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DT880 vs DT990 | Comparison & Review - Page 5

post #61 of 143
Thread Starter 

I have an update to report with everyone.

 

Technically, both of the Beyers have not left my house yet, so I decided to compare them once more. But this time, I threw in the AD700 to the mix, and was surprised with what I heard.

 

Between the DT880 and the AD700, it was apparent that the AD700 was actually brighter than the DT880. That, and the fact that the DT880 had much deeper bass, were the two things that stood out most. The DT880 sounded like it was a bit more full, with more body as well, as the AD700 just sounded too airy. AD700's treble was a bit sharper as well, and DT880's was more refined. If I had to represent music as a piece of paper, the HD650 would be printer paper, the DT880 would be tissue paper, and the AD700 would be a window screen. I'm sorry to report, I honestly couldn't place the DT990 into a category because it is so strange. Anyway, more on to that in a second.

 

My advice is, if you like the AD700, then I highly suggest the DT880. It has more controlled, and smooth treble, much fuller bass, and a more refined sound. A perfect upgrade to the AD700.

 

Now, between the AD700 and the DT990, this is where the fun begins. Both of their treble really surprised me in a way, it was hard to identify them and place a label on their type of sound. The AD700 was a bit easier to describe, and I did so above. It is in fact, the ultimate "upside down pyramid" between the three, possessing very little bass. But get this, I preferred the AD700's treble to the DT990's treble. The AD700 had a very bright, and airy treble, being a touch sharp. This led to fatigued listening only after a few songs, unless the volume was turned down. (Turning the volume up a bit is a good way to identify treble quantity and quality). But the DT990 on the other hand, once again, it's a sick and twisted headphone, with a sound I still find hard to write down, yet I find it very distasteful. The treble on the DT990 sounds more metallic than the AD700, and it also sounds "veiled" in a way that the veil acts as "tin foil". It shimmers a bright and very unnatural sound across the top of the spectrum. It actually sounds like a more, hollow, sharp, upfront, and distorted treble compared to the AD700. That mixed with the enhanced bass (compared to the DT880) makes it THE weirdest headphone I have ever listened to.

 

I also compared the DT880 to the DT990 yet once again, and my OP review still stands...

 

Some advice to AD700 users. If you have the AD700 and you feel pressured to upgrade to something better, just remember, you don't have to. The DT880 and the AD700 don't sound as different as you think. Yes, the DT880 is a more refined, and full version of the AD700, but the difference isn't mind boggling. That is something I wish I had learned back before I went spending on all the headphones in my inventory. (But, if this *really* is your hobby, and you listen to music A LOT, then upgrading would be a beneficial).

 

Also, I do not hate the DT880 contrary to what some think. It's actually, like I mentioned a page or so back, on of my Top 3 headphones. I just find the sound of the HD650 to be superior. But, even if I really liked the DT880, I would probably have to let it go due to it's comfort. I'll have to rank the HD650 more comfortable than the DT880 by a long shot. And the AD700 more comfortable than both of them by miles.


Edited by Katun - 12/8/10 at 7:44am
post #62 of 143

There have been some very important things stated in this thread. Some good questions and answers.

Comparing headphones to each other is essential for... comparing headphones.

 

I am of the belief however, that this is a circular and insulated exercise. I don't listen to headphones to listen to headphones, I listen to the music. I primarily listen to the instruments, and it's against these that I judge cans, not each other, in the final analysis. HP comparison is pivotal, no doubt, but what matters to me is how they compare to real-world sound. What does a Steinway sound like 'in person' or live, and which cans reproduce that sound most realistically (?).

 

Ignore all that comes between the instrument and the HP’s for this point (microphone, mixing board, software, mastering, physical media, ripping, software again, DAC, Amp, and anything else) and given the best recording and mastering of an instrument… which HP reproduces said instrument most ‘faithfully’?

 

Sure, no recording will ever sound like the real thing. And yes, all recordings and masterings and pressings, etc., will impart their own sonic peculiarities, but excluding the deviations, you are left with more or less well recorded instruments. All the variables in the chain influence the final sound, and synergy is critical, but it's the final stage, the transducers, the drivers, the sound waves that are produced by the cans. This is what is important here.

 

What are you ultimately comparing it to?

