Open vs Closed: A Review and Comparison of the AKG K712 Pro and the Beyerdynamic DT 150
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kman1211

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This is a review I've been putting off until I got my new amp the Schiit Lyr 2 mainly because I wanted to spend time with both headphones on a higher end system than what I had before. This review is my overall impressions of the two headphones and which I ultimately think is better on my system. It may be weird I'm comparing a mid-tier closed-back vs a mid-tier open-back but there is a good reason for this as will come to light throughout the review. Both headphones scale up very well I personally believe both are in the same league. The main system used is the Schiit Lyr 2(stock tubes 6BZ7 Canada) as the amp with the HRT Music Streamer II+ as the DAC. There will be some changes/updates to this review as time passes, as I gain more experience, and after gear changes.
 


 
Build Quality and Comfort:
 
AKG K712 Pro: This is a well made headphone, everything is put well together and the plastic is of high quality, while there are no metal in the headphone, though the headband is leather I don't think this headphone is going to have any reliability issues. I have no complaints about the build quality of the headphone, they are built to last. Comfort wise I think they are among the most comfortable headphones I've owned, I have a lot of issues with comfort on headphones and these are one of the few that have passed the test, the headband just disappears. The memory foam velour pads are very comfy and are not scratchy at all which can be the case with some velour pads. Earpads are very deep, people who worry about ears touching drivers shouldn't have any issues with these headphones. These headphone have a moderate clamp. Although some reason after a few hours, I feel the earcups move around a bit and this ultimately causes some discomfort at times and leads to some readjustment.
 
Beyerdynamic DT 150: The build quality on these headphones is simply fantastic, it has some of the most robust and toughest plastic I've ever seen used as the earcup housing, the headband is metal, despite the robust build these headphones are lightweight, they actually weigh about the same as the AKGs. Something odd to note about these headphones is the cable comes out of the right side instead of left side. The cable also has a small flat-head screw that probably should be screwed in to help the cable stay in better. The pads are made of a synthetic leather and the headband is also covered with a synthetic leather. I have no issue with the headband and the pads are very deep, deeper than the AKGs pads. They do get a bit hot and sweaty at times but not too bad. The adjustment mechanism of the earcups sliding up and down the metal band takes some getting used to. Also these headphones need a week or two for the pads to form to your head otherwise comfort and seal may be iffy. These headphones clamp a little more than the AKGs. Overall and oddly I find these headphones more comfortable than the AKGs in long listening sessions. But I found comfort a mix.
 
Build Quality: Beyerdynamic DT 150
Comfort: Tie(depends)
 
Sound:
 
Now it's time to cover the sound of these headphones, I'm doing an overall review of the headphones sound on my system, not really covering any particular song or album but rather how they perform across the board, how they respond to a variety of genres, how they handle lesser recordings, which is more enjoyable to listen to, and ultimately which I find is the overall superior sounding headphone on my system. Both headphones are on the warm and darker side of the spectrum and I wouldn't call either bright or cold by any stretch.
 
Soundstage and Imaging:
 
AKG K712 Pro: Soundstage and imaging is one of this headphones strong points. It has a nice wide soundstage that has precise and accurate position of instruments. It can have a slightly distant nature to it, other times it can be oddly forward. It's one of the bigger soundstages I've heard in an headphone, but it is a revision of a soundstage oriented headphone. I found the soundstage quite natural and pleasing. I'm not really the best at describing soundstage as it's generally not an aspect I tend to focus too much on but it's something I like to have.
 
Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone surprised me by how open and spacious sounding it sounded. It's not a large or huge soundstage, but rather a more medium and round soundstage, it is bigger than some open-backs I've heard. Imaging is where this headphone shines, it's very clean. There is absolutely no closed-back honkiness to be found on this headphone. This headphone has a black background so each instrument is easily discernible.
 
