Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Headphones › Over-Ear › Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 OHM Semi-open reference headphone

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 OHM Semi-open reference headphone

95% Positive Reviews
Rated #58 in Over-Ear


Pros: Materials, craftsmanship, durability, design, comfort. Soundstage surpasses many open-back designs. Neutral with slightly forward mids.

Cons: Like most open headphones in this class, bass response lacks some "oomph".




Ever since I got my hands on the old Grado SR60i over a decade ago I have been on a journey to find the best Mid-Fi headphone in the under $400 range. I have tried and owned many of the top recommendations in the segment in that time. The DT 880 Pro has been on my wish list for years. Finally, I was able to get a pair off a fellow head-fier in almost new condition for $180 USD. Here in Canada it's hard to find under $250 USD. As of now I feel this is the last one I needed to try in my journey to find my favorite Mid-Fi headphone. I will be comparing this with the following in my collection:


  • AKG K612 Pro
  • Fostex T50RP MK3
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro (250 Ohm)
  • DT 990 Premium (250 Ohm)
  • Sennheiser HD 600


I have published reviews for each of these headphones. Checkout my other reviews if you are interested in knowing more about any of them. Beyerdynamic is one of the few manufacturers I truly respect in the headphone industry. As a happy DT 770 Pro owner I do have a soft spot for Beyerdynamic. Credited for inventing the very first headphone, they know their stuff and it shows. Nearly all models are Made In Germany, which says a lot in year 2016. Although the DT 880 was introduced in the early 80's, it's remained relatively unchanged since. Originally there was just the Pro (250 Ohm) version. Now there are a few "Premium" versions at various impedances (32,250,600). I decided on the original DT 880 Pro (250 Ohm) version for the following reasons:


  1. It's easier to drive than the 600Ohm variants, and is virtually identical in audio fidelity.
  2. The head band padding is easily removable/replaceable on the Pro version.
  3. I find the clamping force too loose on the Premium version.
  4. The headband is thicker and higher quality steel on the Pro version.
  5. I don't like the appearance or feel of the sharp metal clip on the adjustment portion of the Premium version.
  6. Lastly, I prefer the coiled cable for its versatility and durability (snags are less likely to cause damage).



My Setup



In testing I used the TEAC UD-H01 32bit DAC connected via USB to my Windows 7 desktop. Then line out from the TEAC with RCA (full 2.0V RMS) to my Schiit Valhalla amp. Although this is a tube amp, it's one of the most neutral and low distortion out there. Unlike other tube amps the Valhalla does not add much, if any warmth in the mid-range. Compared to my SMSL SAP III solid state the Valhalla is more resolving with a bit more treble extension, fuller bass, and wider soundstage. Despite the SMSL being flatter, I find the Valhalla an overall improvement in almost every area. So I decided to write my impressions in this review with the Valhalla.



I use the foobar2000 player with EQ off playing various files from FLAC to m4a to mp3 (VBR/CBR 320). In terms of sound signature preferences I like more mid centric headphones with tight, accurate bass (quality over quantity). I frequently have long listening sessions and I do get irritated by sibilance on certain bright headphones like the DT 990. This is because I have quite sensitive hearing. I listen at much lower levels than anyone else I know. In terms of musical tastes, I enjoy all genres of music spanning across many different era's. But I have a soft spot for singer/songwriters with gifted vocals.


PS: I acquired the DT 990 Premium and Schiit Valhalla used from a local friend two weeks after my DT 880's came. I will be publishing reviews on those in the coming weeks.



Design/Build (10/10)



The packaging is modest, just a cardboard box. Included in the box is the headphone itself, 6.5mm screw on adapter, and a nylon soft carrying case. The DT 880 Pro feels substantial in the hand at 295 grams. They look and feel more expensive than they are. The headband itself is made of solid steel and is much thicker than average. I have yet to hear of anyone managing to break the headband on these. The DT 990 Premium headband feels flimsy in comparison. The generous padding on the headband can be removed and replaced or cleaned easily by undoing the button clips, another feature not available on the DT 990. Doing so will reveal the cable running along it to each driver.


(Did not get a shot of the 880 Pro headband, but it's identical to the 770 shown above.)


The adjustable portion is held together securely with two large screws on each end. The adjustment does "click" into place with markings to easily get a visual confirmation that both sides are set the same. The markings are engraved, no paint to rub off over time and easy to use in the dark. Left/Right are clearly marked on the outside, with Braille markings for the blind. Above this is the engraved Beyerdynamic name with logo appearing on both sides. On the inside you will see "Made In Germany" engraved and on both sides.



The drivers are suspended by another steel portion that is securely fastened to the ear cups with screws. This is the steel portion that "clicks" up and down for adjustment. The available adjustment is large and should fit just about anyone from children to adults. I found the right fit at 4 "clicks" up the adjustment. The ear cups do not rotate to sit flap on a table, but they do tilt up and down.


The ear cups are made of high quality plastic with aluminum accents and a stainless steel grill on the exterior. The grill itself has a nicely polished finish which feels soft to the touch. The grill is anything but flimsy, it would take a lot of force to bend or dent them. Much higher quality than the grills on the HD 600. I like the fact they are stainless steel also, no paint to chip or rub off over time. The model "DT 880 Pro" is painted on the outside of the grills though. The metal grills on the 880 make them look and feel more premium than the DT770/990. The bladed grills on the DT 990 Premium are actually plastic. The HD 600 still has a slight edge in styling with the larger oval see through metal grills and granite like finish.



