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Just one more DT990 vs q701 thread. But it's more than that...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I like the idea of the dynamics described with the 990, but i am afraid of that treble spike everybody keeps talking about. I can take strong treble as long as it doesn't actually get sibilant or fake sounding.

I like the idea of the soundstage described with the 701 (well both really). But perhaps it doesn't have quite the sub bass for my tastes and people keep saying theyre not good for metal. 


Ive seen several different people now say that the 600 ohm dt990 is the best one with the most control and balance. I do believe i have at least adequate source to run them for now. definitely my dac is decent and i can select another amp soon enough.


I got this here dac


And this here amp for now. collectors item. worth a mint :)



Anyway never mind that. Are there any other suggestions of this echelon of price (right on $200) and quality that perhaps run the middle ground between these 2 or at least honestly compete in some way? 









Ive seen a few threads where people mostly have it narrowed down to these 2. im saying is there any last thing right in this ballpark i should consider? Or even that just comes out of the blue and smashes them both perhaps that im missing altogether... 225is, srh840, hd598, t50rp with self modding intended


Being a graduate from iem's altogether (dont know why ive been stuck on them for so long.) and having a little bit of experience. I actually tend to enjoy the more closed designs (of iems). Nothing to do with outside noise or lack of isolation. Just some iems seem to really screw the sound up with excessive porting or just odd housing designs. Even high dollar ones. I rather the ones that are well extended but have honest sound and allow the music to get as deep or distant or wide as it does on it's own rather than exaggerating things with bad porting.  But im kindof assuming people are talking about a different kind of soundstage this time around. Like the real kind... This is why im considering some open backs and not just playing it safe so to speak with some dt770s... I'm trying to take that extra tiny little leap that i keep hearing i should.


Is the treble really that punishing on the dt990 600 ohms. I like treble as long as it's not shrill or fake. So lets say i like everything else im hearing about the dt990 except im scared of the treble actually being sibilant... What else might be just right.


Or should i look towards a quality closed back in the same price range for that quiet background and bass impact and overall honestness that i like. If so... i do not like fatiguing midbass hump (unless the track is really pushing it) but more like the really lowest lows to come in clear. slightly recessed mids are ok slightly as long as they come back in soon enough without a sudden spike too early and the highs can be a little nice and crystal like but not shrill or truly sibilant (which i think of as an obvious crackling you need to turn your treble down or damage your speaker kind of sound)..


Im thinking i'll be ok with the 990s. I like my REO's treble if anybody knows those. If it's no more high pitched than those than I think we're set.


Thanks for reading and any input while i spend the next who knows how long deciding on this.

Edited by rock&rollfrenchfries - 1/25/14 at 3:33am
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Some tunes while we ponder. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMPtIhAPnn4

post #3 of 14
I owned the Q701 and DT-990 Pro (250 ohm) at the same time. So my comments on the DT-990 are really about that particular model.

Bass: The Q701 goes very deep. IMO, subbass is the strongest part of the Q701's bass presentation. I'd rate the subbass as slightly better than the DT-990 subbass. It's the opposite for midbass. You mostly just hear the Q701's midbass -- it doesn't have much sense of physical impact. The DT-990 has a very strong midbass. You could say it has midbass, but IMO it's not exaggerated to the point of being fatiguing. That's a personal call however. I found the DT-990 midbass to give a nice sense of weight to electronic.

Midrange: The DT-990 midrange is a little recessed, but nothing terrible. The Q701 midrange is more forward and one of its stronger points.

Treble: Both headphones are on the bright side. I found the Q701 to be brighter overall, but at the same time less fatiguing. Its treble is smooth and even, albeit more prominent that the DT-990's. The DT-990 is a bit more peaky and harsh, with more sibilance. I found the DT-990's sibilance manageable. That's very personal, but IMO some reports of it being too sibilant are exaggerated. I've heard worse sibilance. It's not a "crackling" type of sound that makes you think you're going to damage the headphones. It's just a little needling and shrill in your ears when the recording is too bright or poorly made.

Soundstage: Both have a large soundstage, but the Q701 soundstage is just massive. The Q701 soundstage is very wide and distant, but doesn't have a lot of depth within it. Everything sounds more or less the same distance away, which can sound very natural, almost like you're listening to speakers. It can also sound artificial for music that's supposed to be more intimate or in your face. The DT-990 soundstage is not as large, but as a more 3D presentation with a better sense of depth.

Genre appropriateness: IMO, the DT-990 is better suited to the music you listen to. The Q701 does very well with ambient and more subtle electronica like IDM, but it doesn't have the bass impact to make more aggressive electronica like dubstep, house, DNB, etc. satisfying. The Q701's large soundstage works great with more epic types of metal like symphonic, melodic, etc., but it doesn't work at all for metal that's supposed to sound in your face. Everything just sounds distant. The DT-990 does pretty well with all types of electronica and metal. It doesn't really wow with the sense of space in ambient or symphonic types of music like the Q701 does, but it doesn't have any glaring weaknesses and is more well-rounded.

Amping: I used a JDS labs CMOY (two battery version) for both, and it had plenty of power. This is the same kind of amp as that Penguin amp, so you should be ok. The 600 ohm version of the DT-990 might be harder to drive than the 250 ohm version, IDK, but I think it's reasonable to except the amp to work. I found that the Q701 needed a lot more on the volume knob than my DT-990 did (like 1 o'clock vs 10 o'clock).
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Anything else that competes? Still seems like quite a few shortcomings for $200.


