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REVIEW: DT880/600 with ZXAC UPOCC Re-cable: Summary Impressions

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

 

DT880/600 with ZXAC UPOCC Re-cable: Summary Impressions

 

The following is a brief set of listening impressions based on the ZXAC UPOCC "Impact" re-cable of my DT880/600.  Since I do not have a second, stock pair of DT880/600 on hand to do direct a/b comparisons, these statements are based on my prior recollection of the stock cable's performance [the reader will kindly note and indulge].

 

Gear:

EVS (Ric Shultz)-modded Oppo DVD-970HD>>EVS UP-OCC "IC100" RCA interconnect>>Fitz-Max Bada PH-12, w/1x GE 6SN7GTA and 2x Raytheon 6SN7GT*, WeeeeeeSquirrel-modded Darkvoice 336SE w/GE 6SN7GTA and Mullard 6080>>ZXAC re-cabled DT880/600, terminated with ZXAC's own SE 1/4" plug.  OneAC and PowerVar ABC-400 power conditioners (digital source is double-filtered).  MAC Source and HC power cords.

 

Tweaks:

#4 Vibrpods, Herbies ebony domes, Herbies Hal-Os, gabon ebony dampening blocks and footers, 2" thick hardwood platforms, Marigo Signature disc mat, Talisman demag-/statisizer, DakiOm HR-253, R-253, F273 feedback stabilizers. 

 

[*NOTE: This is a "neutral"/stand-up tube compliment for the Bada; nothing soft, syrupy or euphonic here.]

 

The cable had approximately 200 hours of burn-in prior to critical listening/reporting.

 

Stock photo appears in the following link.  Mine looks exactly the same, except for the length (3 meters vs. 6 feet) and 1/4" plug (ZXAC/DHC vs. Furutech):

 

http://www.zombie-x.com/zxamateurcablesrev2/index.php?main_page=popup_image&pID=184

 

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In general, the ZXAC re-cable brings a quieter (not muted, but with more silence around elements, which actually improves dynamics and further solidifies impact), more detailed, refined and better balanced presentation; a more expansive sound field with improved spatial arrangement of elements, bringing about particular gains in the sense of depth; improved spectral cohesion and HF/LF extension.

 

Treble: 

What struck me immediately was the Impact re-cable's refined, detailed and significantly better balanced high frequency response.  The stock cable was treble-prominent, in many cases treble-obtrusive.  For example, the high hat strikes at the start of Perdido or the ride cymbals on A Train [Digital Duke/GRP] were quieter, less forward/agressive than the stock cable.  Although less overt, the ZXAC cable renders notably more detail and texture to the cymbal strikes as well as balancing out their respective volume(s) with the rest of the instruments.

 

Back-up/accompanying guitar strokes, which with the noisier stock cable could sound like indistinct wing fluttering, are brought out with deft clarity, exploiting the DT880/600's excellent rendering of detail. 

 

Massed strings on A House is Not a Home [Dionne Warwick Collection (DWC)/Rhino] were less grating, sweeter and well differentiated with a better sense of sweep/lilt.

 

Midrange:

The midrange sounds rounder, fuller and better integrated to either side [HF and LF].  It's less upper-midrange forward and less "squashed" [think of a small child pressing his face against the department store window] than before.  I will say that it sounds less strained, and comment, provisionally, that it has an ease--a laid-backness--to it which is not at all, however, synonymous with a recessed quality.  Close-miked vocals, like The Windows of the World [DWC] lose none of their intimacy or immediacy.  Vocals, horns and the like gain a sense of depth and contour ("realism") which I felt were lacking with the stock cable.  

 

While vocals do sound fuller, more detailed and even warmer now with the DT880/600, the midrange still falls short of my subjective "standard", established by the UP-OCC K501.  This was evident in a/b-ing the two headphones while queuing up Sally Gardens or Skye Boat Song [Annie Laurie, Folksongs of the Brirish Isles/Barrueco: The King's Singers/EMI].  This takes nothing away from the DT880/600 in the context of their own design (i.e respecting the performance characteristics where they better the K501).  If the stock DT880/600 do the best of all the DT880s at balancing and integrating the critical midrange, then the ZXAC re-cable ratchets that aspect of their performance up another notch.  Midrange delivery is very fit: clear, detailed, balanced and cohesive.

 

Bass:

Low frequencies are delivered more tightly, with better definition and enhanced "lick" (like a well-wielded whip) or impact.  Thus, the cable lives up to its name.  On Lonesome Dove [Sonia Gaia, Max Lasser/MCA], that chuffing/bottom-scraping synthesizer hits bedrock with the DT880/600, while maintaining excellent balance and lending to an improved overall perception of 3D spaciousness.    

 

The cumulative improvements brought to the table by the ZXAC UP-OCC re-cable translate into a much better behaved, more well-balanced and remarkably cohesive listening experience, compared to the stock cable.  Frequencies, dynamics and tones emerge and synergize very well; the placement of each element is much better differentiated--really nailed down--within a generous sound field (level 1 crossfeed on the Bada notwithstanding) and the listening experience is, overall, a more holistic than analytical one.  While this could be said by degrees of the DT880/600 with the stock cable, it can be more forcefully and confidently asserted with the advent of the ZXAC UP-OCC Impact re-cable. 

