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Beyerdynamic DT220

Rating:
3.875/5,
  1. andi85
    Nice quality headphones for cheap
    Written by andi85
    Published May 15, 2012
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Sound, comfort (w/ new pads), easy to fix, it's a Beyer
    Cons - Comfort (w/ old pads), narrow soundstage, only few parts available
    First off, I'm not an audiophile, I'm a musician and a music lover - and my interest in HiFi stuff and headphones comes from there.
     
    So:
     
    I've known those phones for years, they have been the in-store headphones of a German record chain, and apparently they simply don't break. So when I found a DT220 clean, fully working and cheap on eBay I couldn't resist.
    With the old pads the sound was reasonably detailled, but rather low-mid heavy with a slightly pronounced bass. Treble sounded pretty accurate though unassuming. Anyway, a very pleasing sound, if slightly fatiguing. Also, soundstage is more or less a non-issue, it all plays pretty much within the listener's head. Still - not bad for such an old design!
    The classic Beyer layout with the metal headband makes it easy to adjust the phones to the head, however, the old pads had gone extremely soft, which caused the elliptical rubber parts to exert some pressure on my ears. Not very comfortable!
    Good news: Beyer still sells replacement pads for €15 a pair. I ordered them and a new cable (the dual-entry cable of the DT211/411 fits, but make sure to order sleeves with the cable!). That's what you call customer service!
     
    With the new pads in place, it's amazing how comfortable those things are. The DT220 gets close to the classic AKGs, which fit my head perfectly. Changing the cable was a piece of cake, the screws for disassembly hide under the pads, contacts for soldering are marked, so this isn't really a big deal. 
    However, the pad replacement changed the sound, too. Compared to what it was before, it is now almost amazingly linear and even with a much leaner/more natural bass response. It took some time for me to get used to it - actually even some time in which I didn't listen to the DT220 at all - to forget the old sound signature. 
    Anyway, it changed for the better, it's less fatiguing now, sounds more natural. Isolation stayed pretty much the same I think - reasonable but nothing special. 
     
    Apparently, the impedance of my unit is 400Ω. They do work on basically everything, even my Macbook and my Sony Walkman MP3 player, but they sound a lot better with my old JVC CD deck.
     
    If you can get them cheap, go for them. Also, they come from one of the nicest and friendliest companies I know in the audio business - so if there's a problem, they are happy to help.
      rocksteady65 likes this.
    1. KimLaroux
      You can check their impedance using an Ohm-meter. I'm surprised you can drive them using portable players, even if you had the 250Ohm version. They must be very sensitive phones.
      KimLaroux, May 16, 2012
    2. andi85
      Alright, my ohm meter is acting strangely, but apparently the DT220 is 400Ω. Concerning the use with the MP3 player, maybe I got ahead of myself a little. Let's say it works at a volume that is enough for home use. It wouldn't be my choice for a busy regional train etc. and it sounds better from the output of my old JVC.
      andi85, May 16, 2012
  2. psilas
    Decent professional monitoring.
    Written by psilas
    Published Sep 2, 2010
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great flat response,well built.
    Cons - Less comfort than DT-100.Ear pads a get a bit hard over time.
    The Beyer DT-220 are a very solid pair of headphones and excellent for serious mixing requirements.

    While the DT-100 are now the industry standard (and for good reason) I have no regrets buying 4 pairs of the DT-220 which I managed to pick up 2nd hand for £40 a pair.

    The range is good at 20-20,000 htz and the sound is fairly neutral,being neither  too bassy nor too trebbley.
    What you hear is what you get which makes these ideal for professional jobs. I have used these for day long sessions without suffering any ear fatigue which is essential.

    The only downside I've found is that out of the 4 pairs I have 2 of them had rather hard ear cushions whereas 2 pairs did not. I think that over time the rubber cushions get slightly harder. Thankfully you can still get replacement parts for the 220's which includes new ear cushions.

