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Finally made my next big purchase since my headphone addiction began (DT 990 Pro & D2000)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I started my headphone journey a little over 10 years ago when I was searching the web for a good pair of DJ headphones. At the time, I couldn't afford the Sennheiser HD-25 II as I worked a summer job and spent most of my cash on my actual DJ setup (and lots of records). The next headphone that was highly recommended was the $100 HD280 and that's what I finally settled on. I quickly got bored with these and found head-fi around the same time I got my Rio Karma.

 

Along the way I picked up a few different sub-$50 headphones (and a few amps/DACs) and now, after years of lurking head-fi, I've finally saved up some money to get a real set of 'phones (that actually benefit from my extra gear!).

 

I was so set on getting Denon D2000s but since they're no longer available (new or refurbished, at least) I decided I'd try out the Beyer DT-990's first before I try to find a used pair of D2000s. Yesterday I was about to pull the trigger on a cheap (~$150!) Amazon warehouse deal set of the Premium 250 ohm edition but decided to think about it while on lunch...by the time I made my decision to buy, they were snatched up! I figured instead of getting a used pair of premiums for ~$190 I'd go for a brand new pair of the pro model for the same price. I think the black plastic looks better anyways...haha. I'm just worried they won't be good for my huge head (the HD280s took a long time and a cracked headband to finally be comfortable, now those headphones are in tatters). If the DT990s aren't for me, I'm headed for the sale/trade forums (unless amazon will accept it back for a refund).

 

My DT-990s will be here tomorrow and hopefully I'll be satisfied with just my Fiio E7 (maybe also the E9 soon) to power them...hopefully so satisfied that I don't have to come back to head-fi for another year or so! 

 

 

But that's wishful thinking and we all know it...as soon as I get my vinyl setup tuned-up/repaired I'll probably be back to upgrade...

 

 

Here's to hoping the DT990s are a complete package for me, maybe I can finally retire my Superlux HD681s and their sweaty earpads (and enjoy those velour pads I almost spent $50+ for!).

post #2 of 14

I think you'll be quite pleased. The E7 isn't the best amp by any means but it shouldn't be too bad. The DT990s are a huge upgrade from the HD280s. I thought the HD280s were awesome when I had them for a few years, but now that I've heard quality, I don't even want to LOOK at them!

post #3 of 14

I have DT990 Pro and love them. They are not for everyone, but then nothing is. The bass and highs are somewhat emphasized and can be overpowering at times, but not too often. With a little bit of equalizing, they can turn into a real reference class headphone with pristine clarity, refinement, smoothness, detail resolution, full dynamic range and a wide, well defined soundstage image. I place them on a similar level as my much more expensive HD650 and HE-500. The DT990 Pro version, in particular, is a tremendous value for the money. Enjoy! smily_headphones1.gif

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yokken View Post

I think you'll be quite pleased. The E7 isn't the best amp by any means but it shouldn't be too bad. The DT990s are a huge upgrade from the HD280s. I thought the HD280s were awesome when I had them for a few years, but now that I've heard quality, I don't even want to LOOK at them!

 

I too, thought the HD280's were crazy good, and couldn't notice a difference when compared to my old roommate's MDR-V6. And then I got KSC75's and began to dislike the "sennheiser" veil (or whatever you want to call the lack of clarity in the upper freq range of the HD280 in particular).For a few years I only used them when I needed that isolation (my friends liked it for studio recording, and it would probably still be ok for DJing in a loud environment if the headband and earpads weren't destroyed. I've enjoyed my HD681s for a while now but I want that extra step up in clarity and bass depth, even if it's not such a huge step up.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

I have DT990 Pro and love them. They are not for everyone, but then nothing is. The bass and highs are somewhat emphasized and can be overpowering at times, but not too often. With a little bit of equalizing, they can turn into a real reference class headphone with pristine clarity, refinement, smoothness, detail resolution, full dynamic range and a wide, well defined soundstage image. I place them on a similar level as my much more expensive HD650 and HE-500. The DT990 Pro version, in particular, is a tremendous value for the money. Enjoy! smily_headphones1.gif

 

I can't wait to hear it now! Since most of the time I'll be listening through my E7 using my PC in foobar2k, it shouldn't be too hard to EQ it to my liking. Some of the reviews when i first got on head-fi turned me off from the DT 990 and instead I lusted for the HD600/650s, HD595s, and Grado 225s. It's funny to see that I've come all the way back to the DT 990 after all these years, haha

post #5 of 14

If you determine the DT990 isn't for you, definitely try to get your hands on some HD600s. They are beautiful sounding headphones with no murkiness to them like the HD280s.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

