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Stepping up from the Beyerdynamic DT 770

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

What sounds good Head-fi'ers?

 

I've had my Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO for about 2 years now, and as much as I love them, having them amplified with my Matrix M-Stage amplifier (OPA627AP) and M-Stage DAC is allowing me to re-appreciate the simplicities of living without dedicated headphone audio..

 

smily_headphones1.gif

 

Sound has completely changed. Before, the lack of amplification made the sound appear somewhat blurred and balanced, when compared to my new pairing; bass slams effortlessly and in abundance - I'm in love with how fun it sounds! Hip-hop and electronic genres with excessive use of synth make the long resonating hums of bass and mid-bass so apparent and constantly powerful I find it hard to take the headphones off, it's mesmerizing.

 

However, It's becoming more apparent how dark these headphones are. Mids and especially highs appear crackly and scratchy, as if with proper amplification the headphones fail to reproduce an accurate sound at higher frequencies. It's difficult to pinpoint the exact issue, but on occasion (with the right music), the sound can be perfectly acceptable at these frequencies - It's when bass frequencies become more predominant in the piece of music, the mids and highs become apparently inadequate.

 

Although I do love the impact of the DT 770, I wish the mids and highs could be as easily respected for their own attributes. I'm a fan of circumaural headphones, and I am yet to try an open design, with that said, what goals could head-fi'ers set toward a high-performance solution with deep bass, detailed mids and highs?

 

Headphones I've considered are the HiFiMan HE-400, Aude'ze LCD-2, and the Denon AH-D5000 & AH-D7000 (though perhaps I should stop with closed headphones). I believe these models are renown for a similar signature, and was hoping someone who is familiar with these headphones can make some comparative suggestions.

 

Thanks in advance!


Edited by JosephsART - 8/28/12 at 4:20am
post #2 of 6

Heya,

 

The DT770 definitely starts to derail with high amounts of bass, you'll notice as the driver has to move faster and further from it's resting point to produce those lower frequencies at a higher volume, it starts to get loose and boomy, but it effects the driver's ability to produce mids/treble accurately so it starts to sound dim and grainy, because the driver isn't recovering fast enough. It's not really a flaw, more simply a design limitation, as it's an entry headphone. I actually adore the DT770 and it's one of my primary and favorite headphones, even when I have high ends. It's comfortable, the sound signature is right up my alley, great isolation, tank-like build, and mine is modded for portability as I use it for that a lot. I have found that the DT770's bass response depending on your amplifier does make a difference; a high powered source controls it pretty well, while lower powered sources can't quite do it. I'm not big into sound science, but I think it may have something to do with phase/impedance. Tyll over at InnerFidelity has a great article on the subject regarding these lower impedance headphones and how this comes up and I've had it happen with my ears, so it made sense. Maybe worth a browse.

 

As for moving up from your DT770, I would suggest that to get a real upgrade, you're going to have to look at a significant cost increase. I think the DT770 at $120~170 is an absolutely amazing deal as you're getting a very robust and capable headphone with excellent qualities and response. To move up, I would suggest that the Hifiman HE-400 and Denon D5000 be pretty much the two starting points for upgrade from this headphone. Other mid-level headphones in my opinion are merely going to be a new flavor, but not really a step up that is significant, considering their cost. Based on what you like about the DT770, it sounds to me like the Denon D5000 or the new D600 version, would be right up your alley. Prominent bass does not detract from mids/treble on these headphones, so it can blast sub-bass while having clear mids and treble. The D5000 is pretty much my favorite headphone and I use it primarily over all my headphones for this very reason.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

To move up, I would suggest that the Hifiman HE-400 and Denon D5000 be pretty much the two starting points for upgrade from this headphone. Other mid-level headphones in my opinion are merely going to be a new flavor, but not really a step up that is significant, considering their cost. Based on what you like about the DT770, it sounds to me like the Denon D5000 or the new D600 version, would be right up your alley. Prominent bass does not detract from mids/treble on these headphones, so it can blast sub-bass while having clear mids and treble. The D5000 is pretty much my favorite headphone and I use it primarily over all my headphones for this very reason.