    In total, I would go for the DT-100 over the 220 due to the slightly increased comfort and broader freq range.However, for the money the DT-220 are more than decent for the studio professional, have great sound quality and will also last a long time.
      rocksteady65 likes this.
  3. Punnisher
    dt220 Review
    Written by Punnisher
    Published May 12, 2010
    4.0/5,
    This is a mini review of the beyerdynamic dt220 400ohm.
     
    Last year I stumbled upon a pair of dt220 on ebay for $75. I was unable to find information in regards to their sound but I bought them anyway. A true impulse buy. After hearing them, I bought another pair from the same seller. I could tell that I had found a special headphone, a true diamond in the rough.
     
    Overview:
     
    The dt220 is rare and information is hard to find. There are a few pictures and specs but very little in terms of listening impressions. Luckily I have two original boxes, so here are the specs listed for my pairs:
     
    20-200000 Hz 400ohm
    102mW = 122db = 6.4 V an 400ohm 260g
     
    There is also a 20ohm version of this headphone which I do not own.
     
    Judging by the phrase "a quality product made in West-Germany", I can safely assume this particular headphone was made, at the latest, in the late eighties. Though it could very well be from the seventies. As said before, little is known about production timelines.
     
    My two pairs are identical, likely bought at the same time for the same studio, as I got them from one seller. The pads are very different from modern pads. They are made from rubber and filled with foam. The drivers are comparatively small compared to modern drivers. There is also a dense foam piece that surrounds the driver, which your ear rests on. This gives the bass a very punchy feel, just like Grados. It's a nice departure from my other headphones. My pairs feature single sided entry cable, which must have been implemented after some time indicated by this awesome beyerdynamic photo featuring a dual entry cable:
     
    http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a271/Metallurgic/DT220.jpg
     
    This posed a problem, though. The depth of these headphones (thickness from front of pad to back of cup) is small compared to most beyerdynamics. This means that cup rotation is greatly hindered because of the cable entry/exit on top of the cups. You can even see where the aluminum cup brackets dug into the cable strain relief. Because of this limitation, the pads sat on my head at an angle which prevented a proper seal and removed what little comfort these headphones had.
     
    To fix this I converted the headphone to dual entry using a sennheiser hd650 cable. I also removed the physical anti-rotation portion built into the cup hinge sockets and cup brackets. The result is perfect seal and the best comfort you're going to get with this headphone.
     
    Sound:
     
    My first listen was made using a TI class-D amplifier board modified to be a headphone amplifier. This little amp works great for all my other headphones but I feel that the impedance of the dt220 (400ohm) is well beyond its capability. Not knowing this, I still enjoyed this headphone immensely. The sound was the same as using it unamped out of my iriver h320. Bass was lean, mids a bit cold and treble sounded good. They seemed ruler-flat and took about any music with stride. Though, they sounded almost horn-like with some music. This was my impression of them for months, as I had taken a break from my tube amp.
     
    Eventually I decided to try them with my SS Millet tube amp and the difference was night and day. Many people say amplifiers make no difference, but with this headphone the difference was overwhelmingly positive and far too large to be placebo. Instead of an overall cold/flat sound, music became warmer and closer. Bass can extend extremely deep and the physical feel of kick drums is prevalent. Mids are smooth, not recessed and clearly audible. Treble is slightly relaxed but not to the point of being hard to distinguish.
     
    Overall the sound these headphones present just works. Warm, musical, yet somehow faithful to the recording. Faithful in the way that just about anything you play will be represented accurately and pleasantly. Some headphones just can't do that.
     
    Practicality:
     
    Comfort is where these headphones fall short. Granted, these were geared towards studio  monitor users so comfort may have been placed on the back burner. The main problem (with single entry models) is the limited cup rotation as stated above. Remedy this problem, and all you have left to complain about are the pads themselves.
     
    The pads are foam coated with flexible rubber. The ear openings in these circumaural pads are rather small, which my small ears barely fit into. People with larger ears may experience untold discomfort. I can last a couple hours before I need a break.
     