Soundstage(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): AKG K712 Pro
Imaging Precision(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): AKG K712 Pro
Imaging Cleanness(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): Beyerdynamic DT 150
 
Transparency and Detail:
 
AKG K712 Pro: I found this headphone quite transparent but to be honest I've found the background a bit hazy at times(I'm quite sure it's synergy issues with my system from past experience, the Lyr 2's stock tubes don't seem to be that good of a pairing with the K712), this headphone doesn't have as black of a background as the DT 150 and at times isn't as easy to discern details as the DT 150. Although this headphone does seem to have a good amount of detail and seems to be quite fast and resolves a lot of information. I would say it's just a little more detailed overall and a little faster than the DT 150.
 
Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone is very transparent and has great macro-detail, everything is clear and easily discernible. I found this headphone faster side, it never has trouble with any music no matter how complex and reveals all the detail and information without issue.
 
Transparency(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): Beyerdynamic DT 150
Background(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): Beyerdynamic DT 150
Detail(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): AKG K712 Pro
Speed(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): AKG K712 Pro
 
Bass:
 
AKG K712 Pro: This is one aspect where this headphone really shines, especially with a beefy amp behind it. It goes very deep and is very well-controlled, clean, textured, and articulate. It's very natural sounding and can vary a bit in terms of impact. It has a bit of a mid-bass emphasis which is a nice touch and on occasion the bass seems stronger than the DT 150s for some reason.
 
Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone also has good bass, it's very impactful and quite punchy while staying controlled and never getting muddy though it can get a bit boomy at times. It's not quite as tight and textured as the AKGs bass though it stills sounds natural and it's overall stronger bass leads it to sounding better in terms of bass on more songs. It doesn't go quite as deep as the K712's bass. It also gives it's overall sound more of a backbone and solidity than that of the AKGs. This leads to an amazing headphone for anything needing a strong punchy bass-line or those songs with a relatively weak bass-line. It's a fun and enjoyable bass. While the bass does sound quite natural overall it can be a tad strong at times and isn't quite as natural sounding as the AKGs bass.
 
Bass(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): AKG K712 Pro
 
Midrange:
 
AKG K712 Pro: I found the midrange on this headphone quite articulate and detailed with a slightly warm and musical tone to it. I don't really find it forward or recessed in my experience. Vocals are nice with plenty of musical depth. There does seem to be a bit of a boost in the 2khz region which can make the headphone a bit hard and overly forward on some vocals and instruments and ultimately takes away from some of it's transparency and naturalness.
 
Beyerdynamic DT 150: This is where this headphone shines, extremely clear, natural, and musical. This headphone has some of the best vocals and midrange of the headphones I have owned. The midrange is a little more laid-back than the AKGs, largely due to the K712s 2khz boost. The midrange is darker but also a tad less warm than the K712's, the DT 150s mids are on the lush side. Actually the whole sound is a bit lush on the DT 150. The very clean and natural midrange makes this headphone win in this category overall.
 
Midrange(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): Beyerdynamic DT 150
 
Treble:
 
AKG K712 Pro: This headphone has well-extended and smooth treble, not harsh or sibilant at all on more powerful systems. It seems to extend quite well and overall is on the darker side overall, the lower treble is a bit brighter than the DT 150s. The treble can sound harsh on less powerful systems or systems with bad synergy.
 
Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone has very clean and transparent treble with good extension. Overall I find this headphones upper treble a bit brighter(a slight Beyer-peak) but still very smooth and grain-free. The treble seems a little cleaner on DT 150 overall.
 
Treble(Lyr 2 Stock Tubes): Beyerdynamic DT 150
 
Conclusion:
Pesonally I have to give the slight edge to the Beyerdynamic DT 150 as being a little better at least on the system I compared the two on, this was actually very close and a hard choice. Which I think is better may change as with system changes and/or upgrades, but as of now I respect the DT 150 more because it's a closed-back and my slight preference towards it. These are my two favorite headphones and I wouldn't really be able to part with either one. Overall I find both headphones to handle a wide variety of genres excellently, I haven't really found a genre either headphones sounds bad at. These are both excellent all-rounders. It is entirely possible I will switch back and forth between which I like better for a long time to come. It's the first time I experienced headphones that are so close in sound preference and quality I can't whole-heartily say one is better than the other. These are very different sounding headphones. The DT 150 is a rather unique sounding headphone, I haven't really heard anything like it before. The K712 has that AKG house sound to it.
 
