Well, I got the dt880 today. I opened the parcel and out came a very smelly (tobacco!) dt880 with the inner foam half gone (none of which the seller mentioned). I am still at work, so I only have access to a LD I+ hybrid amp, which does well with a pair of k500s but when I tried a vintage paid of dt990s, the results were not good. I just plugged ole smelly in and am now listening to the Tord Gustavsen Trio's wonderful jazz. Despite the tobacco smell, the foam over the drivers mostly gone, and using an amp which was designed for low-impedance headphones, the dt880 sounds very, very good. Great soundstage (not huge, but airy and accurate). It's also much more intimate than I thought the soundstage would be. A bit like a vintage ath woodie. You're right there on the stage with the musicians. Highs are both sparklingish and a little muffled, if that's make sense. I think a more powerful amp would help there. Detail is very good. Have to wait and try it on the solo to see whether it's as good as the vintage dt990. Neutral presentation, but very involving. Not like the '03 dt880 I used to have at all (which I found rather boring). Bass almost akg-like in its leanness, but extends very deep. You can here every note beginning and ending, decay is just right. Mids are neutral, not forward, but also not recessed.
OK, just put on some Julie London. Now listening to a very 'full' version of Fly me the moon. The dt880 is very good in separating the instruments and putting the vocals right in front of you. On Cry me a river, only accompanied by electric guitar and double bass, she is right in my head. This is a very, very good headphone (despite the SMELL!). Can't wait to try it with the solo. I wonder what the impedance on this one is. Probable not 600 Ohms like the dt990 I have, because the LD drives it pretty well.
On to something more contemporary: Radiohead. Now it's age (or its being underpowered) is starting to show. OK computer sounds involving, seductive even, but also as if you're present at a set played in an underground bar. It's a bit too dark and the lowest bass notes aren't very well articulated. A bit like the dt990 when I tried it on the LDI+. It's trying too hard.
Gonzales' Solo Piano then. Now it's back in its element. Playful, detailed, intimate and accurate. I hadn't expected the dt880 to be less analytical than the dt990, but there it is: my vintage dt990 is definitely more analytical, while this dt880 is like a neutral version of a high-end audio technica...
Gonna listen some more and try it at home tonight. I'm sure my impressions will change over the next few weeks. For now, I'm happy with this new purchase. I was distinctly less impressed with the hd600 when I first tried it than I am now with this much, much cheaper purchase. Ithink I'm going to start Team Vintage Beyer.