Moving onto the ear pads, I was surprised to find the velour material on the DT 880 is not the same as the 770. It looks identical but the 880's are more "plush" to the touch, even more so than the more expensive HD 600. I suspect Beyerdynamic uses a higher thread count on the velour for the 880/990 pads than the 770 ones.  It appears the 770 pads offer more isolation at the cost of comfort. The foam padding however is identical in its firmness. In terms of removing/installing the ear pads, the procedure is the same. Simply pull them off to reveal a foam covering the drivers.


(DT880 left, DT770 right on both images)


The rear of the pads look identical, but I noticed the velour material goes farther back on the 880 pad before the seam. Some people complained about discomfort from the stitching of the 770 rubbing on the ears. This is not a problem with the 880 since the stitching is closer to the rear of the ear pad. Plastic guides can be popped out to remove the foam covering the driver. Under that is a much thicker and denser black cotton material glued to the center to offer some dampening. Under that is a thin white cotton mesh, also glued on.



The coiled cable is permanently fixed to the left driver. I prefer single sided cables for one reason, it's another easy way to tell which side is which in the dark. The cable is about 5ft in length, up to 10ft when stretched out. It is terminated to 3.5mm with a screw on 6.5mm adapter included. The cable is not replaceable but it is securely fixed and durable. As an owner of other headphones with replaceable cables, I think the feature is overrated. Connectors not only wear out, but can sometimes affect sound when moving around or not securely fastened. I have yet to replace a cable on any headphone. If you need more length or you're afraid of damaging the cable, use a headphone extension cord. I really don't see a "need" for a replaceable cable. Unless you plan to go portable with this headphone, in which case there are much better options for that purpose. Every other part can be replaced on this headphone, including the drivers themselves. Finding parts is easy because of their long-standing popularity. This is a big plus for working professionals who are more likely to abuse their gear.


All DT series headphones are exceptionally well made. But of all three models and variants the DT 880 Pro feels and looks the most "premium". You'll be challenged to find a better made headphone in ANY price range. The design is remarkably simple and easy to service. It's clearly designed to be a headphone for the working professional. The DT 880 beats out every other Mid-Fi headphone I've tried or owned in terms of build quality, hands down. I swear the design team had the German Tiger tanks in mind when they made this. I give it 10/10.



Comfort (9/10)




The clamping force is firm out of the box. Noticeably more than the HD 600 and DT 770 (10 years old now). The steel is very stiff, I would not worry about breaking it, just bend it to your will. After several weeks I did not find it to be a problem. But it will take some time before it loosens up to be like the DT 770, which is perfect for me right now. I prefer the Pro series headband because the Premium one on the DT 990 I found to be too loose. To the point where any quick movement of the head would throw them off. If you could prop the DT 880 on a headphone stand or something to stretch it out it wouldn't take long to get the clamping force just right. The padding is ample on the headband, and it contours perfectly to my head, no hot spots at all. Pressure on the top of the head is very well spread out, no spaces on the top of the head can be seen with them on. It's one of the best headbands I've used in terms of how well it contours.


Let's face it, Beyerdynamic makes the best velour ear pads on the market. They are large enough to fit nice and cozy inside. When your ears do touch, it's like snuggling up with your favorite teddy bear. I wish they made underwear like this! Padding is great, even with the firm clamping force out of box, the ear pads did a great job of eliminating pressure. I do wear glasses and can experience pressure on the top of the ears sometimes, but this was never an issue with the DT 880. Because the ear cups are semi-open, they never became sweaty or even warm inside. They truly provide all-day comfort, on par with the DT 990.


I did find when the coiled cable is stretched it will pull on the headphones. The simple solution was to stretch it out and tie it to something to get some slack. Another easy solution is to use a headphone extension cord, which doubles as a security measure to avoid damaging the cable in case of a snag. Overall I would still give a slight edge to the HD 600 in comfort because pressure is more evenly distributed on the larger oval ear cups, and they are more breathable. I give it a 9/10, knocking it for the firm clamping force out of box.


Sound (9/10)



There is slight isolation from ambient noise, but it's quite minimal. It's not enough to use in a noisy environment. Sound leakage is not bad, much less than the HD 600, but more than the T50RP. You might be ok at lower volumes without bothering others. It really depends on the ambient noise in your environment. In terms of power requirements it's maybe 10% more than the HD 600. I go from 10 to 11 o'clock on the volume knob of my Valhalla. I've never seen anyone pass 1 o'clock when trying them out. You can achieve moderate listening levels at 75-85% volume on most portable devices. Desktops and laptops get loud enough at 60-70%. I would still consider amplification required to get the best out of them. Bass response, among other things, is greatly improved when properly amplified. In terms of burn-in I did not notice any change before or after 150+ hours. But keep in mind mine were used.


To summarize this headphones sound signature in a few words I would say it's like a sip of hot chocolate while sitting in front of a warm fire on a cold day. It's inviting, yet polite and comforting. It's a great balance of transparency and detail in the treble, with a more forward mid-range for added warmth. It's a more "Sennheiserized" sound signature than the DT770/990, which I found to be more aggressive (V-shaped). Beyerdynamic adds a touch of sparkle up top while keeping the mid-range luscious and intimate.


