Open backed headphone recommendations needed.

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Gray

Well-known member
such a low price.
It's funny what we regard as a 'low' price.
All of us rightly know that to be a great discount for those (no doubt excellent sounding) headphones.
Never in my life though, will I be able to think of 300 quid as being a low amount.
But I'm well aware of the excellent value here, as my poxy car tax is more than that.
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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Over a week listening and there is one flaw with the DT990s. Tickets popped up for a Killing Joke tour, so I now have one and that prompted some Killing Joke listening. The DT990s don't do a wall of sound noisy punk rock. There is a sound that is like crackling cellophane, as if something is distorting in the treble. If I really listen for it, I can just hear it with the AKG K271s, but I had not noticed it before. The AKGs are far better when I want some punk rock.

The DT990s are very unforgiving of noisy, busy music, as they reveal more of the treble than any other headphone I have owned. I suspect the Hifiman HE6 I had a loan of a few years ago are the most detailed and revealing of all the headphones I have listened to, but there were no distortion sounding issues, even with the noisy stuff.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Over a week listening and there is one flaw with the DT990s. Tickets popped up for a Killing Joke tour, so I now have one and that prompted some Killing Joke listening. The DT990s don't do a wall of sound noisy punk rock. There is a sound that is like crackling cellophane, as if something is distorting in the treble. If I really listen for it, I can just hear it with the AKG K271s, but I had not noticed it before. The AKGs are far better when I want some punk rock.

The DT990s are very unforgiving of noisy, busy music, as they reveal more of the treble than any other headphone I have owned. I suspect the Hifiman HE6 I had a loan of a few years ago are the most detailed and revealing of all the headphones I have listened to, but there were no distortion sounding issues, even with the noisy stuff.
I'm guessing you might listen at higher level than most - but I would have thought it would be too loud before noticeable distortion.
Maybe it is :unsure:
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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I mean that as in the DT990s are picking up something from the original recording that is not quite right, rather than the headphones themselves are distorting. Nothing against Killing Joke or whoever recorded their Pylon album, it is as if they missed something that is making a tizzzing or zinging noise in the high treble.
 
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idc

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That is over a month now and whilst I am happy enough with the DT990s, I would not recommend them.

Compared to my AKG K271s, they can sound a bit dull and to come alive, need my amp (which is powerful for a headphone amp) put up to the maximum volume I am OK listening to, so not suitable for long term listening.

There is that occasional crackling noise in the treble I first noticed with Killing Joke.

They are very revealing, so sound amazing with well recorded music and pretty poor with not so well recorded music.

They are very comfortable.

So, the flaws are enough that I would not have bought them, but for £110 I am OK with occasional listening. My AKG K271s still rule the roost.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
My AKG K271s still rule the roost.
Headphones are every bit as subjective as speakers, where no pair does everything right.

Bit of a long shot, but I wonder if your Beyers have the hair issue. Owners of one Beyer model (can't recall which) reported frequency-dependent distortion caused by a single trapped hair touching the driver (I know it sounds like some April Fool joke).
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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Headphones are every bit as subjective as speakers, where no pair does everything right.

Bit of a long shot, but I wonder if your Beyers have the hair issue. Owners of one Beyer model (can't recall which) reported frequency-dependent distortion caused by a single trapped hair touching the driver (I know it sounds like some April Fool joke).
No stray hairs!
 
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idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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I thought I would update this thread to say that the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250 ohms are not headphones I would recommend. They will be the only time I buy headphones online with no audition. They somehow sound dull, yet have a splashy treble and to get them going, even with a powerful headphone amp, I need to crank the volume up too high for long term relaxed listening. Thankfully I only paid just over £100 for them. The AKG K702s they replace were far better in every aspect.
 
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idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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After a gap of not listening to the DT990 Pros, due to the purchase of some Shure SRH1540s, I find that after getting used to the sound of the Shures, the DT990s don't sound as bad as they did when swapping between them and my AKG K271s. They do not sound as flat as they did swapping them with the AKG.

I wonder if the ear gets so used to a certain sound, that something which is noticeably different sounds bad. The Shures are not as different to the DT990s as the AKGs are, so the transition between the two does not jar as it did before.
 

Gray

Well-known member
After a gap of not listening to the DT990 Pros, due to the purchase of some Shure SRH1540s, I find that after getting used to the sound of the Shures, the DT990s don't sound as bad as they did when swapping between them and my AKG K271s. They do not sound as flat as they did swapping them with the AKG.

I wonder if the ear gets so used to a certain sound, that something which is noticeably different sounds bad. The Shures are not as different to the DT990s as the AKGs are, so the transition between the two does not jar as it did before.
I never underestimate the power of the brain to influence what people 'hear'.
(And I don't care what anyone says about 'burn in'.....always (much) more a case of brain learning / adaption than anything physically changing).
 

idc

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Jan 2, 2008
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The Shures are not as bright as the AKGs, which means switching between the Shures and the DT990s does not have the same shock. I am presently listening to some Killing Joke, which before sounded dreadful, but is now not bad at all. I had clearly got used to a bright sound, so anything other than that sounded worse, rather than different.
 
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