I have found the Beyerdynamic DT 150 to relatively retain its general sound signature no matter what they are plugged into, they are quite forgiving of the system but they do scale up very well with better gear. The AKG K712 Pro on the other is all over the place in it's sound signature and characteristics depending on the system compared to the DT 150. I've never owned a headphone that changed as much sonically from one system to another as the K712. Simple things such as changing tubes, amps, dacs, etc. can completely change the K712s sound. The K712s pretty much sound like what they are plugged into. This leads me to believe the K712 may have more potential in the end than the DT 150 or that it's simply a very picky headphone.
 
I think the DT 150 should be considered among the best mid-tier headphones out there and people should really give this ignored and honestly somewhat ugly headphone a chance, especially those looking for a closed-back. It's sound is something truly special and deserves more attention than it gets.
 
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Synthax

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Nice review. Simple and clever. I love DT150 midrange and authority in lower mids.
 
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Synthax

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I also find treble with DT150 more natural than on HD650...
 
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this is one of my fav cans..DT150 :p
 
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This is a review I've been putting off until I got my new amp the Schiit Lyr 2 mainly because I wanted to spend time with both headphones on a higher end system than what I had before. This review is my overall impressions of the two headphones and which I ultimately think is better. It may be weird I'm comparing a mid-tier closed-back vs a mid-tier open-back but there is a good reason for this as will come to light throughout the review. The advantages and disadvantages of these two headphones relatively stayed the same regardless of the system, while certain aspects of one headphone improved as I upgraded the system so did the other headphone. Both headphones scale up very well I personally believe both are in the same league. The main system used is the Schiit Lyr 2 and Hifiman EF2A as amps with the HRT Music Streamer II+ as the DAC.






Build Quality and Comfort:

AKG K712 Pro: This is a well made headphone, everything is put well together and the plastic is of high quality, while there are no metal in the headphone, though the headband is leather I don't think this headphone is going to have any reliability issues. I have no complaints about the build quality of the headphone, they are built to last. Comfort wise I think they are among the most comfortable headphones I've owned, I have a lot of issues with comfort on headphones and these are one of the few that have passed the test, the headband just disappears. The memory foam velour pads are very comfy and are not scratchy at all which can be the case with some velour pads. Earpads are very deep, people who worry about ears touching drivers shouldn't have any issues with these headphones. These headphone have a moderate clamp. Although some reason after a few hours, I feel the earcups move around a bit and this ultimately causes some discomfort at times and leads to some readjustment.

Beyerdynamic DT 150: The build quality on these headphones is simply fantastic, it has some of the most robust and toughest plastic I've ever seen used as the earcup housing, the headband is metal, despite the robust build these headphones are lightweight, they actually weigh about the same as the AKGs. Something odd to note about these headphones is the cable comes out of the right side instead of left side. The cable also has a small flat-head screw that probably should be screwed in to help the cable stay in better. The pads are made of a synthetic leather and the headband is also covered with a synthetic leather. I have no issue with the headband and the pads are very deep, deeper than the AKGs pads. They do get a bit hot and sweaty at times but not too bad. The adjustment mechanism of the earcups sliding up and down the metal band takes some getting used to. Also these headphones need a week or two for the pads to form to your head otherwise comfort and seal may be iffy. These headphones clamp a little more than the AKGs. Overall and oddly I find these headphones more comfortable than the AKGs in long listening sessions. But I found comfort a mix.

