Pros: Very Easy to Drive, Bass, Bass ..... Bass
Cons: Stock Earpads are Pleather. Short Cord.
I'll be updating this guide periodically, I just wanted to get something out there quickly as I know various people are considering this set of headphones but there isn't much information out there about them. I'll be referring to these headphones as the 'LE's' throughout this review for the sake of my fingers.
Minor Disclaimer, I am not very experienced with Head-Fi gear, this being only my second owned pair of decent cans. I have, however, demoed quite a lot of sets while considering whether to purchase this pair. I also bought these in the UK so I paid £136.00 for the headphones, plus £20 for extra pads.
So these headphones are being (semi) marketed towards people wishing to have the Beyer DT770 Pro sound without the hassle of an amp, so to better facilitate mobile device connections they come with a shorter 1.8 metre straight cable. I found this cable to be slightly too long if being used with a device in your pocket, and also slightly too short if being used with a PC, TV, home AV setup etc. Perhaps the first thing you'll want to do is to buy an extension cable if you intend to use these with anything other than your mobile. That will obviously add extra cost, something you'll have to factor in to thier price.
The headband seems to be the same exact removable material used on the 80 Ohm version, which is nice as it's SUPER comfy and the band it attaches to has a nice amount of flexibility so I rarely feel anything on the top of my head. The buttons along the top also look pretty cool too.
The earcups are also the same as the 80 Ohm version, but the earpads are the big difference.
They are made out of Pleather that feels very similar to the material the headband is made out of, not quite as soft, but it seems to have the same "slightly moist" property of that band. This makes them very comfortable, and also gives them a nice isolation when attached to your head. I did find I noticed a slight warmness after using them for half an hour with these pads on, but the heat didn't really increase over the next 4hrs odd that I tested them for.
I replaced the stock pads with the Velour pads that come with the other cans within this Beyer range immediately after testing the Pleather pads and found an immediate increase in comfort and they seemed to allow my ears to breathe a touch more. This reduced the isolation properties ever so slightly and also very slightly reduced the bass boom, which I personally found to be an imporovement. Seriously, this took the comfortability factor up to 11 - SUPER DUPER COMFORTABLE!
Now the DT770 range are generally regarded as "Bassy" headphones, the 80 Ohm version being the goto cans for Bassheads in this price range, the 200 and 600 Ohm versions being noticeably less so. I've only personally listened to the 80 Ohm version version for a very short period while demoing them and found the LE's to be on a par with them. One of the things I was worried about is that they may have been made to sound more like the other phones in this range, but to my ears they sounded very close to the 80 Ohm version.
At first I had no idea what people were talking about when they said "recessed mids" or "scratchy highs" but after listening to these headphones directly after a pair of Sennheiser HD598's I noticed a definite recession in the midrange and the treble was ever-so-slightly irritating. The Senn's were, however, warmed up and broken in over many many hours and the LE's were new out of the box. I'm happy to say that after only an hour or so they sounded much better, no irritation at the top end and nice clear mids ... for my ears. Lots of people talk about the DT range taking an extremely long time to "burn-in", while others class the whole idea of burn-in ridiculous. Without wanting to get into that debate I'll just say that after 10 or so hours of listening these cans improved no end, most of that improvement being within the first hour, as I assume they just shook their brand new cobwebs off. Since then i've not noticed any real change, other than my own hearing getting used to them and learning to really enjoy the Beyer sound signature, they sound very different to the Sennheisers I've used in the past.
I found the bass sounded a bit crazy at first. While looking for information on these headphones I'd read a review on the 80 Ohm version saying that the reviewer at first couldn't find bass in the place's he expected to in a track he'd used to demo them, but that the then bass hit him unexpectedly, and he realised that before he was just hearing low midrange beefed up by poor headphones and confusing that for real bass. I found something similar, the bass was pretty much where I expected it to be, just tighter and more controlled, but as a bonus it was also in lots of places I WASN'T expecting it to be, like an underlying menacing heartbeat of bass, not overpowering, but threatening, like it could overpower you at any time, if only it wanted to. I Love it! I mean really love it.
As another comparison on the bass, I took them into HMV with a friend who had never listened to decent headphones. I made him listen to some dance, dub-step, electronica, and Adele with a little Lana Del Ray thrown in, on all the heaphones they have to test there. When comparing the various Beats cans with Skullcandy phones he much preferred the Beats, I then made him listen to a pair of HD515's and HD555 which he said blew the Beats out of the water, targeted them with a laser, and blew them to smithereens with a rocket propelled grenade. I then let him listen to the LE's. He wouldn't give them back until we left the shop.
He particularly liked the fact that they still sounded spacious even though they were closed back, and while not having (not his words) a soundstage as open as the 555's they still sounded really open (his words), like certain parts of tracks were being played across the other side of the room, with the added benefit of not being able to hear other people around you.
Driveablilty. (is that a word?)
Now these are being recommended for portable use, so your mobile and/or ipod needs to be able to run them unamped. They do so comfortably, although I can easily, and mostly do, crank the volume up to full when listening to them. I like my music quite loud, but not over the top, so I could do with a little extra headroom at the volume top end, so i'll be buying an amp eventually. I haven't yet used them with an amp so I can't comment on any improved sound though various people on these forums, all of them more experienced and vastly more knowledgeable than myself, have said that the DT770 range as a whole benefits a fair amount being driven by an amp. I'll shortly be purchasing a Fiio E17 so i'll update this review with impressions of how the LE's sound with it and without it.
Driving them from my onboard PC sound had much less punch. Turned up to maximum volume I still wanted more, I'm not interested in using EQ fixes for that on the PC or anything that my colour the EQ, so even though they are only 32 Ohms people looking to drive them exclusively from PC's or laptops with rubbish sound cards may want to consider getting an amp too, and in that case may well consider getting the 80 Ohm version which will still require an amp but are slightly cheaper than the LE's and come with the Velour pads in the box saving you an extra £20 or so on top.
So far I am extremely happy with these headphones. I can truely say I love them.
For what I wanted them for, being able to listen to quality music without bothering the missus or have her bother me, and being comfortable without making my ears sweat or giving me the claustrophobic feeling some closed-back headphones can do, I find them to be excellent. Like I said, I love them.
I can't directly compare them to more expensive headphones, but for other headphones in this price range, particularly the open-backed variety, for me they don't lose much at all and gain a hell of a lot. Buy them, then buy some more expensive open-backed ones later like I intend to :)
Thanks for reading, feel free to point out anything that requires attention, but please bear in mind i'm very new to this scene so no out-and-out flaming pretty please :P
If you have any questions at all please just reply to this thread, I'm more than happy to try to help. Happy Choosing! ..... and thanks for reading again!