The immediate improvement over the HD 600 for me was the more spacious and engaging soundstage. I put it up there with the best of the fully open headphones I have tried like the AKG K612 Pro. It's on par with the T50RP MK3 in this regard. The DT 880 manages to retrieve great detail in the treble without being harsh or distracting, even with imperfect sources. The T50RP for me was a bit aggressive and a little too unforgiving in this regard, while the HD 600 was a bit of the opposite. The DT 880 manages to find a great middle ground. The treble is more extended and transparent then the HD 600. The treble never bleeds into the mids, which is very important to me because I'm a sucker for mids. Of all my headphones the DT 880 Pro has the most pleasing treble.


No question the king of the mid-range for me has always been the HD 600. This is really the only reason I keep coming back to it. Of all the headphones I have tried the DT 880 comes the closest to pleasing me to the same degree. Both present a forward mid-range that sounds equally natural and intimate. I spent many days trying to distinguish the slightest difference in the mid-range. In the lower mids to bass there is more "weight" in the HD 600. This adds a bit more depth to male vocals and lower tones. I still have to give the HD 600 a slight edge in the mid-range, but I feel this is overshadowed by the 880's superior treble extension and soundstage.


The bass that's there is good. It's well extended, tight, and controlled. I just wish there were a tad more of it. Although the amount of impact is less than the 770, it's quicker and more composed. Bass on the 990 Premium hits a little harder but is not as composed either. This is the area where the HD 600 makes up some ground. The HD 600 is just "weightier" and hits with more authority, particularly in the sub bass. Honestly though, all open headphones in this segment are lacking in bass to some degree. For bass lovers the T50RP trumps the HD 600 while offering a much better value. I think a headphone for listening pleasure probably needs to accentuate bass a little, especially for the younger folks. For mixing/monitoring applications you want as flat as possible. For that purpose the DT 880 and K612 are likely the best in this group. The K612 being the more neutral of the two, but the DT 880 being more transparent and rich. Bass is an easy fix with EQ or amplifiers which have a bass boost. You can't really fix lack of detail, soundstage, etc. So if I had to put up with something it would be in the area of bass response. And too little is better than too much. I found just 2-3DB of boost was just right for me. I give it a fantastic 9/10 for sound.



Verdict (9.5/10)



Here in Canada the HD 600 is hard to find under $400 USD. The DT 880 Pro is significantly less at about $250 USD. Having owned both now, I would have to recommend the DT 880 over the HD 600. I don't feel you would be missing out on anything. In fact, you're getting improvements in a lot of areas that matter. The Beyerdynamic is better made and more durable. It has a simpler easier to service design. It's just more practical and versatile. Some might be able to make a case that the HD 600 sounds better. Regardless, the price difference of about $100-150 is better spent on a DAC and/or AMP if you don't already have good ones. When you take the value proposition into account, the DT 880 Pro is the king of Mid-Fi. The only case I can make for the HD 600 is for bass heads, but chances are even that won't satisfy. Those people are better off going for something like the DT 770 or T50RP MK3 for half the price.


Value aside, if you had to pry one away from me now (880 or 600), I would have to let the DT 880 go. If you asked me the same question before I had the Schiit Valhalla I would of said the opposite. The Valhalla adds a touch of detail and richness to the treble that works magic on the HD 600. I suspect this amp would do wonders on any high impedance headphone with a "dark" or "veiled" sound signature like most Sennheisers. That being said, the DT 880 already has that magical sparkle in treble so if you own flat or dark amps the 880 is still the better choice, especially on a budget.



Comparison Notes



The headphones differ to a much greater degree in their design, materials, and craftsmanship than their audio fidelity. Those factors are much less subjective. Yet people read these reviews and put more weight on audio fidelity. I am comparing some of the best headphones in their respective class, which all sound great in their own right. Our comments as reviewers, especially with regards to audio fidelity, are completely subjective. Remember that your ears, and more importantly your setup, is unique. It's easy to build a bias by reading what other people have said before giving it a fair chance. Don't do it! If you like something because of its value, design or feature set, try it out yourself before forming an opinion on how it sounds. Don't be afraid to share an opinion that differs from everyone else. Truth wont prevail by being agreeable.


Anyway, below is how I ranked the headphones from best to worst (left to right) in each category. "+" indicates a tie.


  • Mids/Vocals (HD600,DT880,K612,T50RP,DT770,DT990)
  • Bass Response (T50RP,DT770,HD600,DT990,DT880,K612)
  • Soundstage/Imaging (DT880+DT990,T50RP,K612,HD600,DT770)
  • Highs (DT880,T50RP,DT990,K612,HD600,DT770)
  • Transparency/Detail (DT880+DT990,T50RP,HD600,K612,DT770)
  • Neutrality (K612,DT880,T50RP,HD600,DT770,DT990)
  • Isolation (DT770,T50RP,DT880,DT990,K612,HD600)
  • Comfort (HD600,DT880+DT990,K612,DT770,T50RP)
  • Materials/Craftsmanship (DT880,DT770,DT990,T50RP,HD600,K612)
  • Style (HD600,DT880,DT990,DT770,T50RP,K612)
  • Value (K612,T50RP,DT770,DT880,DT990,HD600)
  • Overall Audio Fidelity (DT880,HD600,T50RP,DT990,K612,DT770,)
  • My Favorite (HD600,DT880,DT770,K612,T50RP,DT990)


Below is how well each headphone paired with the Schiit Valhalla.


  • Valhalla Amp Pairing (HD600,DT880,K612,DT770,T50RP,DT990)


The Valhalla powered all headphones without a hitch, I am just nitpicking here to rank them in hopes this will be informative. You may have noticed I moved the T50RP MK3 down in a few categories since I reviewed it. The treble is a little more irritable with the Valhalla in the mix, so take this into account. It's getting less and less head time because the HD 600 and DT 880 are my go to open cans. For my bass head moments I still prefer the DT 770 for its isolation and more agreeable treble. The DT 990's treble is even more irritable than the T50RP to my ears, so it gets the least head time.


