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Review: K701 vs 2006 DT880 - Page 5

post #61 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filburt
This thread always manages to make me concerned that I should have gotten the DT880 instead of my K701s
Hey I haven't even heard my MH with the K701 yet, it might be a better combo!
post #62 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filburt
This thread always manages to make me concerned that I should have gotten the DT880 instead of my K701s
Threads like this make me wonder if it's worth ever reading Head-fi headphone comparisons. I have read as many Pro-880 threads as Pro-701s as Anti-880 as Anti-701 threads. I mean given some of the huge differences discussed also it makes it impossible to decide from reading. It must be done from hearing.

Check out some of the comments:
"701s sound bloated in the bass"

In the Anti-701 threads one of the key comments is:
"701s are a little bass-shy but controlled, tight"

In this thread:
"The 701s sound a little unnatural"

In another thread:
"The 701s sound too neutral, natural - almost boring as they do not add much of an unique sound signature"

For each headphone there is a head and for each head there is an opinion.

Still, the initial review sounds exhaustive and well thought out and I bet the author truly does love the 880s over the 701s.
post #63 of 96
Well, I don't know. It just sounds like the way he talks about it would mirror my own perceptions, and so I keep thinking maybe I should switch to the DT880s while I still have time :P

I'm really hoping someone offers me a listen on their DT880s (2006 or otherwise) soon, so I can make an informed decision.
post #64 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filburt
Well, I don't know. It just sounds like the way he talks about it would mirror my own perceptions, and so I keep thinking maybe I should switch to the DT880s while I still have time :P

I'm really hoping someone offers me a listen on their DT880s (2006 or otherwise) soon, so I can make an informed decision.
Still have time? Are they under the 30 day warranty? Why not call the retailer, explain the story and see if they will send the 880s and extend the 30 day warranty (in case you do not like the 880s after all). Ultimately the retailer (if they are good) wants customers to be very happy as it will spur more great dialogue/buzz about the retailer and eventually more sales.

Hey, given what was written about the 880s I want to try them. But given there is a lot of talk about the 880s being great for classical and does not necessarily resolve well... I do not listen to a lot of classical and resolution is important to me. Even the 701s do not resolve enough for me. Actually the SA3000s resolved better for me but it may because they were a little brighter and more decay and as such may seemed to be resolving better.

O well maybe I will call Headroom tomorrow
post #65 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by spraggih
Still have time? Are they under the 30 day warranty? Why not call the retailer, explain the story and see if they will send the 880s and extend the 30 day warranty (in case you do not like the 880s after all). Ultimately the retailer (if they are good) wants customers to be very happy as it will spur more great dialogue/buzz about the retailer and eventually more sales.

Hey, given what was written about the 880s I want to try them. But given there is a lot of talk about the 880s being great for classical and does not necessarily resolve well... I do not listen to a lot of classical and resolution is important to me. Even the 701s do not resolve enough for me. Actually the SA3000s resolved better for me but it may because they were a little brighter and more decay and as such may seemed to be resolving better.

O well maybe I will call Headroom tomorrow
I got them from Headroom, but I don't know what their policy is in terms of how they can help me on this one?
post #66 of 96
Filburt>> Headroom is one of the best retailers I have personally dealt with. Actually just about all the retailers I know have their flaws - the only one I know of with Headroom is the timeline to get a great product is too long - I think they are mostly limited by their suppliers (i.e., Headphone manufacturers)

So I know if you are within your 30 days they will honor it. May be by agreeing to pay shipping costs for all returns and headphones sent they will extend the 30 day policy. So you pay $30 odd* for all the shipping and get it know if the 880 was right for you.

* assuming $10 per shipping ($0 to return the 701s, $10 for the 880s and possibly $10 to return them and possibly another $10 to have them send 701s if you find you like the 701s after all).
post #67 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by spraggih
Filburt>> Headroom is one of the best retailers I have personally dealt with. Actually just about all the retailers I know have their flaws - the only one I know of with Headroom is the timeline to get a great product is too long - I think they are mostly limited by their suppliers (i.e., Headphone manufacturers)

So I know if you are within your 30 days they will honor it. May be by agreeing to pay shipping costs for all returns and headphones sent they will extend the 30 day policy. So you pay $30 odd* for all the shipping and get it know if the 880 was right for you.

* assuming $10 per shipping ($0 to return the 701s, $10 for the 880s and possibly $10 to return them and possibly another $10 to have them send 701s if you find you like the 701s after all).
Well, assuredly, I'd be willing to pay shipping and all that sort of stuff. I can only really afford to have 1 pair of headphones right now, so I want to make sure I've got the right ones! ;D

I PM'd Jamey earlier about what sort of options I had, so hopefully I'll hear back with something like "well we can send you a pair of DT880s to compare and you can keep which one you like better + pay balance etc."
post #68 of 96
Thread Starter 
OMG, BURN-IN EXISTS!!!

