A good headphone for the right person, but not me

A Review On: Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 OHM Semi-open reference headphone

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro 250 OHM Semi-open reference headphone

Rated # 58 in Over-Ear
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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. 

1 Comment:

Interesting comments here, as I had exactly the opposite experience re 702 vs. 880: I found the 702 treble metallic and piercing, and the 880 very smooth and neutral. In fact the 880 is now my favourite headphone and I have no thought of changing. My preferred genre is classical, and any phone that can please me on classical has to be worth its salt. Strange we should hear things so differently.