I hope you found the review, however biased, helpful in making your own decision. If you did, please mark it helpful so others will see it. Happy listening!


Pros: Well balanced, good for most genres, extremely comfortable, well built, good clarity and detail

Cons: No detachable cable

The DT880 Pro 250 ohm is a semi-open circumaural head-phone which Beyerdynamic market for monitoring.




Packaging and Accessories

My DT880's (although purchased new) were actually sent as a demo unit - so I did not get the retail box.  They do some with a very nice padded canvas case which offers reasonable protection, and also a 3.5-6.3mm adaptor plug (screw on).




Technical Specifications

From the Beyerdynamic website :


Transmission type   Wired
Headphone design (operating principle)   Semi-open
Impedance   250 ohms
Frequency Response   5 - 35.000 Hz
Nominal SPL   96 dB
Pad Type   Circumaural (around the ear)
Cable & plug   Coiled connecting cable with mini-jack plug (3.5 mm) & ¼“ adapter (6.35 mm)
Net weight without packaging   295 g


Build / Comfort / Isolation


The build on the DT880 Pro is extremely solid.  These look and feel like they were built to last.  There is a lot of metal in the cups and headband - but everything is excellently padded.


The DT880 Pro do have quite a bit of clamp force - the Pro version were specifically designed for studio work, and as such do have a tighter clam than the Premium version.  This also is supposed to provide a more "powerful" sound (whatever that means) - but I suspect it may have more to do with bass presence and tighter soundstage.


Despite the clamp force, the DT880 are immensely comfortable and I could wear them for hours.  The velour pads are very soft, and completely enclose your ears.  The head band is well padded, and is also replaceable.  It is definitely one of the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn.


Although the DT880 is semi-open, and clamps well, it does leak sound, and allow ambient noise in (like all open headphones).  It is nowhere near as open as other headphones I've had though (Alessandro, AD700).  I would not use it for outside, or in an environment demanding quiet - but for normal use around the home so far it has been excellent.






Sound Quality


I was looking for a well balanced headphone when I demoed the DT880, and that really is it's strong-point.  IMO the DT880 is really a jack-of-all-trades, and can handle most genres really well.


Detail - The DT880 has decent clarity, but does not approach the detail level of cans like the SRH940.  Everything is very clear to me though.  It has a very slight U shaped frequency with a slightly more prominent mid-bass and treble.


Soundstage - IMO the stgae is not overly large for an open can - and is probably deeper than it is wide. I did find them reasonable for positional gaming, and they do not feel overly cramped - but they definitely are not airy or expansive either.


Highs - I found the highs on the DT880 to be almost perfect.  There is enough sparkle to keep things lively, without becoming sibilant.  Extension seems good - and the nice thing is that the highs are not overdone.


Mids - The mids are good, but do sit ever so slightly in the background - especially in the first 50 hours or so of listening.  They also have a tendency to be a little dry rather than warm and engaging.  My one regret with the DT880 is that the mids are not a little more to the front of the spectrum, and I would love to see them a little warmer.  However, if you add a tube amp to the mix, this has the ability to add the missing warmth.  I've never been a proponent of burning -in headphones.  But I have been quietly amazed over the last few days as the mids have opened up a little for me.  Could be placebo - but these are becoming more enjoyable as time goes on.


Bass - The bass is punchy, and reasonably well defined.  It extends well - but doesn't seem to quite get right down to the sub-bass.  There is a slight emphasis on the mid-bass which contributes to the U frequency, but overall the bass is well presented as long as it is driven properly.



DT880 Pro with my PortaTube - a magic combination.


Power Requirements - my DT880 Pro are 250ohm, and although they can be driven straight from my iPhone4 / iPod Touch 4 - they need volume at 90% to be listenable, and they are not really being driven to their potential.  These cans really do need amping.  They respond well to my E11, but really start to shine with the E9 (about 10 o'clock on the pot) and absolutely shine on the PortaTube.


Summary / Conclusion

The DT880 Pro are the first Beyers I've tried, and I have to say that I am impressed.  They are supremely comfortable, and for me present a level of comfort that all manufacturers should strive for.


They are extremely well balanced, and lend well to all the genres I listen to - especially female vocals, modern jazz, and both progressive and classic rock.  They also do classical surprisingly well.  They do have a tendency to be a little dry and unexciting at first - IMO due to the lack of colouration - but with tubes, or a warm amp, they do come alive and are really very pleasant.  Well worth the price I paid for them - they simply do most things very well.



Pros: Sound Quality, Comfort, Value

Cons: Mids, Treble, Fixed Cable


Me: I am a 21 year old student living in a small town in India. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. Eventually, I found the pleasure of listening to music mainly by the HD600 and recently, by the seductive LCD2 headphones, and realized the true components of recorded music. I usually like to listen to Indian Classical Music along with Bollywood songs. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop.


Intro:  Beyerdynamic is well known, established &one of the oldest audio brand specializing in the area of headphones and IEM’s. They are headquartered in Germany. Their products are all designed, developed & made in Germany. DT880 line is a very popular and long running headphone offering from Beyer.



Beyerdynamic has a specific vision in making their products: Their products should last long (very long) and should employ quality engineering for precise and accurate sound reproduction.