Build Quality: Beyerdynamic DT 150
Comfort: Tie(depends)

Sound:

Now it's time to cover the sound of these headphones, I'm doing an overall review of the headphones sound, not really covering any particular song or album but rather how they perform across the board, how they respond to a variety of genres, how they handle lesser recordings, which is more enjoyable to listen to, and ultimately which I find is the overall superior sounding headphone. Both headphones are on the warm and darker side of the spectrum and I wouldn't call either bright or cold by any stretch.

Soundstage and Imaging:

AKG K712 Pro: Soundstage and imaging is one of this headphones strong points. It has a nice wide soundstage that has precise and accurate position of instruments. It has a slightly distant nature to it. It's one of the bigger soundstages I've heard in an headphone, but it is a revision of a soundstage oriented headphone. I found the soundstage quite natural and pleasing. I'm not really the best at describing soundstage as it's generally not an aspect I tend to focus too much on but it's something I like to have.

Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone surprised me by how open and spacious sounding it sounded. It's not a large or huge soundstage, but rather a more medium and round soundstage, it is bigger than some open-backs I've heard. Imaging is where this headphone shine, it's very clean. There is absolutely no closed-back honkiness to be found on this headphone. This headphone has a black background so each instrument is easily discernible more so than the K712.

Soundstage: AKG K712 Pro
Imaging: Beyerdynamic DT 150

Transparency and Detail:

AKG K712 Pro: I found this headphone relatively transparent but to be honest I've found it a bit hazy at times(grainy?) if not a bit veiled, this headphone doesn't have as black of a background and isn't as easy to discern details as compared to the DT 150. Although this headphone does seem to have a good amount of detail and seems to be quite fast and resolves a lot of information. I would say it's just a little more detailed overall than the DT 150.

Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone is very transparent and has great macro-detail, everything is clear and easily discernible. I found this headphone faster side, it never has trouble with any music no matter how complex and reveals all the detail and information without issue.

Transparency: Beyerdynamic DT 150
Detail: AKG K712 Pro

Bass:

AKG K712 Pro: This is one aspect where this headphone really shines, especially with a beefy amp behind it. It goes very deep and is very well-controlled, clean, textured, and articulate. It's very natural sounding and the amount of impact can be quite variable leading to some issues with some songs. But on well-recording songs the amount of bass and impact are quite impressive.

Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone also has good bass, it's very impactful and quite punchy while staying controlled and never getting muddy. It's not quite as tight and textured as the AKGs bass though it stills sounds natural and it's overall stronger bass leads it to sounding better in terms of bass on more songs. It also gives it's sound more of a backbone and solidity than that of the AKGs. This leads an amazing headphone for electronic music and anything needing a strong bass-line. It's a very fun and enjoyable bass But while the bass does sound quite natural overall it can be a tad strong at times and isn't quite as natural sounding as the AKGs bass.

Bass: AKG K712 Pro

Midrange:

AKG K712 Pro: I found the midrange on this headphone quite articulate and detailed with a slightly warm and musical tone to it. I don't really find it forward or recessed in my experience. Vocals are nice with plenty of musical depth. There does seem to be a bit of a boost in the 2khz region which can make the headphone a bit hard sounding on some instruments and ultimately takes away from some of it's transparency and naturalness.

Beyerdynamic DT 150: This is where this headphone shines, extremely clear, natural, and musical. This headphone has the best vocals and midrange of any headphone I've owned. The midrange is in a similar placement as the AKGs being neither recessed or forward but is noticeably flatter and cleaner. The midrange isn't quite as warm as the K712s but it's also lusher at the same time. Actually the whole sound is a bit lush on the DT 150. The very clean and natural midrange makes this headphone win in this category without a doubt.

Midrange: Beyerdynamic DT 150

Treble:

AKG K712 Pro: This headphone has well-extended and smooth treble, not harsh or sibilant at all, it does seem a bit hazy at times like in the midrange compared to the DT 150 though. It seems to extend quite well and overall is on the darker side though the treble can sound harsh on less powerful systems.

