With the constant flux of new and improved headphones, it’s not often that I get to revisit an older model. And yet, today I’m playing around with the Beyerdynamic DT 250 – first released back in 2004 (!) and competitively priced at $199. But can a 13 year-old headphone even compete with today’s models?
Note: for this review, I will be specifically testing and referring to the DT 250 80 ohm version.
The DT 250 doesn’t boast a lot of accessories. With just a headphone cable and a 1/4” stereo adapter, it’s obvious that this headphone follows a very utilitarian aesthetic. Originally designed for studio and broadcast use, this headphone utilizes plenty of plastic and some aluminum, too.
Overall the build is sturdy, and the basic pleather padding still offers a surprising level of comfort.
The robust 10 ft (3 m) coiled cable holds up nicely to extended and rough treatment, thanks to a secure attachment.
Frequency Range: 10-30,000 Hz
Impedance: 80 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 100 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): <0.2%
As you can see from the specs, this headphone offers a fairly wide frequency range. The 80-ohm impedance could be made to work with portable devices, but would also benefit from some amplification. Sound Pressure Level seems a bit low – and it can pose a problem for under-powered devices that struggle with the Nominal Impedance. However, once you work out any volume or power issues, you’re treated to a fairly clean sound – the DT 250 sports a pretty awesome <0.2% THD.
With good detail and strong bass, the low end remains fairly articulate while offering some real “oomph”. Thanks to competent control, bleed is kept to a non-existent minimum. There’s also zero compression or distortion; all-in-all, this is a very clean low end.
Like the lows, there’s no real compression or distortion in the mids. Here the sound impresses as clean and articulate, with loads of detail in striking contrast. There’s also a sense of layering here – present throughout the frequency range but most easily noticed in the mids.
Slightly bright at times, but more smooth than anything else, the high end houses plenty of detail while keeping things balanced. There’s no piercing or uncomfortable threshold in this part of the frequency range, though one or two finer points may be missing due to the smoothed-out highs.
With TONS of depth, the DT 250 offers an intense sense of realism. Placement could be better, but the soundstage is still present, overwhelming, and downright intoxicating – even without perfect placement. All that depth, helped along by copious amounts of detail and a beautiful sense of separation…all of these things seem to compensate for that lackluster placement.
The Beyerdynamic DT 250 is a closed back headphone, but it sounds almost like an open-back. There’s so much detail at play here, and some mind-boggling separation, too. This listening experience reminds me of the AKG K553 – another closed-back model considered open-sounding.
I’m loving the design of this headphone the longer I go on using it. Sure, it’s not flashy or stylish, but it’s sturdy, well-made, and thought-out. That robust cable holds up against anything. Also, the not-so-big earcups perfectly ensconce my so-big ears. Well done, Beyerdynamic. Well done.
Despite its age, the Beyerdynamic DT 250 offers clear benefit to critical listeners and studio professionals. While there are more dynamic-sounding headphones out there of newer vintage (like the $249 Audio Technica MSR7), this headphone still offers a truly unique listening experience.
For detail and separation, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better model. Bass, too, while not amplified or overpowered, still sounds natural and pleasing on the DT 250. It’s a very clean-sounding headphone that lends itself to damn near any genre.
Sporting a wealth of detail and some truly impressive depth, the Beyerdynamic DT 250 proves that older headphones can still compete with newer models. While the old girl may not be as stylish or as gimmicky as some newer models, she’s still packing an amazing sound.