Specifications of DT880:


Rated Impedance: 250 Ω


Frequency Response: 5 ~ 35,000 Hz


Sensitivity: 96dB

Weight: 290 Grams


Plug: 3.5mm with screw on 6.5mm Gold plated


Cable: Coiled, Helical stretching type & non removeable.

Let us see what the DT880 has got for us,


Packaging and Accessories: The DT880’s arrive packed inside a cushioned black foam case. Once the case is flipped open, The DT880 is seen resting. Nothing fancy, basic accessories included. But each and every part has a premium quality and feel to it.


List of accessories in the box, which include the following: 


¼” Converter: To plug in the DT880 in the 6.5mm headphone jacks.


Carry case: This is a pleather case, and supplied to protect and store the DT880.


User Manual: Contains instructions to operate the DT880 and other warranty information.


Design and Build: The DT880/250 Pro has a great build quality. That being said, Beyerdynamic has made a few compromises in pro version when compared to DT880 premium versions.



The housing shell is made up of high quality forged aluminium & fibre. It isn’t painted, but is anodized, which is again a step forward in engineering. These are light in weight. Headband is made up of steel, covered by a pleather cushion. Earpads are ventilated velours.



Cable has a very good build. It is coiled, flexible and does not get tangled. I could not notice the presence of any microphonics. Plug is straight and gold plated. The stock cable does a great job in transferring signals along with great transparency. But the cable is fixed & not detachable, which is quite disappointing. This can also be troublesome in a long run.  If the cable gets damaged/cut one may have to visit Beyer service centre.  





Another downside I observe here is, wiring for opposite driver is embedded on upper end of headband, like an overhead cabling. Personally, I don’t think this is the best mechanism here, so instead of overhead wire, which will be unreliable over time, It is ideal to obtain HD600 cabling style, which is really reliable for a long time to come.




Difference between Pro and Premium versions: The sliding yoke mechanism on DT880 Pro version is really mediocre, due to compromised design compared to premium version. Pro version has practically nothing to stabilize or hold the yokes, which keep wobbling, colliding and hitting the headband, causing scratches.


Premium versions have specific ‘rail’ to stabilize and control the yoke when user shortening/elongating them. Premium versions also have a much better and permanent head cushioning. I also noticed premium versions have a coated headbands, where as the Pro has a black painting, which is relatively of lower quality and peels off. Again the cable is coiled in Pro version and straight on Premiums. The premiums also have a relaxed and comfortable clamp and headband angle, where as pro’s are quite tight and might cause discomfort when they are new. Though both share the exactly same drivers and housings. 



For reference, The DT880 Premium 250



The DT880 Pro 250






The DT880 quality-wise is very durable & reliable; but design-wise, it is not quite so;


Comfort:  DT880’s are very comfortable to wear in general, but I feel these may not be very comfortable to wear for larger heads, owing to its round earcups. The earpads of DT880 may feel somewhat itchy to sensitive skinned enthusiasts.



Though DT880 is ergonomically designed, it is primarily designed for people with smaller ear size. Enthusiasts with larger ears/heads may not prefer the comfort of DT880. Length of the yoke will be slightly less for a good comfort. We should remember than our ears are not round, but are oval shaped. So this results in our ears touching the edges of earpad or inner area. Our ears are soft and sensitive, and this contact results in pain or discomfort.




The coiled cable is quite heavy in weight, and if you listen to your DT880’s while standing or moving, you can notice the cable’s weight and heavy swings. This happens because of the coiled nature of the cable. Since DT880’s are semi-open headphones, these do leak sound, but not as loud as fully open cans.



Sound:  The DT880 has a neutral character, with slightly hot treble. ‘Accuracy’ is the key term.


Burn in: These improve a lot with time. Let’s say a playback of 100 hours provides audible improvements, along with softening of earpads and a relaxed clamping force.  Bass prior to break-in is slightly more sterile, and eventually it becomes more more in body, Mids will sound more open, airy. highs which were ‘hotter‘ become slightly more smooth, soundstage opens up by a margin.


Lows: are very accurate, tight and refined; have a strong impact. Depth is moderate.


Mids: sounds slightly recessed. Not a strong contender for vocals. This did not quite appeal me.


Highs: Very are clear, detailed, yet little more than required.  I can describe highs not as ‘bright’ but as slightly ‘ hot’


Soundstage: The DT880’s soundstage is airy, spacious, but not fully circular or 3D soundstage, but more of a 2D like with left and right separation. Depth is moderate. Instrument separation, detail retrieval is very good. According to my observation, these cans sounded good particularly in instrumentals, and classical. Vocals were not great. I can say the DT880’s are not forgiving to poor recordings. Hence these are revealing and resolving. I would prefer to pair DT880’s with a OTL tube amp for music listening, then the mids will open out much better and highs much more sweeter and in control.


Comparison with HD600: The HD600 is long hailed as Mid-Fi King, (which it still is, and which it will be for a long time to come)


HD600 is a widely loved and a long standing headphone which extremely reliable and durable. It is fully modular. Sonically it is neutral has a nice quantity bass which is fairly accurate; Mids are very magical in HD600’s. Highs are smoothened out with very less grains or harshness. Highs are present in just the right amount to keep the music alive. HD600 indeed does comparatively lack soundstage width, but inturn has a very 3D and more circular and fuller soundstage.