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Did I like the ZXAC UPOCC "Impact" re-cable?  Unquestionably.  Sonically, it seems to bring improvements and further enhancements to the stock cable's perfromance with evidently no "downside".  My experience with UP-OCC wire, first with the K501 (solid silver) and now with the DT880/600 (stranded copper), bears out equally well in both cases.  It gives elements a free-standing feel, with instruments/performers liberated from their otherwise strictly "on-the-ears" or "in-the-head" shackles.  The sound field assumes a refreshing cleanliness and orderliness that compliments and balances a fine integrity/togetherness in the overall listening experience.

  

If I were to pick knits, however, and this has more to do with my getting accustomed to the cable than with the cable's performance itself, the Impact is so light and unassuming, you hardly realize it's there--a good thing, actually, lending even more comfort to the wearing of the DT880/600.  Because of that, and the fact that it consists of quad-braided "nude" wire, it's easy not to notice, and therefore you are more likely to step on or to inadvertently cross paths with it.  Consequently, I've stepped on the cable more than a few times (I still cringe, even though the cable is very supple) and accidentally kicked it loose from the DV336SE while carelessly traipsing across the room last night.  The fact that it lies on a light carpet in my listening room makes me even more vigilant.  So a word of warning for end users to be en guard.    

 

*******************************************************************************************************

In brief, the ZXAC UPOCC Impact re-cable seems to be "just what the doctor ordered" for the DT880/600.  These fine headphones, IMHO, warrant a higher performance cable that can render exceedingly well what they already do pretty well with the stock cable.  The ZXAC "Impact" does just that, utilizing UPOCC wire in a tidy and effective design that simply gets out of the way and rewards the DT880/600 owner with even more reasons to enjoy and retain Beyer's semi-open "gem".  : )

 

Special thanks to Zombie_X for his fine wire and his fine work!


Edited by pataburd - 8/14/10 at 5:04pm
post #2 of 32

WOW, Thanks man! I'm guessing you are really liking the new cable a lot. What you described is pretty much what I heard the first time I used the wire on my stuff.

 

The only thing you got missing is pics of them ;) I did not have time to snap pictures while they were in my clutches.

 

You mind if I link this to my site?

post #3 of 32

awesome, patrick.

 

@ zombie_x - so, i gather this remains single-entry cabled on the left side.

but, do you replace the cable traveling to the right ear cup as well?

 

post #4 of 32

Yeah all the stock wiring is removed and sent back along with the headphones. I won't do dual entry because that IMHO mutilates the headphones enclosure. Single entry is just fine, you won't notice and changes in sound because of the slightly longer R+/R- wires.

 

But anyways... I'm not really supposed to advertise so I'll only answer question about the cables if you guys want to know.


Edited by Zombie_X - 8/13/10 at 6:10pm
post #5 of 32

great review. i also am a fan of Zombie's work!

post #6 of 32

Very nice.  My Beyer 770s were a little scratchy until I gave them a dose of the OCC copper.  

post #7 of 32
Thread Starter 

Z_X,

By all means, link the review to your site if you want.

If my Pro 2500 don't sell soon, I'm thinking about asking you to build a cable for them, too.  : )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie_X View Post

WOW, Thanks man! I'm guessing you are really liking the new cable a lot. What you described is pretty much what I heard the first time I used the wire on my stuff.

 

The only thing you got missing is pics of them ;) I did not have time to snap pictures while they were in my clutches.

 

You mind if I link this to my site?


Edited by pataburd - 8/14/10 at 5:06pm
post #8 of 32

As someone who's awaiting a used pair of DT880's in the mail, I will strongly consider this treatment after enjoying them stock for a little while! Looks awesome and by the sound of your impressions, they must sound awesome too! Thanks for sharing!

post #9 of 32

have a cable zombie is going to make for me this week! excited!

post #10 of 32

I'm glad you guys like my work on this. Currently I got a lot of orders to fill so please be patient if your stuff is a little delayed. I'll have to get some more wire too!

 

More info about the cable:

I chose not to put sleeving on the DT880 cable because the default strain relief does not have enough room for it. I will try new methods so you can have sleeving though!

post #11 of 32

Just realized you tested with the 600. Do you think it would still be worth it with the 250 ohm? That's what I have... For now anyway.

post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by pataburd View Post

...these statements are based on my prior recollection of the stock cable's performance...


Is this just asking for the whole thing to be taken with a bag of salt?

post #13 of 32

pataburd, I added the review to my site.

post #14 of 32

I'm not sure my friend. I have not recabled the 250Ohm version before so I don't know if it changes the sound in the same ways. It mgiht but the driver between both versions are very different.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoryGillmore View Post

Just realized you tested with the 600. Do you think it would still be worth it with the 250 ohm? That's what I have... For now anyway.

post #15 of 32
I didn't know the drivers were actually different between versions. I'm selling my dt880 anyway. Got an HD650 that I'll be buying a cable of yours for after I recover from my recent phones and amp purchases lol. That way I won't have to send in my phones. Do you do shorter lengths for a little bit cheaper? I'd like to get a 4 ft cable for portable and a regular 6 ft for home use.
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