Pros: Balanced, detailed, very comfortable
Cons: no detachable cables, 32 ohm impedance still needs amping to drive from a phone
As a disclaimer, this pair of DT880 was a review unit from Beyerdynamic.
Arrived in a rather large box, beside a high definition picture of the headphones and a detailed technical spec, I always appreciate how Beyer guys honestly describe the sound signature and talk about the comfort without any hype or exaggeration. A lot of other companies write a flashy phrases to artificially boost their product, but with every Beyerdynamic product I reviewed in the last few months - the description was always spot on. Inside of the box you'll find a pleather case with a foam form fitting interior for storage and carrying of DT880. The only other accessory is screw-on 1/4" adapter. Out of the case, the first thing that jumped out and grabbed my attention was the velor earpads. These earpads could be considered as a luxury upgrade to bring the comfort level of these full size over-ear headphones to the best I have tested in a very long time. One of the biggest complains with over-/on-ear headphones is typically about earpads and how hot and sweaty they get after an extended listening period. Here, the breathable soft microfibre material wraps your ears in a comfort of two plush pillows. As a result of a perfect clamping force and a soft padding of spring steel headband, you get a super comfortable fitment that also feels very lightweight. The headband itself is adjustable, and has a soft click action with dots indicating the length of the extension. The earcup is attached to a headband through a brushed aluminum Y-fork construction which is typical for most of the Beyer headphone designs. This construction allows a decent angle of tilt to adjust the angle as well as a limited rotation of earcup to fit any shape/size head and ears. The earcup itself is made out of aluminum and hard plastic material which compliments design very nicely.
The back of DT880 earcups has a fine micro-mesh cover as part of semi-open design to allow some sound leakage as well as letting a little bit of external sound in to create a wider more airy sound. Another thing that worth mentioning is single side cable used on the left side which makes it convenient to unclutter cable management as well as helping to identify L/R when in the dark. Cable itself has a heavy duty shielding, but it's still flexible enough. Unfortunately, cable itself it not removable, but hopefully future updates will take care of that. Other design detail is an aluminum tab on each side of the headband which I found to have no functionality other than a cool look. One final thought, both earpads and headband padding are removable and replaceable, which is great when you have to take care of wear'n'tear in the future.
I found DT880 to have a balanced warm sound with a very realistic delivery of every instrument timbre. I typically expect neutral headphones to have such level of details, but here I was pleasantly surprised to find a full body balanced sound that was quite a pleasure to listen to. Everything from a low end with a detailed bass extension without any artificial bloat or spillage into mids, to clarity of mids with lush vocal delivery and upper mids clarity (not harsh at all, just perfect), to a sparkle of treble without any hint of unpleasant sibilance - I would go as far as saying these could be considered as audiophile quality reference monitors. The semi-open design adds to widening the depth and height of soundstage, though it wasn't reaching the level of T5p I tested before.
The nature of semi-open design means you will not have a perfect sound isolation from outside world, and the same refers to outside world that will not be isolated from a sound leaking out of your headphones either. Unfortunately that's a price to pay to enhance your listening experience. Another important thing I found, since these are advertised as 32 ohm headphones for portable use, they are NOT easy to drive directly from your phone. They did pair up nicely with a dedicated X5 DAP, and I was even able to drive them in low-gain mode at about 85% of max volume setting, but directly out of my Note 2 I was maxing it out in volume and internal smartphone's DAC was hitting saturation region, not the cleanest sound. Once I added A200p into that sound chain with my phone, things got back on track with a rich clean sound. What does it all mean? If you are planning to get these headphones to drive with your smartphone - not a good idea. To enjoy them to a full potential they will need some amping or to be used with a dedicated DAP. In that case, either 32 ohm or 250 ohm will not make that much of a difference and you can look on amazon for a better deal.
Here are the pictures.