Upgrade Recommendations Desired

TLDR : Likes the DT990 250ohms and HE-4xxs pretty equally and looking for an upgrade. Advice?

Looking for some recommendations if anyone is up to it :slight_smile:

Currently have (in order from oldest to newest), Sony MDR 7506, DT 990 Pro 250 Ohms, DT 770 Pro 250 Ohms, and Massdrop x Hifiman HE-4xx. Running them off of either a Schiit Hel + Magni Heresy or an iFi iDSD Nano Black Label. I love both the 990s and the 4xxs. The brightness that is characteristic of the 990s and the 770s doesn’t really bug me at all. 770s. I like the detail of the 990s, but I like the warm full sound (and the weight / comfort of the 4xxs). I would rather not sacrifice either of those qualities in a new pair of cans. Done a lot of research, looked at a lot of cans, and I am thoroughly at a loss as to what to look at or start with. Do the sundaras make a real difference over the 4xxs? Is the 1990 just an amped up version the 990s? Is there a middle ground between the two that I haven’t found yet? Doing research just gave me more unanswered questions :thinking:.

A lot of these questions could be answered by testing in person, and I would give my left nut for a chance to compare DT1990s, Aivas, T50rps, AK-712s, HD-660s, and Sundaras side by side. In the Massachusetts area and haven’t been able to locate any stores where I could try them out as of yet. Any advice as to how to proceed? Any recommendations for cans to look at?

Thanks for reading, stay healthy!

The DT1990 is pretty good if you don’t mind that treble.
However, if you can find a Fostex TH900 Mk2 for a good price that might give you a more fun sound with more bass kick while still having that good treble, and maybe better midrange. Probably better all-around than the 1990, not sure about technicalities though.

1 Like

is there anything you want more or less of in regards to the 990 and 4xx’s? such as more or less bass treble, mids. more or less soundstage…

1 Like

Like many, I have this problem too. I’ve taken the radical approach of using EQ to change the tuning of headphones I own to match headphones I’m considering buying. This only addresses their tuning/FR, but at least I can eliminate a lot of options this way.

My daily driver is the 1990. I notice you enjoy (at least Irish) acoustic music. Only input I can give you based on direct experience is I find listening to Cahill or any other acoustic music with the 1990s unacceptable. Like you I’m unaffected by the beyer sibilance region spike. But the 1990s have almost an inversion of the 990s tuning, being elevated in the lower mids but recessed in the upper mids. But everyone is so different my (or anyone else’s) take on tuning is almost meaningless.

Adding to RiceGuru’s question, it’s not clear from your post to what degree you’re looking for an upgrade in technicalities or something new and different from what you already own. Also, not clear what your $ ceiling is.

1 Like

Yeah that’s why I think the 1990 would be good if they can’t afford the Fostex but if they can get a Fostex then that would be a serious upgrade.

1 Like

Looking to maintain the clarity and detail of the 990s while also getting some of comparably warm sound from the 4xxs. That’s the best I can describe it :thinking:. My budget is under $1000 (unless I’m finding exactly what I need up there).

I do like the midrange on the 990s, I don’t mind the small recess as long as there is sufficient detail.

The bass on the 4xxs is right there, maybe a little punchier.

The treble is close to perfect for me on both, maybe a little off the treble on the 990s.

If you guys give me a reference track to listen to, and I can tell you more details about what I’m looking for, would that help?

Thank you for the help!

Edit : @RiceGuru does this help at all?

Ok, so then the 1990s are probably out. I do like the 990s V, but if that could be just a little less on the treble (tiny, tiny bit) they’d be even better. Especially if they were a little clearer and a little warmer. Reference the above response for budget.

Thank you for your help!

dt880 600 ohm it is lol

1 Like

I realllllly like the 4xxs planar sound though (assuming that some of the difference I’m hearing in the 4xx is because planar, though I’m probably wrong). Is there a similar planar for less than $1000? HE-400i’s maybe?

The 4xx is really close to the 400i so I wouldn’t consider it lol. I mean I do think you would most likely be into the sundaras for sure. Perhaps a lcd x might be up your alley but pushing your budget


Sundara is a bit brighter and more detailed than the 4xx… seems pretty close to what you’re looking for… maybe not to the extent of an upgrade you’re after though given your budget


Also less sucked out mid-range, with better spatial recreation imo


I just saw that price tag and I choked a little bit :stuck_out_tongue:

Is there a big difference between the sundaras and the 4xxs, or is it a minor gap?

Big big difference lol, the sundara makes more sense here though lol

1 Like

Yea, that’s the question. Is the difference worth the cost discrepancy? If I had tried one I’d know, but quarantine is not helping lol

Hmm, ok. I’ll grab those when I get a chance. Are there other less well-known alternatives? Cause I see sundara plastered everywhere and am wondering what else might be an option as well?

If we’re getting toward neutral tuning why not just go for the gusto and get an Elex?

1 Like

Uhhh perhaps like the verum 1 mk2

1 Like

Perhaps, I just didn’t think it was in budget lol, also it’s more of a slight w than neutral (I guess it is in budget now lol)

1 Like

Imo it’s a really significant upgrade… treble is smoother and more detailed and bass is more extended and like m0n mentioned nicer more apparent mids… all around upgrade