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I'm Iooking for a bright, comfortable headphone with good bass/spacious soundstage: Beyer DT990?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by f00fighters, May 29, 2011.
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  1. f00fighters
    I'm looking for a bright/semi-bright full sized or over-ear headphone, with large soundstage, decent instrument separation, detailed, with good bass, that doesn't overlay the sparkle of treble. They can be open or closed, I just want the best sound for my budget. I'm not at all a bass head, but I don't want to ever feel like the sound is lacking bass/mids or fullness. But if the tracks calls for thumping bass (like R&B/Hip Hop), then it would be nice if it was thumping, but not overbearing to the other details of the music. Also, it must be comfortable (which removes Grado from the equation). 
    I used to own the Grado 325is, which I loved in the beginning, but they became somewhat fatiguing over time, as they were overly bright. I'm not looking to spend $300 either, as I now I have an 8 month baby boy, so budgeting is limited to 250 max (spending less would be better); and maybe 150 max for a portable amp, which will be used for the home headphones, as well as the jogging ones. 
    My primary source will be my iPhone 4, with Apple Lossless. My secondary source will be my iPad with Apple Lossless. My tertiary source will my Mac Pro desktop. I haven't decided on a portable amp yet, but from seeing the head-fi community review ratings, I'm leaning toward Gary's PA2V2, or possibly a Total Bithead as it will also pair with my Mac Pro desktop as an amp/dac combo. 
    From my research, I heard the Beyer DT990 may fit the bill. I was thinking about the 32ohm version. 
    I mainly listen to Rock/Alternative/80's pop/Electronic.. and occasionally R&B. I would prefer not to had a different headphone for every type of music. I was going the ultra cheap route, initially, and recently purchased a range of headphones for under a $100 each just to try. 
    Sennheiser HD238i (ok soundstage, decent bass, but for some reason, I didn't find it engaging, and had virtually no sparkle)
    Koss Portapro (narrow soundstage from the iPhone, improved marginally from iPad. Bass was too muddy, virtually no sparkle)
    JVC S160 (great sparkle, extremely narrow soundstage, ok music separation, but seriously lacking the mids. I'm left feeling something is missing from the music)
    Sennheiser HD428i (great soundstage, bass is lacking too much, as well as mids)
    Granted, I don't have a headphone amp yet, and I haven't given adequate time for any lengthy burn-in for any of these phones. This just gives you an idea of my tastes, I suppose. Also, I do not have any kind audiophile type headphone store nearby where I can simply try and buy, except for Best Buy, which sucks. The HD428i, and the JVCs160 came from Best Buy, which I will be returning. The rest came from B&H, which I will be shipping back. I'd really appreciate any of your suggestions.
  2. f00fighters
    anyone?? I'm heading over to guitar center in a few minutes to try the DT770, and M50, just because that's all they have. I'm itching to just hear some headphones, even though I most likely will not buy them. 
  3. Proglover
    I really enjoyed DT990's with rock, more then DT770's.
    One thing to consider, since you have your little one, is that DT990's aren't closed design, so will leak sound in and out. I don't know if that's what you're looking for, but take notice. DT770's are closed.
    Further, with DT990's, I'd go for 250 or 600 ohms, which are not perse harder to drive then the 32 ohms version.
    I don't think Gary's amp can decently power these Beyers, the bithead maybe (not sure, but it's a lot better probably then pa2v2). You could also consider a Fiio E7/E9 combo. E9 can definitely power these.
    Good luck with your choice, have a nice hunt!
  4. f00fighters

    Thanks for the heads up. The open design is fine, as my son sleeps in a different room. I noticed in your signature that you got rid of dt990, why? Also what's is the advantage of getting it with 300/600 ohms? I wanted to be able to drive them from my iPhone unamped; however, I haven't committed to that, yet.
  5. Proglover
    I sold it because I upgraded. When I bought Denon D7000's, they made my DT990's unneeded. But offcourse there's a serious price difference between those two.
    I deeply enjoyed DT990's, that's for sure.
    But I don't think any of the models can be powered by an unamped iphone though. 32 ohm version is not more easy to drive then 250 ohm version, if I recall it correctly. I don't know all the details anymore, but I think it's wise to read this topic before you choose: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/513393/guide-sonic-differences-between-dt770-dt990-models-more 
  6. calipilot227
    I would say either the DT880 or DT990. If you're going to drive them out of a PA2V2 (which is a very good amp, it just doesn't get enough credit), I would suggest the 250 ohm version. The DT880 is very balanced while the DT990 is more fun (powerful bass and sparkly highs).
    In terms of comfort, nobody does it better than Beyerdynamic [​IMG]
  7. Proglover
    Gary's pa2v2 is very nice, especially for it's price. Very usable portable amp, but I used it with DT990/250, thought it wasn't enough.
    But for many other (portable) headphones, pa2v2 is a great entry portable amp, which is pretty well valued here at head-fi, as well as it's very friendly maker :)
    DT880/990 are serious mid end full size cans, which not only benefit from, but need pretty serious amping.
  8. shane55


