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Mackie

A look at Beyer Pro and closed-back cans

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Although I have quite a collection of BeyerDynamic cans in the consumer range, I've yet to enter the foray of its pro models. Available to me now are Beyer DT-150, DT-250 and DT-48. I have previously announced my dislike of DT770 and hence, I've thrown my personal pair of DT-831 into the fray. The Battle of Closed-back cans begins. As expected of close-back designs, bass deficiency is not a concern and my emphasis is on its quality aside from the other areas that audiophiles and music lovers scrutinize.

 

System used in this test comprises of the following:-

 

Source: Musical Fidelity A3CD; MAS Power Master power cord; Tara Labs RSC Air 3 interconnects

 

Amplification: Audio Valve RKV MKII; Belden 83803 power cord terminated with Hubbel and Shurter IEC connectors.

 

Isolation: Goldmund cones and Black Diamond Racing cones

 

Genres of music used are Hip-Hop, Pop Rock, Classical, Swing, Jazz, New Age and Vocals.

 

Disclaimer: All impressions are solely mine and wholly subjective Specs and construction are not discussed in detail as these can be gotten off the web. My sole concern is how the cans under test sound. DT-831 is not put under tight scrutiny and simply used as a comparative instrument against the main stars ie, DT-48/150/250 (all of high impedance of 200-250ohms)

 

First up is the legendary DT-48. Despite its impressive historical background, I find the 48s are not meant for music and more applicable (as specified by manufacturer) for ENG purposes ie, voice monitoring. It's presentation of speech and piano is very natural, smooth and accurate but beyond this aural bandwdth, everything else is muted. There is no treble and bass extensions and even mid-bass is not present. Graphically, the frequency response simply rolls off outside the lower-upper mid range. Henceforth, this pair of cans is dropped from the test.

 

Next comes DT-250. Very fine sounding cans with isolation to boot but not as much as DT-831/770. It's definitely more balanced all round than DT-831 which exhibits more clarity and treble energy. Most would find the 831 bright and albeit sensitive to this trait, I still like the analytical sound of 831 and none too bright with RKV and my other headamp ie, Cayin HA-1A. Back to DT-250, I find that it tends to sound very similar to my other Beyer cans ie. DT-880/990 but without the recessed mids and hence, carries a wider appeal. In one word, friendly and balanced sounding. However, my perception of close-back designs are not met despite my high ratings for the 250. To me, it presents the music akin to open and semi-open designs with better isolation. I'm not easy to please as I'm searching for a pair of close cans to kick some behinds and portray its music different from those in my arsenal.

 

Finally DT-150 takes its turn under my hammer. WOW!!!!!!!! Now this is what I want.........neutral across the band but capable of big bass kicks and slam!!!!! I think I've just heard the best that close-back cans can offer without the boomy bass and claustophobia that I'd experienced with DT-770. Transparency, treble details, airiness, 3D soundstaging are areas which I perceive as weakness of close-back design but DT-150 surpasses my expectations and more. If not for the very tuneful, detailed and immensely colourful bass information, I wouldn't have believed these cans are not open nor semi-open designs. Every bit of resonance (eg, wood instruments) is clearly defined and articulate. Imagine placing your ears next to the instrument's port and U'll know what I mean. Low notes are all very well controlled and full bodied from mid to deep bass. The relationship of bass tightness vs body/quantity is simply shunned as both co-exists with perfect balance. Speed and dynamics is neck breaking and definitely the body jiving sort. DT-831 does not fare as well as DT-150 in all these areas highlighted but it has better details at the upper spectrum.

 

All in all, I give 2 thumbs up to DT-150 and more if I have more than a pair of hands. It's main setback is aesthetics which can be a turn-off to some but one can't doubt its solid construction. DT-150 should appeal to all except for those who likes their music presentation to be lightweight. This is one audio gear which I have great difficulty in finding fault with; very much akin to picking bones in an egg as a Chinese saying goes. How good is it exactly? Well, I found myself listening to track after track and totally mesmerized by the music via DT-150. I was listening as a music lover than an amateur reviewer. I proclaim Beyer DT-150 to be my main monitor for all future accessories and ancillaries that will be included in my headphone and speaker rigs, thus, displacing my reference DT-880 from this role. This is the highest accolade I can shower for such a fine pair of cans.

 

But do not discount the quality of DT-250 as its balanced performance has a wide appeal and for one who wishes to keep only a pair of cans and seeks isloation, DT-250 must be on his/her audition list.

Edited by Mackie

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Very well-written mackie.

I agree with your findings on dt250.

It's a well balanced cans with enough bass kick. Good for pop and some alternative rock stuffs.

 

I am eager to try the dt150 at the next sgh meet. yes.gif

Edited by Blues

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At last! The shoot out between Beyers. My findings concerning the DT250 (250ohm) is very similar if not exactly like yours. This is with my main system & compared with the DT880 even. It is balance & sounds unlike a closed design but still is lacking in terms of the DT880's soundstage/air, fine detail retrieval & finess. However DT250 has a more forward presentation of the mids which suits my taste. My anticipation grows with every single moment awaiting my own personal assessment between the DT150, 250 & 880.

 

As always a very good review Mackie. Compared with the other 2 headphones the DT150 certainly looks ugly now! LOL! The marketing pics really show it's best side! The 250 looks half decent even!

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Comfort of the DT-150 is good but it does have a industial PVC type of pad - very durable but can get hot IF not in an air-con room. Earhole size is slightly bigger - but hey I didn't measure it. The ugly duckling makes a comeback LOL.

 

 

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DT150 aka "The ugly duckling"!

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Mackie ygpm about the DT150s.

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Comfort is not an issue with DT150 and I find it more comfortable than DT250 as the pads do not have any contact with the ears (circumaural). However, Rameish highlighted a valid point and unlike velour pads, heat buildup is an issue and best to use DT150 in a cool room for extended listening sessions.

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