 

Phenomenal response, thanks MalVeauX!

 

What I'm struggling to appreciate is potentially owning 3-5 pairs of headphones before I resort to a favoured headphone. I have seen and considered the HE-400 and Denon D5000, but after reading reviews of consumers and audiophiles alike, potential pitfalls for both of these headphones surface and you're left with an uneasy feeling of whether you should fast-forward to summit-fi, or pace yourself and learn to appreciate.

 

Issues particularly itching me about the Denon series are the loose headband clamping. Apparently they are infamous for poor clamping pressure/isolation, and can fly of your head with a quick neck snap motion. The loose isolation can obviously affect sound.

 

There are no issues surrounding the HE-400 in particular, just that they're an orthdynamic like the LCD-2.

 

I get a very mixed perception about the LCD-2 when seeking or reading recommendations as a headphone. I very much get the impression that this headphone is considered as dessert - you're only allowed to sample it after you've had five other courses of delicious headphones to truly appreciate the differences, and it is blasphemy for the casual passer-by to simply skip to this headphone.

 

I'm really tempted to skip to the end, even if it means upgrading my amplifier and DAC, though perhaps with enough reassurance I can be guided through the gauntlet.

 

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Edited by JosephsART - 8/29/12 at 3:09am
post #4 of 6

Heya,

 

To simplify, the new D600 from Denon has better clamp/pressure/seal than the previous Denons. Very similar still of course signature wise.

 

As for skipping to summit, I can say that you can do it and then also eventually go backwards. One thing that I've found in 40+ pairs of headphones is that highest quality doesn't already mean the best hi-fi for your listening pleasure. There's a lot of technical/mechanically better headphones, but often times, they're not the best sounding to you for your music. I have high-ends, but I naturally gravitate back to the Denon D5000 for virtually everything because I simply enjoy the signature way more; I'm a big fan of sub-bass, slightly mid-bass hump, soupy mids and bright but not shrilly treble with seriously comfortable pads, and the D5000 does that for me. High-ends tend to be flatter and flatter and simply less exciting/fun to me. So I've actually gone backwards with a lot of headphones after going to summit with some gear. If you have the cash to burn, by all means, go summit and see for yourself what it's all about. But I would say that it's not always the best way to go. Depending on what you listen to, hi-fi isn't always the best fi.

 

Very best,

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks again MalVeaux, that is a very interesting perspective you have, and now that I consider it, I suppose it makes perfect sense to move in any direction depending on your taste of sound.
 
I have to say that I tend to have similar tastes in sound, bass, soupy mids and fortified treble to tend to come to mind. Though I am curious how you describe this type of audio, while moving backwards from summit-fi, suggests this type of signature doesn’t exist in summit? I’m only left to presume that everyone in summit-fi loves crisp bright and analytical sound, perhaps this is some kind of technical achievement over a positive bass response? I’m not sure.
 
What are your experiences with the Denon D5000 in terms of long-listening, comfort and durability? Though some people pointed out flaws in their design, the same could be said for pretty much every headphone, and I’m not going to be bias from reading typical reviews without having tried the headphone myself.
 
I find it interesting that the DT 770 and D5000 seem to be most appropriate for this signature, though I am curious to discover how moving to an open headphone could be better or worse. What is your experience with open-headphones, or more specifically orthodynamic headphones for this kind of signature? Is there anything close? Or is it hardly ideal?
post #6 of 6

Denon has a woolly bass w/ lots of distortion, D5000 square wave is all over the place and the mid-range is euphonic. It's a very nice listen, but a bit of a sideways move from DT 770 in some regards.

 

My current personal take in closed circumaural with dynamic elements is Beyerdynamic T70 with gel pads. Not perfect, there is still harshness and over-pronounced effects on the presence region (or a bit) higher and the gel pads can get sweaty during summer. But it's a great step up from DT 770, is closed, has the Beyer signature sound the OP tends to favor. It's not perfect by any means, but would be my take over D5000. YMVV.

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