When compared to HD600, DT880 is clearly inferior in design, one can observe the headbands, wiring connection methods and fixed cable. It also offers lesser comfort due to round earcups (our ears are oval shaped, not round) and shallow clearance inside earcups making ears to touch the inner surface. Also the DT880 is not modular, it does not detacheable cables, and hence definitely not as durable as HD600. Both HD600 and DT880 are neutral (or near neutral), but they present sound in different kind of presentations or signatures. Detail level is almost same in both cans, it just appears like HD600 does not quite retrieve the detail due to its thicker sonic presentation. Also, these cans are considered as high impedance cans, & benefit from OTL tube amplifiers, but HD600 will be slightly easier to drive than the DT880’s.


DT880 Pro 250 is available around 230$ & The DT880 Premium 250 is priced around 350$. I can confidently say, the premiums are the real and actual Beyer DT880 line with Pro version having compromises in some areas to reduce the price point. Also, Sennheiser has updated the HD600 with new box and new price (may be small updates on headphones too) and best thing is that HD600’s now cost just 299$!  So gone are the days, when enthusiasts would judge HD600’s price point.


So, ultimately without a second thought The HD600 reigns as the King of Mid-Fi, and should be ideal headphone choice for all enthusiasts, Unless they specifically want the sound signature of DT880’s.


Amplification: These DT880’s are rated at 250 ohms, and are not designed to be power efficient or run by weak sources and hence need a dedicated headphone amplifier. Although DT880 can sound ‘good’ with setups like setup like an O2/ODAC or M/M stack, but the beast is unleashed only on OTL: Output transformer less type tube amplifiers. OTL amps clearly increase dynamics, soundstage, and imaging. The mids sound much more enjoyable, and highs are controlled. It is like these cans are on a whole new level now. And the difference in quality is clearly audible by any listener. Power (voltage swings) is an important aspect here.


LD MKIII is a handsome OTL amp for DT880 (also for Senn HD600/650) in a very reasonable price. Bottlehead Crack has also got a good synergy with DT880’s at a higher price point.


Conclusion:  The DT880’s can be considered as a good headphone. I liked way DT880’s presented the details, and one can easily figure out the flaws in a recording. This type of presentation will be useful for mastering or critical listening, and utility for musical pleasure is quite not the same. Lows were accurate, But the presentation of mids & treble in DT880 did not quite appeal my tastes. And of course, the compromises made in pro model disappointed me further.


Due to DT880’s design, enthusiasts with moderate to large heads may not prefer the comfort in these. Build quality is great, but design is just good enough owing to compromises in Pro model. Sonic presentation may not please everyone with fairly good soundstage. As of today, DT880 along with AKG Q701 are the only champions who are able to compete with the mighty HD600 in sub 300$ range.


I can whole heartedly recommend DT880 for those, who would prefer neutral sounding headphones for a detailed listen, plus whose head & ear size is relatively smaller inorder to enjoy a good comfort and fit.


The Pros: 


1) Build Quality: The DT880 has a good all-metal/fibre build.


2) Sound quality: Sound presentation here is very neutral, and is very much helpful for critical listening.


The Cons:


1) Comfort: This is definitely a downside for enthusiasts with moderate to larger heads and ears. DT880 cannot accommodate larger ears inside its earpad. .Also, the earpads may cause itching/ discomfort in warmer climates.


2) Design: The Overhead wiring style, non removable cable, headband cushioning are the main concerns in the design area of The DT880. Though these may not cause any serious issues right away, but definitely not a good trend in long run.


Pros: Separation is good, room for equalization

Cons: Treble is metallic and sibilant, there is no bass extension whatsoever

Shocked, to say the least, is what I was when I first listened to my DT880 250ohm. My jaw dropped. All the negative reviews were right, Beyer made a treble cannon instead of headphones. My despair deepened further when I heard no bass extension, still after a nice and loud 24h burn in. Literally no sub bass could be heard (30hz) and bass was extremely weak. I had to take out the big guns, my dads old amp, that extremely smooth and dark. Bass knob went to the maximum before it could have been considered balanced sounding. Trebles improved slightly by tuning them way down, but rang metallic through and through, though muddied.


Build is also an extremely mixed bag. Whereas the cans are nice aluminium, the headband fastening and adjusting points are extemely cheap plastic, which made the whole headphone feels flimsy. Comfort is A grade though.


My recommendation is to stay far away, anything by a serious manufacturer in the 100 to 300$ range will outshine these like a supernova. Dt880 will profoundly disappoint anyone serious about their quest for natural, balanced and rich sound.


Pros: bright and balanced sound, COMFORT, solid metal build, coiled cable

Cons: non-detachable cable

This review might be a bit odd, especially for audiophiles here. I'm a musician and a total noob in audio technique. I was looking for decent headphones to use for extensive practice sessions on my Clavia Nord Stage piano. My requirements were quite specific:


- COMFORT. I can't stress that enough.

- Balanced sound, faithful reproduction of the instruments. All the bass-boosted (-crippled) items were automatically eliminated from my considerations.

- Solid, durable built (+ decent design, if possible). I don't plan to upgrade any time soon. Preferably never.

- Open or semi-open soundstage. Being isolated from the world is the last thing I want while doing music.

- Price tag around 200 EUR.


