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T1 v. DT880/600, Round 1

post #1 of 213
Thread Starter 

 

Unjacked the T1 from the Denon AVR-1905 last night for a short audition over the EVS-modded Oppo 970HD and the WeeeeeeSquirrel 336SE (w/Sylvania 6AS7G and RCA 6SN7GT).  The T1 have approximately 130 hours on them.

 

Listened to Digital Duke (Perdido and 22 Cent Stomp), Earl Thomas Conley (What She Is, Who's Gonna Tell Her Good-bye), Loretta Lynn (You Ain't Woman Enough, Fist City, You're Looking at Country) and Brian Auger's Oblivion Express (Voices of Other Times, Sundown).

 

At first, I a/b-ed the DT880/600 and the UP-OCC K501 for comparative midrange performance.  The horns on Perdido and the vocals from What She Is sounded, unsurprisingly, more complete and better integrated with the K501.  Again, excellent clarity and detail from the DT880/600, but ultimately tipped toward the upper midrange, a bit thin and without the depth and soulful reach of the K501. 

 

O.K.  "Now", says I, wringing my hands, "it's time to unleash the T1".  

 

First of all, Earl Thomas Conley's What She Is sounded tizzy, with the sibilance being almost unbearable over the T1.  Granted, this is known to be a bright recording to begin with, but it was rendered with much more smoothness over the DT880/600.  The T1's midrange had arguably a better sense of depth than the DT880/600, with more detail and better pitch definition and tonal variation, but I still preferred the midrange of the K501, which was better integrated and more lifelike and credible.  In fact, I preferred the DT880/600 to the T1 on this track as well.

 

Next, Loretta Lynn.  O.K., these are the MCA recordings, not re-mastered, and they are poor.  But even those disadvantages don't hamper a great voice like Loretta's.  Again, the T1 sounded unlistenably strident.  After switching over to the DT880/600, I again reckoned with a smoother presentation.  In addition, I heard more high and low frequency extension with the DT880/600--reminiscent of the DT880/2003, which lent a greater sense of transparency to Loretta's Fist City.  Sure, the overall detail retrieval of the DT880/600 was below that of the T1, but I still preferred the ease and conviction of this track with the "lesser" of the Beyers.

 

Brian Auger's vocal on Sundown, again, came across as overly strident with the T1.  

 

At this point I was becoming annoyed.  First, because the T1 were obviously proving themselves a disappointment; second, because that strain of annoyance was similar to my experience with the DT880/250 (2005), a design which I believed irrevocably and deleteriously compromised what I had come to most appreciate in the DT880/250 (2003): boundless and airy high frequency extension, coupled with sometimes formidable low frequency extension.  To me, that was the magic of the DT880 (2003) which was lamentably absent in the 2005/250 ohm rendition.  And it was this same lack of magic that was now honing my pang of discomfort and disappointment with the T1 at this point.  

 

What I was preferring in the sonics of the DT880/600 was their greater faithfulness to what I had come to positively identify with the quintessential DT880 (2003) sound, which to me bespoke "Beyerdynamic" best of all.  For the remainder of my audition, that disconcerting awareness of the T1's infidelity to the DT880 (2003)--whether real or imagined--gnawed at me and undid everything else the T1 were doing so well.

 

On a more positive note, the T1 reproduced the cymbal strikes on the much-more-well recorded Digital Duke with amazing detail and shimmer.  The mouthing of the muted trumpet solo in 22 Cent Stomp was enthralling.  The differentiation of the various massed brass instruments in the climactic, concluding burst was also remarkable.  But I just couldn't get over that definitive sense of truncation at the HF and LF extremes triggering the gag reflex I had developed while listening to the DT880/250 (2005).   

 

No.  The T1 do not generate a midrange on par with the K501 (and I did not expect them to, either).  And no.  The T1 do not faithfully convey the magic of the DT880 (2003) at the frequency extremes, whereas, I believe the DT880/600 do retain a modicum of that elusive fairy dust.  Maybe I am being unfair to the T1 in not letting them be the stand alone performers that they are in their own right.  But unfortunately, they characterized just enough of a sense of the "not quite" relative to the K501 in the midrange and relative to the DT880/600 (and DT880 (2003)) at the upper and lower extremities to make it very difficult for me to enjoy them without being incessantly nagged by these shortcomings.  

 

Perhaps you judge me as being unjust, but this write-up is based upon my ears, temperament and my history with the Beyer DT880.  Besides, even in the most comfortable bed, on the quietest night and after having enjoyed the most sumptuous meal, the finest wine, the most aromatic cigar and indulging in the most rewarding and relaxing conversation, it only takes one rogue mosquito to reek havoc on the good night's sleep one would have quite reasonably expected to follow.

 

Caveats:

The T1 are not sufficiently broken in.

The T1 are mercilessly unforgiving of recording flaws.

My T1 are defective (I have noticed a microphonic tendency when plugging/unplugging the T1 that I do not notice with the DT880/600 or K501).

The tube/amp selections for this audition were nemeses for the T1.

 

Again, these are first, critical impressions under the conditions specified, and are subject to change.  

 

God willing, I plan to swap the WeeeeeeSquirrel 336SE out for the Fitz-Max Bada PH-12 (with 1x Amperex ECC33 and 2x Russian 1578) or at least to re-tube the DV336SE prior to further auditioning.  Meanwhile, I will replug the T1 into the Denon AVR-1905 for more cooking time.


Edited by pataburd - 6/17/10 at 11:49pm
post #2 of 213

pat.  your impressions are valuable, and don't have to be praise to be appreciated.

they are your experiences and reactions, and combined with others help us all get an idea what these headphones can do.