Manufacturers seem to play a lot of dirty tricks in the $100-$300 range. To the point where the consensus often is to save up and shoot for something $300+ to REAAAAALLY get your foot in the door.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

that song was a little sibilance tester if you didn't get that btw. An example of how thrashy and trebley things can get. Though it's still not the worst... See how it does on your 990s.

post #6 of 14
I no longer own either headphone, so I can't test that song for you. Sorry.

If you want to move up a tier, I would suggest the HE-400, which is what I own now. Killer sub bass, but it does have a spiky treble as well. Worse than the DT-990 actually. You can mostly fix it with EQ though, and then you have one of the best headphones around for electronic and metal.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yea i cant quite swing that much on some headphones just yet. I think ive talked myself into the 600 ohm. Owners of that seem to be consistently happier than owners of the 250 ohm version anyway. I think i'll be ok for now and possibly leave myself room for a proper home amp for those and THEN think about a better set. 


Thank you all for your input. I have seen the arguments back and forth about the 990. I am gonna take one last think to myself over the next however long. I'm also still thinking about 600 ohm dt 770 and 880 as well until i pull the trigger. I like a V sound i'f it's quality and "honest" enough. As long as the detail is there and it blends nicely.

Edited by rock&rollfrenchfries - 1/25/14 at 2:43pm
post #8 of 14
I don't like DT990s for metal, neither for vocal EDM. Both genres offer compressed recordings most of the times and DT990's analytical sound is not a good match in my opinion. I prefer my Yamaha Hph-200 for that genres, the extra warmth and punch and the more forgiving sound signature make average recordings with dynamic range 5 or 6 sound amazing.

A good closed back is also a good pick in my opinion.

Best Luck!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Not vocal edm so much as more introspective idm. there is a difference.






also im going to assume you're talking about the 250 ohm unless you specify

Edited by rock&rollfrenchfries - 1/25/14 at 4:52pm
post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by rock&rollfrenchfries View Post

Not vocal edm so much as more introspective idm. there is a difference.






also im going to assume you're talking about the 250 ohm unless you specify

Give me some minutes to compare that songs with my headphones.


Yes, I'm talking about 250 Ohm versions.

From what I've read, difference between 250 Ohm and 600 Ohm versions is very little. Most of the times 600 Ohm versions are paired with higher end amplifiers and DACs and most of the times 600 Ohm versions are owned by knowledgeable audiophiles that play very good recordings through them. On the other hand, a lot of people have 250 Ohm versions due to their lower price and the fact that they are easier to drive. Then opinions can vary a lot from one user to another.

post #11 of 14

Well, I've tried those two songs and I've got similar conclusions for both, except that I think a lack of sub bass is a more relevant issue when listening to the first one.


I've used Fiio E07K as DAC/Amp for the test.


Beyerdynamic DT990 comes in third place to me. Sub-bass is really soft and distant, a lack of sub bass is noticeable specially when reproducing the first song. The second song sounded a lot better in comparison, but its bass is still distant, fast and pretty soft, definitely far from being punchy like the bass on closed back headphones. Their separation is well received but their highs make everything a tad mettalic here. To me, DT990s sounded ok with this songs, nothing wonderful to me. Like a good Formula 1 driver, driving a World Rally Car.


First and Second place is defined by a close fight and depends a lot from personal likes and listening levels (volume)


First I'll refer to the Yamaha HPH-200 .
This little monsters sound always really good, no matter if you are listening to Jazz, watching a movie or listening to bass heavy genres, they hardly ever fail to provide an engaging listening experience. Being fully open back dynamic headphones, sub bass is also lacking in quantity, but having a slightly more in your face sound in comparison with DT990s, this lack is not as noticeable and the bass feels more punchy. On the other hand HPH-200 have also a V-shaped sound signature but they have less energy over 8Khz, and this make them less metalic (less brillance).


Lastly, the one that definitely performs better with the first song, the Philips Fidelio L1. Sub-bass is clearly not lacking here. This well looking aluminium headphones go really deep in the bass without any problems. The overall sound is darkish in comparison, that fact, allow you to listen at higher volumes without feeling unconfortable. The second song is down to preference, the bass with this headphones was fuller, but a bit slower due to the added sub bass quantity. The sound was always plesant to my ears even at high volume (I don't use to listen at high levels)

Down to my likings, I think both Yamaha HPH-200 and Philips Fidelio L1 goes well with the genre, being HPH-200 more airy, and V-shaped with more mid bass emphasis, while L1s present a more laid back sound, with great bass extension.


A think AudioTechnica ATH WS-99 and Beyerdynamic DT770 80 Ohm versions are also great picks for this kind of music. (Both Closed Back)


Hope you find this useful!


Best Luck!

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

So my music and sound tastes Is perhaps for the most part better suited to sealed phones even though my environment would be accepting to open backs  Chances are im just a sealed kindof a guy. As i somewhat suspected. 


Thank you very much for listening.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Originally Posted by Me x3 View Post To me, DT990s sounded ok with this songs, nothing wonderful to me. Like a good Formula 1 driver, driving a World Rally Car.

So they're like kimi raikkonen... Well I think i'm leaning toward the ws99 now. I like what i'm reading about those. I dont need them kimi raikkonen phones bringing up the rear and crashing out half the time.

Edited by rock&rollfrenchfries - 1/26/14 at 9:27am
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

In the spirit of not leaving these things hanging... I landed me some ZMF modified Fostex T50RP's after searching here and there and this and that.


And i absolutely LOVE THEM. 

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