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The Beyerdynamic DT880 Discussion thread - Page 504

post #7546 of 10430
You need to have an amp to properly drive the 600. If you don't want to get one, stick with the 250 version. I don't know the numbers on the little dot. If you haven't already, watch tyle's inner fidelity review on the 880 line. Good info, and explanation of damping.
post #7547 of 10430

Thanks Keith and Brooko, having read your comments and Tyll's article, I've decided to stick with the 250 ohm version.

 

I must say among sub $300 cans this is the most coherent sounding and closest to my SR009 out of the Little Dot. The HD600 / 650 while more musical is way too veiled, lacks air and has significant bass bloom. I never enjoyed the HD650 out of the Little Dot. Nor did I enjoy the AKG K701. The impedance mismatch and undersupply of current is evident from the severe lack of bass and unnatural tonality.

 

I was about to sell the Little Dot but I am absolutely happy with the DT880 + LD MK IV combo. Absolutely stellar for its price. Hell, my 300B tubes are more expensive than the entire combo! :atsmile: 

post #7548 of 10430
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post

Thanks Keith and Brooko, having read your comments and Tyll's article, I've decided to stick with the 250 ohm version.

I must say among sub $300 cans this is the most coherent sounding and closest to my SR009 out of the Little Dot. The HD600 / 650 while more musical is way too veiled, lacks air and has significant bass bloom. I never enjoyed the HD650 out of the Little Dot. Nor did I enjoy the AKG K701. The impedance mismatch and undersupply of current is evident from the severe lack of bass and unnatural tonality.

I was about to sell the Little Dot but I am absolutely happy with the DT880 + LD MK IV combo. Absolutely stellar for its price. Hell, my 300B tubes are more expensive than the entire combo! atsmile.gif  

Would you care to offer your impressions of the SR-009, HD800 and DT880?
post #7549 of 10430
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverlethe View Post

Would you care to offer your impressions of the SR-009, HD800 and DT880?

 

DT880 comparison with HD800 and SR-009

 

I will try to be concise because the difference between the three headphones is night and day. I hope this will let those who are hoping to upgrade from a mid-fi rig to a hi-fi one to put things in context.

 

The DT880s have a couple of hours on them but I've listened to a burnt-in pair at the shop for a couple of hours. I doubt that burn-in will make this much closer to the SR-009 or the HD800 though. The HD800 and SR-009 are fully burnt in and I have lived with them for months. 

 

 

I have not had a chance to run the DT800 via the Woo WA5. I do not intend to do so. Besides, I do not think the comparison will be helpful to those hoping to build a mid-fi rig based on the DT880. If you have a top-end amp you should be driving top-end phones.

 

Similarities:

 

Tonal balance - All three headphones are extremely neutral sounding with a slight emphasis on treble (see below). For those who enjoy a more balanced tonality at the expense of some musicality would enjoy these cans. That said, for all three headphones it seems that the musicality can be added upstream (with tubes, tubes and more tubes). 

 

Treble emphasis - The most striking sonic attribute of the DT880 is the treble sparkle in a way that gives a bit of tactile impact, much like the HE-6. This is present in the HD800 and SR009 but less emphasized because they are overall more all-rounded than the DT880 so there are other attributes that "jump" at you when you listen to them.

 

Differences:

 

Soundstage - SR009 on my Woo WA5 (which is not the best pairing) is about 20% wider than the DT880 and the HD800 is 50%. Soundstage is really not too bad on the DT880.

 

Imaging - SR009 has by far the most precise imaging. You can identify each voice and instrument within the soundstage with great accuracy. This is to be followed by HD800, and far far behind, the DT880. Imaging on the DT880 sounds fuzzy. If SR009 is attending a concert when you are wide awake and sober, DT880 is the what the same concert sounds like after you've had a couple of pints of beer.

 

Transparency, detail and microdynamics - SR009 wins by a large margin, despite that I am not driving it with the best amp (the BHSE). Because of its detail, fast transients, attack and decay, it is highly transparent and makes you feel that you are "there". Voices sound like voices, instruments sound like instruments. The same can be said about the HD800 but to a lesser extent. As for the DT880, well, vocals and instruments sound like voices and instruments portrayed through a headphone. It is less transparent. It also sounds muffled in comparison. 

 

An analogy that might be apt is one that photography hobbyists can relate to. HD800 sounds like applying a sharpening filter to a photo taken by a good lens and DSLR. SR009 sounds like it is using the best possible Leica system one can buy but without applying the sharpening filter. DT880 sounds like taking the same photo with your iPhone 5s - which is completely serviceable but not really there yet. For the sake of completeness, the HD600 sounds like taking the same photo with a iPhone 3.

 

Musicality - Given the transparency of the SR009, given my rather analogy sounding setup, my SR009 rig gives me lots of goosebumps and shivers down my spine. It can sound utterly musical and moving when the music calls for it. HD800 can but quite rarely moves me with the music. Nor does the DT880 because it is difficult to move me when I feel that I am listening through a pair of headphones.

 

Bass - DT880 has decent bass with some bass extension. I think burn-in will give it better bass but still, it is lacking in bass quantity and definition when compared to the SR009. The bass of the SR009 is absolutely first-class and I prefer it to the bass of the LCD-3 as it is more controlled. While HD800 has excellent and often underrated bass, I would say not as good as the SR-009 in terms of both quantity and definition. It is enough to have me fully satisfied. I cannot say that for the bass of the DT880. It falls behind the SR009 and HD800's bass by a fair margin, but not a wide one. It better controlled and defined than the bass of the HD600 (which is bloated) and K701 (which is non-existent).