Edited by TheWuss - 6/16/10 at 5:33am
post #3 of 213

Wow. I hope I did not make a mistake but hell I can return them if I get those impressions. That would be a major let down to me if they are not worth it. Thats why it is good to get 30 day trials

post #4 of 213



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post

Wow. I hope I did not make a mistake but hell I can return them if I get those impressions. That would be a major let down to me if they are not worth it. Thats why it is good to get 30 day trials


 
What other reason so many T1's in the FS

post #5 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post



 


 
What other reason so many T1's in the FS


I do not see any T1 for sale

post #6 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunalraiker View Post



 


 
What other reason so many T1's in the FS


You know there are HD800s, Stax cans, etc... always on sale.

 

Currently there are 3 for sale:

 

1 because the owner has 2 pairs and only needs 1.

1 because the owner's wife is expecting and needs extra $$ and is temporarily leaving this hobby.

 

As well, over the past 2 weeks, I have also seen 3 pairs of HD800s, HE5s, and RS1s on sale.

 

So you might want to dig a little deeper before making such sweeping statements.


Edited by MacedonianHero - 6/16/10 at 6:38am
post #7 of 213

Nice write up. Well thought out.

 

But I can't say I agree. For me (being a former DT880 owner), I can say that there is NOTHING that they did better than the T1s except sit more comfortably on my head.

 

I would really try changing out your amp. With my setup, these cans go deeper with better control in the bass, have the best mids I've ever heard and sweet treble that is not sibilant in any way (unlike my D7000s which can at times based on the recording). They are also far more forgiving of bad recordings than the HD800.


Edited by MacedonianHero - 6/16/10 at 6:30am
post #8 of 213

x2 on no sibilance noted on my setup


Edited by SleepyOne - 6/16/10 at 6:55am
post #9 of 213

While I also do not agree with much/most of your feelings/findings, I think it's good to see more opinions on the T1, and am glad you posted your well-written thoughts, Pataburd.  Since you've been around here longer even than I, I have read your posts many times (as I have thought them to be excellent), and from them I know you and I hear things differently, and appreciate different things.  But only through multiple opinions can head-fiers have the best chance of getting a full range of opinions.  So thanks for the great post!

post #10 of 213
Thread Starter 

Your responses are well taken.  Thank you.

 

It may very well be an amping issue.  I do plan to try the T1 with the Bada later tonight.  It's odd that my DT880/600 sound smooth in the treble while my T1 do not, though.  And remember: I can tolerate, and even prefer, a treble response that is already too bright for many on these threads.

 

For whatever reason, my findings are inconsistent with every other T1 user who has reported in so far, and theoretically inconsistent with what I would have expected.

 

Does anyone have the "microphonic" problem I described?  When I plug/unplug my T1 into the 1/4" jack, I get a sound like a mike is being disconnected while the PA amp is on, a sort of hummy/thunky/staticky sound (more evident with the Bada; less evident--but still evident--with the DV336SE).  I do not experience this phenomenon with either the DT880/600 or K501.  Both are dead quiet when plugging/unplugging.  


Edited by pataburd - 6/16/10 at 6:31pm
post #11 of 213
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
With my setup, these cans go deeper with better control in the bass, have the best mids I've ever heard and sweet treble that is not sibilant in any way (unlike my D7000s which can at times based on the recording). They are also far more forgiving of bad recordings than the HD800.


MH,

What you describe is the antithesis of what I experienced last night with the T1.  It makes no sense that I, a person who never had a complaint about over-brightness with the DT880/2003 or any successive DT880, would have that complaint with the T1.

 

I'm beginning to think that my pair might be defective.  The hypothesis that it may be my set-up is not consistent with my experience of zero sibilance over the same gear with the DT880/600.  If the T1 are indeed smoother than the DT880/600, then I should hear more sibilance with the DT880/600 than the T1, which I do not.

 

Anyway.  I may just plug the T1 back into the receiver for more burn-in time, then break out the Bada tomorrow.  : )

 

PAB 


Edited by pataburd - 6/16/10 at 6:33pm
post #12 of 213

Confusing isn't it? I know we all hear differently, but this gap is too much. Do have access to a second T1 to try?

post #13 of 213
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

Do [you] have access to a second T1 to try?

 

MH,

Thank you.


No.  But if, after system adjustments, things don't take a turn for the better with the T1, I have a mind to send them back to Beyerdynamic for thorough inspection.

 

I'll put another 20-30 hours of burn-in before I post further comments/observations. 

 

PAB

post #14 of 213
Quote:
Originally Posted by pataburd View Post



 

MH,

Thank you.


No.  But if, after system adjustments, things don't take a turn for the better with the T1, I have a mind to send them back to Beyerdynamic for thorough inspection.

 

I'll put another 20-30 hours of burn-in before I post further comments/observations. 

 

PAB


That really stinks. Good luck!

post #15 of 213
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

While I also do not agree with much/most of your feelings/findings, I think it's good to see more opinions on the T1, and am glad you posted your well-written thoughts, Pataburd.  Since you've been around here longer even than I, I have read your posts many times (as I have thought them to be excellent), and from them I know you and I hear things differently, and appreciate different things.  But only through multiple opinions can head-fiers have the best chance of getting a full range of opinions.  So thanks for the great post!

Skylab,

Thank you.

 

Oh, how I want to enjoy the T1 unreservedly!  Beyerdynamic was the only company for whose flagship I was willing to spend the big dollars.

 

My anomalous findings do raise the suspicion that I somehow may have gotten a defective pair.

 

It all makes me want to retire to a hermitage, take a vow of silence, write poetry, and grow and pickle organic turnips.  : )

 

PAB
 


Edited by pataburd - 6/17/10 at 4:45am
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