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Looking to upgrade: Beyer T-90 or Hifiman HE-500

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all, headfi has always been a great source of info for me, but this is my first post.


I'm presently using a pair of Beyer DT 990 Pro and AKG K550 (driven by an Aune T1 DAC/AMP) and am thinking of upgrading. My candidates at the moment are the Beyer T-90 and Hifiman HE-500. I had previously been on a pair of HD555s, quite enjoyed them, and always thought I'd be a fan of a neutral sound signature, but have been enjoying the u-shaped response of the DT990 Pros (though it may be a little excessive).


Usage will be with a wide variety of audio. Virtually all genres of music, gaming, and some movies. Sound stage is pretty important to me; I like to be able to feel immersed in the orchestra and pick out instruments when listening to classical, and placement is obviously important for gaming. I find I dig cans with a little more bass and treble, but that's not a major factor.


I've found plenty of info on the HE-500, and that they seem to be a quite favorable set of cans, but haven't found quite as much on the T-90. One of my go-tos has been the battle of the flagships thread as the descriptions are clear to understand, and all through the same set of ears, but alas, no review of the T-90.


So does anyone have experience with both? or any other recommendations?

post #2 of 6

From my experience I found that T-90 need good gear to sound really great, otherwise HE-500 sound good even on cheap amp. Compare in good gear for my ears HE-500 still sound better in every way. Soundstage is comparable in both so for me it's easy - HE-500

post #3 of 6

I'm currently using a T90, having previously upgraded from a DT990. Driven by a good amp (especially a tube amp), the T90 has one of the most transparent and resolving sound around, only bettered by the HD800.  I'm driving my T90 with a Bottlehead Crack, the sound is just glorious. The soundstage is really huge.


I've also heard the HE-500 at a shop when I was deciding which headphone to upgrade to. Its neutral, but does not have the excitement and dynamics of the T90. 


If possible, I suggest you listen to both headphones yourself before deciding.  Both are great choice.

post #4 of 6

I have a T90 too. As the previous 2 posts have mentioned you need high quality Tube amp's (preferably OTL's) & a neutral detailed source for the T90 to really show what they are capable of. I am using the WA6 (with Sophia tube) which is a Output Transformer Coupled amp (I chose it instead of an OTL as I also have low impedance HP's). I also tried it with Schiit Lyr too but didn't sound as great as with the Woo. With the wrong amp they will sound bright & sibilant.


I went to the Beyer dealer to buy the DT990 Pro's , did a demo, liked them & was walking to the counter to pay the bill when I saw the T90's. Out of curiosity asked how much they cost & then decided to demo them just for kicks as no way I was gonna spend so much on a HP. Rest is history....:dt880smile:


I haven't heard the HE 500's but they are on my future HP list as I have always wanted to try planar's.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice, everyone. I missed my chance on the HE-500 deal I had been eyeing, but I have kind of altered my decision anyway. I think for now I'm going to try and grab a pair of HE-400 during black friday, and then only after I have tried out the HE-500, T-90, and perhaps others, make my decision that way. I think I'd have to shy away from the T-90 at this point as I don't have the budget to acquire an amp that would pair well with it.

post #6 of 6

You don't need an expensive amp to drive the T90's. My father owns one (bought a prisitine one for $ 300 last month) and he uses a portable JDS Labs C421 and Cowon D2+, it sounds really good and engaging. I own a HE500, T1 and several Stax's but I was really blown away by the T90 sound quality

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