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DT880, K702, HD600: A beginner audiophile's thoughts.

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 


Hi everyone!
This is less of a formal review, and more of my thoughts on these headphones. This is not a scientific review in any way, shape, or form. This is all my personal opinion.
Perhaps this can be useful to a fellow noob or at the very least provide some unboxing pictures for those who are already familiar with these cans and just like pictures of headphones.
I ordered all three with the intent to return two. I am including my K271 MkII in this review as I am very familiar with them, having owned them for over a year now. I received Koss KSC75s on the same order as well.
The headphones being compared here and the prices paid...
Sennheiser HD600 - $330
AKG K702 - $270
Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohm - $270
AKG K271 MkII - $160
I used the FiiO E7+E9 set to high gain on the HD600, K702, and DT880. Low gain on the K271. 
All headphones are stock. None are burnt in, and I have no interest in modding one to make it keepable. If a headphone is not viable out of the box, then it is not worth my money. If I can listen to the $13 Koss KSC75 for an hour without any comfort issues, then these other headphones have no excuse.
First, my rankings and thoughts on comfort:
K702 > DT880 > HD600 = K271
None of these earpads are particularly bad.
The HD600 and the K271 both feel like they need a slightly adjustment every 30mins-1hr or so, but this is a tough call for me as I have not listened to the HD600 for hours and hours on end. I feel like the K271 may actually be the winner over the HD600 here. The shape of the HD600 pads are not the best for my ears.
The DT880 circles around my ear, but I can feel it's there. The K702 does the same as the DT880, but feels light and gentle. 
One of these headbands are particularly bad.
DT880 > HD600 > K271 > K702
The soft padding on both the HD600 and DT880's headbands is immediately noticeable. I simply find the DT880's more comfortable, but both are soft. The K271's headband is simple and effective, but obviously a step behind the soft, pillow-like headbands of the DT880 and HD600. None of the first three are uncomfortable whatsoever. The K702's headband is unuseable due to the bumps. Why it does not have the same headband as the K271 is beyond me.
Now for my thoughts on how they sounded...
Before I talk about each song, I want to note that the muffled sound of the HD600 here is a negative to me. It is very obvious compared to the DT880, K702, K271, and even the KSC75. They all sound more clear and crisp to my ears.
The DT880s mids sound slightly recessed, and the K702 lacks bass compared to both. The K702 has the largest soundstage, with the DT880 nipping at it's heels. Anything more than the HD600's bass would likely be too much for me.
Please note I chose these songs due to my enjoyment of them and my familiarity with them. I have listened to each of these songs at least a dozen times on the K271. Likely many, many more times if you exclude Mine and S&M.
All songs listened to were in FLAC.
Offspring - The Kids Aren't Alright : DT880 = K702 > K271 > HD600 
The DT880 may have an incredibly small edge on the K702 here, but it's negligible. The drums sound better on the DT880 and the vocals a very small edge on the K702. The guitar sounds excellent and detailed on both, yet muffled on the HD600.
Santana ft Michelle Branch - Game of Love : K702 = DT880 > K271 > HD600
The opposite of the last song, the K702 has an edge here with the vocals. Michelle's voice sounds far more detailed and clear on the K271 than on the HD600. Guitar sounds great on the K702, DT880, and K271, but the K702 and DT880 clearly have the edge.
Rihanna - S&M : HD600 = DT880 > K702 > K271
K271 has little bass, with the K702 having a bit more. I don't like a lot of bass, but the HD600 did the bass in this song quite well. The DT880 has a good amount of bass as well, and it's vocals were better. K702 and K271's vocals were better in this song than the HD600 as well, but I do not feel that they are well suited to it compared to the HD600 and DT880 
Taylor Swift - Mine : K702 > DT880 > K271 > HD600
It was tough ranking the DT880 and K271 in this song, but I felt that the DT880 reached a bit higher than the K271, and the guitar sounded better. Overall, I found myself enjoying the DT880 more than the K271. The K702 was wonderful. Perfect fit for this song. The was the worst song for the HD600 out of all of them.
Foo Fighters - Everlong : DT880 > HD600 > K702 = K271
This song never really sounded amazing to me on the K271 all the time I had it, but I just enjoyed it because I love the song. The DT880 brought this song to life for me. The K702 gave me the same feeling as the K271. The HD600 had me rocking out more than the K702 and K271 here, but that's really not saying much. 
The DT880 gave me that "Sweet," smile on the first chorus.
AC DC - You Shook Me All Night Long : DT880 = K702 > K271 > HD600
This is a fun song. The extra bass on the DT880 compared to the K702 was noticeable, but I felt the guitar sounded best on the K702. The epic drum pounds on the HD600 are not enough to pull it ahead of the highs/mids on the K271 for me.
Ozzy - Perry Mason : DT880 > K702 > HD600 = K271
