Pros: bass, detail, comfort, swappable pads, balanced tuning.
Cons: No detachable cable, case or pouch, needs burn in, boosted treble.
YAMAMAHA HPH-MT220 REVIEW
last review update with Focal Pro added: 3/1/2014
preface: People can become fans of a product and get scared to be honest but I can honestly stand by the impressions below without wavering. Other reviews I have posted are not as in depth for a reason as I feel this one worthy of full coverage(not that I am a good reviewer or anything... just saying).
They are accurate for professional use with enough low end to please most. I don't use eq with these ever!
The thing about these headphones is that they are tuned for "modern studio applications". As we all know, modern music calls for bass. These are not bass monsters but the bass response is awesome!! If making or mixing EDM, these will translate very well to the speaker monitors given that the monitors reach as low as these. The tuning reflects what is on the recording. They also do good with everything I have thrown at them. I literally get goose bumps sometimes and they shock me. I stepped outside of my personal music genre favorites and get floored with my jaw slightly hanging. They become very clear/transparent after burn in and hold nothing back from you without the covering up of poorly recorded vocals. The mt220 will reveal to you the crappy mics some artists may have used as an accurate window into the recording while staying delightfully enjoyable.
Dark sources on these are okay but neutral sources imo help you see its balance. I used to be a mid range lover and still am but prefer balance and that is what these have. Though they have a little more energy in the treble, I can honestly say nothing is recessed. They have a bite to them at first that makes it seem like you are getting rushed with detail and crispy instruments. The slightly murky lower mids clear up after burn in. Compared to a Pioneer hdj 2000 these are way more transparent right out of the box. I just had slight issues with the lower mids at times pre burn in. Now that is non existent. If you don't believe in burn in like I didn't then these will prove it to you if you give them time. I have never heard a headphone go through so many changes as these. Now I can say that mine are completely burned in and I still can't put them down.
- Pad swapping/rolling is a synch with many options
- Not genre specific
- Kind of raw sounding
- Awesome tuning on the headphones
- Scalable (amping is suggested but not needed at all)
- Balanced sound that is awesome for reference purposes
- Revealing of bad recordings
- Revealing of equipment signatures and quality
- The bass doesn't make all songs sound bass heavy and is moderately textured and will satisfy the bass hungry
- Bass slams when it needs to and extends low
- Great attack
- Mids are not recessed or too forward
- highs are clear and not rolled off
- decent soundstage as well but not artificial with accurately sized instruments
- barely any mid bass hump with little to no booming into the mids
- sturdy build
- handles power easily
- little distortion
- little sibilance
- sound improves as you listen
- pre-burn in lacks some transparency in the lower mids
- lacks isolation
- stock pads are shallow
- no detachable cord
- little accessories (I need to try the cd it comes with)
- can be unforgiving
- treble can be a tad splashy or "Essy" and only on some tracks
(this is from personalaudio.ru I dont even know if I picked the right one but its the only one site I could find)
These don't need an amp to sound good but an amp definitely helps especially for portable uses. The fiio x3 and plain ipod leaves me a bit unsatisfied. When I plug them into my iMac they actually shine. They will tell you exactly what your source sounds like so just choose wisely. I suggest something with a tight low end(no need for bass boost), detailed sound, and average or above average soundstage and these will reward you greatly. They don't need anything to add to it basically but just an amp/source that won't take away what it has already because it can be easily held back.
- JDS Labs ODAC and Schiit Vali : The combo is smoothing them out slightly but helping the soundstage and adding a little air. The drums, instrument attacks, bass thumps, and kicks are being a little rounded off with these two. So this combo is allowing its soundstage to breathe as well and lower level noises are more easily focused on. I immediately missed the edge of these on first impression, but now I appreciate how refined these have become with this combo. The combo has also given better instrument separation and detail. It makes for a sweet listen on some songs and others slightly more dull. That being said the Yamaha can never be dull to me and it would take a lot to make them boring. Overall its a good match.
- The Fiio X3: restricted the soundstage, darkened the headphones, made them less engaging than the Vali and ODAC, added bass warmth(which was not needed), and made the mids less clear. I think that is just how the x3 sounds on its own. I am making the x3 sound worse than it really is but imo I think these will do great on a better and more neutral source and I felt the fiio was holding them back. I respect the x3 though as it paired really well with the k545 and gave it the warmth and push it needed.
- The Nuforce ICON DAC: Great match however not only is the natural punch, dynamics, clarity and raw sound of these headphones back but a bit enhanced and a tad bright. The Nuforce takes away nothing from what the headphone has to offer. I would however like to use it with another tube amp because the Nuforce alone is a bit bright and turns from neutral to slightly bright but with full mids and deep bass. So far this is the best. The Vali with the DAC section of the Nuforce also makes a good match and places things almost right where they should be but not a huge difference from the Nuforce ICON DAC all by itself using both the dac and amp sections.
