Just got my pair of Q701's the other day and I'm really liking them. I was also considering the HD 650's and DT990's but decided the Q701 was going to fit my tastes better, and I think I was right. (I didn't get a chance to listen to the 650's or 990's, so I can't compare. I did get to listen to a pair of HD 600's, but as they weren't amped I don't think it would be a fair comparison either).
I'm using a Schiit Magni to power my Q701 and the main strengths I see are:
- Separation & imaging
- Emphasis on instrument dynamics
- Presents music as it was mixed
You really get the feeling of texture on vocals and acoustic instruments, you can hear the physical striking of the notes or the slight changes in the singer's breath that really makes the sound come alive. The instruments seem to occupy their own spaces, and the way mixes are layered really comes through. If the lead guitar isn't emphasized in a mix, these headphones won't emphasize them, and so on with every other instrument. But at the same time it's very engaging to hear vocals, backup vocals, bass, and guitar all come in from different spots in a choreographed manner, like in The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun". I believe these characteristics are what lead people to call these headphones "analytical". If you are hoping for a set of sounds to gel as a cohesive whole, these don't quite do it.
I don't think the depth of the soundstage is as good as others claim it is. Maybe it's because I'm used to having large speakers and a subwoofer, or maybe the soundstage is great in comparison to other headphones, but in any case I think the depth is 'good' or 'very good', but not amazing.
I've also tried them on movies and I really appreciate how they bring dialogue to the front (chalk it up to the great separation and imaging).
As for bass, it really depends on the song. Some tracks have plenty (again, see 'Here Comes the Sun') while in others it's just part of the background. In any case, it's very tight, bordering on dry at times. In other words, if you really like bass with a presence that sets the stage for the rest of the song, these headphones probably won't cut it for you.
I listen to a lot of orchestrated soundtracks, hip-hop, R&B, as well as electronic music and acoustic performances; I think the Q701's strengths are just as good in each genre. Oh and I find them to be very comfortable, though I'm wondering how long it will take for the little cords that maintain tension on the headband to break.
Edited by mobius5 - 2/8/13 at 2:14pm