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Impressions...... Beyer DT235 vs AKG K81DJ.. WOW!?!?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

   Ok, So I have had the K81 DJs for about a month now and it has about 40 hours of play time on it and I got accustomed to the sound. All was well in lala land. I havent listened to it for a few days now, due to pulling some extar hours in the field both in Surveying and Photography and also my wifes great uncle had passed on and so forth.


Enter the Beyer DT235 today. Picked it up from Customs, plugged it into my clip and let it play while I worked. No listening as yet. When I came out of the field, I put it on and was listening to some tunes for about twenty minutes or so. Not bad I thought, Sounds extended in the top but a little bass shy. Got home and got the kids fed watered and put to sleep and decided to take a decent listen to various music using the clip+ my Itouch and the PA2v2 amp.


Then it happened. The first song I did the comparo on was Holy, Holy, Holy performed by Donnie Mcklurkin. I listened to the Beyer first. sounded good to me. the treble extended well, but it seemed a bit light in the lower mids and the bass. I switched......... BOOM!!!!! It was as if I switched on a 15 inch sub and upped the lower mids on an eq while reducing the treble. The AKGs were just much fuller and richer with serious punch. Before this I was wondering why people said the AKG was bass heavy, but after the comparison, I can see why.


I then listened to Muse, The Resistance and got the same result. To be honest I don't know which I prefer yet. I think I need to give the Beyers a chance to burn in.


The AKGs are also louder by nature, seems like they are easier to drive, so the same volume setting on the PA2v2 for the two headphones differ by quite a margin, making the Beyers sound anemic in comparison until you match volume. I remember doing a comparison between three speakers, The NHT ST4 which I own, The B&W CDM 7NT, and the Dynaudio Audience 50 owned by my brothers. The AKG is like the NHT Sounds good, and has some serious kick to the bass. The Beyer is like the B&W. Treble extended to wazoo but the bass and lower mids seem to suffer from a lack of body and weight. I hope that they end up adding a bit more body in burn in and be more like the middle ground just as the Audience 50 was in that comparison


Unlike the NHT though, the AKGs bass weight seems to bleed into the  lower mids making them emphasized, and this was heard in all he tracks I sampled.


Anyway, I see fun times ahead as I burn in the Beyers and get to listening seriously, but the two sonic signatures at this point could not be more different. I was just stunned.



post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

So A few days have passed, and I have about 35 hrs on the Beyers.  They have opened up on the bottom and finally have a bit of weight to them. but to hear that weight the music must have it. I think you need to be careful pairing these however. I listened to them on my clip+ for a while through the PA2v2 and I must say that it was close to a painful experience with the treble. I guess my hearing of the higher registers have not gone as yet, but don't hear them as my previous headphones definitely do not extend as high.


I listened to the Muse at 320 Kbps and the sibilance on the lead vocal's voice on every 's' was harsh. It actually hurt my ears. Listening to it through my Itouch was much more forgiving. The highs were not harsh but still there and not tearing a hole in my ears.


After that session, I decided to compare again to my other two cans. The JBL Reference 410 and of course the K81DJ. Songs I listened to were The Muse Resistance, Jamie Cullum, These are the Days, Heavy D and the Boys Peaceful Journey, on the Sansa Clip+


The JBL first: Not a bad headphone at all, but sounded veiled in the upper end compared to the other two. The bass had nice impact and weight to it and there seemed to be no real bleed into the mids. The mids were a bit recessed but natural, but for the veiled sound in the upper mids. The highs were not very well extended compared to the other two phones and was not very detailed as a result. Mine had the pleather coating peel off and that has affected the isolation a bit. I alos stretched it so that it did not clamp as hard, so comfort wise its not too bad. Its in the middle of these three. All in all, if you didnt have better, you wouldn't complain. Definitely would be nice as a first headphone for the untrained ear. I think it is tuned to appeal to that crowd.