On this song, the DT880 gave me the same feeling it did on Everlong. The shorter bass and then guitar solo later in the song were both brought to life by the DT880, while the K702 and HD600 really only excel at one or the other. Overall, I definitely enjoyed the K702 more than the HD600 on this song. I consider the nice bass and drums from the HD600 a tie for the K271's presentation of the guitar. 
In the end, I felt that I truly enjoyed the sound of both the DT880 and K702 a lot. Either would be an upgrade to the K271. Unfortunately, the headband of the K702 is a significant shortcoming, and it will be going back. The DT880/600 is the keeper for me.
Edit for update
Two Hour Listening Test
I chose to attempt a 2 hour+ listening test with each pair of headphones. When I put on my cans I intend to listen for some time, so listening to a song, putting it down, changing headphones, then writing after listening to each one doesn't reflect how I listen. This 2hour+ listening session is not analytical listening by any means. 
Before doing this, I felt that it would cause the differences between the headphones to become more evident, and cause small issues to blend between the headphones.
Let me begin with a couple of things that I am certain at least one other person can relate to after a similar experience. Even if one seems as if I am backpeddaling, I will gladly admit that.
The K702 failed this test. I could not even make it 1 hour with the headband, so it is not included. 
I understand the supposed "Sennheiser veil," and it's purpose much better.
None of these headphones sound bad, and all of them are aesthetically pleasing to me.
2 hour earpad comfort:
DT880 = HD600 > K271
Each earpad has it's own faults that are prevelant after an hour of continous listening. The HD600s are slightly itchy, the DT880s feel like a ring, and the K271s cause sweating. The DT880s fault is the more difficult one to describe - it's as if there's not a large enough surface area in contact with the area around my ears, while with K702, K271, and HD600 this is not the case. Examining the earpads themselves, suggests this not to the the case. Overall, this is splitting hairs.
Originally, I ranked the HD600 earpads below the DT880. Why are they equal now? This is a simple case of user error. Angling the headband further forward allows them to accommodate the shape of my ears better.
2 hour headband comfort:
HD600 > DT880 = K271
Now, this is not to say that the DT880 headband is uncomfortable. The soft padding on the HD600s headband simply makes me forget that it's there over time. I still notice the headband on the DT880 and the K271.
Ability to stay in place:
HD600 > K271 > DT880
The DT880's shift noticeably while I'm doing other things. The HD600 shift very little. The "clamping force" some talk about with the HD600 is a pro to me, and is perfectly comfortable.
Listening ability:
I consider listening ability as the ability to listen to enjoyably listen to the headphones, i.e.: without fatigue.
This is likely the place where I eat crow.
HD600 > K271 > DT880
First off, I've had the K271 for almost 2 years now and it's perfectly acceptable to listen to for hours without fatigue. I do not adjust the volume out of fatigue, ever. I enjoy the sound very much. While it lacks detail compared to all of the other three headphones here, I still enjoy it.
The DT880 was fatiguing about 1hr in. I found myself adjusting the volume down occasionally. The DT880 has superior detail, but this is a bad thing as well. Flaws in poor recordings or lower quality music are obvious even in casual listening. Also, cymbals are overly present.
The best way I can describe the DT880 is this: Everlong is a lot of fun if it's the first song I listen to. If it's the 30th, I probably won't make it to 30 songs in a row. 
The HD600's "veil" is a perk in this case. After 2 hours, I was more than good for more. I feel that I have grown to enjoy this headphone more after spending more time with it. Part of that is that I can actually spend more time with it. My ears honestly feel less fatigued than they do after the K271. I ended up keeping them on for 3.5 hours. They're at home on my head while I do other tasks such as cleaning, making a sandwich, or writing a review.
I am definitely not a bass head, but the HD600 definitely has just the right amount. Lower quality recordings are more enjoyable. If Everlong was the 30th song, I would make it to it. Maybe even if it was the 100th song.
If I had to personify both of these headphones, I would say the DT880 is that wild and crazy chick you dated that was open to threesomes, while the HD600 is the trustworthy one you love that you decided to marry in the end. While I have not listened to them, I have a feeling others would give the prior to the Grado 325 or the DT990.
Looking back on my initial review and song comparison, I still agree with 90% of what I wrote now. The HD600 is definitely less detailed, and there will still be the occasional artist where I prefer the K271. After all, there is no such thing as the perfect set of headphones for everyone.
I would be happy to be able to keep both the DT880/600 and HD600. Unfortunately, that is not an option for me right now. 
If I was looking for a fun sound or hunting for detail, I would pick up the DT880, or possibly the K702 for the latter if I could stand the headband. If I was looking to listen to music for a couple of hours, I would pick the HD600. Wait, how often do I do the prior again?

