How do DJs perform without headphones?

Kygo A9 / 600: DJ headphones with power and subtleties

Peter Müller

Acoustically well shielded from the environment, we can concentrate on the music, across many genres. The equalizer drives it colorful.

Music, nothing else - that's what the A9 / 600 headphones promise, for which the Norwegian producer and DJ Kygo derives its name. We don't want to use the headphones as a headset for the office or for the way there and back home, although we would be reachable as long as we have paired the OverEar with our iPhone. Incoming calls are accepted with a tap on the middle of the right auricle, but we cannot initiate an outgoing call via Siri in this way.

Otherwise, the gesture control offers the essential functions. By swiping and not by pressing from left to right and vice versa, you get to the next or previous piece, swiping from bottom to top makes the music louder, in the opposite direction the volume goes down. These controls and telephony only work if the headphones, which also support aptX and AAC, are paired via Bluetooth 4.1. If you are using a cable, you have to use the controls on the player.

The Kygo A9 / 600 can also be used as travel headphones, even without active noise canceling. Because the earpieces shield outside noise very well, we can concentrate fully on the music. We don't want more from the headphones

Buy the Kygo A9 / 600 from Amazon for 199 euros

The 3.5 mm jack cable, like the micro USB charging cable, is a bit hidden in the box of the A9 / 600, we first have to lift the shell that holds the headphones and find a small cloth bag underneath for transporting the elegant handset - and also the cable, in the color of our test model (wine red). When it comes to design, everything is right, including functionality. We can extend the bracket far enough so that the A9 / 600 fits well over our skull - we have not been able to do that with all of the devices we have tried out so far. At about 1.10 meters, the cable is a little short, even in the studio or in the DJ booth you definitely want freedom of movement - and that without the latencies associated with Bluetooth.

Not only good for the disco beat

Let's get to the music, we first listen to a Mac rehearsal without further manipulation of the sound. Not surprisingly, the Kygo A9 / 600 sounds quite decent with electronic dance music like Avicii and Kygo, with a powerful, but not too intrusive bass and clear, but not shrill highs.

But we belong to a different target group, so let's let "The Dark Side of the Moon" do the talking again. We are greeted by the well-known bass heartbeat with its crescendo and the gradually starting soundscape - not bad at all, but we had only heard that better recently. But listen to Marillion's hotel hobbies, the 2018 re-mix and the original CD from 1987: The crystal-clear sound of the A9 / 600 lets us really hear the differences - great.

But let's go on a virtual mountain hike with Lorin Maazel and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, on which Richard Strauss leads us with his Alpine Symphony. It all sounds well defined, but a little flat, the dynamic range seems to have its limits. The Leningradskaya by Dimitri Schostakowitsch confirms this impression - but thanks to the really good shielding against outside noise, we can still hear the quiet beats well in the office.

And what about jazz? Let us first go back to a Strauss adaptation: "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Deodato. The Kygo A9 / 600 is made for this, the percussion is very precise at the top left, the acoustic bass slightly to the right of the center, but the jazz organ, fan and guitar do not step on their feet in the middle. And in "Spain" Al Jarreau's voice dances virtuously through the finely defined space. Sharp contrast to it, something with oomph: Metallica, "Hardwired". We are not disappointed here either. Loud, hard, but not clanking, but not uncomfortable even at high volumes.

Graphic equalizer that makes it colorful

So far we have heard the music as it was intended, at least as close as is possible in the setting. On the iPhone we use Kygo's equalizer, which above all offers an interesting graphical approach. We do not adjust frequency bands, but rather drag the sound point to the desired position on a rectangle. The sides of the color-changing rectangle are labeled "Mountains" (above), "Ibiza" (below), "New York" (right) and "Los Angeles" (left) - but we still like the sound best in the Center. It would probably take hours and days to find the sound that is optimal for our ears, it is more of a trial and error than adjusting or even calibrating, so we'd better leave that - and also turn off the bass boost again.

EnlargeHearing colors is called synesthesia - but here the colors for the graphic equalizer are more of a gag.

Conclusion

The design is very appealing, the sound is also very pleasant for many genres, the (passive) shielding against outside noise is very good, the price of 199 euros is fair - if you want to listen to or produce music, the Kygo A9 / 600 is a high-quality pair OverEars. When it comes to wearing comfort alone, as a wearer of glasses, you have to accept a few compromises, as the shells then put a lot of pressure on your ears. The Kygo A9 / 600 is available in five stylish but subtle colors.

Buy the Kygo A9 / 600 from Amazon for 199 euros