Pros: Very open sound, analytical, wide soundstage, clarity & detail
Cons: No detachable cable.
After a friend lend me his Sennheiser HD25 II's, i was impressed with the amount of detail and clarity they gave.
However, after just half an hour, they were already hurting my ears (i have quite large ears).
Having a pair of HD202's i decided to buy a pair of decent headphones in the 200€ range with the same amount of detail as the HD25's but with an over-ear design for comfort.
I would be mainly using the cans to:
- Mix my own music
- Listen to a variety of music (jazz, classical, classic rock,'70s r&b = Bill Evans, Andreas Scholl, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder)
- Do some tracking (although this was less important to me, having a couple of other cans laying around in the studio)
Points of focus when buying the headphones:
1. 3D imaging
2. 'Flat' or linear sound
So i went to my local musicstore and asked for three headphones to try out next to eachother:
The Beyerdynamics DT 770 Pro (250 ohm) Closed - €149,-
The Beyerdynamics DT 880 Pro (250 ohm) Semi-open €229,-
and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (38 ohm) Closed €159,-
I also asked for the Sennheiser HD25 II's (70 ohm, closed, €199,-) as a reference.
As a note: i now own the DT880's. Obviously, because i picked them i will be biased towards them, but i'm trying to pass on what my findings were in the musicstore.
I listened to the headphones using my MacBookPro and my Edirol UA-25 soundcard.
The Beyers were most comfortable to me, in fact, they were some of the most comfortable headphones i've ever tried on.
The Audio Technica's were OK, but nowhere near the comfort of the Beyers.
The HD25's were still hurting my ears. Not surprisingly, as they are the only on-ear headphones in my test. The others are all over-ear.
As for the 'flatness' of the sound, i could go on about the airy highs and pronounced midrange etc. etc. but that has been spoken about quite extensively on this forum.
So i would like to keep it simple by saying:
The 770's were a bit boomy on the bass side of things, nice for electronic music and some rock but not the overall analytical sound i was looking for.
The 880's have a great linear sound, very well balanced, perhaps lacking just a bit on bass.
The ATH-M50's mids and bass were too pronounced i think. The least analytical of all of them.
The HD25's were still very nice sounding, very clean, i think they convey what's really there nicely.
The 880's are being marketed as being "Semi-open", in my opinion you should think of them as being 'open' but with a bit of isolation.
3D imaging, detail, soundstage:
DT 770's have a nice soundstage, the 3D imaging is ok. The pronounced bass and, to a lesser extent, the mids do obscure the detail a bit.
DT 880's have an outstanding soundstage, the 3D imaging surpasses the others in my test, width and depth and even height is revealed in a very pleasing mannor. I heard details i didn't know were there.
ATH-M50's soundstage was too small for my taste. Because of the bass and mids the details (especially in the highs) were not as present as with the other headphones.
The HD25's have good detail, a nice soundstage but being closed backs, i think the 3D imaging is less well done than with the Beyerdynamics.
DT 770's: Open, a bit boomy on bass, not very 'trebly', but, hey, they're closed headphones.
DT 880's: Open, more treble, wide, less bass (but still enough for my taste),balanced and realistic.
ATH-M50's: Closed sound, less highs, more bass and mids, too cluttered for my taste.
HD25 II's: Open, a lot of treble, balanced, though less wide than the 880's.
As the DT 880 Pro's are the only (Semi-)open headphones in my test, it might not have been a very fair comparison.
Still, these are the headphones i was looking at, at around the 200€ pricerange and i think more people will be choosing from these cans.
If you are looking for great sounding headphones that are a pleasure to listen to, and want to get the level of detail and clarity of the HD25's but in an open, over-ear model:
look no further. These cans have an incredibly wide soundstage and are very comfortable to listen to for prolonged periods of time.
Also, i think its comforting to know these headphones are made in Germany (Deutsche gründlichkeit!) and the build seems to be very good. (They feel very sturdy and luxurious)
All in all, the 880 Pro's might not be great for tracking (too much leakage) but for monitoring/mixing and just rediscovering your music collection, they're great.