Pros: Dynamic sound, dynamic bass
Cons: Prone to bloating, overall lack of detail, mine broke apart
The price point for the DTX 80 at the time I bought them, was in Denmark, roughly USD 80, making it a competitor to certain Sennheiser CX- and MX-series, Klipsch Image S4, and the cheaper Sony XBA-series.
- iPhone 4 & iPhone 5
- LA DAC 100
- M-Audio Firewire Solo
Accessories supplied in the box:
3x buds (S, M, L) and simple carrying case.
Slightly bass heavy; not overly much as fx. Beats by Dr. Dre or Sennheiser CX-series, but there's definitely a very noticably extra punch on the bass, no matter which source I used. The bass actually not as powerful and over-done as it's own siblings, the DTX 71 and DTX 101, but there's a lift in the bass nevertheless. The sound signature is probably made this way, to accomodate a wide range of music, with a mild favor towards bass-heavy popular music, such as dance/trance/heavy/hip-hop, but without rendering them useless for jazz/pop/classical.
The sound stage is really good for this price range. It's far less "in-your-head" than you would expect from IEM's in this price range. Not to say it beats the sound stage of more expensive IEM's such as Sony EX600 and EX1000 and V-Sonic GR-07, but it's really good nevertheless. To say it "comes close" to the aforementioned IEM's would not be stretching it too far. It's noticably lesser "in your head" then fx. Shure SE 215, and almost comparable to my Sony EX600's.
The bass is lively - to say it's punchy, would be exaggerating a bit in my opinion. But the emphasis here is noticable. I don't mind this; but what I DO mind, is that is it's simply too slow, causing the bass to sound a tad blurry at first, and then when you've gotten used to them, it seems to become even worse. Which means that bass detail and the separation of frequencies is not handled very well here. Again though; keep in mind the low price for these IEMs. I'm not pointing fingers at Beyer Dynamic for not having done a better job; they CAN do a better job, but at this price, it's handled better than could be expected, and in truth, better than its competitors - the only reason I'm conning the DTX 80's here, is because I HAVE IEM's that are more expensive and able to deliver far better detail and resolution.
The mids are warm and a little dominating in certain cases. It's a little too much for certain unplugged and jazz performances, but overall it's not too distracting if you're not too picky. The transition from bass to midtones is handled quite fluently, but I think that's more due to the general bluriness that the DTX 80's features (general lack of resolution and detail).
Yeah, here's where the DTX 80's achilles heel is really at. The trebles are there. They create a certain soundscape with the help from the warmer mids. But... the trebles are not inspiring. They're not tingling. To say that they're downright FLAT, would be to exaggerate. I do, however, not have any qualms with calling them VERY laid back. The transition from higher mid tones to trebles is not as fluent as can be heard from certain competitors, such as Sennheiser.
The trebles got better on my LA DAC 100, but they never got that sparkle and detail that my other IEM's can manage, even when they're paired with my iPhone. On the iPhone 5, the DTX 80's were a bit nicer when looking at the trebles, as the iPhone 5 is a little more bright in the ~1-5 kHz than the iPhone 4 (at least, to my ears). This is, however, a rather stupid thing to dwell on in a review, as it's actually caused by the iPhone 5 being not as perfectly neutral as the iPhone 4/4s. In other words, I might as well write something about how muffled the DTX 80's can sound with the equalizer preset "bass boost", but I thought it should be mentioned for those with iPhones.
On certain setups, there can be a slight hiss if your amp the DTX 80's too much. That's probably due to the low resistance. As soon as you play something, you won't be able to hear it, and to hear this hiss requires you to pay attention. Still, this is not an issue on fx. Shure SE 215 and Sony EX 600 (but then again, they're more expensive - although a higher resistance doesn't connect with the price).
The dynamics of this IEM are good in general, but there's an overall lack of texture and detail. This can be expected at this price, and in truth, it's very hard to find anyone that convincingly beats the DTX 80's at this price.
Sealing is pretty ok, if you can find the correct size of buds from the 3 pairs that comes with this package. You can also buy aftermarket buds, of course. But please beware that if you spend too much money on aftermarket buds, you may as well have bought some other IEMs that features a better sound quality, such as the Shure SE 215's.
Cable noise is mediocre, leaning towards a little bad, in my experience. Whenever I touched the cable, however slightly, I could hear a solid "thumb" like a floor drum (ok so I'm exagerrating here, but you probably get the point)...
The DTX 80's are sound quality wise, a very solid offer. Maybe one of the best generally available IEMs on the market, back when I bought them in 2011. Not a terrible lot has happened from then up until today at the time of writing, so I feel comfortable recommending the DTX 80's from the sound quality perspective, if your budget is limited to below 80 USD. I will, however, also recommend that one should look at the 100-120 USD price range. It isn't that much more money, but the difference in sound quality that can be attained in moving upwards a mere 20-40 bucks, is definitely audible.
Aaand there's the issue that... mine broke. After ~1 year of almost daily use (carried in my pocket), the glue that holds the black part and the grey part together, dissolved. Yeah sure - it's NO problem at all to re-glue it back together. But I find it distasteful that it can happen at all - and yes, this is me being bitchy about something that won't be a problem to most other people. I just don't like to buy something that requires me using glue on it. Ever.