So after a few days of listening to these headphones, I'm loving how comfortable the velour pads really are. The excessive clamping force I was worried about and expecting is non-existent, even on my huge head! I haven't made any efforts to burn them in but briefly did a side by side comparison with my HD681 through my Fiio E7's two headphone ports. This test wasn't the greatest since the DT 990s were a tad quieter but it definitely showed me that the HD681 had a little bit of that sparkle that I'm beginning to like as well as a stronger bass impact. The DT990's are very clean sounding and its bass extends pretty deep but I'm just not completely convinced that I needed to spend about $190 for a brand new pair of these Pros. The comfort is what may eventually convince me to stick with it, when I should really be considering the sound (isn't that what we're here for?).

 

I have a little bit of cash at the moment so I could probably hold onto them for a short while and get another (maybe cheaper pair?) to compare them with. Going into this purchase I didn't really have an idea of what more I wanted from a headphone but mainly to take everything I liked from my HD681 and clean it up while having fast, maybe slightly exaggerated bass that extends deep (for my rap and rock listening). I find that I still need to have my E7's bass boost turned to 1 or 2 to enjoy it.

 

Next step: Find cheaper headphones that do the same job or get those Denon D2000s? Anyone out there tried both the D2000 and DT 990?

 

I'll definitely look into those HD600s but I'm not sure if they're as good all-around headphones especially with the bass heavy music I listen to. Also, not sure my little Fiio can do the job, I may have to spring for that Fiio E9. I'm kind of curious about the Shure 840 and the ATH M50 also, if anyone can provide feedback or comparison with the DT 990 (or any other headphone I own).

 

EDIT: After doing a little research and after looking at the InnerFidelity "Wall of Fame" I'm currently focusing my research on the Shure 840 / Logitech UE 6000, Denon D2000, and maybe, just maybe the Sennheiser 595/598, Closed headphones are preferred but not required and they definitely have to be under $300 and should at least sound OK with my Fiio E7. I will continue my research, but please recommend!


Edited by strokerace - 12/26/12 at 11:33am
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well I got impatient waiting for an answer and just pulled the trigger on some used D2000s from the sale/trade forum. Guess that's the best way to do it anyway.

 

Next step is getting a nice desktop amp. My Fiio does the job with the DT 990s and they might be enough for the D2000 but I just want to get a better amp to give each headphone a more fair judgement. I can't afford both so one of them must go eventually.

 

I'm not sure the E7 is sufficient as a DAC as I only have had an Envy24 PT chip on my mobo (like a chaintech 710 i think) and the uDAC1 before it.

 

I'm trying to find an amp that's preferably under $150.

 

I'm looking at some of the chinese tube amps like the Bravo Ocean and V3 as well as the Fiio E9 (just because I already have the E7) and there are countless other SS amps in that price bracket.

 

any suggestions?

post #8 of 14

For the DT 990 Pros get a tube amp, they love tubes. The portable FiiOs are not near enough to drive them right, I have a FiiO E11 which is more powerful than the E7 and it does not do them justice at all. I got a HifiMan EF2A and eventually replaced the tubes with a matched pair of these, they are not as bright(stock tubes are a little too bright) and more detailed than the stock tubes. http://www.tubezone.net/6AK5-EF95-6J1-5654-RT-France-Tube_p_265.html If you get a chinese tube amp, make sure to replace the tubes. I think any tube amp should work pretty well on the DT 990s.
 

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info, I'm still shopping around for a suitable tube amp and may just settle on a chinese one off ebay or something.

 

After fiddling around with the E7, they are able to drive my DT 990s to a suitable volume without distortion if i turn down the internal volume on foobar2000 and crank up the volume on the E7 itself. For the DSP section I use the resampler (48kHz, Ultra mode) and equalizer only, and output is through ASIO. I've switched on and off the Advanced Limiter but I feel that decreasing the volume prevents the clipping and avoids distortion that the Limiter would have caused, so I have removed it from the chain. I haven't figured out good crossfeed settings but I don't listen to much material with hard panning anyway so it's fine and removed that as well. Also auto-leveling my EQ helped (I didn't know this was necessary for the longest time, but it makes sense!).