 

Mids - I find that the DT880 has a slightly thin sounding but nevertheless pleasing representation of the midrange of the frequency spectrum. The mids do not slide into the highs or lows as effortlessly as the SR009 and HD800. But it is still very well done. Vocals sound natural with a slight bit of grain which should not be there. HD800 renders vocals with a similar but more emphasized "edginess" compared to the DT800 and SR009 but this can be alleviated by swapping cables and tubes. 

 

Amping - DT880 (250 ohm version) wins hands down. The Little Dot Mk IV is a good match with great synergy. It can be driven very satisfactorily by my iPhone to nearly ear-splitting levels. SR009 cannot be driven with anything but a proper electrostatic amp or a speaker amp through a Stax energiser such as the Woo WEE. The HD800 is notoriously amp-picky but with proper amp synergy it can tame the treble and have amazing bass.

 

Things in context

 

Is the SR-009 worth that much more than the DT880? I think so. It is that much better.

 

However, we need to put things in context:

  • DT880s are driven by the Little Dot Mk IV SE with the Emu 1212m as source. It costs about $900 in total. 
  • HD800s are driven by the Woo Audio 5 (premium tubes) with upgraded cables (SAA Endorphin) and AMR DP-777 as source (Audiophilleo1 pp as transport). It costs 10x more than the DT800 rig.
  • SR-009s are driven by the Woo Audio 5 (premium tubes) with AMR DP-777 as source (Audiophilleo1 pp as transport). It costs over 10x more than the DT800 rig.

 

If you can afford it, get the SR-009 rig. For ten times less the price, however, you can get a very satisfying DT880 setup that will give you much musical pleasure. Although it does not excel in many areas, it does not do much wrong and does not have distracting flaws. Speaking for myself, I could stand a lack of soundstage, a lack of detail or even an absence of transparency. These are things that cost a lot and depend on technological advances. I can live without them.

 

The main thing that can go wrong for anyone's ears is tonality.  I cannot listen to an overly bright or overly warm pair of headphones for more than one song. It will be either too fatiguing or fail to engage me because it has obvious flaws that detract me from enjoying the music. To me, Sennheiser and AKG headphones are prone to this problem, which can be fixed but at the cost of spending all the time and money to get the system synergy right. The HD650s are too warm and have bloated bass which are distracting in that they cover the music with a veil. The HD800 when improperly amped (and sometimes even when properly amped) can render female vocals annoyingly sibilant. These may or may not be solved by tweaking with the upstream components. But it seems the DT880 is a headphone that is so well put together that you do not need to tweak around with the source and amp to get a sound that does not have many flaws that distract you from musical enjoyment. And this is what impresses me about the DT880 (so far).

 

YMMV.


Edited by lojay - 6/7/14 at 9:07am
post #7550 of 10430

I found teh same to be true about the DT 880 it's not the best for transparency and imaging, my HE 4 does a nice job of that, and ironically the closed back W1000x is also almost surgeical with it's sound stage presentation, but it has mildly grainy treble so ...

post #7551 of 10430
Nicely written! This is what I love about the DT880's, there's really nothing big they do wrong. Sure they can be improved here and there in a few areas like imaging or soundstage, but for the price, they're remarkable IMO.
post #7552 of 10430
Quote:
Originally Posted by xkonfuzed View Post

Nicely written! This is what I love about the DT880's, there's really nothing big they do wrong. Sure they can be improved here and there in a few areas like imaging or soundstage, but for the price, they're remarkable IMO.

agree'd, for the price they where wonderful, my HE 4 cost twice as much and is only better with imaging and sub bass extension... and let's not get into the comfort of the HE 4 

post #7553 of 10430
You should just get a t1 then. Still comfortable!
post #7554 of 10430
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrEleventy View Post

You should just get a t1 then. Still comfortable!

I'd need to hear it first, plus for the price I could get a Hifiman HE 560... 

post #7555 of 10430
Still stuck with heavy uncomfortable hps. wink.gif
post #7556 of 10430
Got mine for a great price! wink.gif
Edited by MrEleventy - 6/24/14 at 7:35am
post #7557 of 10430
Very nice review of the DT880's vs Top Tier gear.

So why did you choose the DT880's and MK IV if I may be so bold in asking?
post #7558 of 10430
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

agree'd, for the price they where wonderful, my HE 4 cost twice as much and is only better with imaging and sub bass extension... and let's not get into the comfort of the HE 4 

Yes let's NOT, since this is not the HiFiMan thread...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

I'd need to hear it first, plus for the price I could get a Hifiman HE 560... 

See above... This is starting to get a little like the Balanced discussion... rolleyes.gif
post #7559 of 10430
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrollDragon View Post


Yes let's NOT, since this is not the HiFiMan thread...
See above... This is starting to get a little like the Balanced discussion... rolleyes.gif

ehm, I just miss you guyz. The hifiman group are so,,, non chatty

 

that said, let's talk about how awesome the DT 880 pads are :D 

post #7560 of 10430
More like they got tired of your shenanigans rather quickly... biggrin.gif

Stock pads are perfect on the DT880's, we don't have to chase pads to make our overpriced heavy headphone sound good...

You guys try HM5 pads yet? Cheap fluffy leather pillows for your ears!
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