
Isolation
5.4
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-13.37 dB
Bass
1.19 dB
Mid
-11.3 dB
Treble
-31.13 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
Isolation
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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
4.8
Microphone
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
Microphone
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.

Active Features
7.6
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
16.5 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
16.5 hrs
Charge Time
4.8 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port micro-USB

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
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

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

Connectivity
7.2
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
Yes
Line Of Sight Range
158 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
201 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
212 ms
PC Latency (aptX HD)
213 ms
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
261 ms
Android Latency
120 ms

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.

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).

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
8.9
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
Yes
Detachable Yes
Length 6.6 ft
Connection USB
Analog/USB Audio Latency
21 ms

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.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No
0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don’t have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

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.

Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless
Unavailable
B&H

The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Wireless and the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless are both closed-back Bluetooth headphones designed with audiophiles in mind. The Beyerdynamic have a better battery life, more Bluetooth codec options, including the lower-latency aptX-LL, and a companion app. However, they fit rather awkwardly and reproduce audio even less consistently than the Audio-Technica across different users.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
B&H

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.

Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.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
Unavailable
B&H

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.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
B&H

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.

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Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT Wireless Price

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