I mean I had my doubts about burn-in even though most people said it existed, but I'm convinced now too! The DT880's sound changed literally almost overnight!

I've been burning it in unattended, using various CDs, but Orbital's "Middle of Nowhere" CD is my reference. Been disappointed with the DT880's performance on it since day one. When I got home after work today I stopped the burn-in and changed the disc to it for a listen, and then got blown away! The parts it couldn't handle previously came out significantly clearer, and the bass was really filled out - more impact, a little more extension, but loads of texture to the various lower frequencies. It's like "OMG TEH BASS!" in a different way. And it does this while giving the highs just as much clarity to balance things out.

And the bass was one of my biggest peeves against it since the beginning because it was so lean. The bass is finally there!!! It took about 300 hours! Middle of Nowhere just became a much better listen! In fact I must get back to it!

And it gave me an eargasm on Radiohead's "No Surprises" too, just like the K701 did when I first heard it from my NAD. The K701 gave me shivers on that song when I upgraded to the NAD, and the DT880 has now too!

It's amazing. The DT880 really sounds like a $300 headphone now. I'm glad I waited it out. It's a fantastic headphone dammit! Not to say the K701 isn't, of course. That's a great headphone too, and I should probably get back to listening to it now that the DT880 is burned in. The K701 is just different. But I think I've found my preference now, it's the aural glory of the DT880! I think I'm in love with it!!!!

The picture isn't 100% perfect though, as it has an overall slower attack compared to the K701 (fairly noticeable), and a decay that some people will call slow as well. IMO the decay makes for a more realistic sound, but to each his own.

Hey we need a Beyer smilie here! Sony, AKG, Senn, Grado, and Ety get representation but not Beyer? And what about AT?

Ok I'll calm down now and try to get back to being fair to both headphones. I was anxious to burn in the DT880 though, since my K701 has over 400 hours now.
post #69 of 96
Quote:
Threads like this make me wonder if it's worth ever reading Head-fi headphone comparisons
If it's any help, I believe the original post is pretty eloquent in its description of DT880/K701 differences. As you've discovered, you have to do some weighing and evaluating before you find someone with opinions relevant to your needs.

Personally, I prefer the detail and colorful sound of the K701 - but miss the DT880s concise bass.
post #70 of 96
Thread Starter 
Update: gave the headphones a good critical listening session this time. Since I got in the HD600 on Friday, I threw it in the mix as well, for a comparison, since it's the best-known can of the three.

Equipment chain has changed again!
NAD T533 > Signal Cable Analog Mini > Little Dot Micro+ > headphones

Burn-in:
K701 is nearing 500 hours.
DT880 is nearing 400 hours.
HD600 is unknown, bought it used. Apparently ~100 hours.
Little Dot Micro+ is somewhere around 400-500 hours.

Note: HD600 was tested with the Blue Dragon re-cable.

Review Summary:
Instead of doing CD comparisons this time, I'm summing up the overall signature of each.

The HD600 with Blue Dragon re-cable proved to be the most stubborn headphone in my testing. Not that it was bad, because it was awesome...on any music remotely resembling acoustic. It fared much less well with electronica and some of my trip-hop. Bass extension and texture wasn't even close to the DT880's, leading to a lack of satisfaction with primarily The Crystal Method and Massive Attack. On the music it did do well on, there were excellent dynamics, relatively neutral overall tone, with sharp definition. Very swift attack, with a good decay, although the attack doesn't go over too well with higher-frequency notes, leading to a literal sonic mess. Very noticeable on certain Orbital tracks. On cymbals, it didn't give razor clarity to multi-cymbal swishes. Probably the "flattest" sound in the round-up, at least up to the highs. There seemed to be some kind of spike up there, as attacks in the highs (notably cymbal impacts) were a bit excessive (though nowhere near as intolerable as in the Sony sound signature). Overall, it gave the most realistic sound.

The DT880 gave a GREAT middle-ground between the HD600 and K701. First of all, the bass. It was nearly non-existent out of the box and leaner than the K701's for a LONG time. Only recently did it bloom into a full-bodied, partially visceral slam. On tracks that feature textured bass notes, the DT880 clearly reproduces them. Extension and impact were significantly more than on the HD600 and K701, making for an enjoyable listen with electronica - plenty of boom, and enough extension to get the upper part of bass phases and rolls designed for subwoofers. (However obviously not as much extension/impact as the DT770.) Overall, the lower-frequency register carries a TAD bit more power than the mids and highs, but somehow the mids and highs still manage a decent balance against it. As for those highs, easily the best in the round-up. Captured the most raw detail, like the initial "sizzle" impact on cymbals (which even the HD600 routinely failed to get) and other similarly super-fast sounds. However, there was one big fatal flaw in its presentation - its attack was noticeably slower than the HD600's and K701's. Not so slow that it could be called sluggish, just slowER in comparison. On the bright side, it had the best decay - nice and full, which allows it to get the latter part of a cymbal crash better, and effects with echo and reverb, and allows percussion instruments to sound real. In fact, it gave the fullest sound on the belly drum in Massive Attack's "Inertia Creeps." Easily the most "detailed" presentation of the three, but at the expense of attack, and power in the highs, as the highs overall sounded a bit weak relative to the lower frequencies. Of the three, it gave the best performance on Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" CD. Other than the attack issue, and a slight grainy edge to lower-pitched female voices, it was hard to find faults with the DT880, even though it didn't have the realistic edge of the HD600.

