You do not often come across a product that has stood the test of time. But the Beyerdynamic DT 150 is precisely such a product. This mainstay of broadcasting, recording, and audio monitoring is still popular today. This review takes a closer look at this legendary set of cans.
Beyerdynamic DT 150
The Beyerdynamic DT 150 offers excellent sound quality and impressive passive isolation. While it might not be the prettiest thing to look at, its rock-solid construction is hard to beat.
There is a lot to love about the iconic DT 150 from Beyerdynamic. There is a reason it has become one of the go-to options for professional settings. But with so much stiff competition out there, do these still hold up? In some ways, very much so, but in others, perhaps not so much.
The Beyerdynamic DT 150 has an excellent reputation for a dynamic, engaging sound that retains superb accuracy. These closed-back headphones might come from a bygone era, but the sound profile still holds up.
The bass response is punchy and lively without too much over-emphasis. There is enough neutrality on offer to be able to make accurate decisions. These headphones don’t slam you with a wall of aggressive bass. Instead, they aim to represent the source material faithfully.
The mid-range also has excellent tonal depth to both instruments and vocals. Busier compositions can come across as a little messier, but not to the point where these cannot be a functional set of cans in a studio setting.
Moving into the top end, these are on the brighter side. Cymbals and hi-hats are exceptionally present. A superb choice for picking out details in the higher frequencies, but if you are sensitive to bright cans, these might be a bit much.
Reliable sound for monitoring and recording.
Overall these headphones do precisely what they claim. They offer distinct and precise monitoring with ample detail and finesse.
The soundstage is impressive for a set of closed-back headphones, which is a testament to the quality of the original design. While they are not as open and spacious as open-back options, these are miles ahead of most closed-back cans.
These are ideally suited to recording sessions and monitoring. But while those are the ideal applications for these cans, they also are a solid choice for casual listening and mixing.
Subpar headphones tend not to hang around for long as people rapidly discover their flaws. These headphones have been around for over 50 years. After spending some time with them, I’m not surprised that they are still a popular choice for professional settings.
I’ll admit my initial impressions of the Beyerdynamic DT 150 were not overly optimistic. The large and bulky ear cups did not inspire confidence. Nor did the awkwardly shaped headband.
But after hours of testing, I was surprised at how comfortable these big headphones are. The ear cups are massive, but that also means ample room for your ears. Even the most prominent of ears will find room in these spacious cups.
The padding is also high-quality and nestles around your ears nicely. It is relatively plush with a satisfying level of squish. Heat build-up was also not as high as I initially expected.
Ample room for your ears.
The headband is awkward, and there are some minor contact points that I feared would lead to discomfort. But after several extended listening sessions, these didn’t feel any worse than when I first slipped them on my head.
The adjustable headband glides effortlessly to adapt to your head, but it doesn’t offer a satisfying hold and can slip further with aggressive movements. Thankfully the clamping force does mitigate this to some degree.
Speaking of clamping force, the DT 150 offer a rather tight fit. This helps to ensure maximum passive isolation, but it might be a little too aggressive for some people. In the context of recording and monitoring, I liked the additional security the tight grip offered.
These headphones are a lot better than I anticipated for large and bulky headphones. Which highlights how much initial appearances can be deceiving. These are an excellent choice if you want a comfortable set of headphones for long stints in the recording booth.
There is no way to sugarcoat the following statement. These are a rather fugly-looking set of headphones. While the engineering behind these is superb, the aesthetic appeal is certainly not there.
I can’t be too critical, considering how long ago these were released, but even then, I’m finding it hard to look past how retro these look. The big bulky earcups offer no character, and the weird headband shape makes them even more bizarre looking when on your head.
Despite this, I am still happy to recommend these. Looks are not everything, and I’ll always prefer a set of headphones that can do the job right over a set of headphones that sound terrible but are attractive to look at.
The DT 150 is not going to win any beauty contests.
These belong in a professional setting where performance is more critical, and I’m all for it.
I’ve touched on the excellent technical execution of these headphones, but it is worth reiterating. The Beyerdynamic team knew precisely what they were doing when creating these cans, and the fact they are still relevant today is remarkable.
