Pros: Beautiful mids, crystal clear, great soundstage, wonderful 3D imaging, powerful yet tight bass, pleasant treble, almost no grain, and non-fatiguing
Cons: Can be a bit heavy in the bass on some systems and songs. Potential comfort issues for some.
The Beyerdynamic DT 150 is one of those headphones that for some reason is overlooked and ignored despite being one of the best mid-tier headphones one can buy regardless of open or closed. It's likely a couple factors relating to their very utilitarian appearance and the fact they aren't as easy to find find as Beyers other offerings. It's a shame these don't get much attention because these are in my honest opinion Beyerdynamic's best offering in the mid-tier range and may be Beyers very best closed-back overall. I'm going to explore in the review why the headphones are so great and why they can be compared to well-regarded mid-tier open-backs and be comparable or even surpass some of the mid-tier titans. I'm going to state it now, I think these are better headphones than the HD 600, DT 880, and Q701 in terms of audio quality. The only headphones I like as much or possibly more that I have tried extensively in the mid-tier section is the K712 and Annies. This review is over a variety of genres from folk, electronic, classical, rock, etc.
In the review, I'm using the Beyerdynamic DT 150 on a Schiit Lyr 2 with Amperex Fat Bottle 6DJ8 tubes. A HRT Music Streamer II+ as the DAC and AURIC RCA to RCA interconnects.
Build Quality and Comfort:
The build quality on these headphones is simply outstanding. It's made of incredibly tough ABS(I believe) plastic and a metal headband with a rubberish covering over it with a faux leather headband cover. These headphones are quite lightweight, weighing about the same as the HD 600 and K712. The earcups slide up and down on part of the metal headband and they pivot up and down quite a bit with some front and back pivoting. The cable is replaceable but oddly the cable terminates out of the right earcup instead of the left. Earpads are thick and deep and rectangular softskin. They get slightly hot but not as hot as protein leather. The pads feel a bit weird and take some breaking in so they seal properly, the sound won't be it's best until the pads break-in. Comfort wise I can wear them all day as long as it's not hot so comfort is good.
The sound of these headphones is what these headphones are all about. They have so many things going for them. Overall they are on the warm and lush side and may be slightly dark to some. These are not for those looking for a light-and-airy type of sound. It's more akin to the HD 600s tuning though quite different sounding. These are overall laid-back and warm sounding. This is a system dependent headphone, like with any good headphones, results are going to vary quite a bit from system to system.
Clarity and Transparency: To start with, I'm going to cover this headphones level of clarity and transparency. These headphones are outstanding in this aspect, these headphones are incredibly transparent and are very clean and clear sounding. They have almost no grain to their sound, the HD 600 sounds a bit grainy, slightly stuffy, and veiled in comparison. You can listen to these at higher volumes than other headphones for extended periods of time without any listening fatiguing. You often forget you are listening to headphones and focus only on the music and sound, meaning they are very transparent. They are quite revealing of the system, meaning grainy components will sound grain through these headphones.
Tonality and Timbre: The tonality and timbre on the DT 150 is fantastic, nothing really sounds off except with problem recordings. It's a warm, lush, and euphoric tone and sounds exceptionally natural. Warm and lush systems may be a bit of a warmth overload with these headphones for some people.
Soundstage and Imaging: For a closed-back the soundstage is large and well represented, it's slightly larger than the HD 600 in soundstage, there doesn't seem to be any imaging issues. In terms of imaging it's very clean and precise and has a very 3D sound to it, it makes other headphones sound a bit flat at times.
Speed and Coherency: This headphone is plenty fast, it never comes across as slow sounding and it never gets confused even on faster passages. There is always a coherency, I've never heard this headphones coherency broken so to speak.
Bass: The bass is heavy, thick, and robust leading to a very solid backbone to the sound. The bass can hit with real authority when called for. They sound of the bass varies from instrument to instrument but it does carry a bit of sound signature to it's bass moreso than say AKGs do. Overall it's quite clean and fairly tight and never seems to get confused or sound hollow. There are some songs where it can be a bit too much without getting used to.
Midrange: This is where this headphone truly shines, it's a beautiful, euphoric, present yet laid-back midrange. It's extremely clean and has a lot of vocal depth. Instruments and vocals sound spot on. The midrange is slightly dark and slightly warm overall. It's not quite HD 600 warm though.
Treble: The treble is very clean and well extended, it reveals plenty of detail, has a small amount of air to it and doesn't sound slightly off in the treble like the HD 600 does. No bluntness or overly smoothing out in the treble. It's not sibilance and is almost never harsh(its only harsh on systems it has bad synergy with).
The Beyerdynamic DT 150 is a headphone anyone looking for a high-quality closed-back or high-quality mid-tier headphone in general should consider, especially to those who want a warm musical sound with almost no grain. Those who like the HD 600 should like this headphone quite a bit despite their tonality differences from each other.