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beyerdynamic DT 990 vs. audio-technica ATH-M50
Old 27th December 2012
  #1
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
beyerdynamic DT 990 vs. audio-technica ATH-M50

Longtime lurker, first time poster.

I just received the following for Xmas. I need to return one of them, or pay the full price of one of them to keep both:
  • beyerdynamic DT 990's 250 ohm (~$180)
  • audio-technica ATH-M50 (~$120)

I've read a ton about both on this board and elsewhere, and all I've gathered is that both are good, but for very different reasons.

I'm already working with Yamaha HS80M studio monitors and a Presonus Audiobox (newbie question - but this should suffice as a headphone amp, correct?).

I would like to use these headphones to produce (mostly electronic music) in the instances that I can't use the monitors (late at night, etc.). I don't plan on using these on the road much, and these wouldn't be my default headphones for iPod, etc. just "studio" use.

So far, both sound good, but for different reasons. The audio-techs sound punchier just for listening. The DT 990's sound like they have a better range, but the volume and bass is less pronounced (even through the audiobox).

I don't know if this makes sense, but my music sounds more like I want it to sound on the ATH-m50's than the DT 990's. This is also the case with professional recordings I've tested on each set (probably a much better test)

This could be a problem with the audiobox (or how I've configured everything), but even when I run the DT 990's into the headphone jack of the audiobox, they sound way quieter than the ATH-m50's...

I can turn the ATH-m50's up to an uncomfortable volume (with and without running through the audiobox), while I cannot do this with the DT 990's. Is this normal, or does it sound like I haven't configured my USB device correctly?
  • Am I correct in assuming that the "flat" sound of the DT 990's will likely translate better to most other sound systems, headphones, etc. compared to the ATH-m50's?
  • If you could pick only one of the two, which would you take? (keep in mind I can mix/master on the monitors)
  • Since they sound so different, would it be worth eating the cost and keeping both?

Please let me know what you think, or if I can provide any additional info to help guide your feedback.

I've referenced the following threads (and more):

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...a-ath-m50.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...t-990-pro.html
Old 28th December 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
As much as I like listening with them, I don't consider my ATH-M50 very suitable for mixing (too hyped in the low end). My Sennheiser HD280 are much flatter sounding. Have not heard the DT990 so cannot compare.

Level difference is likely due to the different impedance:
ATH-M50 (38 ohms)
DT990 (250 ohm)

Freq response of the headphones mentioned are compared below. FWIW, it shows the HD280s are flatter than either DT990 or ATH-M50, but the DT990 may be a bit flatter than the ATH-M50s.
Attached Thumbnails
beyerdynamic DT 990 vs. audio-technica ATH-M50-dt990.vs.ath-m50.vs.hd280.jpg  
Old 28th December 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Funny Cat's Avatar
Yes. As the poster above stated, the ATH's are pretty hyped in the low end. I love them for tracking bassists and drummers. I would never mix on them though, unless you were referencing other released material the entire time and using them very sparingly. I have another suggestion for you. Why not use the Yammie's at really, really low volumes at night? Then you could use the cans exclusivelyfor tracking or just referencing when you need a sense of false excitement in the music, like when editing vocals etc.

I bet you will get killer mixes on the Yammie's if you start monitoring at super low volumes like this. Your ears will become hyper sensitive to little changes and nuances over night if you do this. And I bet your mixes will get better exponentially. Don't have much experience with modern DT headphones so I can't comment on those...
Old 28th December 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darnelle View Post
Longtime lurker, first time poster.

I just received the following for Xmas. I need to return one of them, or pay the full price of one of them to keep both:
  • beyerdynamic DT 990's 250 ohm (~$180)
  • audio-technica ATH-M50 (~$120)

I've read a ton about both on this board and elsewhere, and all I've gathered is that both are good, but for very different reasons.

I'm already working with Yamaha HS80M studio monitors and a Presonus Audiobox (newbie question - but this should suffice as a headphone amp, correct?).

I would like to use these headphones to produce (mostly electronic music) in the instances that I can't use the monitors (late at night, etc.). I don't plan on using these on the road much, and these wouldn't be my default headphones for iPod, etc. just "studio" use.

So far, both sound good, but for different reasons. The audio-techs sound punchier just for listening. The DT 990's sound like they have a better range, but the volume and bass is less pronounced (even through the audiobox).

I don't know if this makes sense, but my music sounds more like I want it to sound on the ATH-m50's than the DT 990's. This is also the case with professional recordings I've tested on each set (probably a much better test)

This could be a problem with the audiobox (or how I've configured everything), but even when I run the DT 990's into the headphone jack of the audiobox, they sound way quieter than the ATH-m50's...

