I’ll start off by saying that I’m both a curse and a blessing to headphones manufacturers. I’m a curse because I rarely ever buy new headphones. No, seriously! The last set of studio headphones I bought was back in ’98. I still have them, and still use them every day. Now, they look hell, after all these years, yes. But, they still sound great!
Oh, and how am I a blessing to headphones manufacturers? Well, I always buy the same pair of headphones again, if available. It may be a decade later. But, hey... It happens, at least.
Recently, I got the opportunity to review a new pair of headphones from Yamaha, the MT-220. I’m not going to lie. I already had this idea that no other pair of headphones would ever be able to supplant my nasty, old, smelly studio cans. So, believe me, I went in with a lot of suspicion. How did they do? Read on!
In the Studio
Of course, the first place that I went with these, very sleek, and cushion-y headphones was to their intended venue: the studio. Using Ableton Live, I tried a few different drum kits, and explored the low end, high end and stereo field. One thing that really startled me was how flat the MT-220 are. I’m used to an old pair of Sony headphones and they tend to be a little juicy in the low end. This is not the case with the MT-220. I actually felt like I got a very true representation of my kick drum and bass. I bounced between the Sony’s and the MT-220 and then my Genelecs. Honestly, between the headphones... the Yamaha headphones really stole the show.
In terms of the seal on the headphones, the MT-220 are almost dizzying when it comes to how quiet things are when nothing is going. Outside noise isn’t eliminated altogether, but there is a serious drop, nonetheless. If you’re someone that likes to ‘make the world go away’ through headphones retreats, you’ll want to try these.
Outside of the Studio
Well, since I’ve got them here with me, I’ve got to give the MT-220 in a spin through my life, right? And, indeed I did. As a matter of fact, I’ve had a few projects that I’d been meaning to get on, and this review gave me the perfect excuse. I tried out a few different New Age instrumental albums that I’d really been wanting to explore through headphones. Things got really fun here, because some of these tracks had brain entrainment, which rely on low end to pull you into a more relaxed state. This is the moment when I realized that I really wanted these headphones in my life. Phasing audio effects, stereo shifts and filter effects sounded really lovely on the MT-220.
As I relaxed in to my music and let my mind drift, I actually did stop a moment and think to myself, “Did I get new headphones?” You know how you get when you’re half asleep, right? Anyway, I had to remind myself that I was doing a review a few times. I was really enjoying them that much.
So, you’ve probably gathered how fond I am of these headphones. The only final criticism I might throw against them would be that they are very big headphones. Very cushioned, and do take up a bit of space. But, then again, these are studio monitors! They are meant to be bulky! So, with that being said, take some time and try out the MT-220. You won’t regret it... Especially, if you have a nasty, old pair of headphones from the ’90s.