As I sit here in the depths of the headphone dungeon, I’m intrigued by something. Surrounded by solid stone and solid darkness, I’m intrigued by Audio Technica’s Solid Bass line. And lucky me! In front of me on my desk is the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS. Let’s take a closer look with this Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS Review.
Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS Review
In the Box
-Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS
The headband of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS is largely made of plastic, but has aluminum extenders. It is flexible, with a medium strength hug on my head. Strong enough to feel secure, it doesn’t feel overbearing or too tight.
Along the top of the headband is a bit of soft foam coated in pleather. At the base of the headband is a screw that attaches it to the yolks. This screw works as a hinge so the earcups can turn inward about 90 degrees. Like the headband, the yolks are made of plastic. They attach to either side of the earcups
The earcups are large in order to house the big 53 mm drivers inside of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS. They too are made of plastic, but have a ring of shiny aluminum to accent their round shape. Additionally, the earcups feature a three way ventilation system to help contribute to the bass response.
The earpads of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS are made of the same foam as that of the headband. Additionally, they’re coated in the same pleather material. On my head, they feel pretty comfortable. The hole of the pads is large. As a result, these headphones would be a great choice for those with big ears. The earpads fit wholey around my ears, although my small ears touch the cup slightly.
The cable of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS has a flat style. It is a moderate length of about 1.2 m and includes a microphone that is great for talking on the phone and for gaming. The 3.5 mm connector feels rugged and strong. This makes up for the fact that the cable is undetachable. The cable attaches to both earcups, splitting in a Y-shape.
The low frequencies of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS are big and boomy with a fair amount of extension. They’re subs are emphasized, providing lots of power to music and explosions alike. Overall, the lows have a sense of punchiness and roundness.
For example, when I was listening to the song Broken (feat. Urthboy) by The Bamboos, the kick drum and bass guitar felt pushed forward. They had a good sense of power and solidity that made the track groove hard. Additionally, the low end seemed to move a lot of air. As a result, the low frequencies carried a lot of emotional impact.
The low-mids of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS are boosted alongside the lows. Sometimes, the result is that the low-mids seem thick, but sometimes it comes across as cloudiness. When the low-mids feel thick, it works particularly well for big electric guitars and synths typically found in either pop, rock, or hip-hop music.
Meanwhile, the middle part of the midrange feels full as well. However, the high-mids feel a bit ducked. As a result, vocals and high-mid detailed are quieter and tuck into the mix more than they normally do. Footsteps might also come across as a bit quieter.
For example, when I was listening to the song City on the Hill by Desaparecidos, the electric guitars felt huge, but often sounded blended in with the bass guitar in the low-mids. The clarity and crispness in the distortion of those guitars was less prominent in the mix. Likewise, the vocals felt a bit quieter as well.
The high frequencies of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS are emphasized in distinct areas of the lower and upper treble. In between, the highs feel cut. As a result, there a sense of unevenness that works better with synthesized instruments rather than acoustic instruments.
For example, when I was listening to the song Run That Back by DJ Jazzy Jeff featuring Eshon Burgundy and Black Ice, the claps, high hats, and tambourine came through with crispness because of the boost in the lower treble. Additionally, they felt high in the vertical domain because of the boosted part of the upper treble. Tonally, they all felt slightly differently because of the unevenness, but it sounded aesthetically pleasing for this song and this genre in general.
The soundstage of the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS isn’t remarkable, but it does have an impactful sense of width and height. Both of these domains feel like they have a sense of space and portray mixes in an exciting way. While it’s not super accurate, it will give you a sense of direction and space.
For example, when I was listening to the song Green Light by Lorde, the sense of length and lowness came through with the bass synths. Additionally, the wide synths that came in during the chorus really made that part of the song pop.
Overall, the Audio Technica ATH-WS550iS has a big bass and an exciting sense of width. It works best for genres like hip-hop, pop, and rock, and will definitely get your adrenaline going with big explosions in games.
Headphone Dungeon Score
The Audio Technica ATH-WS550is is available for the best price here:
|DRIVER DIAMETER||Closed-back dynamic 53mm|
|FREQUENCY RESPONSE||8 to 24,000Hz|
|MAXIMUM INPUT POWER||750mW|
|PLUG||3.5mm gold-plated stereo mini-plug (4 pole/ L-shaped)|
|CABLE LENGTH||1.2m (Y type)|