Pros: Comfort, Decent Build, Neutral Sound, Reveals Detail, Good Isolation
Cons: Bright/Cold Sound, Fatiguing
Hello head fi'ers! This is my first review on a product, a product without reviews! If you have any comments on the quality of this review, please do write it up. I want to contribute to the head-fi community that I have enjoyed for months now, and I want to do a decent job at it!
These headphones are my first "audiophile headphones", but I do have a passion for the music that I listen to. I primarily listen to classical music, and these headphones may not be for everyone as their sound, to me, does not seem tailored to a great variety of music styles. Before we get into the sound stuff, let us knock off the other issues that this review needs to cover if it is to actually tell the reader if this is what he/she is looking for.
It is important, right? The package does nothing but the job. It is a cardboard box with a picture of the product and some specs. When you open the product, you remove the headphones from a somewhat precarious cardboard housing, and you get your documentation. Obviously, at a price of ~$130, you do not get more than is necessary. The headphones arrived in good condition. The fact that the specs are on the box is pretty convenient.
I've heard that all Beyerdynamics have a good build quality. I do not have all of the Beyerdynamics, but these headphones support that statement. They have held up for the four months that I've used them consistently. I see no change in the construction thus far. I have three main points regarding build.
1. These headphones, contrary to higher end Beyerdynamics, have plastic brackets that hold the earpiece to the. They are flexible, and I have not put them under a lot of stress in the interest of not breaking them. These hinges, to me, seem to be the main weak point of the build since they are made of fairly thin plastic. Be nice to the brackets that hold the ear-cups/drivers, and these will last you!
2. The headband. It is very flexible. It will bend to fit heads of many sizes. As a user of these headphones, I am not concerned with the quality of plastic used in the headband.
3. The cord is not removable. This is obviously a disadvantage. I am pleased to note, however, that the cord is attached very well to the left ear-cup. I do not worry that the cord will break easily. Of course, I am nice to my electronics. If you are harsh you may achieve different results.
These headphones, out of the box, are not remarkably comfortable. They clamp tightly on to the head, at first. This clamp was noticeable, but it did not make me question the value of the headphones. With time, the headband loosened up it's grip on my head. The headphones do not "disappear" as some say comfortable headphones do. You can still feel their weight, gently pressing on the head. I can wear these for long periods of time, after having "broken in" the headband. Headband "break in" took about a few weeks. (~ three weeks.) Basically, the clamp force decreases over time to a comfortable level.
The ear-pads are made of velour. They completely surround my ear, and they feel snug. (Very comfy.) When I wear these headphones in a non air-conditioned environment, they do get a bit sweaty. (Not as bad as the Sennheiser HD 280; those headphones made me question purchasing the headphones altogether.) This problem is easily solved by taking a short break, to let your ears cool, or just air conditioning the room. I noticed this problem during the hot days of the summer only. If you fear and loathe ear sweats, don't let that completely ruin your image of the product! Just know this: these headphones are not the best breathers.
These headphones isolate as well as they should, considering that they do not advertise themselves as having passive noise cancellation technology. When music is playing at moderate levels, I can barely hear voices speaking moderately loud just outside of the room with the door open. A shout from a different floor of the house can barely be made out as well.
A detailed report on leakage, I have not. I conducted my own sort of test by putting the ear-pads down against my table-top about one foot away from my face. I can barely make out my music. At a few feet away from the headphones on the table-top, I can't make out any music at all.
My listening set up: I just connect my headphones to my computer.
Sound card --> Beyerdynamic DT 660
Overall, the sound addresses all ends of the spectrum. The highs are what these headphones are made for, and they can seem a bit bright after listening for over an hour or so. The mids are very prominent, and the bass is conservative yet effective enough for me to enjoy the nuances of the low end.
This part of the spectrum is the star of the show. I listen to classical music, and music for the harpsichord shines on these headphones. Soprano vocals as well. The high end does not overpower the rest of the spectrum. However, know this: when a treble heavy instrument or part comes into play, the mids and the lower end obviously do not shine and shimmer as much. Do not misunderstand, while a piccolo trumpet, (for example), is playing its solo, it is feasible to pick out and analyze the background if you wish. The mids and low end just won't be as forward as the treble. The treble is the "star of the show" if you will.
I find that this emphasis on treble brings out the detail and nuances of many recordings. For me, it is what makes these headphones fun. I've never found it to be an issue, except from one perspective. The treble emphasis can be fatiguing. These headphones are not warm and relaxing when compared to others. They are warm enough, if you happen to be listening to a lullaby by Johannes Brahms, but the high end does have an impact that makes these less easy on the ears. I only feel tired after listening for well over an hour. "Slightly bright" is how other head-fi'ers have described the sound, and I agree with the description.
The mids of these headphones, to me, seem clear and smooth. Violins, violas, vocals, lute, flute, you name it, they all sound clear and natural. While they are not the star of the show, I've never heard them damaged or overpowered by the more obvious treble. They are not only realistic and forward, but the lower mids add some warmth to the somewhat bright sound of the DT 660. When instruments that are more prominent in the mid-range play at the same time as treble-intensive instruments, I am presented with good instrument separation.
The bass is what it needs to be. It is not really "forward" by any means. It only shines when it really needs to. I think that the headphones extend well into the low end of the spectrum to add depth to the sound. When an orchestra is playing, the bass really adds a good breath of warmth to the sound. I can also pick out and enjoy melodies in the low end of the spectrum with good success. For that reason, I would not call these cold headphones. The conservative yet notable bass really saves these headphones from being cold or harsh. When the lows need to be more forward, they will deliver.
I purchased this product from Amazon.com for about $130.00. I do not experience "buyers' remorse" after having purchased these. Each day I listen to these headphones, I enjoy their sound. They come with nothing extra! No case, no removable cord, and they don't make coffee.
A short story: I paroozed the head-fi website for a good pair of headphones for under $100.00. I was advised by people other than myself to jump the budget and get these headphones. I am not at all disappointed that I decided to jump the budget. $130.00 well spent.