    True. I have had the 250 and 600 ohm (which I still have) variants of the DT880. Excellent, bright cans. Very fast and crisp. But... they need a serious amp.
    I understand the 32 Ohm version is easier to push, but it still may not sound its best unless heavily amped, however.
    I'll be interested in your thoughts on the M50 v. DT770 (which I've also owned - both ohmages).
  9. Thommohawk
    I own the DT 990 Pro and if they're anything like the DT 990 premium then you'll have no worries about soundstage, brightness, bass, instrument separation as these are the most apparent characteristics of the headphone that stand out the most. If anything the DT 990 premium seems to be an enhanced version of the DT 990 Pro which is a bit clampy but then is to be expected as the Pro's were made for studio use. Premium meant for home use. Either way it's a fantastic headphone that sounds great out of anything in truth.
  10. Elanzer
    Looking at the title of the thread, you've already done your research and know exactly what to buy. DT990 exactly fits the bill of what you're looking for.

    For portable amp I'd say check out the FiiO E11, just came out recently and it's an absolute bargain at it's $60 pricetag for the power it outputs (in comparison to other battery powered amps in the same price range). It is however, slightly bigger than some other portable amps. You WILL need some sort of amp though, the 32-Ohm versions are still low sensitivity so it will be hard to drive it from your typical portable device.

  11. Proglover


    Can't make very detailed comments on the M50's since I only audioned them at a meet and didn't a-b with DT770. But I have the feeling DT770, if decently amped, are a little bit better. Not sure though.
    DT770 is my headphone for drumming on my e-kit, it has been a while since I listened to music with them.
  12. shane55


    I have owned the DT770 in both 250 and 600 Ohm versions, and still own the M50. I did not care for the DT770 sound. I found them bass-light and shrill. The M50 (not perfect by a long shot) suites my tastes much moreso.
    Sorry... but I didn't mean to pull this thread OT, I was just curious about the OP's thoughts after he tried them, as that might determine which way he should go for the purchase.
  13. Proglover
    ^ ah, ok, lol
  14. f00fighters
    Thanks for the responses. I tested out the DT770, and the M50s, which was pretty much all that guitar center had to offer in the mid-fi, if you will. At first the M50s sounded too congested and muddy with bass from my iPhone directly, but then after a few songs, it just started opening up, and I was really enjoying the sound. I realized the why people on this forum were giving it such high marks in value and sound. While it wasn't the conventional signature I was looking for, initially, I was taken away. The bass was thumping and clean, only when it needed to be. Almost every track I threw at it, sounded great. The sparkle wasn't quite grado caliber, but it was nice, and there. Not rolled of, like a pair of Shures. It was overall very comfortable as well. 
    I then tried the DT770 for a while, and was underwhelmed. The bass was decent, but I wasn't as engaged as I was with the M50. But the DT770, had a good brightness to it. Granted, I didn't have time to burn any of these phones in; however, I couldn't help but feel there was something missing with the DT770 80 ohms. Most likely, it was underpowered. Anyway, long story short, I went home with the M50s, and couldn't be happier. While it isn't as bright, or open back, as much I'd like, I was taken with it, and appreciated it for what it was. It's very detailed, and acoustic guitar strings still sounded good, but the overall presentation, and fullness and the best controlled bass I've ever heard from a headphone, while unamped, was too much to pass up. And the soundstage is relatively wide for a closed back.
    Perhaps I was too impulsive, and should have somehow acquired a DT990 to try, but the fact that I was more than satisfied with the M50s, they had exceeded the cost/benefit analysis at that point. The M50s sounded even better from my iPad, and I'm about to test it on my Mac Pro desktop. I'm left with nothing but smiles with this headphone, and can't get over the feeling that this is the best $159 i have ever spent on a pair of cans. 
     I think this headphone would be virtually perfect in an open-back setting. What do you guys think? 
  15. Thommohawk
    Congratulations on your new pair of headphones :)
    I need to check myself out some of them M50's at some point to see just what all the fuss is about....the only other headphone that I've seen get such rave reviews as often are the Denon D2000 at twice the price.
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