I can turn the ATH-m50's up to an uncomfortable volume (with and without running through the audiobox), while I cannot do this with the DT 990's. Is this normal, or does it sound like I haven't configured my USB device correctly?
  • Am I correct in assuming that the "flat" sound of the DT 990's will likely translate better to most other sound systems, headphones, etc. compared to the ATH-m50's?
  • If you could pick only one of the two, which would you take? (keep in mind I can mix/master on the monitors)
  • Since they sound so different, would it be worth eating the cost and keeping both?

Please let me know what you think, or if I can provide any additional info to help guide your feedback.

I've referenced the following threads (and more):

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/so-mu...a-ath-m50.html

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/elect...t-990-pro.html

The reason why DT990 sound quilter is that they are 250ohms.


I would get the Beyers because of less distortion and bigger soundstage +they are open. I think they had better sync as well according to the tests. The treble is a bit hyped and sub bass(30-60hz) is not that accurate this is not according to the frequency graph but my own testing, I don't think those frequency spectrums are all that accurate, and it's unclear to me if the ideal response on a headphone even should be flat. I don't recommend staring too much into them unless you know what you are doing.

I haven't had the chance to do any actual comparisons so take all this with a grain of salt though.

Oh and beyers are really comfortable IMO.
Old 28th December 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
kidvybes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darnelle View Post
I just received the following for Xmas. I need to return one of them, or pay the full price of one of them to keep both:
  • beyerdynamic DT 990's 250 ohm (~$180)
  • audio-technica ATH-M50 (~$120)

Since they sound so different, would it be worth eating the cost and keeping both?

Please let me know what you think, or if I can provide any additional info to help guide your feedback.
...if you'd like to keep both but can't afford to pay for the ATH-M50, there is a much more affordable option...there is a stupid inexpensive alternative to the M50 ($28 shipped!)...OK, they're not Audio Technica's, but they are somewhat similar in their performance and sound...close enough, IMHO, to serve the purpose of a secondary set of cans for reference and general listening...they are the Monoprice MHP-839 (8323) available here:
Amazon.com: Monoprice MHP-839 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphone, Black: Electronics

...you're probably thinking I'm nuts, but I recently purchased a pair after reading this review which compares them directly to the M50 (and I really like 'em):
“Monoprice MHP-839, budget performer” - MalVeauX’s Review of Monoprice MHP-839

...and, they are definately similar to the M50...a steal for under $30...
...just a thought...
Old 28th December 2012
  #6
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for all the help guys.

Since it seems silly to actually master/mix on the headphones since I have the monitors I guess the ATH-M50's probably make the most sense if I'm just using them to listen, or to produce late night without disturbing the whole household.

And yes, the DT's are crazy comfortable.

I'm going to toy with the Audiobox settings and see where I land.

Both sound really good in their own way, FWIW.
Old 28th December 2012
  #7
Gear addict
 
musicgen's Avatar
I own both and use the DT's most now. I have big ears and after a while the AT's hurt! I can wear the DT's as long as I need. I have great headphone amps so the volume is not an issue. The DT's are much closer to my monitors (focal) as far as being neutral and flat. AT's are fun for tracking and iPod listening. Don't get me wrong they are much better than most anything else in that price range though!
Old 28th December 2012
  #8
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgen View Post
I own both and use the DT's most now. I have big ears and after a while the AT's hurt! I can wear the DT's as long as I need. I have great headphone amps so the volume is not an issue. The DT's are much closer to my monitors (focal) as far as being neutral and flat. AT's are fun for tracking and iPod listening. Don't get me wrong they are much better than most anything else in that price range though!
I'm still having issues making them sound right with my Audiobox.

Do you have both a USB device & a headphone amp?

To your point, I'm getting a similar sound from my monitors that I get from the DT's. AT's are definitely punchier, for better or for worse.
Old 28th December 2012
  #9
Gear addict
 
musicgen's Avatar
It may be the headphone amp on the audio box. I have a lynx setup, so my headphones are done either on my Furman HDS-6 or Kush Function Junction. Both are capable of driving any headphones. A good test for me was my iPhone. The AT's were super loud and normal where my DT's through my iPhone had to be cranked all the way up to have a decent listening volume.
Old 28th December 2012
  #10
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicgen View Post
It may be the headphone amp on the audio box. I have a lynx setup, so my headphones are done either on my Furman HDS-6 or Kush Function Junction. Both are capable of driving any headphones. A good test for me was my iPhone. The AT's were super loud and normal where my DT's through my iPhone had to be cranked all the way up to have a decent listening volume.
Yup, did it on the iPhone and straight into the 3.5mm jack on the computer. Volume definitely gets to a reasonable volume, but I'm pushing it all the way up to get there.

As someone outlined earlier, it's probably because it's a 250ohm headphone.