    Just beneath the main pad is a smaller pad made out of dense foam rubber. This smaller pad surrounds the driver and makes contact with your ear. This pad is interesting because its removal means loss of all warmth and bass. I believe the pad is there to limit the amount of dead air in between the driver and ear, as well as physically transmit vibrations to the ear. This gives a very punchy, physical bass experience much like supra-aural Grados. Remember, the driver in this headphone is actually very small, being around 30mm instead of beyerdynamics current 45mm. It doesn't move air quite as effortlessly.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    These headphones sell for relatively cheap as far as I can tell. I got both my pairs for around $75 and I consider that a great bargain. I have even heard of them going for well under $50. At any of these prices they are a great deal. They can compete with all my other headphones.
     
    If you want these, consider proper amplification. It's even more important with these 400ohm headphones than it is with the k702. My tube amp brought out the best in these headphones, so try to have an amp on hand with specs greater or equal to the SS Millett.
     
    That's it.
      rocksteady65 likes this.
  4. Ishcabible
    Beyerdynamic DT220, Giant Killer? Maybe Not, However, Great In Their Own Right.
    Written by Ishcabible
    Published May 12, 2010
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great all arounder, incredibly durable
    Cons - Not really anything. Could be a lot more comfy.
        For the TL;DR crowd, they are great sounding headphones. They can do pretty much everything well, if  you don’t mind a smallish soundstage. They bass extends to all but the lowest notes, electric guitars have a nice bite, vocals can be enchanting, pianos can give goosebumps if you haven’t heard much better, drums are nice and impact, imo, saxophones are rendered fine, not great, however. (I’ve played the saxophone for 5 years, so I’m too critical on this part) Violins are rendered better than saxophones, much better. Classical is not their forte if you like a cavernous soundstage, but I was able to pinpoint instruments pretty easily. They are quick enough for most electronic, and detail is about par with my K271.

        For the rest of you, a little back story before the review. I got these about two years ago. I quite honestly don’t know why I got them. I had an A500 so I had no need for a closed headphone, but something about them called to me, and a $20, straight from Beyerdynamic USA, it was impossible to resist. It’d be more portable than the A500, I hoped. It’s quite frankly, impossible to be bigger than them.

        Three days later, they’re on my front door. Excitedly, I rip open the USPS box. I start playing Death Cab for Cutie, and…brightness. There’s a lot of harsh treble, so I let it burn in for a few hours while I was at school. When I came back, they seemed to be less harsh. Remember, I had a warmish (imo), colored headphone before them. The bass was kind of loose and unrefined, so I tried sticking some blu-tack to absorb some reverberations, and the bass was--or it could have been placebo--tighter and refined a good bit.

        On to the review. I use a Harman Kardon receiver with a PS1 CDP and a Beogram 2402 with a cheap TEC phono stage. I’ll update this when I actually have a decent source. I got a K271 the following year for, again, no clear reason except that it was $60 shipped, so I’ll make a few comparisons to them too.

        Where should I start…? Might as well start with Plans, since I’ve mentioned it in the beginning paragraphs. Starting with Marching Bands of Manhattan. The intro has always perplexed me. I never quite knew what instrument, if it was an instrument, played in the intro. Well it sounded like a synth on the DT220, and I stand by that. I listened in to the ending to make sure the bass kept up with the vocals and piano unlike my K271 unamped. The bass seems to falter a bit, but nothing major. If I listened to the song as background music, I wouldn’t have noticed it.
        On to I Will Follow You Into the Dark, a song I played until my fingers bled--the things we do to make a girl happy… Anyways, because of this, I know the song inside and out. What I hear is pretty good. Ben’s voice is intimate, yet there is something strange about his voice. It seems colder than normal and contains less body than I’m used to. And the guitar is about 5 feet behind his voice. Strange.
        “Love is watching someone die…”, a quote from What Sarah Said that makes my heart hurt every time I hear it. The piano intro is another section I have learned to play for a friend, so I listen in to make sure I hear the piano when it drifts away. Gibbard’s voice enters powerfully, reaches into your soul when he utters the fabled words.
        Second album, a Tool album. 10,000 Days to be specific. No particular reason why I chose this album, but it is a recent album that isn’t brick walled, so there’s a plus. It’s also pure fun to listen to.

