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Beyerdynamic DT150 Review (Closed Back Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 16 19.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 44 52.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 21 25.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 3 3.6%

  • Total voters
    84

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Beyerdyanamic DT150 (250 ohm) closed back headphone. It was kindly sent to me by a member and costs US $210.
Beyerdynamic DT150 Review 250 Closed Back Headphone.jpg

I am sure one of the forum historians will tell us but I think this is a 20+ year old design and it shows it. The plastic feel of the cup surrounds doesn't inspire any feeling of luxury. Fortunately it wears light and comfortable with its large cups and average weight:
best beyerdynamic headphone review.png


Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

Fitment on the measurement fixture was easy.

Beyerdynamic DT-150 Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response measurements:
Beyerdynamic DT150 Measurements Frequency Response Closed Back Headphone.png


As usual, the target in dashed blue is a good speaker measured in a standardized room (and filtered). Compared to that, we have good compliance with DT-150 between 300 Hz and 3 kHz. Deviation outside of that is large though with copious amount of bass/midrange and uneven response above 3 kHz. Looking at the difference between our target and measured response we get:

Beyerdynamic DT150 Measurements Relative Frequency Response Closed Back Headphone.png


To get a proper response, we need to pull down everything above 0 dB line, and pull up what is below (with care) using parametric filters.

Distortion is bass centric which is good news as we have too much energy there which we will be reducing with EQ:
Beyerdynamic DT150 Measurements Relative THD Distortion Closed Back Headphone.png


Beyerdynamic DT150 Measurements THD Distortion Closed Back Headphone.png


Group delay just shows some messiness around the bass resonance:
Beyerdynamic DT150 Measurements Group Delay Closed Back Headphone.png


Impedance is nominally what is stated but varies some:

Beyerdynamic DT150 Measurements Impedance Closed Back Headphone.png


Consider this a "high impedance" headphone and focus on a headphone amplifier that can deliver voltage. On that front, the DT-150 is more power hungry than our average headphone:
most sensitive closed back headphone review.png


Combined with high impedance, you will not have much luck driving it with average portable device/phone without an amp.

Beyerdyanamic DT150 Listening Tests and Equalization
Due to good mid-frequency response the first impression is not bad. It is not until you listen a bit more that the bass boominess enters the picture, forcing me to reach for equalization tool:

Beyerdynamic DT150 EQ Equalization Filter Closed Back Headphone.png


Bass deviation requires a different curve than a single PEQ filter I implemented so what is there is not exact. At first I just went with that and let the extra energy in deep bass be but that was too much so I put in a shelving filter there. I then filled a hole and brought down the higher frequencies. I don't EQ above 8 to 10 kHz but if you are young, you may need to pull them down as the peaks indicate excess energy.

With all the filters in place, the sound became nice and open. My reference tracks were now enjoyable to listen to. Note that I did not get much of any spatial effects, none that jumped out at me anyway. So the improvement is limited to tonality here.

Conclusions
Vast majority of headphones I measure have bass deficiency. So I am always surprised when I see the opposite as in the DT-150 here. Fortunately it is a "good problem to have" with EQ being quite effective. If you can implement equalization, then the tonality can be salvaged. What you do about the look and the feel of the product, I don't know.

Overall, I am not going to recommend the Beyerdynamic DT-150. You can pick up a lot of modern headphones at similar prices that sound excellent and feel great.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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sweetchaos

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To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:
Preamp: -4.1 dB
Filter 1: ON LS Fc 30 Hz Gain -3.0 dB Q 1.5
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 151 Hz Gain -10.0 dB Q 3.0
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 3700 Hz Gain 6.0 dB Q 5.0
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 4315 Hz Gain -7.0 dB Q 5.0

Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead:
See my GEQ guide for 10-band, 31-band, and 127-band GEQ profiles.
 
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alekksander

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Thanks for the review. I hope much praised DT250 will be added to ASR database one day. Both DT150 and DT250 are build with proprietary connector which as far as i know and can recognize leaks air from the closed cup. As a result one channel is imbalanced in bass and further around mid–high frequencies too. Legend says it can be manually fixed, but it didn't help on my unit (DT250, 7pin connector).
 
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Jimbob54

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What an oddity. I assume this must still sell well enough to continue it. Studio /Pro use perhaps? I'm guessing it's robust.

Not sure why anyone would buy this for home /hifi though.
 

Thomas_A

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Thanks for the review Amir. The bass-heavy charader of DT-150 is confirmed also on the GRAS. Replacing the pads to the more leaky DT-100 velour pads makes it a neutral HP and also less warm ears during longer sessions.
 

charleski

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What an oddity. I assume this must still sell well enough to continue it. Studio /Pro use perhaps? I'm guessing it's robust.

Not sure why anyone would buy this for home /hifi though.
I have a pair, and yes, they're built like a tank. I suspect the popularity for studio use is related to concern about unstable artistes doing a Toto.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thanks for the review Amir. The bass-heavy charader of DT-150 is confirmed also on the GRAS. Replacing the pads to the more leaky DT-100 velour pads makes it a neutral HP and also less warm ears during longer sessions.
Ah, the owner did supply those as well....
 

solderdude

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One really needs to use the DT150 with EDT100-T pads instead of the stock pads

dt150-l-vs-dt150-dt100-pads-l.png


And even then while tonally balanced and being an excellent studio headphone it still doesn't have a typical hifi sound quality in the treble (despite measuring well)
One can throw these around, sit on them (by accident) and can withstand very abusive studio circumstances like no other headphone.
Despite its old looks still made (in various versions).