Edited by MrMike - 5/22/11 at 1:32pm
post #2 of 106
Thank you for such a detailed analysis. We always want opinions and you have done due diligence on some pretty well respected headphones.
post #3 of 106

That was one of the most direct reviews I have read. I feel satisfied for some strange reason. 


Great review/comparison! I'm glad you are happy with your choice!

post #4 of 106
Great review, simple and to the point. I've only had a bref listen to the DT 880s i've never heard the HD600s but I quite enjoy my 702s. Nice to read some other views on them as well though.
post #5 of 106

Really enjoyed the format. Good stuff.

post #6 of 106

Nice work.

post #7 of 106

Could you also mention what amplification, source gear, etc., you used in your reviews of these headphones.


Thank you.

post #8 of 106

I don't particularly agree but I appreciate the straight-forward unbiased review. For some reason I appreciate beginners' reviews more than so called experienced ones.

post #9 of 106

He's using an E9...It said that in the review...

Originally Posted by Mambosenior View Post

Could you also mention what amplification, source gear, etc., you used in your reviews of these headphones.


Thank you.



post #10 of 106

nice review, but i think u should have included the KSC75s!  :)


I just got mine today, they're on my head and pumping out Muse into my happy ears and brain.

post #11 of 106

Thanks for your thoughts on these headphones OP! I have the HD600 and getting the DT880 in a few weeks when they come back on loan so looking forward to hearing them. The HD600 is quickly turning into one of my favorite headphones.


Originally Posted by Mambosenior View Post

Could you also mention what amplification, source gear, etc., you used in your reviews of these headphones.


Thank you.

Fiio E7/E9. It was mentioned somewhere in the upper half of the review.





post #12 of 106

It's beyond me why nobody slices off the two center bumps on the K701 with a razor...
Okay, resell-value = lost, but now you DON'T HAVE TO sell 'em anymore...

post #13 of 106

Oh, nice pic and nice review! Thanks!

post #14 of 106

Guess I'm weird, the K702 bumps give me a better fit  : |

post #15 of 106

Nice write-up! regular_smile%20.gif


From the three, if I have to choose one, I will take the DT880 as well.  I like clarity and transparent high. HD600 has a bit too much midrange for my taste & K702 is not as lively as DT880.  By the way, mine is DT880 Pro / 600.

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