Looks like a headphone amp is going to be the only way to really see how I like the DT's. Right now I'm still not even getting a fair comparison.
Old 28th December 2012
  #11
Gear addict
 
van Overhalen's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darnelle View Post

I don't know if this makes sense, but my music sounds more like I want it to sound on the ATH-m50's than the DT 990's. This is also the case with professional recordings I've tested on each set (probably a much better test)
Seems like you answered your own question already...
I feel that headphones in general sound shockingly different from brand to brand and model to model and you seem to feel the same so much so that you think your headphone amp is to blame.
I think it's not.
In my experience there are headphones that sound open and detailed and crisp but these tend to lack bass response and punch and you just can not "feel" e.g. a bassdrum with them while others sound punchy and let you "feel" that some air is moved but these tend to lack the crispness and openess.
I have never found both in one set of headphones.
So choose your poison...
Old 28th December 2012
  #12
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by van Overhalen View Post
Seems like you answered your own question already...
I feel that headphones in general sound shockingly different from brand to brand and model to model and you seem to feel the same so much so that you think your headphone amp is to blame.
I think it's not.
In my experience there are headphones that sound open and detailed and crisp but these tend to lack bass response and punch and you just can not "feel" e.g. a bassdrum with them while others sound punchy and let you "feel" that some air is moved but these tend to lack the crispness and openess.
I have never found both in one set of headphones.
So choose your poison...
That's where I'm starting to land.

If I had to test them both blindly, without knowing price, or anything, I would honestly think the ATH-M50's were better.
Old 28th December 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
string6theory's Avatar
The ATH-M50's are GREAT mixing headphones and highly recommended... I haven't used or compared the DT's.
Old 28th December 2012
  #14
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pasarski's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darnelle View Post

I don't know if this makes sense, but my music sounds more like I want it to sound on the ATH-m50's than the DT 990's. This is also the case with professional recordings I've tested on each set (probably a much better test)
Quote:
Originally Posted by van Overhalen View Post
Seems like you answered your own question already...
1+

If you like the the sound of the M50's when listening to commercial mixes, your own mixes will also sound good because you're aiming to that good sound when you're mixing.

Headphones are very much a personal thing, maybe something to do with the physiology of one's head. I love my M50's, can mix with them and recommend to everyone, but not without trying them first.
Old 28th December 2012
  #15
dt series has great high end and a very pristine sound but one of the major reasons I always recommend them is there build quality is top notch. You can drop step or sit on them and they will still be intact. In other words they will last you years if not decades where many heads are kind of fragile. They are also very comfi for long late nights or tracking sessions.
Old 28th December 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by darnelle View Post
That's where I'm starting to land.

If I had to test them both blindly, without knowing price, or anything, I would honestly think the ATH-M50's were better.
Well, the headphone amp can have effect on the sound, because headphone amp impedances all all over the map and you don't know what kind of amp a set of phone was designed on/for and how much that will affect the sound.

That being said, it's most likely not going to be a huge difference. If you prefer the boosted bass of the ATH's pick them. Try playing notes with sine waves from 20hz to 80hz and see how accurate the bass actually is though. Don't fall for the boom.


Also my dt's completely broke half year in without any reason, and now there is weird distortion present and most likely have to sent them to be repaired again.
Old 28th December 2012
  #17
I own both sets myself as we'll and both are great for different things. Being as you are producing electronic music the ath should help you to not over do the bass. Thou using reference tracks will help a lot. Personally I give my m50s to my clients cause they sound sweeter. I use my 990s for mixing and late night editing. From the sounds of it I would lean towards the m50s for you.
Old 29th December 2012
  #18
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kell Sound View Post
I own both sets myself as we'll and both are great for different things. Being as you are producing electronic music the ath should help you to not over do the bass. Thou using reference tracks will help a lot. Personally I give my m50s to my clients cause they sound sweeter. I use my 990s for mixing and late night editing. From the sounds of it I would lean towards the m50s for you.
Yeah for all intents and purposes, I think the 50's make more sense.

I'm basically going to use them for late night production. Since they sound better straight into the 3.5mm jack, in the event I want to take a mobile set up anywhere, they work better.

I can always X reference everything on the monitors (which I'm using to finish tracks/mix/master anyway).

Thanks to all of you for helping out on this!
Old 26th January 2013
  #19
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Old 29th January 2014
  #20
Love the Monoprice! Am buying the m-50's for comfort will see how they differ.
Old 29th January 2014
  #21
Lives for gear
I don't think you can beat the 990s for the money. To me they stand shoulder to shoulder with Seinheisers that cost 3 times as much.

Of course you will have to get used to the depth of field issues for mixing that occurs with any headphone, but you can't go wrong with these.
Old 29th January 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by targa2 View Post
I don't think you can beat the 990s for the money.
.
I agree with this, but check the impedance on your outputs as the 990 Pro likes some extra ohms that are usually higher than those of a common soundcard headphone output - and if your soundcard (like mine) doesn't cut you'll benefit from an amp.

Here's my review on the 990s, hope it helps.

Cheers!
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