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Upgrade Help Needed

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by cableman5, Dec 3, 2012.
  1. cableman5
    Hi everyone,
    I have been a member for a long time, but never posted before (the community is so helpful that I always found everything without having to ask questions). I chose my first decent pair of headphones after spending months researching here. I ended up getting the Audio-Technica m50 in 2010. I feel like I am ready for an upgrade - I would like to get something better than the m50 that would carry over the benefits and fix the problems.
    I cannot readily listen to high-quality headphones before buying them, besides the m50 that I own, I listened to the Sony V6, which I bought as a gift and found very thin sounding, uncomfortable and uninspiring (sorry for the crummy description). I love the m50, the bass is great, they are definitely inspiring and at times sound "intimate". However, after listening to them for more than 1-2 hours I get quite tired (not sure whether it's something in the soundstage or comfort) and they tend to sound confined (small soundstage) at times.
    My budget is $500 max, I would like to buy something that is an upgrade to the m50, but also compliments it (I will keep the m50s). I listen mainly to trance, dubstep and classical music. I won't be able to get an amp for the time being so I need something as easy to drive as the m50. I also don't need anything portable, and don't mind open, closed or semi-open headphones, although too much leakage might be a problem. So to summarize:
    - upgrade from m50
    - budget $500
    - wide soundstage
    - good bass
    - comfortable and not fatiquing
    - easy to drive
    - fun and inspiring sound, but still preserving accuracy (I don't want bass monsters)
    - full-sized, open/close as long as they don't leak a ton
    I want something that will be a definite upgrade, not just an incremental one. I looked at the Beyerdynamic DT 990/DT 880 32Ohm and Denon D2000 (which seem to be discontinued), but I am not sure how they stack up to my needs.
    Any help will be greatly appreciated!
  2. KCxSmacker
    Sound leakage is pretty bad if its a problem but I believe the HE-400s would be great for you. As long as you have a decent amp they will sound amazing for your music. They dont NEED to be amped IMO but they sound better and better with better and better amps. 
  3. TwinQY
    HE-400 would be ideal, too bad about the leakage and comfort. I think the DT990 and the D2000 are your best bet in the end. Both have amazing comfort, a fun sound.
  4. Doc-holliday
    +1 on the dt990. I can use the 32 ohm direct from an ipad for movies and they sound great. For music i wont use them without my e11 at least.

    Will be a very very noticable upgrade to the m50 and can be had for. Get the premium version. Very comfy.
  5. KCxSmacker
    He wants soundstage though. The d2000s are decent but not great. Comfort on the HE-400 is fine if you get velour pads and mod the headband with this : http://www.head-fi.org/t/635480/simple-but-successful-mod-on-he-400s/30#post_8913161
  6. cableman5
    Thanks for the responses.
    Is the D2000 discontinued? How does it compare to the dt990? Also in terms of the dt990, some people claim that the 250Ohm version is actually easier to drive than the 32Ohm and has better controlled bass? Another thing is the treble, is it really that bad/harsh? Most people consider the m50 to be a bass monster so I am not so worried about the reports for the bass encroaching on the mids on the dt990...So far I am leaning towards the dt990, however, I am not sure if it's not going to be fatiquing. And as far as I gather the HE-400 is relatively hard to drive and not very comfortable without mods?
    Fun and "big" sound are definitely quite important. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to listen to many good headphones and I am still not sure what to expect. I thought the V6 would be good when I bought it for a friend and was really disappointed. Perhaps someone can explain what was lacking.
    Also as a side question, can someone suggest reasons why the m50 is so fatiquing? Is the soundstage too narrow or perhaps the treble is too much?
  7. cableman5
    Forgot to ask - how big is the difference between the dt990 pro and premium? I read a couple of comparisons, that suggest that the pro has a bit more bass, but the price difference is almost $100.
  8. Doc-holliday
    Premium looks better and build quaality for one but the main thing is the clamping force is less on the premium and thereby making them more comfortable. The stronger clamping force can increase the bass impact but they are FAR from bass shy either one. The differences in sound are negligible i the different impedances. I know some posters almost make is sound like they are completely different headphones almost but this just is not the case. Get the one impedance that you can find the best deal on honestly. It is not true that the 32 ohm is harder to drive than the 250 ohm.
  9. cableman5
    So the consensus is that the dt990 will have better soundstage and less fatigue than the m50? Overall a very noticeable upgrade?
  10. KCxSmacker
    I would say yes just because beyer's headphones have sounded so great compared to the just ok m50s IMO
  11. thecourier
    Yes, the M50 soundstage is dreadful + the beyers are more comfortable. 
  12. flatmap
    What's your source?  Are you mainly listening from an iPod or similar?  Straight out of your laptop headphone jack?  
    Out of your main system preamp?
    Just checking because sometimes that sense of fatigue can come from subtle computer noise on the line.  
    Or if you're using a DAC then that can present subtle 'noise' problems as well. IMO.
    I have both the DT990s and M50's and like both.  If I had to get rid of one, I'm not sure which I'd choose.
    The M50s have more isolation and bass is a bit tighter.  The DT 990's have better sense of space by far
    and make the sound 'bigger'.  
    At a coffee shop or on the bus, then the M50's ability to isolate from outside sounds is key.  
    But given you're using them at home then that's not a problem.  I'm more inclined to say that these
    have different personalities but I wouldn't rank one to be significantly better than the other... to my tastes.
  13. cableman5
    Currently I do not have a DAC or AMP (I have a Fiio E5 that I use with my iPod and the m50s) and mainly listen directly from a computer. Perhaps the subtle computer noise is causing the fatigue, I am not sure because I don't usually listen to them for a long time with the iPod. I also don't particularly like the m50s for movie watching, the fatigue is more pronounced then.
    Although I find the m50 to be fun, it sounds congested at times, the soundstage is just not there. I will definitely keep them no matter what I buy next because they are quite good on a plane or in loud environments. I like the m50, don't get me wrong, I am just ready to move up and sometimes really want to get the sense of space that they lack. I will also probably get a basic AMP/DAC like the Fiio E7 to get the most out of my next purchase. 
    flatmap, do you consider the dt990 to be an upgrade to the m50 or merely a complementary set?
    So far I am definitely leaning towards the dt990, probably the premium version which seems to be more comfortable and more neutral. 
    Are the dt990s the best I can get for around $500 that is fun and with good soundstage? Any other suggestions?
  14. Doc-holliday
    The dt990 is an upgrade over the M50 in just about every way no a compliment.

    As much as I like the DT990 you should read up about the HE400. It is going to be my next headphone although currently I am pretty happy with my HD650 :D

    Edit: A new headfier posted this and it was actually quite well done:
  15. flatmap
    While I honor Doc-holliday's take on this, I find these of similar level of sound quality but with different strengths.  
    Since you're really looking for improvement in the sense of space, then DT990s are better for that, no question.  
    And perhaps what applies here is that I have the dT990/600 model; it really requires suitable amplification.  
    Thus, if I consider both headphones, when amplified, then DT990 is better overall.  Still, I probably turn
    to the M50s more often because of its flexibility and since it does not need amplification.

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