Unfortunately, the K701 was the most disappointing. To its credit, it does do TWO things extremely well. The first is female vocals, as there's a huge presence to singers like Jewel, Eva Cassidy, and Liz Fraser (and other higher-pitched voices). It can resolve detail in their voices to an unmatched level - whispers, throat-catching, off-key mistakes, etc. The second thing it does extremely well, is provide a surround soundstage. Instruments and voices that are obviously placed in the foreground during the mastering process are really brought out, while the rest of the mix gets a background "displacement" of sorts. A very 3D presentation overall. It seems to have a kind of intrinsic "crossfeed" type behavior that helps with this. The bad? Well it boils down to the following: bass too lean for its own good, highs that lack power, decay that's too fast, and layer separation that peels them apart too much so it's distracting. It's unknown why the bass still hasn't bloomed. There is some extension to it, but it lacks FORCE. The highs lacking power - well there's enough clarity to parts like cymbals and strings, but they just sound weak, and like they're in the background, even if the recording places them more forward. Violin solos do not take forward center stage when intended (tested against "The Village [OST]" for this). Attack is nice and fast, on par with the HD600, but there's almost no decay. Percussion instruments especially suffer without their natural acoustic reverb, and cymbal crashes/swishes stop early. The layer separation - well you'll either like it or dislike it. It's a veritable "peeling away the layers so they're all in their separate space" presentation. Because of this, the K701 just doesn't give a nice meshed mix to the music. Finally, there seems to be a spike somewhere in the upper mids - if the frequencies were there on the recording, it sounded honky. This was especially evident on Radiohead's "No Surprises."

So in the end, I discovered a new favorite in the HD600 alongside the DT880. They're similar enough in that they're both relatively neutral, but the DT800 resolves more detail, particularly in the highs. The HD600 seems to have its own resolution abilities in the mids though, allowing for a great deal of transparency. To put the attack/decay ratios of the three in perspective, they seemed to be about: 90%/10% (K701), 75%/25% (HD600), 40%/60% (DT880).

On a final note, the Signal Cable I got was a significant upgrade. It replaced an Ixos double-corded design. Made of the same material as the Blue Dragon. Overall resolution was just finer, with more sounds coming from the highs and mids. Bass also seemed more extended with it. I definitely would not have been able to pick apart as many differences between the headphones without it.
post #71 of 96
Thread Starter 
HOLY CRAPZ!

Minor update to the previous post: I just did a quick test replacing the amp with the SuperMini-3 (AD8397, original 3-channel topology design), and it blows away the LDM+ in terms of punch and clarity! I literally almost fell over from the added punch! Extremely evident on the HD600 and DT880! It boosts the attack on the DT880 significantly - the Orbital track I complained about earlier is attacked like a beast!

Clearly the AD8397 is a better match-up with both headphones if you like speed and attack.

Edit: I just tried the SM-3 with the K701. I can say without reservation it's one stubborn headphone! The punch that's so easily heard with the HD600 and DT880 isn't there with the K701, it's like it refuses to change character. It just doesn't want to respond to the increased power and attack in the highs on my reference Orbital track.
post #72 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr
DT880 (2006): On the downside, it doesn't extend very low, and emphasis thins out rather quickly, so bass doesn't have a whole lot of slam.
I think you are wrong here. The DT880's have very deep bass, that goes down low. The midbass, responsible for PRAT, timing etc. is what is somewhat (for good or bad) missing in these cans.
post #73 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_villain
I think you are wrong here. The DT880's have very deep bass, that goes down low. The midbass, responsible for PRAT, timing etc. is what is somewhat (for good or bad) missing in these cans.
Have you read my most recent update? The part you quoted was from the original post, which was many, many hours ago - nearly out of the box, not burned in.
post #74 of 96
Excellent (new) insight, Asr!
post #75 of 96
Thanks for the review ASR.

It's interesting how the sound changed on the DT880 (2006) so much just at some random point of use.

Would you say your prefered the Tube amp over the SS equipment you have used with the DT880?

~Thanks again
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