They look great in person and are light and comfortable with the pads enveloping the ears. I would definitely not call these lifestyle headphones though and in public you will look like you walked out of a studio. They do however look great in the studio or home next to an iMac,PC, or laptop<<<all in my opinion of course.
The chord is coiled closer to the jack which has a very heavy duty screw on adapter that is only usable with the Yamaha. Where the cord goes in to the jack is a spring protector to prevent the end from breaking. They are made with a very sturdy plastic and like most headphones have the metal inside of the headband encased in this plastic. The driver housing is plastic as well with a brushed metal plate around the driver compartment.
The cushion on the headband is thin but wide and is fairly comfortable. My ears fit in the pads with the inside opening measuring 6.25 cm top to bottom and 4.5 cm left to right
Though they are not the most comfortable headphones I have worn, they do have minimal clamping pressure and seem to have more of a universal fit. I can't picture to many people complaining about the fit of these.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE FOLLOWING DONT HAVE ITS THINGS IT DOES BETTER THAN THE YAMAHA OR THAT THE YAMAHA IS BETTER. These are distinctive things the yamaha does better in my opinion and from memory. I remember still preferring the ZMF modded fostex over all of these in preference (not technicalities) so its not included.
____AKG k545 (yamaha = stronger bass, more depth, better transient response, less restrained/more forward and energetic, better lower mids, more natural timbres, more accurate, less gentle, less treble emphasis)
____*Sony mdr 7520(yamaha = smoother, wider soundstage, more sub bass, less midbass hump, more neutral mids (slightly less mids) and balanced highs(sony slightly darker), more treble, less thick, stronger attack)
____Sennheiser Momentum ( yamaha = larger soundstage, tighter bass, more detailed, better instrument separation, more accurate of the mix, slightly more bright, more transparent)
____Philips L1 (yamaha = less flabby, more controlled, larger instruments, more forward, more detailed, better resolution, similar balance, better attack, more transparent)
____AKG K550 (yamaha = more natural timbre, more accurate of the mix, more bass, fuller but neutral mids so basically not recessed, less bright, smaller soundstage, better attack, more body and weight more forward, more snap)
____Denon AH-D2000 (yamaha = less boomy in bass but similar impact, less bass, more mids, less grain, more transparent, weightier/more organic sound, smoother)
____German maestro 8.35 d (its been a while, but yamaha = more bass, very similar balance, less fatiguing,less sibilant, better details and instrument separation)
____Beyerdynamic COP(yamaha = tighter bass, less bright, less air, fuller/weightier notes, better resolution, better instrument separation)
____Beyerdynamic dt 770(yamaha = better depth, fuller/weightier sound, stronger mids, less bright, stronger impact/attack/slam, more refined, better details, better instrument separation)
____JVC DX700 (yamaha = better attack and punch, faster, similar bass quality, less bass, less soft and smoothed over, more treble, more balanced, less dark, less genre/song specific, less cavernous)
____*Focal Spirit Professional (yamaha= stronger bass and thump, similar attack, less lower mids, less thick, similar soundstage a bit larger, more highs, a little more upper mids, equal timbre and tones, less isolation on the yamaha, more comfortable)
*The FOCAL SPIRIT PRO is a great headphone that imo can best the yamaha in a lot of ways making it equal to the yamaha in preference but slightly better in technicalities and balance. The yamaha has the advantage of having a more pleasing low end but the resolution of the Pro in the bass is between the yamaha and the Sony which means its a bit tighter than the yamaha but less textured than the Sony. The Pro also has an even more accurate balance. Though the mids of the pro sound a little thick in comparison the lower mids are in balance with the upper mids. I ultimately still kept the yamaha but if i could only keep one headphone the pro may slightly take the edge because I like my lower mids. This isn't to say that the yamaha has recessed mids but the balance is a little different. Sometimes i prefer the less thick mids of the yamaha but the Focal pro soundstage is large enough to make it a non issue. Again the pro bass may be too light for some and those wanting just a little more may prefer the yamaha. BOTH HAVE beautiful tones.
*The close runner up is the Sony that has better bass resolution (the best out of all of them) similar sub bass quantity, s stronger build, faster, drier/less wet and only a little less highs.
hope to try more later. Next --- 1540 shure pads.
Mr Speakers Alpha pads:
- add comfort
- improve soundstage depth
- smooth the sound out and make them slightly darker
- a little more muffled and less forward
- increase bass quality