Our Verdict 
These remarkably clear and spacious headphones are worth serious consideration
For 
Big, open sound
Clear and direct
Loads of detail
Soft, cushioned ear pads
Look nice
Against 
Lack some natural warmth
Concerns over fit/grip
Can sound toppy
Reviewed on

What that elongated model name tells you is that these are the limited edition version of Audio Technica’s ATH-A900X.

Design

The earpads are nice – very large and comfortable

At first glance, it appears the upgrade has been limited to a splash of colour – this version ditches the original’s black earcups for a shiny-matte scarlet finish with gold accents, but a new voice coil has been installed, too.

It’s not a huge revamp, then, but the jump in price (£50) is relatively modest too. What carries over from the originals is the Double Air Damping System (designed for deeper bass) and the monster 53mm drivers. Over the top, the circular aluminium earcups are a closed-back design.

The headband consists of two small pads that rest on either side of your head

They’re (still) huge, so we’d keep the ATH-A900Xs strictly for home use. The soft-leather earpads nicely enclose and cushion your ears, but we have a problem with grip.

The ‘headband’ consists of just two small pads – Audio Technica calls it the ‘3D Wing Support’ – that rest on either side of your head. It’s designed to minimise vibration and increase comfort by reducing pressure, but we find it a bit clumsy, especially on smaller heads.

The earpads slip down too easily as we sway our heads to Happy Together by The Turtles, and don’t feel as secure as rival models. Sit still and it’s not an issue.

More after the break

Performance

The A900X LTDs’ big build has a big sound to match. Sound fills the Audio Technica’s remarkably open and vast soundfield, and they’re not afraid to hit the dynamic highs in Hans Zimmer’s Radical Notion from the Inception soundtrack.

As the music culminates in a rapture of percussion and wind instruments, the powerful presence of the orchestra is clear. The sense of scale here is astonishing, and the bass drum rumbles.

Audio Technica uses 53mm drivers for deeper bass

The brawn on show isn’t at the expense of finer details, though. We’re hard pushed to find rivals as clear and forthright as the 900X LTDs.

It’s easy to identify layers in Michael Jackson’s Slave to the Rhythm: every part of its complex production is dissected and presented.

So what’s the problem? A hint of excess brightness and thinness appears in harder recordings; at times the Audio Technicas can be too easily pushed into sounding trebly. Ultimately, they miss a dose of natural warmth and refinement.

Verdict

If you can sacrifice some comfort, these are decent cans: big, open and hugely detailed. And with a 3.5mm-ended cable and a 6.3mm adapter supplied, they will work well with both portable and hi-fi sources.

MORE: Best headphones to buy in 2014

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The Competition 

B&W P7

Our Rating 
0%
Price from £259.99

AKG Q701

Our Rating 
80%
Price from £199

Focal Spirit Classic

Our Rating 
0%
Breakdown 
Sound
Comfort
Build