Audio-Technica ATH-DSR5BT Wireless Headphones Impressions
Last month, we told you about Audio-Technica’s ATH-SPORT70BT wireless headphones and how those badboys delivered crisp clear sounding audio. Granted, they were a little limited in the bass department and I found the controls a little touchy but overall those earbuds delivered, especially for gaming on the go. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been putting Audio-Technica’s ATH-DSR5BT wireless headphones through their paces. There is no question, they are a significant step up from the ATH-SPORT70BT’s. Not only in price, but in overall sound and comfort as well.
Make no doubt about it, the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR5BT are a premium headset designed to last for ages. I don’t think anyone would argue with me when I call them “high-end”. This isn’t the kind of headset you’ll flip to your 13-year old daughter for Christmas hoping she gets a good 6-months out of it. These suckers are expensive. At around $400 at the time of writing, these are the kind of headphones you’d expect to last and sound amazing. A heavy price tag brings heavy expectations. Now, the jury remains out on whether they will last more than 6-months but sound wise, I am absolutely thrilled as they’re quite easily one the better headphones I’ve ever put on.
Design wise, the Audio-Technica ATH-DSR5BT have a simplistic and basic look. There is nothing flashy or gold-plated here. I am okay with this. As you can see in the images, the headphones are strapped on to a black ergonomic neckband. The band itself is plastic, which admittedly is a bit disappointing as I expected something a little more high-end. That said, it does fit comfortably around my neck. I have a bigger neck and it can get a little uncomfortable when working out but my wife had no complaints comfort wise. The buds themselves; however, are metallic and have a more expensive look and feel to them, which is probably a good thing given what is inside them.
The button placement is spot-on. The microphone, volume controls, and music/video playback controls are conveniently accessible at the front of the neck. The on/off button is easy to access inside of the neckband as well and makes a slick little sound when turning them on and off. Personally, I liked the little jingle and almost rely on it to make sure my headset is off. There is nothing more aggravating than showing up at the gym the next day realizing your headphones are dead because you didn’t turn them off properly.
Battery Could Be Better
The set-up is easy. Even for those technically challenged, you’ll be able to synch them up with no issues. The range is equally impressive. My phone was easily a good 50 feet away from my headphones and they never cut out.
The headphones themselves are powered by an internal lithium polymer rechargeable battery. Any USB charging cable will work for recharging purposes but one is included in the box, and frankly should be at that price. You get about 8-hours of battery time with them, which isn’t too shabby but at that price, I expected better. I hate to harp on the price so much but when you are paying that much, I feel like the battery life should be up there with some of the best, around the 16-hour mark. I should also mention the headphones come with a snazzy carrying case, which protects your little investment on the go.
There are also four sizes (XS, S, M, L) of interchangeable silicone eartips included ensuring a tight fit that eliminates as much outside noise as possible. They aren’t noise canceling but about the next best thing. Even when that jackass cranks the gym speakers a little too loud, the ATH-DSR5BT effectively eliminates a good chunk of that noise pollution.
Comfort, ergo neckband, and battery life means jack squat if the sound is awful. In gaming, being able to hear everything going on around you in a game is critical and the ATH-DSR5BT exceeded all my expectations in the audio department. The big difference maker? These headphones are the first in-ear model to employ Audio-Technica’s Pure Digital Drive system. This system utilizes a chipset to control driver amplitude directly with digital signals. In other words, it is a fully digital headset so it will not convert digital signals to analog signals. Instead, it sends a direct digital signal to the drivers, which ultimately results in less distortion and unparalleled clarity.
Also, they support the Qualcomm aptX HD codec which makes it one of the best sounding Bluetooth headsets on the planet. The dual phase push-pull drivers (9.8mm driver opposite an 8.8mm) also help reduce distortion and the end result is a brilliantly clean sound.
The sound is unquestionably crystal-clear. They aren’t bass heavy but they don’t need to be as you hear things you never heard before. From music to mobile games I do not have a single complaint with the audio coming out of these earbuds. Every time I put the headphones on I am extremely pleased with the sound.
The Audio-Technica ATH-DSR5BT is a high-end premium product. There is no denying that. One look at the hefty price tag and you’ll know you aren’t getting cheap earbuds that will crap out in months. The audio in these wireless headphones is second to none. While the battery life, design and overall look of the ATH-DSR5BT is nothing to write home about, the fact remains you won’t find many earbuds that sound better. Despite the overly expensive price tag, Audio-Technica have successfully managed to put together a supreme headset with brilliant sound.
*** Headset provided by the manufacturer for review purposes ***