I teach movie review writing in my media classes in high school, and spent about 7 years as a published film critic. I always teach against what I call the Rocks/sucks dichotomy. There's a tendency for people to either say "These headphones rock!" or "These headphones suck!", but that doesn't actually help anyone with anything, except to give yourself a fuzzy feeling of having expressed an opinion. That's why places like IMDB and Amazon ratings are such a massive waste of time.
Getting off topic, though.
The T50RP are definitely not the best headphones I own. They sit well behind both the DT150 and DT990 in terms of overall sonic experience. Only by a BIT, though, which is the amazing thing. If they cost $200-250, I'd say they were a decent investment that could be bettered by heading to other brands. There really isn't anything in the $100 range that competes as a neutral studio headphone, though--not even close.
This is the huge challenge with headphones, though, as I see it. There are a set of established brands, that all make excellent headphones through a range of quality levels:
- and increasingly... Shure
Those companies are relatively safe bets. Lots of people have tried them, models from those companies crop up every time a thread is started on anything, and when you buy one you have a pretty good sense of what you're getting.
There are a number of fringe companies that seem to make equally great headphones, but that haven't developed that kind of reputation and recognition. I have tried a few of these because that's the kind of person I am (and others who post in this thread probably are as well:
- German Maestro/MB Quart
- DBI Pro
- Fischer Audio (at least they will once the initial hype wears off)
and there are others, I know.
Some great deals to be had in this category, but when we recommend them, they don't carry as much weight because they are not familiar. If a thread starts, and the recommendations are the Audio-Technica M50, the Shure SRH-440 and the Fostex T50RP, One of the first two will almost always win out, even though I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say the T50RP is a significantly better investment.
It's the same reason that so many people are proud to own a Bose home theatre surround sound system, even though you could have a vastly superior setup for cheaper (Paradigm, Axiom Audio, Mission, etc.). Nobody has heard of the other brands, and people aren't willing to take the risk or escape the comfort of the big box stores.
And so, after that roundabout journey, I do think that the T50RP has the potential to be that ortho that gets people started down that road, but I'm pretty skeptical about that happening. It simply takes too long for something different that got initial bad press to get any kind of community traction.