 

I don't like that I have to rely on the EQ in foobar2k but also on the E7 to get the bass sound I like. I'm not sure whether the foobar EQ can be shaped to mimic the same bass boost as the E7, or at least I couldn't figure it out (probably need a nicer parametric EQ through a VST plugin). I do feel like I can get better performance out of a proper desktop amp and I've yet to try the headphone output of my big Kenwood KA-7100 amplifier.

 

I like how vocals sound through the DT 990 and the soundstage and bass depth are pretty nice, but I like the balance of bass impact and that little bit of sparkle in the treble that the HD681 has. I wonder if the D2000s will be similar since many people complain about those straining highs on both the HD681 and D2000, haha.

 

The thing that interests me the most about tube amps is being able to swap them out for different tubes with subtle (and maybe sometimes not-so-subtle?) differences. So i figure I'd pick up a cheap entry level hybrid one for a test drive before I settle on a solid state amp which I understand can be the way to go depending on your headphones anyway.

 

Any thoughts on the Little Dot I+ Hybrid amp? I've heard plenty of praise for this company's amps in the few years I've browsed head-fi and this little amp seems to be pretty affordable (~$145 shipped, direct from little dot), especially if a used one pops up. I'd consider the EF2A as well, if a used one falls in my price range.

 

As soon as the D2000 arrives I can decide what I need in an amp and also decide which headphone's going to be returned/resold (I'd love to keep both if their sounds are way different, but only if I wasn't already planning on getting an amp). I only have a little less than a month to get a refund on the DT 990s.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by strokerace View Post

Thanks for the info, I'm still shopping around for a suitable tube amp and may just settle on a chinese one off ebay or something.

 

After fiddling around with the E7, they are able to drive my DT 990s to a suitable volume without distortion if i turn down the internal volume on foobar2000 and crank up the volume on the E7 itself. For the DSP section I use the resampler (48kHz, Ultra mode) and equalizer only, and output is through ASIO. I've switched on and off the Advanced Limiter but I feel that decreasing the volume prevents the clipping and avoids distortion that the Limiter would have caused, so I have removed it from the chain. I haven't figured out good crossfeed settings but I don't listen to much material with hard panning anyway so it's fine and removed that as well. Also auto-leveling my EQ helped (I didn't know this was necessary for the longest time, but it makes sense!).

 

I don't like that I have to rely on the EQ in foobar2k but also on the E7 to get the bass sound I like. I'm not sure whether the foobar EQ can be shaped to mimic the same bass boost as the E7, or at least I couldn't figure it out (probably need a nicer parametric EQ through a VST plugin). I do feel like I can get better performance out of a proper desktop amp and I've yet to try the headphone output of my big Kenwood KA-7100 amplifier.

 

I like how vocals sound through the DT 990 and the soundstage and bass depth are pretty nice, but I like the balance of bass impact and that little bit of sparkle in the treble that the HD681 has. I wonder if the D2000s will be similar since many people complain about those straining highs on both the HD681 and D2000, haha.

 

The thing that interests me the most about tube amps is being able to swap them out for different tubes with subtle (and maybe sometimes not-so-subtle?) differences. So i figure I'd pick up a cheap entry level hybrid one for a test drive before I settle on a solid state amp which I understand can be the way to go depending on your headphones anyway.

 

Any thoughts on the Little Dot I+ Hybrid amp? I've heard plenty of praise for this company's amps in the few years I've browsed head-fi and this little amp seems to be pretty affordable (~$145 shipped, direct from little dot), especially if a used one pops up. I'd consider the EF2A as well, if a used one falls in my price range.

 

As soon as the D2000 arrives I can decide what I need in an amp and also decide which headphone's going to be returned/resold (I'd love to keep both if their sounds are way different, but only if I wasn't already planning on getting an amp). I only have a little less than a month to get a refund on the DT 990s.


