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Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 OHM Semi-open reference headphone


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: 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: 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: 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.


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: Beautiful Sound Stage, Great for vinyl playback

Cons: Decent bass response, long cord

Not too much to say here other than that these headphones are stellar! I mostly listen to my vinyl collection with these bad boys and it's an absolute joy. I purchased an external amp to power them when walking around on campus with my iPod and netbook. I can't imagine how good the higher-end Beyerdynamics sound


Pros: Tight and impactful bass, sparkling treble, good detail

Cons: V shape sound sig, recessed mids might contribute to less full sound

I've had these for a few months now, and more recently have got to try them with the ODAC+O2 amp dac combo. 

With the O2, I am extremely impressed by the detail and lifelike presentation the Beyer brings. Sure it may have recessed mids, but I'm actually a fan of the V shape sound sig. It brings more excitement and makes things less boring to listen to. However, it sacrifices a fuller sound than some headphones to achieve this. 

I have also tested this with my Nakamichi CDP-2A + TA-2A receiver, and it makes the Beyers even more fun to listen to, while adding more mids to make the experience even better. 


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 vocals, Good bass, clear treble, AMAZING COMFORT, can be listened to most genres

Cons: non-detachable cable, comes with non-protective carrying pouch, not portable


No Complaint at all, very very very very very very comfortable.


Build Quality/Design

The build quality on this headphone is very well built. Its mostly built out of steel, the only plastic parts on this headphone would be the housing around the earcups, and the hinges above the arms connected to the ear cups. But build quality wise i have no complaint in this department.


Audio Quality

So this headphone is 250 ohms, which means that these cans cannot be driven by a regular mp3 device. The output impediance an ipod could handle is about 32 ohms. But since the beyerdynamic dt 880 are 250 ohms you will need a headphone amplifier to power them to their full potential.

Bass- The bass on the dt880's is very tight its not boomy what so ever, but he bass is well defined and very pleasing.

Mids- The mids on this headphone is very smooth, i've never heard vocals produced out of a headphone like this one. The clarity is very sublime, its very calm and soothing.

Treble- The treble is almost if not perfect, the treble is not harsh, there a good amount of treble in these cans.



I got these headphones off of amazon for $184.99, its a steal. The price from beyerdynamics website is $349.99-$400. At this price range, it can't be beat, GET THESE HEADPHONES.


Pros: comfort, clear, flat,

Cons: light bass, sometimes sibilant

The 880s don't have a lot of color to themselves. They're light comfortable cans that get the job done.  They are a well rounded headphone good for someone who can't quite figure out what kind of music they like best.

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.

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