 

Are you not comparing it to sounds as you have heard them outside the headphones? What does a violin sound like? A saxophone? And in the case of amplified music, how did that group sound when you heard them live? Does Ella sound like she's standing in front of you, or in a distant room?

 

After the verisimilitude of the reproduction, the next thing to listen for is impact. Does the sound produced have the weight and body of the instrument? Does it simulate the ‘air’ around the violin? Does the kick drum actually create a physical sensation to your ear and head?

 

Of course there are too many factors to list here, but I just wanted to say again… that the goal for many of us is for the final sound to simulate the experience of hearing a performance.

By comparing cans we can enlighten ourselves to what sounds might be missing or over-emphasized, but that’s just a closed comparative exercise. It usually serves to get one closer to a liking… measured more by tastes than by the ideal… assuming that ideal is even understood or has ever been experienced.

 

shane


Edited by shane55 - 12/8/10 at 9:22am
post #63 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post

 

What are you ultimately comparing it to?

 

Are you not comparing it to sounds as you have heard them outside the headphones? What does a violin sound like? A saxophone? And in the case of amplified music, how did that group sound when you heard them live? Does Ella sound like she's standing in front of you, or in a distant room?

 

After the verisimilitude of the reproduction, the next thing to listen for is impact. Does the sound produced have the weight and body of the instrument? Does it simulate the ‘air’ around the violin? Does the kick drum actually create a physical sensation to your ear and head?

 

Of course there are too many factors to list here, but I just wanted to say again… that the goal for many of us is for the final sound to simulate the experience of hearing a performance.

By comparing cans we can enlighten ourselves to what sounds might be missing or over-emphasized, but that’s just a closed comparative exercise. It usually serves to get one closer to a liking… measured more by tastes than by the ideal… assuming that ideal is even understood or has ever been experienced.

 

shane


Perfect. This is precisely what I was trying to say in my post a few pages back. Whenever we listen to a headphone we ARE comparing it to something else to judge it's sound. What is it that we are comparing it to? Well, what sounds natural or "good" to us, in many circumstances, how accurate it is to the "real" thing. This is what I said in my quote below found a couple pages back, except I didn't go into as much detail as the quote above this.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post
How on earth do you know a Sony V6 has tons of treble? What if it's 100% neutral? Well, we know it's not, because other headphones can definitely get us closer to what sounds natural in terms of hearing it in real life.


The end of the last sentence deserves particular attention: "Get us closer to what sounds natural in terms of hearing it in real life." That's usually in which we find our reference point, or our preference to sound. Out of all the headphones I've tried, the HD650 does this best for me. It's sound in general is not only what I find very pleasing, but it also sounds "right", no matter how colored someone tells me it is. After all, nobody can tell "me" what sounds right and wrong... "I" am the judge of that.
 


Edited by Katun - 12/8/10 at 10:17am
post #64 of 143


The end of the last sentence deserves particular attention. "Get us closer to what sounds natural in terms of hearing it in real life." That's usually in which we find our reference point, or our preference to sound. Out of all the headphones I've tried, the HD650 does this best for me. It's sound in general is not only what I find very pleasing, but it also sounds "right", no matter how colored someone tells me it is. After all, nobody can tell "me" what sounds right and wrong... "I" am the judge of that.
 



Totally, as are they for themselves. Hence wildly differing opinions on the same headphones. It's as much a matter of preference as it is about out and out factual quality as it were and probably more so in fact. For example, everybody says Grado headphones sound awesome and I don't doubt it but I'd never buy one because they're reported to be uncomfortable on ear headphones. And I avoid those like the plague. I'm also 100% sure that if I'd had much more experience and money to do this hobby in the way a lot of people on here do that I'd be a lot more discerning regarding quality headphones, but alas, most sound fantastic to me since I'm listening to the music and not the headphones. Though some of the better headphones to my ear simply floor me. Others will hate them with a passion.

 

That's the way the cookie crumbles though, do you prefer lively or laid back presentation ? Coke to Pepsi ? Playstation to Xbox ? Fine and dandy but doesn't give people the right to judge and goad others for their preferences. Though they obviously do lol. 

post #65 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thommohawk View Post

Totally, as are they for themselves. Hence wildly differing opinions on the same headphones. It's as much a matter of preference as it is about out and out factual quality as it were and probably more so in fact. For example, everybody says Grado headphones sound awesome and I don't doubt it but I'd never buy one because they're reported to be uncomfortable on ear headphones. And I avoid those like the plague. I'm also 100% sure that if I'd had much more experience and money to do this hobby in the way a lot of people on here do that I'd be a lot more discerning regarding quality headphones, but alas, most sound fantastic to me since I'm listening to the music and not the headphones. Though some of the better headphones to my ear simply floor me. Others will hate them with a passion.

