I am writing this from a beginner's perspective for beginners. If some newbie in the future comes across this post before posting a "what headphone to buy for $100 - $200 dollars" post, he/she might find this useful. Alternatively, it might also help people who are slightly hesitant to upgrade from M50 to D2000 and are contemplating whether it's worth the upgrade.
Let me make it clear - If someone already loves his M50 and is looking for a relatively cheap upgrade, don't hesitate to get the D2000. I hesitated to get them as I already own the M50 and wanted to wait for a big upgrade to HD650. But after an impulse buy, I have been listening to them for the past 6 hrs. I am very convinced that D2000 is worth every buck I paid for it on Amazon and is surely a major upgrade from M50. I don't know how burn-in is going to change the sound, but I would have to say that I didn't stop smiling since I've put them on.
A comparison for newbies:
Test setup: foobar -> Musiland monitor 02 -> Little Dot I+ (M 8083/ LT1364) -> M50/D2000
M50 8.75/10 D2000 9/10
If you love bass, you can't go wrong with either of these cans. Lovely bass - probably a bit more tighter on the D2000s.
M50 8/10 D2000 8.5/10
Yes, I don't find the mids in D2000 to be recessed at all. The vocals are very enjoyable on either of these phones IMO. The vocals on D2000 sound slightly more lively to my ears though.
M50 7/10 D2000 8.5/10
I am very sensitive to highs and find the highs in the M50 to be slightly harsh and piercing. I know that it is strange, but that is what I find them to be. On the other hand, the highs in D2000 are very smooth.
M50 8/10 D2000 10/10
D2000 is nothing short of revolutionary as far as comfort goes. Big head, fat head, small head - it fits one and everyone.
M50 8.5/10 D2000 6.5/10
D2000 is not portable by any standard. M50 is big too but it does fine.
Overall score for sound from Zune without any amp:
M50 8/10 D2000 8/10
I would'nt recommend the upgrade if you don't want to get an amp. IMO, D2000s don't show the possible tightness in bass and smoothness in highs unless you amp them. Also, mids come slightly forward upon amping.
Overall score with amp:
M50 8.5/10 D2000 9.25/10
M50 doesn't benefit much but D2000 definitely does.
If you have an amp, don't hesitate to get the D2000. If you don't, wait until you save enough to get an amp and then get the D2000.
I am no expert but I enjoy listening to music. I can't comment on how accurate these cans are. All these scores are only based on how much I enjoy each aspect of the music from these cans.
For people wondering what music I used for comparison, I tried Kraftwerk's Autobahn, Kraftwerk's The Man Machine, Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns, U2's Joshua Tree, Radiohead's KidA, Enya's Paint the Sky with Stars and Michael Jackson's Thriller.
I'll add another column for HD650 when I get them sometime next year. Hopefully, someone will find this useful sometime in the future
Edited by proteinpig - 10/27/10 at 10:50pm