Pros: bass, forward, aggressive, balanced, fun, easy to drive, will never ever break
Cons: narrow soundstage, not especially polite, ugly, monstrous cord
I have been recommending these cans quite frequently over the past month or two on Head-fi, but I have yet to get a review of them up. This is my attempt to rectify that situation.
Ordinarily, if you want a pair of DBI Pro 700, you need to shell out about $200 directly from the company. They are primarily designed for use in music store listening stations, and one looks explains why. The cable is reinforced with rubberized steel, the entire casing is coated in plastic, and the driver is covered with a metal plate with holes. They are the same casings that German Maestro uses in their indestructible line, but DBI pro puts in their own copper-plated aluminum drivers, which gives them a very different sound signature.
When my pair first arrived, I noticed a few things. First, these are actually quite light. The cable is heavier than the headphones themselves, and they are unexpectedly comfortable. This comfort has increased as they've settled in, and they managed to get a decent seal with minimal discomfort. The cable is long enough to use with a portable player, or at a desk. I did find the pads were fairly shallow, which meant my ears pushed a little against the dustproof fabric. I have since replaced them with Beyerdynamic DT770 softskin pads, which haven't affected the sound significantly, but are more comfortable.
I have listened to the DBI Pro 700 quite a bit now, since they are my primary work headphones. I can throw them in my bag without worrying that they will be damaged. They isolate as well as any headphones I own, and they have a quite interesting sound signature, which I think is thanks to the metal drivers.
Coming from a pair of German Maestro cans, I was expecting a similar sound signature: light accurate bass, a wide airy soundstage, and a delicate midrange. Evidently the drivers make a big difference, because the DBI Pro 700 are almost the polar opposite of my German Maestro 450 Pros. The first thing that jumped out at me was bass. Lots of bass. Deep, rich, powerful bass. DBI claims that the difference between the 700 and 705 is that the 705 has increased bass response. I assure you, that doesn't mean that the 700 is bass light in any way. These handle Massive Attack's Angel with ease, with silky yet punchy waves of bass. They do just as well with The Chemical Brothers' Under the Influence, a song that forces many headphones to give out on those bass sweeps. Of course, monstrous bass is only good if it's under control. I also use Damien Rice's The Blower's Daughter to test bass, because uncontrolled bass hits much too hard when it arrives in the second verse. Here, there is not too much trouble, yet I wouldn't recommend these for people who primarily listen to jazz and classical.
Often, the real sacrifice with bassy cans comes in the midrange. Vocals and instruments get drowned out by a wall of bass that impresses at first but quickly becomes fatiguing. This is where the metal drivers really come into play with the DBI Pro 700. These cans do wonderful things with vocals. They manage to be quite balanced and accurate, while remaining quite aggressive. Jeff Buckley's Lilac Wine is almost always my first test track with new headphones, and his voice is incredible through these cans. They aren't as prominent as they are through some of my other headphones (especially the DT480), but astonishing for such aggressive headphones. A quick spin of Fiona Apple's Tymps shows that they handle female vocals just as well. Great piano and guitar as well.
As far as highs are concerned, I'd call the DBI Pro 700 nicely balanced. I don't like warm headphones, and I don't find these too rolled off at the upper end. At the same time, these don't display the same brightness as the Beyers I own, so there is never a hint of sibillance. As much as I love my DT990s, they get pretty harsh on poor recordings. That never happens with the DBIs.
"But wait," you say, "are these perfect headphones?" Well, not necessarily. Everything comes with a cost. In this case, there are a few things that will turn off some listeners. First, the bassiness can get a bit overwhelming. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them for rock and electronic genres, but they just don't sound natural for jazz and classical. Like Grados, the DBI Pros have a fairly narrow and aggressive sound stage. I did listen through Miles Davis' So What, though, and aside from a bit too much bass resonance, they sound pretty good. It also means they aren't especially refined. They rock hard, and refuse to apologize for it.
For $200, the DBI Pro hit a lot of right notes. They are punchy, accurate, fast, and aggressive. They have a nicely balanced signature and a pretty unique sound. They aren't perfect, but they are some of the best closed all-rounders I've heard. They benefit from some amplification, but they sound decent coming out of a portable player as well (a bit of that bass and clarity is lost)
But here's the crazy thing: When they pop up on Ebay, they don't sell for $200. They usually sell for around $40, which is not just a good deal--it's an insanely crazy good deal. These are headphones that sit with pride on the same table as my Beyerdynamic DT150, DT990/600, and Fostex T50RP. I would listen to these over my sold Grado 125i and Shure 840s on just about every recording. In fact, I'm pretty sold that $40 for these is the best possible bargain to be found in the headphone world. Grab a pair, and set up your own personal listening station.