@amirm The spec sheets say 250 gram but your measurement shows 345 gram ?
 
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solderdude

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Thanks for the review. I hope much praised DT250 will be added to ASR database one day. Both DT150 and DT250 are build with proprietary connector which as far as i know and can recognize leaks air from the closed cup. As a result one channel is imbalanced in bass and further around mid–high frequencies too. Legend says it can be manually fixed, but it doesn't help on my unit (DT250, 7pin connector).

There are differences between the DT250/80 and DT250/250 though. Only the DT250-250 (once the channel imbalance has been solved) is the desirable one. A bit on par with DT150 with EDT-100T pads but different comfort, equally high clamping force but better looks.
 

alekksander

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There are differences between the DT250/80 and DT250/250 though. Only the DT250-250 (once the channel imbalance has been solved) is the desirable one. A bit on par with DT150 with EDT-100T pads but different comfort, equally high clamping force but better looks.
i cannot agree, my experience shows different. i've had a DT250 (250ohm) with s/n starting with 925…, it was packed in white box and now i own DT250 (also 250ohm) that was updated is sold in new black box (new beyer logo) and it's s/n is 968… there are tiny differences between those two like slightly more matte headband on the new one and a bit more rubbery, still czech–made cable (improvement in my opinion, but insignificant in real apply). Both of these have channel imbalance.
dt250-250.jpg

DT250 high clamping force can be adjusted by bending metal headband. Is that also the case for DT150?
 
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Thomas_A

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One really needs to use the DT150 with EDT100-T pads instead of the stock pads

dt150-l-vs-dt150-dt100-pads-l.png


And even then while tonally balanced and being an excellent studio headphone it still doesn't have a typical hifi sound quality in the treble (despite measuring well)
One can throw these around, sit on them (by accident) and can withstand very abusive studio circumstances like no other headphone.
Despite its old looks still made (in various versions).

@amirm The spec sheets say 250 gram but your measurement shows 345 gram ?

I am not sure what HiFi-sound quality means other than a very linear frequency response and low distortion. I find them quite good for the price as long as the DT-100 pads are used. The pads are not very soft but they win by not being very warm in the long run. The looks are poor but then I don’t care about looks when in use at home. Compared to my travel BOSE QC25 the DT-150/DT100 pads wins hands down. The BOSE HPs are good also but treble is a bit too weak.
 

markanini

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There are differences between the DT250/80 and DT250/250 though. Only the DT250-250 (once the channel imbalance has been solved) is the desirable one.
I agree the 250 Ohm version DT250 is the one with world class sonics. oratory1990's measurements bear this out too.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/dk4fxwcoasup5py/Beyerdynamic DT250.pdf vs https://www.dropbox.com/s/3f9bcr81xr7zljm/Beyerdynamic DT250 (80 Ohm).pdf
I returned both due to the channel imbalance. Having to mod production headphones outside of pad swaps is something I dislike because you potentially trade your warranty for a mistake the manufacturer made.
 
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DSJR

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I seem to remember the DT 150 goes back many decades, not a mere twenty years... Have I the right model? I thought the ones I heard back then were terrible, but studios seemed to use them in the hundreds...
 

Thomas_A

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The DT-150 model is probably +50 years.
 
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solderdude

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I am not sure what HiFi-sound quality means other than a very linear frequency response and low distortion

The treble on the DT150 (with DT100 pads) is not really 'smooth' and 'silky' but rather 'coarse' and not highly detailed opposite headphones that are intended for the hifi market.
 

Thomas_A

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The treble on the DT150 (with DT100 pads) is not really 'smooth' and 'silky' but rather 'coarse' and not highly detailed opposite headphones that are intended for the hifi market.

I guess that must be due to irregularities in high frequency response and level in the treble rather than distortion in this case. I've done som comparisons with the DT150/EDT100 pads with other HPs and most of the differences in detail seems be related to treble level.
 

solderdude

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Most likely yes, I only had the DT150 here a week or so. The DT250/250 left me with the same impression. Balanced and accurate but lacking a bit in treble 'quality' smoothness. Fortunately no sibilance, sharpness, rolled-off. Just slightly lacking in 'air' despite the frequency response being well extended. Indeed not a distortion aspect (which is fine).
 

solderdude

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DT250 high clamping force can be adjusted by bending metal headband. Is that also the case for DT150?

I have no idea, most likely yes. The headphones weren't mine and were sent in for measuring so no experimenting, taking apart or modifying them.
 

Michel Forbes

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What an oddity. I assume this must still sell well enough to continue it. Studio /Pro use perhaps? I'm guessing it's robust.

Not sure why anyone would buy this for home /hifi though.
Historically they were designed for intercommunication on TV set, well isolated and comfortable for working a full day.
there are high impedance (you could listen directly to 600 Ohms Line output) and the best feature was the availability of all the parts.
 

Thomas_A

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What an oddity. I assume this must still sell well enough to continue it. Studio /Pro use perhaps? I'm guessing it's robust.

Not sure why anyone would buy this for home /hifi though.
Regarding home/HiFi use, they are fine as long as you use the EDT100 pads. IMO.
 
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