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Rock & Metal: Beyer vs. Grado sound signature

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by martymcfly, Jul 15, 2012.
  1. MartyMcFly
    After spending some time on the head-fi forums, I am thinking on settling with the HE-400 for my first hi-fi pair.
    However, I might go ahead and buy another sub $300 pair for comparison purposes. I was looking for a "bright" headphone that would make the sound signature appear more "fun" for rock and metal. I heard the Beyer dt990/ 600 ohm version was great with sub-bass and had a strong treble presence. On the other hand, the dt880/ 600 ohms were a bit safer with toned-down treble and bass, making the mids pop out more. I'm not a huge fan of cold/metallic sound with recessed mids. I would rather have a full-bodied sound with slightly prominent highs without sibilance. 
    The point is to make rock and metal sound more alive. I could be mistaken, but aren't meaty mids a desirable attribute for rock music? If I were to diagram the soundstage, I would like the vocals to be up front, have the mids slightly behind the vocalist, and bass below the stage or right behind the mids. That's not too say I want anemic bass. I don't want it overbearing and leaking into the mids. I guess the best way to describe it is having the bass there, but over-emphasizing it when it gets really low (sub-bass extension?) to kind of jolt you as a reminder. 
    So, right now I'm between dt880 - dt990/ 600 ohm. I would appreciate any suggestions. I heard Grados are suberb with rock. I am also looking at the SR325is as a top contender for sub $300 phones. 
  2. ssrock64
    The Grado sound is very well-known for rock, but the treble may be a bit too hot and the bass a little lacking for your purposes. Do you have the proper equipment to drive a 600-ohm headphone? You'll need a pretty serious amp for that, and if you don't have one the Grado may be a better fit.
  3. jupitreas
    (most) Grado headphones have rolled off bass and consequently, a sub-par sub-bass performance; however, for most rock and metal, this wont matter at all since these genres tend not to use too much sub-bass. For this reason, Grado will be really awesome for most forms of rock and metal.
    As for Beyer, both the DT880 and the DT990 are great for rock and metal, I've had both and found them very enjoyable indeed. Don't let the 'recessed mids' issue bother you too much, both Beyers are not really that offensive in this category, to be honest. Their mids are slightly recessed but they still sound great with most forms of music. With this said, I'd say go for the DT880 instead of the DT990. I find that the DT990 is a great headphone for quiet listening, since their frequency response mimics the equal loudness contour at lower sound levels quite well. For louder listening, they might get a little too bright and boomy though. The D880 is far better for loud listening and I'm assuming you'll be cranking them up when listening to rock and metal...
  4. MartyMcFly
    @ jupitreas I was leaning more towards the dt880, since I heard they were a bit more balanced. On the contrary, I have a living room that is pretty quiet, so I probably won't be cranking the snot out of them. I assume that the dt990 are good for movies and/or live recordings? 
    @ ssrock64 I don't have the equipment to drive them, however I would be willing to invest in the proper amps to keep up with the 600 ohm requirement. What do you suggest that I use to drive them? 
    ..and a general question for all: Do you think a Beyer headphone is complimentary to a HE-400? I've had the HD650 on the back of my mind, but I heard it is quite neutral/warm and meant for critical listening. I have heard mixed reviews on them, but it still seems quite appealing. I don't think I would need it for my current music applications, so I will probably hold off on a headphone in that category until I can move up to the $800+ tier. 
  5. ssrock64
    The LDMK3 is a popular choice for the DT990, but I hope you weren't expecting it to come really cheap. It's $200 plus shipping to wherever you are, which is actually great pricing for a tube amp of thi capability but may not jive with your hopeful price.
    I think you'd be happier with the contrast provided by the DT990 than with an HD650, especially since the latter tends to be picky with amps.
  6. Zombie_X Contributor
    Another good beyer to look at is the DT860. It's like a warmer, bassier DT880. I don't own one but have tried them before and they are nice. Plus they are 32Ohm and quite easy to power. They work well with rock and metal.
  7. samsquanch
    Here's the thing, when you say rock and metal, there's a whole world of different sounds going on in all the sub genres.
    For me, all forms of rock that I listen to, prog, psych, garage, proto-metal, radio hard rock, glam, grunge etc., and pre-1990 metal, thrash, nwobhm, power, hair, etc., I go for my Beyer DT-880's.  None of this music requires, nor benefits from boosts in any of the frequency ranges, and I find them to respond rather quickly which works well with faster thrash bands.
    When it comes to death metal of all era's I go to my Audio Technica ATH-M50's, the boost in the bass makes the music hit a little harder, makes it a little more fun.  But, the bass is too sloppy and loose for my tastes to be used with other genres, also the response is real slow, Slayer - Reign In Blood was a nightmare...
    If you're listening to newer metal or rock, then you might enjoy something with more bass, but if you're a bit of a fuddy duddy like me and refuse to listen to music newer than 1995, then you'll probably be fine with something like the dt-880's.
  8. MetalHealth30
    Can't say anything about Beyer's, but Grado's are absolutely fantastic for thrash, prog (rock and metal), and other mid-centric music. I do agree with the above poster though, a little bass never hurt DM.
  9. jupitreas
    Both the DT880 and DT990 are good for movies and live recordings. It would be best if you simply auditioned the two headphones and compared them for yourself. There are many people who prefer the DT880 and also many people who prefer the DT990... 
    As for the general question, I never heard the HE-400 so I can't really comment on that... Besides, my own personal goal as far as headphones go is to find a headphone that does not need another set to 'compliment' it. If it doesn't work for all the music I listen to, it's flawed and therefore, I don't want it :)
  10. Focker
    Both! [​IMG]
  11. obobskivich
    I'm not a Beyer fan at all, so I'll suggest anything over a Beyer. :p