These headphones offer detachable cables, and in fact, every component is easily serviceable. These don’t collapse, so these headphones are not an ideal travel companion. But considering their appearance and intended functionality, I’m not surprised.
While these headphones might not look great, the engineering and sound design behind them is exceptional.
Beyond the impressive sound profile, the Beyerdynamic DT 150 has survived this long due to its extreme dependability. These are rugged headphones that last for years and are easily serviceable.
The dense plastic is as rigid as they come and highlights the workhorse nature of these headphones. The internal components are excellent, and the headband is just as dependable as the rest of the unit.
One of the toughest headphones available today.
It might sound cliché, but these have all the hallmarks of the classic built-like-a-tank descriptor. In a busy and often rough production environment, the last thing you want is flimsy and unreliable cans, and these are the polar opposite of that.
I’ve often heard people say they don’t make things like they used to. After experiencing the rugged nature of the Beyerdynamic DT 150, I’d have to agree.
The Beyerdynamic DT 150 offers exceptional value for money. While they are not cheap, the level of quality is unmatched at this price point. You’ll have a hard time finding a set of cans this dependable at this price.
The box itself doesn’t offer any notable extras. You’ll have access to one straight cable with 9.8 ft (3 m) of length. An adapter is present to ensure compatibility with a range of connection points.
These are a fantastic investment if you like to buy something once and not have to worry about longevity. Couple that with easily acquirable parts for maintenance, and you’ll likely have these headphones in your arsenal for years to come.
The Beyerdynamic DT 150 has been around for so long that it is easy to find extensive reviews from customers and industry veterans. All share the same thoughts. These are tough, sound great, and deserve their status as among the best headphones for monitoring and recording.
Stay Focused In The Studio
Maintaining your focus when working in the studio is a challenge that most face at one point or another. Working in a setting with other people can make it easy to become distracted.
Sometimes, you don’t even need others to lose focus with the plethora of distractions readily available at your fingertips. From emails, message notifications, or internet rabbit holes, it can feel like everything is working against you.
High-quality headphones can help keep you focused in the studio.
Avoiding distractions is infinitely more manageable if you have an excellent set of headphones available. They can be a vital tool to block out external noise and indicate to others that you are busy.
High-quality headphones like the DT 150 also offer a comfortable fit for long sessions. Nothing will pull you out of the zone quicker than cans that become uncomfortable after a short while.
Consistency and focus are vital to achieving your goals in the studio, which is why I recommend you invest in a dependable and comfortable set of cans. It’s one small way to help keep you on track and get stuff done.
While the Beyernamic DT 150 might have the advantage of history behind it, several other enticing closed-back headphones are vying for your attention. Below we take a quick look at some other options.
AKG K553 MKII Review
The AKG K553 MKII might be a better choice for some people. Its modern design, lower price, and impressive sound profile make it an exciting choice.
- The generous soundstage is airy and spacious.
- High passive isolation makes it ideal for recording sessions.
- The overall build quality is much lower compared to the DT 150.
AKG K553 MKII
Audio-Technica ATH-M70x Review
Audio-Technica is another well-respected brand with an extensive lineup of quality cans. While most of their options lean toward a colored response, this pair is well-equipped to handle studio work.
- Wide response with excellent detail and neutrality.
- Excellent comfort level and extensive included accessories.
- The passive isolation level is not as good as the DT 150.
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro Review
If you like Beyerdynamic headphones but a pair that is fresh and modern, the DT 1770 Pro is an excellent choice, albeit with a different focus.
- Engaging sound profile that is captivating and fun.
- Ultra comfortable ear pads and fantastic inclusions.
- Not as accurate as the DT 150 and is much more expensive.
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
Should You Buy?
As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The Beyerdynamic DT 150 perfectly epitomizes that saying. These headphones have continued to prove their worth over multiple decades.
These headphones offer a rich and detailed sound that is accurate and refined. The super rugged construction and serviceability ensure these will go the distance in even the most demanding of environments.
These headphones might be a bit of an ugly duckling when compared to modern cans, but once you hear them, you’ll understand why these cans remain one of the premier monitoring and recording headphones in the industry.
Beyerdynamic DT 150