        Starting off with Vicarious, a song I like to use to test aggressiveness. The guitar intros prove a nice crunch, but somehow seem to be too polite, like the brakes are being pushed. The drums prove to make me tap my toes to follow the beat-something neither of my other two headphones could do.

        Time to get some wings. Wings for Marie and 10,000 Days is next. The guitars drifting from left to right is entrancing. Keenan’s voice is wonderfully deep and raspy, in a good way. The thunder in 10,000 Days proves itself by making me jump out of my seat when it suddenly crashed when I least expected it to.

        “Incomprehensible words”--best description of Rosetta Stoned my friends and I can come up with. We joked that if  you could understand every single word, you are God. Sadly, I am not. The DT220 misses about half the lyrics, sadly. What is incomprehensible, however, is involving gibberish. Guitars are yet again, exciting.

        I’ll admit I’m not the biggest classical fan, so I’ll do my best to describe the DT220’s performance in classical music.

        New World Symphony by Dvorak-The opening trumpets shine, but seem hazy at the same time. Same with the clarinets, but seem to be more upfront. Flutes, for some reason, seem to sound much clearer than the trumpets and clarinets. Violins are just amazing though. They are rendered pretty nicely compared to the trumpets. And to get off topic about the instruments, I found it laughable how obvious it sounded when a person in the audience stood up and left the room. Anyways, yeah, sorry I can’t give much of a description here. I’ll be sure to update this at once.

    IT’S ELECTRIC! BOOGIE WOOGIE…Yeah no. Sorry about that, so tempting. A couple random Chemical Brothers songs for this portion, and a Shpongle song.

        Galvanize, a song we all know. Really popular when it came out. This song the first song I’ve heard sibilance in. The intro made me jump out of my skin for some reason. Bass is nice and impact, synth is pretty nice too. You might notice how short this portion is. I couldn’t stand the sibilance I heard. I also hear some unfavorable distortion.

        Hold Tight London, a less popular song. This song, however one of my favorites by the Chemical Brothers, mainly the way the soundstage is all over the place and makes use of both channels really nicely. The vocals have an eerie, almost ghost-like attribute to them that makes the song impossible to pause.

        Private Psychadelic Reel, another of my favorites by the duo. It escapes how the wall of synth manages to climb up your back at approximately 2 minutes into the song. The repetitive nature of the song would make one think it gets boring, but the DT220 has the great ability to make the song involving. The section at approximately 3:30 is also amazing. The tunnel of sound that forms about 5 feet away from your face is just jaw dropping. The DT220 does electronic. And pretty decently at it.

        On to jazz.

        Dave Brubeck’s Take Five is a nice example showing that the DT220’s forte is not jazz. I have heard a Selmer Super Balanced Action many times. The DT220 fails to replicate the sound nearly as well as I expected it to considering it’s a monitor headphone. Perhaps I’m being too hard on it, but I have standards. Yes, it plays the song well. Not as well as my K271, however. Still decent though. There is a fuzzy element in the sound that leaves me wanting more however. The tone is just off…

    Well, there’s a quick and dirty review of the rare on Head-Fi DT220. Hope you guys liked it! This goes without saying, but all this is in my opinion. Oh, and one more thing. These really hurt my ears after about two hours.
     
    Update, addressing Punnisher's review, if you can sew pads the same dimensions out of leather, that would probable increase comfort a good bit. I tried some pad rolling with a baffle, and sadly, any pads other than the DT220's killed the sound.The velour K271 pads made the sound too thick, and the A500 pads sounding tunnely. Please resist the temptation to make the pads too thick. It will kill the sound. Ideally, maybe a centimeter thicker than the original pads to improve comfort, but this is just a speculation. I haven't made pads for them yet. I'll make some in a few weeks and report my findings. And while Punnisher has the 400ohm version, I have the 20ohm version.
      rocksteady65 likes this.