Are they as significant in today’s market as they used to be? Do they sound good for the money?
First let me talk about some of my preferences in sound signatures so that you may get to predict more accurately how well you may like these headphones after reading my review. I know I have bought many headphones in the past based solely on rave reviews and I have regretted buying more than 70% of them or so. There is always something that a certain headphone has that is a big no-no to me especially in the long term that those reviewers tend to miss out on. I can give a few examples of headphones I dislike and give you some notes on why I didn’t like them. Here are a few examples:
DT880-250 Mids too recessed, Bright highs, dry and sterile sound. May sound good with certain source/amp combos so I have not totally given up on them.
AKG K701 – Unnatural mids. Sounded like listening to music through a plastic pipe or a seashell. bright highs yet dry and lacking in decay and air. Overrated. Still waiting for a re-equalized revision if there ever is going to be one because they are promising in other aspects.
Ultrasone Proline 750 – Plain ordinary sound that isn’t worth anywhere near the street price.
Some of the Cans I do like
Sennheiser HD600 Well balanced headphones that sound nice with many genres when connected to a decent amp with good synergy with them. They improve more with better sources and amps. the only disadvantage is that the pads get flat and you need to replace them every 6 months to a year if you want to maintain the great sound. Pads are around $60 Yikes.
Sennheiser HD650 I like them almost as much as the hd600s and they sound more engaging with rock and pop vs the 600s for me. Same weakness with the pads.
Beyerdynamic DT250-250ohms The most neutral sounding closed headphone I have heard. They lack ultimate dynamics but it is a small flaw at their price level of around $200
Sennheiser HD280Pro Nice value at $99 having no frequencies stick out vs others. Slightly bassy and soft in the highs but they are a overall still a very neutral closed can despite those nitpicks.
I can talk more about different sonic signatures that I like and don’t like but if I do that, this is going to be one heck of a long review that will almost have nothing to do with the Audio Technica headphones that I am about to talk about. Anyway, I’ll try to make it short. The biggest fault coming from any headphone to me is having an unnatural sounding midrange. Headphones typically get the transition from the midrange to the high frequencies wrong because there isn’t really any set standard in how headphones should measure in that part of the spectrum yet. The standard of headphone measurement and tuning isn’t as well established as measuring speakers at this current time although the industry is currently very active in getting this stuff figured out. These are definitely exciting times… To think, just last year I was already losing hope in trying to find headphones that sounded at least naturally balanced because all these reference models in the past just tend to get the sound wrong a lot of the time.
About my musical preferences, you may wonder what music I actually play on these cans. I listen to all genres of music and try to explore the unknown as much as possible. I tend to gravitate towards the bands I grew up listening to like Depeche Mode, New Order, The Smiths and other new wave/post punk music but never limit myself to that and listen to lots of Jazz, some classical, some avantgarde stuff and lots of music that was made before my time as well as today’s fresh new crop of indie rock. I think we’ve covered enough about me and my preferences so lets start talking about these Audio technica headphones we have here.