I just recently got two new pairs of dynamite headphones and thought I just have to give my findings, hopefully they are accurate and help people decide on what their next purchase may be.
I must add also that there are more factors to take into account when judging headphones than I first realised; Music choice and its suitability to a certain sounding headphone, music quality to give the headphones a proper test, amplifier, musical preference bias, the list goes on, so this is simply my attempt to give my opinion to describe my headphones as accurately as I can hopefully helping you out there to make a better choice on what might be your next headphones, or just comment on your findings against what I've written, hope it add to the forum, peace!
MY HEADPHONE COLLECTION ANALYSIS
OPEN / SEMI-OPEN:
AKG K701 Reference 9.5 / 10.0
DT880 (600 ohm) Ultimate Listening 9.5 / 10.0
DT990 (250 ohm) 50hz Bass Excess 8.8 / 10.0
DT770 (250ohm) Great Rocker Phones, Great Bass 8.6 / 10.0
ATH-M50 (38 ohm) Great Bass, Mids & Treble 9.0 / 10.0
AKG K701 (Open)
Powerful amp required to make these come alive. No EQ / colouration - Pure flat-line reference phones ; what you hear is what’s on the CD / music.
Very capable of giving high impact bass, sub-bass, and treble. Mids and vocals are excellent too. Separation of instruments is amazing, you can sense the space between the different instruments / sounds.
Due to no colouration they may seem dull compared to other non-reference, more coloured phones as these are reference in the truest sense of the word.
Due to their precision and lack of colouration other genres may sound more clinical, harder to enjoy, I put this down to the mastering process of music simply mismatched for these headphones. Suits ALL genres provided they are well produced, with jazz, classical and vocals it is supreme.
Music has a crystalline sparkling clearness and power that engages and enthralls, and is the closest headphone I have ever heard that makes me feel actually there with the artist/s. Just for perspective I have tried the Sennheiser HD800’s and they are given a run for their money by the K701’s. Considerably less expensive at about ⅕ of the Sennheisers.
I have trouble finding an adjective to sum them up, the closest I can get to a description is spacious, crisp, punchy, phenomenally articulate / lively and an absolute pleasure to listen to.
I think they are from an advanced alien civilization, absolutely awesome!
AKG - Bravo!
Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohms (Semi-Open)
On par with the K701’s for precision sound reproduction, but instruments seem closer together in comparison, yet separation is still excellent. The smaller soundstage I think is due to the more prominent bass as I think it creates a warmer more cohesive smaller soundstage. The bass tends to take attention away from the mids and trebles more than the K701’s.
The DT880’s are a more natural sounding listen for rock, pop, dance, electronic et al. whereas the K701’s excel with classical, jazz and vocalists.
The DT880’s are my #1 headphones for most music. To summarize they are crisp, punchy, articulate / lively and wonderful listening. The general sound is very detailed, and quite neutral compared to most other headphones I have tried but powerful and controlled bass, mids and treble. Awesome headphones! Needs a reasonable amp.
They are of equal quality to the K701’s just suiting a more wide range of music.
Beyerdynamic DT990 250 ohms (Open diffuse field)
These were my top phones (I absolutely adored them), until I got my DT880’s and I actually felt like I was betraying the 990’s because of how stunning the 880’s are.
I felt guilt because my 990’s were my default headphones.
I tried all genres and had no choice but to conclude they could not compete with the 880’s. I could hardly believe what I was hearing.
I was very methodical and comparisons were done with all the headphones one against another at the same testing session.
I concluded that the 990’s have a more powerful bass, which masked a lot that the 880’s revealed. Once I found this I now had to describe the 990’s as having a greater bass colouring which clouds the rest of the music slightly but not to their detriment, which I was previously unaware of. Ignorance was bliss!
The trebles are quite prominent and refined, very excellent, the mid range sounds very slightly masked / recessed because of the bass and treble dominance but not enough to matter. Needs amping.
In summary the 990’s are excellent. They have comparatively exaggerated bass (to the 880’s). I will use these as rock out phones because I still think they are top quality and are great with most music.
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro’s 250 ohms (Closed)
These are closed so sound punchy and strong, the bass I now find to be very similar to the 990’s but with a more impactful sound. The treble is similar also to the 990’s. The mids also I have to conclude are like the 990’s. The main difference is the soundstage. The 770’s are smaller due to being closed and have a more intimate sound to them, great for bassy songs, dance, electronic, rock, pop and most music genres.
Overall they are an excellent closed phone, need proper amping to shine.
Audio Technica ATH-M50’s (Closed)
These are 38 ohm easily driven by an ipod, although they absolutely sparkle with an amp - I use a portable amp as these are my travelling phones. I love these headphones. They replaced my Sennheiser HD 25-1’s which were awesome. Extremely punchy bass and detailed mids and treble. The M50’s don’t quite have the dynamite bass of the HD 25’s which when compared side by side just proves what an animal the HD 25’s are.
The mids and treble of the HD 25‘s are right up front like the bass and clear too, this is where the M50‘s are similar. If the bass had 25% more punch then they would be the HD 25’s only more comfortable and with a better soundstage.
These phones are keepers, extremely accurate and closed so you get that impact with them.
Excellent as home or travel (with a portable amp) headphones. These are incredible.
All headphones were played using my Yamaha CD-S300 CD player through a Yamaha A-S500 amplifier.
Edited by Music-Acme - 5/8/13 at 4:22am