On the other hand, I didn't care about some of the usual preferences such as portability, usability without amp, or sound leaking. Btw, one thing I didn't know before, the E-piano output power is sufficient even for high-impedance headphones. One doesn't need to amp them - just plug them in and enjoy the ride :)


So I went through a LOT of threads and reviews - to find that I have basically three options:

- Sennheiser HD 5x8

- Beyerdynamic DT 880/990 Pro/Premium

- Audio Technica ADxxx


First I tried the Senns but I didn't like them for their build/look (very light, cheap looking plastic) and the sound (there I first heard the infamous Sennheiser veil). Of course, I could've gone for the HD 600/650 and I'd probably be satisfied. But those are unnecessarily pricey. I rather tried the Beyerdynamics - and the rest is history. Luckily, the biggest music store here in Berlin (justmusic, a great place) has the Beyerdynamics in stock. They even let me try the DT 880 Pro with Nord Stage 2. I was honestly blown away by what I heard! I have no idea how long I stayed stuck there. The next thing I know was a guy asking me to leave because they were closing. So I just bought those cans on my way out :)


That's the end of story. I actually never got to try the Audio Technicas. I'd be interested in a comparison.


Pros: Relatively neutral, extended bass, great with all genres, comfortable, detailed

I have the DT-880 Pro (250 Ohm) model and also own and regularly listen to a Hifiman HE-400, Sennheiser HD600, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (80 Ohm), V-MODA M-80, and others.

The DT-880 is really the only one that I find to excel at all genres from rap to classical and everything in between. None of the others have this much bass extension and impact, detailed highs that sparkle (a little bit sibilant though), and an overall neutral sound signature. For that reason, and because they are lighter and more comfortable than the HE-400, the DT880 are my most-used headphones.

Compared to the Sennheiser HD600, the DT880:
-Have better sub-bass extension
-Are more detailed
-Have cord on only one side (more convenient but less reliable over time)
-Have fixed cord (cannot be replaced)
-Have a wider soundstage
-Are less natural sounding
-Are more sibilant/fatiguing. Cymbals sometimes sound harsh.

A few words for those trying to pick between the DT-880 models:

-The Pro and Premium 250 Ohm use the same drivers and therefore sound exactly the same except that the clamp strength is slightly tighter for the Pro than the Premium, which changes the sound a tiny bit (more bass). If you stretch the headband a bit on the Pro, it sounds exactly like the Premium

-The 32 ohm model is meant to be driven by phones, iPods, etc, does not need a dedicated amp, but many who have compared it to the others say that it does not sound as good as the 250 and 600 ohm models

-Most who have done side by side comparisons of the 250 and 600 ohm models find that they sound the same, yet the 600 ohm model has a reputation for being the best sounding, likely because the people using it are pairing it with higher end amps, or possibly just because of "placebo effect". I would and did get the 250 ohm model because it is easier to drive (I can use them without a dedicated amp if I need to, though they sound much better if I do.

-The Pro model comes with a coiled cord, while the Premiums have a straight cord. They also have obvious style differences. I preferred the coiled cord and looks of the Pro model.

The current sub-$200 price of the DT-880 Pro 250 ohm model on Amazon is a steal. They are absolutely at the quality and performance level of my $400 Sennheiser and $300 Hifiman.


Pros: Great, great comfort. Very smooth treble. Great out of head experience. Convincing 3D imaging. Authoritive bass with great punch. Clarity. Detail.

Cons: Bass takes away from the balance & cohesiveness of the music. Dry & sterile with SS amping. Highs can appear to be a bit sharp & piercing.

I'm very fond of the DT880, but oddly enough, not when it comes to music. I find music with them dry & a bit sterile.. The DT880 demands tubes for musicality, Although, they are hard to fault in terms of technical merit. They offer excellent resolve, detail, & separation of the instruments.. The resolve is a bit superficial & docile compared to the DT48, but is still stellar in their own right, & what you would expect from a hi quality headphone worthy of it's 489.00 MSRP.


Unlike the SA5000, the detail isn't in the spotlight, getting in the way of the music.. You get just about the same amount of detail, but it doesn't take away your focus from the music. Detail isn't pushed in your like like the SA5000.


I find the DT880 to be the smoothest dynamic headphone I ever owned. Just butter smooth, only my Ortho's are smoother.. The treble high octane, plentiful, smoother & better extended then my DT48, which IMO, lacks the overall smoothness & treble energy that I really enjoy with the DT880.


The Sound stage has more depth then width from my experience, & has a un canny ability to project sound in front of you, while at the same time projecting a very convincing out of 3D imaging that can actually cover my room.. But not in the 4 corner sense, but in the triangle sense. I never had this experience with a headphone before.


The DT880's bass is the most pleasurable I have heard SE.. It just has a mind of it's own mentality with authoritative drive & impact.. Under amped the bass can sound a bit loose, flabby, plodding. Well driven, it's truly as pleasure to listen too.. Full, textured, & well extended.


The most glaring flaw is the DT880 Mid range.. I find it a bit recessed, brittle, lean, & dry... Tube amps help, but still is not the headphones strong suit.


The highs are sweet with some bloom & sparkle.. But treble sensitive listeners will find the highs more harsh & sharp.. This is a area, where most problems occur with the majority of DT880 owners.


In general.. The DT880 are linear & neutral sounding compared to the majority of other popular hi fi headphones under 500.. For gaming & movies the DT880 are A number 1 in my book.. But for music, with the gear I used them with, they didn't do much for me.. Still highly recommended.


Pros: Beautiful clarity and balance, Defined but controlled bass, extremely comfortable.

Cons: Bass can be slightly lacking for some genres.

What can i really say about these astonishing headphones? I bought them after a very long audition session where even against much more expensive competition i kept coming back to these beautiful cans.


