Youtube review: Yamaha MT220 Monitor Stereo Headphone review by Dale - YouTube Photo: http://dalethorn.com/Photos/Panasonic_Gm1/Headphone_Yamaha_Mt220_01.jpg Sources: iPhone5, iPhone5 with FiiO E07k using LOD, iPhone5 with Decware Zen Head amp, various computers using the Microstreamer and Audioengine D3 DAC/amps. Review notes: My first impressions of the sound of the MT220 are based on direct comparisons to other headphones - in particular the FAD Pandora VI, Shure 1540, B&O H6, B&W P7, v-moda M100, Beyerdynamic T51p, and notes I've accumulated from many prior reviews. I describe how I relate to the MT220 (i.e. my personal taste and how I use the headphone) only after covering all of the objective issues. When I first put the MT220 on, I thought it sounded very good, but not as 'rich' as the Pandora VI or the B&W P7, which have an enhanced signature at both ends of the spectrum. What I did discover was a realism and soundstage depth that I don't get with the headphones noted above, except for the very pricy Pandora VI. The instrumental and vocal tonality of the MT220 remind me of what I'm missing with most low to medium-priced headphones, even the $500 Shure SRH1540 and $300 Beyerdynamic T51p Tesla driver headphone. In the case of the Shure 1540, the potential resolution may be as high as or higher than this Yamaha MT220, but that resolution is partially obscured by a heavy bass and thick lower midrange. I was very happy about getting this quality of sound from a $250 headphone, but I was still curious about details such as how the frequency response/signature varied from 'flat' or 'neutral'. Running test tones for 30 minutes or so, I heard a drop of 3-4 db from 1.5 to 2 khz, an emphasis of about 3 db at 4 khz, and an emphasis of 4-5 db from 7 to 9 khz. The variances that I heard may be greater or lesser for different users, since for most people their sensitivity below 10 khz varies with different ear topologies. In any case, I think that most users will be delighted with the MT220 sound straightaway, and others may choose to implement a bit of EQ to adjust the sound to their tastes. Note that purchasing a different headphone to get a more preferred signature won't ensure getting a better overall sound, since not everything else is equal, i.e. the tonal qualities of the MT220 owe to a quality of design that doesn't carry over to most other brands and models, regardless of price within 2x or so of the MT220. Bass response is a big ticket with headphones these days, and the MT220's bass compared to classic 'neutral' has more impact and detail from what I'm hearing. Since there's no bass bloat, muddiness, or other undesirable characteristics in the MT220's low end, I think it would make an excellent recording monitor as well as a great headphone for high fidelity listening. My impression of the MT220's treble variances above apply only to the treble itself - the overall strength of the treble is slightly less than what I've experienced with the so-called neutral-flagship headphones, which may be perfect for some users and not others. In any case I think most experienced headphone users know where they fit on that curve. Summing up the MT220 sound based on listening, running tests, and comparing to my other headphones, outstanding at this price level and excellent up to twice the price. Reiterating the bass issue from the most common user viewpoints - the bass is good and detailed, but people who do gaming and require a heavier impact, or people who use the headphone on public transport where background sounds contain a lot of low frequencies - these users usually prefer a headphone with boosted bass frequencies, so for them I'd recommend a different headphone. Like most headphones, the MT220 sound improves noticeably with DACs and headphone amps as compared to driving the headphone with just a low-cost portable music player or cellphone, and the MT220 plays very loudly with the typical iPods and iPhones. To appreciate the difference a good DAC and amp can make, play music using the DAC/amp first, then switch to a portable music player and hear the difference. That difference is usually subtle and difficult to appreciate the other way around: if you listen with the portable player first and then switch to the DAC/amp. I think that's because it's easier to hear what detail is lost in the former example instead of what's gained in the latter example, unless what's gained is dramatic. MT220 isolation is good - better than 10 db at the treble frequencies but less less lower down, as it is with all non-noise-canceling headphones. Leakage is low - if used in a very quiet office next to other cubicles, persons in those cubicles won't likely hear disturbing sounds unless the MT220 is played at full volume. There's no significant difference in bass response when wearing the MT220 with eyeglasses on, but when wearing glasses while listening, the leakage might be slightly higher than otherwise. The MT220's build quality seems very good - partly metal and part plastic. The headband has a moderate clamp and stretches much wider than my average head, the earcups have very handy click detents, and the earcups can be extended at least an inch further than where they fit my ears. The MT220's earcups don't contact my chin when they're extended all the way down and I'm wearing the headphone around my neck, but due to the size and bulk of the headphone and the way the earcups flop nearly 180 degrees by themselves with neck carry, the MT220 isn't an ideal portable for my use. The earpads are extremely soft and spongy, the openings should surround most ears completely, and there's enough depth in the earcups that very few users should experience any discomfort related to their ears pressing against the metal plates that cover the drivers. The cable is single-sided (left side) and looks like it sits in an assembly that can be snapped out, but I haven't tried pulling it out. It's a rubber-coated cable and looks strong, but the ~5 foot length includes a 15 inch coiled segment that stretches a couple of additional feet, which adds to the cable weight and suggests home or studio rather than portable use. The terminator plug is a standard 3.5 mm miniplug with threading for a screw-on 6.35 mm (1/4 inch) adapter. The music tracks below have been listed in a number of prior reviews, and are a selection of my most revealing tracks for headphone testing. Since these tracks cover a wide range of genres and were selected from my tests of very different headphones, there won't be a bias toward the MT220 with this music. I suggest that instead of reading each comment below as an absolute unto itself, you could compare these notes to the prior reviews and see how the MT220 compares with each individual track.