I see. I found the stock chinese tubes add a good deal more sparkle to the DT 990s, so the stock tubes may be right for you. I don't know why people say the DT 990s are super bright, they are a little on the bright side but are a warm headphone. A properly driven DT 990 has more power, bigness, and a little more prominent midrange to it's sound. On the tubes I switched, the difference was subtle but I found the bass, highs, and detail different in the RTC tubes compared to the chinese tubes. I need to give the chinese tubes another listen. Other tubes may have a more drastic change in sound. The Little Dot 1+ seems like a nice little tube amp, I say if you find one go ahead and get it. I personally found my other headphones the AKG K240 MKII and the DT 990 to sound fairly similar but with different presentations with the AKG being more laid-back and not quite as good as a whole. The Denon AH-D2000 should sound quite a bit different considering their frequency response and the fact they are more closed. You should stick with brighter headphones since you like sparkly treble. Actually you may of preferred the DT 880 to the DT 990. It has a more balanced sound and I personally found them a little brighter than the DT 990. Also the DT 990 Premium I found to be a little brighter and less bassy than the pro version. A lot of people on head-fi seem to be very sensitive to treble, although the D2000s may have something about their treble that rubs some the wrong way.

 

 

 


Edited by kman1211 - 1/2/13 at 1:14pm
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

So I just got the Denon D2000 today and have spent less than an hour with them.

 

To compare them with my DT 990, I have foobar2000 set up at max volume using ASIO out to my Fiio E7 and the only DSP enabled is PPHS Resampler set at 48kHz in Ultra Mode.

 

The E7 is also set at 0 bass boost and volume set at 15 for the D2000 and 22 for the DT990 (it's pretty close in volume, maybe 1 step off if at all).

 

 

Initial Impressions:

 

After playing a couple of songs the differences were so subtle, but after running through a few different genres I began to like the D2000 more. The DT990 has pretty smooth delivery overall but with some tracks the vocals are overpowered by the lows. The Denons do have that little bit of sparkle in the high frequencies and have that slightly bigger bass impact that I wanted but the bass still isn't as crazy as I had expected (on both headphones) based on the reviews. I do like the bass better on the D2000 than the DT990, just not by much. The Denons have a more up front sound compared to the Beyers which sound like you're in a big room, but I may just be confusing myself with the more detailed highs and vocals that the Denon presents (or vice versa, haha).

 

Overall, in terms of sound, the differences to me are not so huge between the two and EQing the Beyers does give a more satisfying sound similar to the Denons. The Denons win by just a hair in this case.

 

The other issue is comfort. The Beyers fit perfectly on my big head, with just the right amount of clamping and super comfy velour pads. The Denons on the other hand, are a little loose and I worry they might piss me off when they fall off my head. The leather pads are a very close second to the velour, though. I did buy them used so I'm not sure if they've been stretched a little.

 

I paid ~$40 more for the used Denons compared to the DT990 Pros brand new. I will most likely keep the Denons just because they sound just a little but better and seem to be better built (more metal). It's a trade off between sound and comfort though, and it's too close to call in both. The Denons do seem to hold their value better.

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, the Denons sound better to me...but NOT $100+ better (comparing the current price of DT990 and D2000s when they were still around). Better to buy it used. If comfort is your thing, Beyers win hands down. If the clamping bothers you, you must have a strangely wide head! Haha

 

 

I want to pick up a Bravo V3 or Bravo Ocean unless I can get a used Little Dot I+ Hybrid. I think I'll hold off on my final decision until I get a proper amp that's better than my E7. I'm just hoping a better amp will make the DT990 shine so that I can save some money by reselling the D2000! ...Or that the D2000 will be so good that there is a clear winner.

post #12 of 14

Congrats on your purchase on the D2000's. Sounds like they are really close in sound quality, honestly for me it took something like the Beyer T1 and others in that range to really notice an obvious difference in sound quality rather than a subtle difference such as headphones in the $200-500 mark. Still it's a bit odd you don't find the DT 990s sparkly. I always found them quite sparkly. It could be the amp. I remember them being less sparkly on my FiiO E11 or without an amp. I think getting a tube amp will tell you for sure if the DT 990 are for you are not.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I'm now considering building a Millett Starving Student Hybrid amp to get me started as the parts will probably come in quicker than if I order a pre-built chinese amp (unless there's a cheap reseller in the U.S.). Hope to provide some more comparisons after that.

 

Also, I'll try the headphones out of my big Kenwood integrated amp and see if my opinion changes at all.

post #14 of 14

Yeah, I would suggest it. I personally didn't like the DT 990 Pro's much until I hooked them up on my HifiMan EF2A which I bought a week after the DT 990, it quickly made me realize they need quite a bit of juice and that they love tubes. They sound weak, too laid-back, and a bit lifeless without enough power. On the tube amp they are a whole another animal. Most higher-end headphones need a fairly powerful amp to sound close to how they should.
 

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