 

That's the way the cookie crumbles though, do you prefer lively or laid back presentation ? Coke to Pepsi ? Playstation to Xbox ? Fine and dandy but doesn't give people the right to judge and goad others for their preferences. Though they obviously do lol. 


Yup. That's why it's so hard to explain to people what they "might" like, because they really have to hear it for themselves, and have their ears be the judge.

 

And also, exclude me from the "everybody says Grado headphones sound awesome" group, because I think they sound awful. What's also surprising is all those who say they are uncomfortable, because believe it or not, they are quite comfortable when first placed on your head. They are some of the lightest headphone I have ever worn, in turn making them very nice "initially" on your ears. 1/2 hour down the road? Not so much.

post #66 of 143

Dude, the DT880 and DT990 use the *EXACT* same driver so I think you grossly exaggerate their difference in SQ. Actually, I find lots of people on this site exaggerate SQ and I am finding this site of less and less use to me because there are far too many opinionated people here and not enough objective people.

post #67 of 143

In the mix you have everything from source files and equipment, component chain to HRTF. Compound that with experience, tastes and general knowledge (or lack thereof), and matching two individuals observations / tastes can be virtually impossible. We are ALL going to hear things differently. We all have had different experiences in our lives that lead us to the opinions and tolerances (or lack thereof) that we come to this forum burdened with.

 

And then... we have feelings and egos and emotions and the anonymity of the web and... 'boom goes the dynamite'. 

And then there is tact and diplomacy. Sometimes we just don’t say things in a very nice way. Sometimes people’s sense of self is intrinsically attached to their possessions. Often it’s tied to their opinions.

 

Ah, the variables. When you find someone who hears things ‘exactly’ like you do, it’s great, and ideas, suggestions and experiences have more weight and value. Otherwise, it’s mostly random hits and misses with occasional agreements. But it’s just opinions mostly. If it’s not measurements and numbers, its opinion (conjecture, belief, observation, etc.). Take it for what it’s worth.

 

I’m actually surprised that with all the above, more fights don’t break out and threads closed. But we’re here for fun, and we’re here for music and the appreciation of the reproduction of such that it pleases us.

 

And yes, that’s my bottom line. Great, pleasing, realistic sound coupled with comfort. My idea of that might match other’s… but not all.

post #68 of 143
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastido View Post

Dude, the DT880 and DT990 use the *EXACT* same driver so I think you grossly exaggerate their difference in SQ. Actually, I find lots of people on this site exaggerate SQ and I am finding this site of less and less use to me because there are far too many opinionated people here and not enough objective people.


Question for you. Have you compared them both side by side on the exact same songs and exact same segments of songs over and over again across a wide range of music for many days? If you did, you would not have posted that remark, because even you would have heard that although they use the *EXACT* same driver, they sound incredibly different...

 

Comment for you. If the DT880 and DT990 sounded so similar, I wouldn't have taken this time writing this comparison to inform people about their differences. "They use the *EXACT* same driver" comment to me all you want, but until you have heard and compared them both, your comment is not only extremely irrelevant, but useless to all those who read it...

post #69 of 143

If the DT880's and 990's use the exact same driver-- I wasn't aware of this; is there a good link to this key factoid?-- then one must attribute the difference in SQ to the housings which clearly differ. DT880 600 ohm Beyer's have the same drivers as some bassy Darth-beyer's? So what. They sound remarkably different based on how the drivers are positioned within different housings, and how open to ambient air-flow they are, etc. Sheesh... rolleyes.gif


Edited by sampson_smith - 12/8/10 at 11:32am
post #70 of 143

I have to agree. the DT880 and DT990 sound different. No doubt about it. To ME personally, the DT990 sounds like an EQ-ed DT880 with more bass and more treble, and wider soundstage. As different as they sound, they have a similar tone to them. It's not like putting the AD700 vs the XB700.

post #71 of 143

This is the worst comment in this thread. We might disagree on how these sound, but I am sure most, if not all of us who have heard both, agree that they don't sound alike.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bastido View Post

Dude, the DT880 and DT990 use the *EXACT* same driver so I think you grossly exaggerate their difference in SQ. Actually, I find lots of people on this site exaggerate SQ and I am finding this site of less and less use to me because there are far too many opinionated people here and not enough objective people.

post #72 of 143

The two drivers are often said to be the same, it's just that the DT990's driver allegedly lacks a small portion of netting on its back (some form of damping) and a foam screen across the front (the curved element of the DT880 foam Katun mentioned, perhaps?). There's a thread about this somewhere; perhaps that's how this got brought up in the first place.