Beyerdynamic DT 150: This headphone has very clean and transparent treble with good extension. Overall I find this headphones treble a bit brighter but still very smooth and grain-free.

Treble: Beyerdynamic DT 150

Conclusion:
Pesonally I have to give the edge to the Beyerdynamic DT 150 as the better overall headphone, this was actually close even though it may seem one-sided in the review. The Beyerdynamic DT 150 just delivers a better overall package that's also easier to work with. It's more transparent and cleaner sounding, sounds more natural overall as well as more musical, it's more forgiving, it sounds better on lesser systems, it's comparable in terms of detail and is no slouch in terms of soundtage and it does all this while being a closed-back. The K712 is a bit of a chameleon so to speak, how the K712 sounds varies greatly on the system, especially in terms of bass impact and presence and treble smoothness and articulation. The DT 150 retains it's character from amp to amp a bit better but does so with greater clarity, transparency, and it scales up just as well as the AKG from my personal experience. These are my two favorite headphones and I wouldn't really be able to part with either one.

I think the DT 150 should be considered among the best mid-tier headphones out there and people should really give this ignored and honestly somewhat ugly headphone a chance. It's sound is something truly special and deserves more attention than it gets.

Looks like you're ready for the DT48!

Don't fight it....

:)
 
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thats tooo neutralcooold...too industrial....tooo heavy......tooo costly....tooo clammmy...tooo...
just putting up a fight. lol
 
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kman1211

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I've heard such mixed opinions about the DT 48, I would like to hear them sometime. I would like to hear these two headphones compared for an extensive amount of time to the HD 650 sometime, my next headphone purchase is likely the HD 650. I really like both the DT 150 and K712 a lot and a lot simply comes down to my mood which I prefer, but I find mysellf reaching for the DT 150 a little more due to it's slightly more transparent and musical sound. I spend roughly 50% of the time with the DT 150 and 40% of the time with the K712, the rest of my headphones take about 10% of the head time, most of it being the T50RP which is new and in the process of modding.
 
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Nice read, thanks. DT150 is certainly underrated and an excellent closed pair of cans. They'll also probably outlive the owner 

There's also that thing about price difference between the 2 cans lol
 
DT48 is higher plane of existence on mids and highs imo, although claustrophobic for the headstage oriented. If you want soundstage you should be listening to speakers anyway...
Less bass quantity also, but more articulate and tight.
 
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I removed the thin foam protecting the drivers,
n angled it a little with some stuffings on the inside of the back rim on the pads.
...better clarity n focus imho.
 
 
came across this...
 http://www.head-fi.org/t/731837/beyerdynamic-dt150
super deal on the buysell..check it out !
 
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appsmarsterx

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nice comparison kman. I'd really love to try dt150.. hopefully it might get the attention it deserves..  are you still listening to your 612pros :wink: ?
 
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Great write-up! Nice to see the renewed love for the DT 150 on Head-Fi.
 
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kman1211

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  nice comparison kman. I'd really love to try dt150.. hopefully it might get the attention it deserves..  are you still listening to your 612pros :wink: ?

They are definitely worth trying, they are my favorite mid-tier Beyer, although like all headphones it's not without it's flaws. It's a very different sound than the AKGs. I can easily see one person preferring one headphone over the other. I just sent my K612 to my friend to audition, it may be around a month or so till I get them back. I'm going to put Amperex Bugle Boys in the Lyr 2 once they arrive in the mail and after I burn them in, I will update this review if something interesting happens in terms of sound.
 
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It's a shame, because the DT 150 sounds like a headphone made and tuned for my music taste specifically. However, I am one of those people that takes aesthetics of a headphone very seriously. DT 150 unfortunately as you mentioned, is just painful to watch. 
 
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Synthax

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I'm an architect. And I appreciate this look. It is truth look of headphones. Headphones should be durable and simple. It is not bijou :)
 
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