Audio-Technica ATH-WS990BT Over-Ear Wireless Headphones hands-on
The Audio-Technica ATH-WS990BT wireless over-ear headphones is surely the kind of pair to make a statement when it's worn. With an MSRP of $249.99, it may not be the top-shelf offering from the renowned audio company, but it's certainly something that targets the mainstream consumer who's looking for a pair of premium wireless headphones. Cementing itself in that category is the fact that it features noise-cancellation and hear-through functions to allow users to adapt to all sorts of listening conditions.
Starting off with what's probably the most astounding thing about the ATH-WS990BT, its design is meticulous in almost every aspect. Supported by an aluminum frame, the headphones aren't terribly heavy considering its size, which is without question on the larger side. Still, the overall construction exudes a premium quality that makes it a pleasure to wear. Speaking of that, there's ample cushioning around the ear cups and head band that makes it comfortable to wear – plus, there's some leeway with the headband because it flexes.
All of the headphone's controls are integrated into the left ear cup, which consists of a multi-toggle, power switch, touch sensitive noise-cancellation pad, microUSB port, and an auxiliary jack. The multi-toggle allows for media functions such as pause/play, track forward/reverse, and even volume adjustment – all by pressing down on it or toggling it up/down. With the touch sensitive pad, it cycles through the noise cancellation and hear-through functionality, the latter of which essentially allows the ambient noise to enter the ear cups freely. There's really no amplification like what we get in other implementations.
Those who are fond of headphones that focus on the lower audio ranges will especially take a liking to the Audio-Technica ATH-WS990BT's audio quality, as it very much caters to that demographic. It's not terribly overwhelming like some other headphones in its caliber, but it's still noticeably on the bass-heavy side. The mids and highs aren't as prioritized, but they're not totally drowned out either. At the loudest volumes, the headphones still pack quite a bunch – and it never loses its punchy output either. The noise cancellation could be better, though, seeing that it's a little subdued and doesn't do as good of a job of cancelling out background noise.
Sporting that $249.99 price point, its design surely ensures it's worth the cost alone, but it would've been nice to see some additional features considering that other comparable models offer more features – like noise amplification and custom equalizer settings. Yes, the Audio-Technica ATH-WS990BT is a stylish looking pair of headphones that means serious business. For the causal audiophile, it definitely suffices, but as we've mentioned already, the price could've squeezed in a few more luxuries into the package.