The AKG: Well its definitely a step up from the JBL. Everything else has more. The bass is THERE. It has impact, power, volume and depth. It is also a bit overwhelming, with some of it bleeding into the lower mids. It also ma not be the most defined but it does not need alot of bass in the music for the bass to make its presence known like the Beyers. The mids are too rich with a boominess in the lowermids from the bass bleed I guess. It does not sound too unnatural though until you have listened to the Beyers. After listeneing to the Beyers, the mids on the AKG sound bloated and a bit coloured. The inverse happens however, as after listening the AKGs for a while the Beyers sound thin and brittle in the mids. The highs are there, but not as extended or as clean or detailed as the Beyers, but definitely better than the JBL. After the stint, I removed the foam from the AKGs and listened for a while. It actually sounded  more natural with less midrange bloat and some more treble extension, even though still no match for the Beyers, It made the sound a bit more balanced though, and definitely worth the removal. It was instantly audible.


The Beyer: Well of the three, this is the treble king. It cannot be touched there. The bass is lightweight but present compared to the other two, and you can only sense the impact when the music has excessive bass like you might get with rap and hip hop music. It does have good speed though and it does go relatively deep. You just don't get the visceral feel as you would get from the AKG. The mids at times were a mixed bag for me. At times they sounded too thin and hence added a nasality to some instruments and male vocals in particular, but other than that, it was the pretty good. The highs are where they sing and scream at the same time. And I feel that the source plays a big part here. Playing the same song through the same amp through different sources made the treble either sing or scream. On the Clip+ it screamed. On he Ipod Touch it sang. I was then a bit curious and tried the foam that I removed from the AKG under the velor pads of the Beyers. Well It was an improvement to me. You lost some top end sparkle and also some detail, but the sound gained a fullness in the bass and the mids that to me made it more natural sounding, and even though the highs were diminished, it was still more extended than the other two phones. So at present I am using them this way for a while to see if really prefer them this way.


Ok, That is all for now.


Will update as I go along and listen some more!



post #3 of 4

So...if the Beyers sound better over all...why not EQ some more bass into them with the Clip+?

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by chelboed View Post

So...if the Beyers sound better over all...why not EQ some more bass into them with the Clip+?



Well truth be told, I tried the clip+ eq once and found it quite horrid. The moment you put it on, the entire sound signature changes, and not for the better. The highs become diminished instantly from the time you just put the bass up a bit and the volume also drops. No I have not rockboxed it. Not sure if I will.


Right now however, I am accustomed to the sound of the Beyer as is with the foam from the AKG added and I quite like it. I am enjoying the balance now. Its not too lightweight in the bass anymore. I find it basically fine as is now. It could be the effect of the extra br=urn in, or just me getting accustomed to the sound.


What I didnt state previously, were the other factors of the phones. As far as Isolation goes, the Beyers are not too far from being open cans. They leak sound and let sound in. Its not a major deal for me, but its not what I would consider loud environment friendly. The AKG offers the best isolation of the group by a long shot. The JBL, having lost its fake leather coating, has also lost some isolation, but does not leak as much as the Beyers.


Comfort is a no contest. The  Beyers win hands down. The AKG being the least comfortable. I stretched the JBL so that they didi not clamp as much sometime ago, so they are not too bad comfort wise. These are the phones I let my 2 year old daughter use when she wants to listen to her music, or when she travels, as music calms her.


Anyway, In the end, I will keep both, but will use the Beyers the most. With the foam mod I did, the sound fulls up and fleshes out into what I consider a good balance,  and with not too much bass as with the AKG. the AKG is second and will be my noisy place headphone. Removing the foam did as other people have said. The sound thinned out, getting rid of some of the bloat and extending the highs a bit, improving the balance. This is how I will leave the AKG.


The JBL is a good phone, for what it is. no real flaws per say, just the flaw of omission. Nevertheless, its still relatively natural sounding and a fun listen all the same.



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