    That having been said, Grados are (imho) excellent at bringing music to life - not just rock either (they should not be so hastily type-cast). I would get the SR-225 or step into one of the RS models (I think the 325 is too bright overall; apparently the RS-2 is a "tamed" RS-1 (I'm expecting it to be something between the 225 and RS-1), and it's lighter than the 325 (lighter meaning more comfortable)). If you have never heard a Grado, I'd suggest trying one before investing hundreds into one of them (unless you're shopping somewhere with a good return policy). The SR-225 is honestly a great headphone overall, but if you've got the money to spend, the RS-1 is not a bad way to spend $700. :gs1000smile:

    Alternately, and this is something worth considering, pool your money from the HE-400 (which are like what? like $500?) and this other sub $300 excursion, and buy one pair of cans that you really want (unless the HE-400 are the ones you really want); and the gear to go along with them (whatever that looks like). Just a thought - ime it's better to have one or two really good cans instead of a half-dozen so-so models. Like jupitreas said:

    This doesn't mean I don't think you should try other things, or that having multiple sets is bad, just that it's probably more enjoyable to have something that works everywhere, not just part of the time. If that makes sense.

    Yes I edited this post - I didn't like the wording "get something better" so I figured I'd elaborate. :xf_eek:
  12. Chris_Himself
    You don't need the 600-ohm version. I can't really pick up an audible difference, the 600-ohm version just shrugs off sibilance easier with your higher gain amps. Otherwise the 250 ohm is fine.
    I prefer SR-225 over DT-880, but I think for overall comfort, build quality, and other factors like "hey I just spent $200-300 on these and they're not made with glue and bits of plastic"..
    Sound wise though, I think Grados are gonna take it. The DT880 was just too dry for my personal tastes, again if you start with something more neutral, I guess you can build your sonic signature from the ground up, but I just don't like playing hot potato with my amps.
  13. ssrock64
    I still think we're going down the wrong road with the Grado line here. Sure they are accepted to work well with rock for most of us, but they don't have any of the two major tenants the OP wanted: they have an overly-hot treble, and not enough sub-bass to satisfy most. In addition, the HE-400 also has a slightly toned-down Grado sound, so a Grado would not be a good contrast.
  14. billyhightech
    Grados "house sound" is great for rock.
  15. macrocheesium
    No, it isn't. The way I see it, rock is one of those genres where your personal sound preferences work better than anything else. I prefer to use cans which have a strong V shaped sound, it really brings out the drums and makes the music "pop" more. A whole lot more fun to listen to IMO. But if you're one of those people who likes mids, go for it! 
    I strongly disagree here... first of all, there is no such headphone. Every headphone is lacking in SOME area. The higher end models still have a definite sound signature, and that doesn't always agree with your genre. You're going to end up with one headphone that is good at everything, as opposed to a few headphones the are amazing in their own areas. Not that the higher end model won't sound amazing with some stuff, but it certainly won't be that way with everything. Also, headphones rapidly decrease in value as the price goes up. Once you move past ~$300, you're only going to see small differences. The thing that most people don't realize is that audiophiles are crazy people who are willing to pay outrageous amounts of money for these improvements. [​IMG] I would evaluate your situation wisely before deciding on a more expensive headphone to make sure it's worth it.
    I tried the 600 ohm DT990's for a while but I couldn't take the treble. The bass was perfect though, so... Ultrasone PRO 2900 for me. [​IMG]

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