 

It's not that uncommon for a manufacturer to use the same driver in multiple designs. A driver is not necessarily a singularly defining feature of a headphone; in other words, though of course the driver is very important, other factors can and do have a drastic effect on the overall presentation. Stick Grado drivers in closed cups and you'll see what I mean. Another example is the DENON AH-Dx000 series, which all reportedly use the same drivers, sourced by Fostex. Same drivers, different preparations, different price tags. Grado is often accused of doing the same thing, though John denies it till the cows come home, and I haven't really seen any evidence to back up those claims.

 

The point is that the enclosure, damping, and other factors can go a long way toward defining the sound of a headphone. If the DT880 and DT990 indeed share the same driver, it doesn't mean that they must sound similar. They might resemble one another (the so-called "family resemblance") and will likely share similar technical adeptness (e.g. resolution of the driver), but their tonal presentations may be VASTLY different.

post #73 of 143


This cannot be true just from sheer logic alone. 

If all that mattered was the original signal, no one would ever bother to remaster anything EVER. 

Yet, countless albums got remastered when CDs first came out and then yet again in the late 90s and aughts with all the special packaging box sets and what not. 

And when they remaster, sure there's emphasis on noise reduction, but a lot of times it is to increase bass output substantially. 

 

Absolute neutral does not exist.  Only your subjective neutral exists.

 

You can't say that professional rappers, who have gigantic woofers in their cars, are incorrectly listening to their own music that they created.

Hey, Lil Wayne, your sound system sounds muddy.  I recommend Sennheisers for you.   You've got way too much bass in your airplane here.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony6555 View Post

Whatever reproduces the original signal most accurately is the most neutral. In the same vein, a muscle car will get destroyed by a sports car in anything but a drag race. Certain phones are better from a technical perspective. That doesn't mean you have to prefer them though, I mean lots of people drive trucks and suvs, ha.

post #74 of 143

I lol when people spit out that garbage about 'the artist's intention". I said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm pretty damn sure they want their "art" to be enjoyed in whatever way people enjoy it the most. They're not gonna go over your house and say "OMG, THAT SONG ISN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE THAT MUCH BASS AND TREBLE. YOU KILLED MY MUSIC!"

 

post #75 of 143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

I lol when people spit out that garbage about 'the artist's intention". I said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm pretty damn sure they want their "art" to be enjoyed in whatever way people enjoy it the most. They're not gonna go over your house and say "OMG, THAT SONG ISN'T SUPPOSED TO HAVE THAT MUCH BASS AND TREBLE. YOU KILLED MY MUSIC!"

 


Not only that, but for multi-tracked studio recordings, the recording is the performance. There is no "natural" sound that the recording attempts to faithfully preserve--the whole affair is already tweaked and sweetened and is wholly unnatural by its very nature. At this point, playing it through the system of one's choice serves to assemble the performance from the raw data. In essence, you're providing a venue for the performance as, in studio-made form, it lacks one. If you absolutely need to nominate a benchmark, it would be how the recording sounds through the equipment used by the engineers doing the final mixing. But, of course, not every studio has the same equipment/acoustics, so choosing a headphone based on this would be meaningless for the overwhelming majority of music no matter which setup you based your choice upon.

 

And, let's not forget that stereo was never meant to be heard through headphones, anyway, and that without HRTF and room interaction, at best you're casting around in the dark for a set of cans that approximates reality. The limitations of the headphone presentation make this pretty much impossible, but that doesn't mean that cans can't be very enjoyable to listen to. The existence of Head-Fi and $1,000+ headphones proves this. Headphone listening should be considered an augmented and sometimes enhanced compliment to reality, not a perfect analog thereof. That being the case, there's no sense in limiting ourselves to only "natural" presentations if "colored" ones might please us.

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