First things first, If you are looking for cans which add something to an album the DT880's probably aren't for you. They add little in terms of energy or warmth. They are clinical in their sound. What you get on the CD/FLAC/MP3 is what you hear. To me this is no bad thing, in fact it is the reason I chose these over the other options presented to me. That isn't to say they aren't fun to listen to, they have excellent balance and dynamics, as well as having great timing and control. But the energy and excitement comes from the music. If the music is dull and lifeless the headphones sound that way too, but if the music is energetic and powerful and exciting the headphones are as well.


I purchased new headphones due to an operation which left my on ear headphones uncomfortable for long use. I have no such comfort issues here, in fact i believe these are the most comfortable headphones i've ever used. 4/5 hour listening sessions at night and i don't even know they're on my head. The pro's clamp harder than the premium line DT880's due to the intended use in studios where a lot of movement is expected, but i find the strong clamp to be reassuring.


The sound that comes from these headphones is breathtaking though, in clarity and sound stage they are superb, you can hear where everything is positioned and every tap of the cymbal and strum of the guitar it is incredible, like the band is in your room. 


The only negative, and for me it is a very small one, these cans are not for extreme bassheads. There is plenty of bass for me, it's controlled and tight and well defined, but it doesn't go to th extremely low powerful frequencies other can's manage. So maybe Techno/trance/dance/hip hop fans should consider other alternatives.


In my opinion these should be on anyones audition list. stunning detail and clarity make these cans a winner in my book.


Pros: Built well, high quality materials, soft earpads and headband, analytical, quick, drum-tight sub bass

Cons: picky with amps and mastering, heavy cable, drivers press against ears, sibilant, metallic highs, bland mid range, uninvolving, not much musicality

I purchased the DT880 Pros as my first open/semi open headphones, after returning the DT770 Pro 80s due to earaches from the excessive bass. I am a bit of an analytical headphone person with certain genres I listen to. When I first tried the DT880s, I was impressed, but after listening for a while, the shortcomings became more apparent. 


For sub bass, these are probably the most sub-bassy analytical heaphones I have owned. There are more bassy analytical cans, however. The problem I had with the DT880s were the earpads. It's not that they aren't soft, because they are. They are just not large enough, so the drivers ended up touching my ears. Anything touching my ears is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, as it makes my ears itchy and red from irritation. But the biggest problem I found about the DT880s was the treble. It has some of the worst treble of any headphone I have listened to. It's sharp, unrefined, and metallic. It has the finesse of someone banging on a dumpster with a hammer, giving me an earache, and strangely, a taste of metal in my mouth. I like treble, but not like this. The bottom and top sound heaviness to the DT880 gives it a rather bland and uninvolving mid and vocal section with not enough mid bass to my ears.


Compared to the AKG Quincy Jones Q701, the DT880 has a more comfortable headband, is a little bit more durable feeling, has a faster decay of notes, and more sub bass. But other than that, it's an inferior headphone in every other way. The soundstage is MUCH wider on the Q701s, notes hang in the air more, and the treble, while bright, is more like a plateau, and not a mountain range of spikes. There is also more 10 kHz roll off than the DT880s, which I prefer. The mid range and the mid bass on the Q701s is MUCH better than the DT880. And there actually IS a mid range, as well as a more rhythmic sound overall. The DT880s will be better for electronic music than the Q701s when amplified properly, but as an analytical headphone with still some musicality goes, the Q701 is hands down better. 


Pros: Comfort, value, sound

Cons: Treble and bass

These really should be tried by everyone imo. They are not too expensive and work well for many genres of tunage. Ultimately they didn't work fo rme but I am very particular about the reproduction of traditional instruments ala strings, percussion, horns etc. The treble on these just did not work for me. Perhaps I didn't pair it up with the right amp. I can imagine a perfect marriage there may solve the problems in both the top and bottom end. The top sounded 'cotton candy'ish' to my ears and unnatural and the bass was too loose for my tastes. But not bad. Again this is the type of problem proper amplification has historically been known to address. The midrange, while a little distant for my tastes, is done real nicely and is pleasant to listen to. Overall though the listening experience is not visceral or real enough for me but it doesn't stop from high praise and encouragement to 'give 'em a try' especially if you have lots of time, energy and $ to play around with amp pairings.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 OHM Semi-open reference headphone

The DT 880 PRO is a reference-class, semi-open studio headphone which combines all strengths of open, transparent headphones with those of more powerful, closed headphones. Specially designed housings and an improved system equalisation turn this “remake” of the studio classic DT 880 PRO into an ideal studio monitoring headphone, with analytical qualities. Soft ear pads and adjustable, sliding, earpieces together with a single sided connecting cable ensure listening comfort during extended periods of use. ▲ Semi-open, diffuse-field studio headphone ▲ Analytical sound ▲ Comfortable fit due to rugged, adjustable, soft padded headband construction ▲ Robust, easy serviceable construction as all parts are replaceable ▲ Single-sided cable ▲ Velour, circumaural ear pads ▲ Supplied in a carrying case (nylon) Difference between DT 880 PRO - DT 880 (Edition 2005): The DT 880 PRO is designed for use in studio and on stage for professional use. The headband has a rugged construction (thicker material) and gives a secure fit for the listener. This provides a better fit and causes also a more powerful compressed sound which is necessary for professional applications in studio, OB and FOH. The DT 880 (Edition 2005) is designed for listening to music and relax. The headband provides a long wearing comfort for hours. The Hifi-version has a more transparent and open sound than the DT 880 PRO. The differences between both headphones are not huge in mechanical design, but only that small change causes a big difference in sound and application.

Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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